Sometimes my R2ZX APT satellite receiver stops accepting commands from the WXtoImg software I run to process NOAA weather satellite images. This can be fixed by recycling the R2ZX although I have also noticed it started working again after I rebooted the PC.
When I’m home fixing the problem is simple enough however on my first visit to my holiday caravan this year (2015) Murphy’s Law came into effect and the wretched thing stopped working after a couple of days and I had to ask my son to go to the house to do the honours. I could have tried rebooting the PC using my Teamviewer link but am always reluctant to do that in case there is some hitch with restarting which would stop other stuff such as my weathercam from working.
After looking around for remote switching options I came across the Orvibo S20 – a cloud based solution which connects to the home WiFi and is then controllable from an Android or Apple phone app. This is the Android WiWo page.
I bought a couple of units on eBay was impressed by the quality appearance. They were easy to set up on both my Nexus 4 phone and Lenovo S850 tablet. I tested switching while connected to the local WiFi and from the phone across 3G with the WiFi off and it worked flawlessly.
I bought two units and one has the R2ZX psu and the Raspberry Pi I use to run WeeWx processing data from my weather station. Now if either play up while I’m away from home I can at least power cycle them and hope they start working again. I don’t doubt that they’ll run flawlessly now for years to come.
I bought two units as I knew I’d find some use for the other and sure enough I did – I have it controlling power to my Foxsat HD which I found boots up normally if power was dropped while it was on. I usually power it down while away from home to avoid the need to delete stuff I’ve already watched which was on repeat recording but it’s handy to be able to power it up and set it to record something I may want to watch when I have more time for TV. That option is made possible by some alternate firmware I found which provides a web interface.
I’ve seen speculation about the need to open ports for the Orvibo S20 – this is 100% not the case – it is a cloud based unit.
I’ve also seen complaints about using them as time switches and as I frequently see messages about time being out of sync from the app I can well believe that. I’d stick to simple time switches for that function. Naturally YMMR and they could work flawlessly.