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  #1  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:45 PM
pa38112 pa38112 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Clarksboro, NJ
Posts: 892
Default Celular Switch for Pre-Heater

I have wanted a Switchbox or Regal Pro for some time, but cant stomach the $350- $400 price tag. Then I discovered that the Switchbox is a re-branded version of this device that sells for $135:

https://www.amazon.com/Solenoid-Cont.../dp/B07Q7PKW5Z

I asked for it for Christmas and LOVE it ! It has two 30 Amp relays on their own channels, so I wired it into two different outlets in my hanger. I can control two different plane pre-heater, or a plane and a hanger hater.

You can call it or text it to turn it on and off. You can also set-up a timer to shut it off after a pre-determined amount of time.

The only difficult part was finding a reasonably priced cellular plan. I found https://www.h2owirelessnow.com/plan/minute has a $10/3 month pay as you go that was easy to sign-up for and activate. It runs on the AT&T 4G network. That works out to about $3.30/month and then you recharge it for another $10. The plan includes a free SIM card.

The Switchbox comes pre-wired and with an activated SIM card, but I don't think it is worth $200 more to save an hour of time, and this way I was able to hard-wire it into my outlets VS using plugs. You could just as easily wire in your own plugs.

It looks like Amazon is out of stock right now, but there are other vendors selling it for the same price. Just don't buy the 7 channel one. It has only 10 Amp relays.
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2004 RV6A Flying
2002 RV6A Flying
1978 PA38-112

Last edited by pa38112 : 12-30-2019 at 01:47 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-30-2019, 03:33 PM
Piper J3's Avatar
Piper J3 Piper J3 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Hinckley, Ohio
Posts: 2,235
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I did similar. I bought a 4G cell phone switch on eBay for $149. Vendor is Relay-Supply in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Delivery is three days. Unit has two independent output relays so it can control two airplanes if needed. My regular cell phone service is ATT but for this application I have a $3/month T-Mobile SIM card that allows 30 text messages/month. The switch has ability to monitor quality of connection to the cell tower. At the hanger, with external antenna, the cell connection is 24/30. Cell phone switch rejects all robo-calls and only responds to my cell phone with my code.

I use an extension cord with LED lights built into the plug-ends so I can see at a glance if power is on. I also run an old motor-driven analog electric alarm clock in parallel with the engine heater. I set the alarm clock for noon and when I arrive at the hanger I can “see” how long the heater has been on. Good visual confirmation that everything is hunky-dory.

I sit in my living room, send text message to turn on the engine pre-heater, and the cell phone switch reports back that the relay is on for 150 minutes. When I get to the hanger I flip on the EMS and usually read 80F oil temp when OAT is below freezing. The analog alarm clock in the circuit verifies engine heater has been on for 2-1/2 hours. Text message can be copy/paste on the cell phone so you don't have to type each time. Easy-peasy like my triplet granddaughters say...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/4G-GSM-High....c100903.m5276
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Jim Stricker
EAA #499867
PPL/ASEL 1970 - Sport Pilot since 2007
80 hrs Flying Aeronca Chief 11AC N86203
1130 hrs Flying 46 Piper J-3 Cub N6841H
Bought Flying RV-12 #120058 Oct 2015 with 48TT - Hobbs now 633

LSRM-A Certificate 2016 for RV-12 N633CM
Special Thanks... EJ Trucks - USN Crew Chief A-4 Skyhawk
MJ Stricker (Father & CFI) - USAAF 1st Lt. Captain B-17H

Last edited by Piper J3 : 12-30-2019 at 03:35 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-30-2019, 03:50 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,372
Default

I did exactly the same thing with the Amazon 4G switch and a $3/month T-mobile account. It has worked well so far.

As a comment, it was a struggle to find an outlet that would sign me up for the $3/month cell plan. I had to visit a T-Mobile Corporately owned store (not a franchise store) to get "the deal". The franchise stores don't offer that plan, which is called "Ultramobile".

It took a call to T-mobile's help line to identify the local T-mobile "corporate" storefront. Once I was at the right T-mobile store, setting up the new account was easy.
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Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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  #4  
Old 12-30-2019, 05:53 PM
Electrogunner Electrogunner is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Quarryville ,pa
Posts: 554
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pa38112 View Post
I have wanted a Switchbox or Regal Pro for some time, but cant stomach the $350- $400 price tag. Then I discovered that the Switchbox is a re-branded version of this device that sells for $135:

https://www.amazon.com/Solenoid-Cont.../dp/B07Q7PKW5Z

I asked for it for Christmas and LOVE it ! It has two 30 Amp relays on their own channels, so I wired it into two different outlets in my hanger. I can control two different plane pre-heater, or a plane and a hanger hater.

You can call it or text it to turn it on and off. You can also set-up a timer to shut it off after a pre-determined amount of time.

The only difficult part was finding a reasonably priced cellular plan. I found https://www.h2owirelessnow.com/plan/minute has a $10/3 month pay as you go that was easy to sign-up for and activate. It runs on the AT&T 4G network. That works out to about $3.30/month and then you recharge it for another $10. The plan includes a free SIM card.

The Switchbox comes pre-wired and with an activated SIM card, but I don't think it is worth $200 more to save an hour of time, and this way I was able to hard-wire it into my outlets VS using plugs. You could just as easily wire in your own plugs.

It looks like Amazon is out of stock right now, but there are other vendors selling it for the same price. Just don't buy the 7 channel one. It has only 10 Amp relays.
Did you activate the plan and get it to work? Only asking because some cell plans (US Mobile) won?t work with devices like this. Ask me how I know😏. I already ordered the SIM card from Phil at switchbox or I would try this H2O plan. I tryed the T Mobil/Ultra Plan but no corporate stores near me so gave up on them.
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  #5  
Old 12-30-2019, 06:58 PM
pa38112 pa38112 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Clarksboro, NJ
Posts: 892
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Activation was very easy - I just called the 1-800 number that came with the SIM card and used the prompts to request a new number. It took maybe 45 seconds and was done. I didn't have to install it into a cell phone. I think the T-Mobile system requires a cell phone to activate their SIM cards and then you move the SIM card into the switch.
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2002 RV6A Flying
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2019, 07:08 PM
Piper J3's Avatar
Piper J3 Piper J3 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Hinckley, Ohio
Posts: 2,235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pa38112 View Post
I think the T-Mobile system requires a cell phone to activate their SIM cards and then you move the SIM card into the switch.
Its been a couple of years since I did it, but I didn't have to install in a cell phone to activate. Pretty sure I just called T-Mobile and they talked me through over the phone.
__________________
-
Jim Stricker
EAA #499867
PPL/ASEL 1970 - Sport Pilot since 2007
80 hrs Flying Aeronca Chief 11AC N86203
1130 hrs Flying 46 Piper J-3 Cub N6841H
Bought Flying RV-12 #120058 Oct 2015 with 48TT - Hobbs now 633

LSRM-A Certificate 2016 for RV-12 N633CM
Special Thanks... EJ Trucks - USN Crew Chief A-4 Skyhawk
MJ Stricker (Father & CFI) - USAAF 1st Lt. Captain B-17H
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  #7  
Old 12-30-2019, 07:44 PM
John-G John-G is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 726
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Just got done setting up a $135 remote GSM relay switch for myself. I went with a Kiao Time Model KT-G3-AU (which I can't find a link to a good online photo). The switch has two separate controllable relays each rated for 30 amps. The switch will work on T-Mobile or AT&T cell networks by purchasing an appropriate SIM card. There is also an external antenna supplied ... but the internal antenna works just fine inside the hangar.

The SIM card I purchased cost $13 and comes with the first 30 minutes (good for 30 texts) ... it is a GoPay SIM card that gives the user 30 minutes or 30 texts per month for $3. Go pay uses the T-Mobile network. I have my switch set up to ONLY respond to my cell phone ... so there is no charge to call the switch. My switch is optioned so when I call the switch it will trip the #1 relay, if the relay was off it goes on ... and vice versa. I optioned the switch to send me a conformation text showing the current state after the unit is called (which uses 1 minute of call time).

The only down side was the SIM card needs to be first placed in a cell phone to get it activated and a phone number assigned ... and the switch required purchasing a couple of extension cords that got cut up to wire AC power into the relays and provide receptacle ends for the AC output from the relays ... now I can just plug in an extension cord, run to the airplane heater and trip the heater on or off from home. Nice!
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Last edited by John-G : 12-30-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-30-2019, 08:16 PM
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dpansier dpansier is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Green Bay, WI (GRB)
Posts: 505
Default

I added an addition data line to my AT&T phone plan (similar to adding a iPad) and coupled that with a Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 creating a WIFI Hotspot at the hangar.
The Hotspot links to a BN-LINK Heavy Duty Smart Plug Outlet controlling a 200 watt Reiff heater. The BN Link app has real time data showing the current drain in Watts, the Voltage, and KWH for the month. An additional WIFI thermostat and app indicates the temperature in the hangar.

Testing has shown a 15 degree temperature rise per hour over ambient on the oil temp gauge but with the sensor located near the upper case it is much more because the oil temp climbs to 100+ degrees as soon as the engine is started. (Three hour heater period with engine cover / blanket)

The monthly cost is more than a text only plan but the system offers flexibility allowing all the WIFI accessories . In the non heating season I plan to use the Netgear device for camping. Last year I was camped near a guy that pulled a Hotspot up about 30 feet in a tree and had great WIFI coverage at his camping site.
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  #9  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:09 PM
n38139 n38139 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 685
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I have a Switchbox I paid a lot of money for.

It failed and I sent it back in to have it repaired.

They WOULD NOT give me a phone number to talk to them. Everytime they wanted information or confirm something they would send an email even if it was a yes/no answer. I asked them for a number every time but they would never give me one. I don't know about you but I don't have access to hourly email, what a pain.

You would think that a component that cost so much from a company based in NY would have a support phone number.
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  #10  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:20 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,372
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n38139 View Post

You would think that a component that cost so much from a company based in NY would have a support phone number.
My guess is the company is a guy doing business out of his basement. He builds 20 boxes on a Saturday, sells from inventory, and makes another batch when inventory gets low.

M-F, 9-5, he's sitting in an office somewhere earning his regular paycheck and can't take calls.

Just a guess.

I've thought about a similar business model for building electric tugs. A big concern is frustrated customers who can't wait a day for an answer to an e-mail.
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2001 RV-6 N46KB
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