Wireless light switch or bust

14 Feb

I stumbled upon the website while looking for an affordable thermocouple for the immersion circulator I’m planning on building. I found the part I was looking for and I also came across a “Mult-function 1CH RF Remote Control Tx/Rx Set” which is a small remote controlled relay switch that runs on a 12v power supply and will switch 120v 10A. This is one of those things that I knew I had to have but had no idea for what reason, it just seemed handy to have around. Then inspiration struck.

Batman, a constant source of inspiration.

In the original Batman TV show Bruce Wayne used a switch hidden within a bust of Shakespeare to open a hidden entrance to the Batcave. While I don’t have a hidden door to open I honestly can’t think of a cooler way to turn on and off the lights to my “Mancave”. So now that I had a goal in mind it was time to gather the required parts.

Parts list:

  • Momentary push button
  • Multi-function 1CH RF Remote Control Tx/Rx Set
  • Various hinges/bits of metal
  • An impressive bust (I went with Beethoven)
  • 6 outlet plug strip
  • 12v power supply
  • Various lengths of wire
  • Small piece for wood for switch mount
  • Glue
  • Wood stain

Like all good projects this one started with cutting off someone’s head with a band saw. In this case Ludwig van Beethoven was the unfortunate soul to have his head separated from his body. From what I can tell, the hard outer shell was a fiberglass like material while the inside was a poured porous plaster. The plaster created a terrific mess but was pretty easy to chisel out to make room for electronics. After chiseling, I gave the plaster a nice coat of Elmer’s glue to reduce the amount of plaster dust leaking from Ludwig’s orifices. I also cut and stained a piece of plywood to act as a mount for the push button and hide the plaster.

The next step was finding a cheap 12v power supply to drive the relay. I used an old power supply I had lying around, I also picked up a cheap 6 plug power strip and removed enough of the outer shield to cut into the positive (120v) line. This was extended and plugged into the relay board. Additionally I removed the wireless remote from it’s plastic casing and soldered the push button to the PCB. After mounting the push button on the plywood insert I added an extra bead of hot glue around all the connections for added support, including the battery on the remote.

The last step was mounting the electronics inside the body and attaching the head on a hinge. There wasn’t too much to this part, I just drilled some holes and used old brackets, hinges, nuts and bolts to hold everything in place.

This project was a lot of fun and required minimal effort. Since very little modification was required this is a great project for a beginner (like me). The relay board can switch up to 10 Amps so it can handle switching a lot more than the couple lights I’ve got it attached too. It’s also worth mentioning that you can buy additional relay boards that operate on the same frequency (allowing you to switch even more lights). The range on this remote is really impressive so in theory it could be used to turn on and off lights all over the house with the press of one button. This is one of those projects that is only limited by your creativity and imagination.

Update! I’ve been entered in the Instructables 3rd Annual Epilog Challenge. If you like my project please vote for it. Here’s the link to my instructable:


Posted in man cave

  • TJ

    Dude, you have WAY too much time on your hands 🙂
    But this is awesome!!!! I thought I was OCD, but my hat is off to you – or my head in this case.

    • JohnnyJohnJohnson

      hey, TJ, I dunno about you, but that is the kind of ‘too much time’ you want to have on your hand’s.

      Beautiful work, NH. 🙂

    • justpat

      Why are the people who make wonderful things commonly derided as having “too much time” on their hands?

      This was a brilliant effort!!! Brravo!

  • DrBob

    Very cool and nicely done. I really like Lightning Switches and one of those would work nicely here.

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  • Sean

    I can’t seem to find any cheap Busts online. Can anybody help me out? Also, how tall is the one used? I figure about 10-12″ should be tall enough. I can’t wait to get started on this.

    • chris


      I was able to get Beethoven for free from a friend. When I started looking online I found them to be pretty pricey too. I’d recommend checking out Goodwill, Salvation Army or other second hand stores for a good deal since most of these online are not cheap.

      My Beethoven bust is about 15.5 inches tall but I’m sure it would look fine with a slightly shorter bust.

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  • tony

    Yes, because a giant hinge isn’t a direct giveaway that something is up with your bust… Batman would be ashamed!

    • Edward

      Yeah kinda what i was thinking too. I would see if i could hide the hinge on the inside so it wouldn’t be seen.

      Otherwise a really cool idea, i really might have to try haha

      • chris

        I agree this would be a great 2.0 feature. I decided to use the hardware I had on hand at the time so this project didn’t get pushed to the back of the closet to “finish later” (never).

  • Don

    Hey if you want to check out the original bust used it the Batman series from 1966 its located at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo IL next to one of the original Batmobles. Very cool exhibit.

  • Chizel

    I don’t care what anyone else says, because frankly, what are they doing with their spare time? This however, this is awesome on so many levels. A little creativity, a little homage, and some ingenuity and you have a very clever project. Thank you sincerely for sharing this and for providing inspiration for others like myself. ~Chizel

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  • Andrew

    This is the coolest thing ever! I’ve been interested in dabbling in electronics, any suggestions for reading materials for newbies, something to learn the basics?

  • rob

    oh yeah, the visible hinge at the back of the neck is a nice touch… guys get paid for this?

    • chris

      Nope, not a dime. This was just a fun weekend project.

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  • DB

    I inherited one of those exact Beethoven busts from my grandmother. For some reason, as a small child, seeing its stern, bodiless, colorless face in her dark back room used to frighten me to no end. Thank you–seeing its head sawed off was very cathartic. So may all childhood bogeymen come to their end.

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  • doesn’t batman use a key on the piano these days? It would be easier to buy a piano.

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  • Stephen Bell

    What light is the one behind the desk? I am looking for something like that. 🙂

    Great project, if I can find a cheap bust I will try it.

  • wannabe mcgyver

    Firstly, thank you so very much, this is what I’ve been looking everywhere for.

    Secondly, I’m not sure how exactly you connected the relay to the power strip. Any chance there are zoomed out pictures of #6 “power strip connected to relay board” showing the rest of the set up?

    The only part im really not sure about is how you got the power strip into the mix. Any kind of help would that would be very much appreciated 🙂