EDIT : This now is possible using the TV Timer Manager App created by @Entityxenon (Thanks!) Scroll to the bottom of this thread to install it. Be sure to check out how I created a Lockable Outlet to keep the Kids from unplugging the TV by reading the rest of this post. JUMP to DOWNLOAD CLICK LINK: [BETA RELEASE] TV Timer for Parental "Smart" Control
Currently I use a product called “BOB” http://www.hopscotchtechnology.com/ to control the TV in the kids room. This device allows you to setup 6 total users with 1 master user for a total of 7 users. Here is a picture of the BOB.
I am only using this for our 4 kids and the Master User when the wife or I decide to allow what the kids call an “override” allowing the TV to run indefinitely until turned off manually.
This device has other features I don’t currently use like the ability to add time or take time away as a reward/punishment.
Currently I use it like this. I do not allow the TV to be turned on by the Older users except during the hours of 8AM to 8:15PM on Weekday Nights and for ALL Kids 8AM to 9:00PM on Weekend Nights. I also give each kid an allowance of 2 to 4 hours each per allowed day depending on whether it is summer vacation or the school year.
So basically if kid 1 puts in their pin code during the allowed times the TV will turn on and count down the usage. If they don’t use all of their time for the day in 1 sitting they can turn the BOB off and it will save the leftover time until this resets the next day. (The BOB allows this function of time reset to happen daily or weekly).
This keeps each kid from using the others time or hogging all the time for themselves. Our previous solution we had a heavy user (kid) use all the time for the day and none of the other kids got a chance to use the TV. This caused much fighting.
I went to Lowe’s today and picked up some items to build a custom “Smartthings” replacement hardware to the BOB. I will post a build list at the bottom and hopefully a picture of the finished product.
My hope is to replace the BOB with a Smartthings solution. I have been researching the Iris White Security Alarm Keypad Model #: 3405-L http://www.lowes.com/pd_690406-41277-3405-L___?productId=999925326&pl=1&Ntt=iris
Also I am currently using this device I built with Rule Machine created by Bruce @bravenel to turn off this outlet at certain times everyday. Possibly an integration with Rule Machine could work. Rule Machine can be found here: Rule machine - as per the app developer, this app is no longer available for new installs, distribution, or support
I would like to integrate the 3405-L or any other keypad into this replacement solution. It appears Ben has added the ability to have multiple users and as a bonus scheduled users where their codes only work a set time of day. For me this would work to control when the kids can turn on the TV.
Instead of having this Keypad triggering the 3 states of the Alarm function I would like the Keypad to trigger the TV Outlet On/Off.
The other stumbling block would be the Time Management portion of this where Smartthings could keep track of how long a particular user has used the TV.
As I stated above my particular needs are not as vast as the functionality of the BOB however I believe this could benefit the community to have the ability to mimic all of the functionality of the BOB.
Why I want to stop using the BOB and move to a Smart/Home Automation Solution is because we really want remote control functionality over the BOB.
- If the kids are watching TV and an argument irrupts my wife and I would like to be able to instantly turn off the TV.
- If we are away from the house at work and the Younger kids finish their homework and would like to watch something we could turn the TV On to allow them to watch until their bedtime.
- If when report cards come out and grades are dropping we want to lockout the TV completely until further notice (on rare occasions on the weekend if we have company we may allow an override).
- When we transition from the School Year to Summer I would like to make changes the the parameters remotely as it’s a bit difficult to do on the BOB.
- When the BOB looses power it disables it from working and the clock on the BOB resets. I believe this was done to prevent tampering from the Kids. Personally I find it annoying especially if I am not here as they cannot use the TV at all until I log in as the master user and reset the clock. I would like to have control over this remotely or not have this happen at all.
I am certain there are other possible uses for this but as we expand the Smart House here we wish to get better control over the Kids TV.
I don’t know if Smartthings can perform these functions in it’s current state. It may need a special SmartApp. Because of this I would be willing to pay for help making this work. My budget isn’t limitless so any and all help is appreciated.
Even though I would be willing to pay for help I would like to submit the finished product to the community free for use.
Any and all help is appreciated.
As promised here is my build list for the hardware I have already assembled. I purchased everything from Lowe’s however I am certain you could find these at Home Depot or Menards or Amazon or whatever store you have around.
EDIT : I changed the Smart Outlet I started with above to a Smart Meter Outlet in order to detect when the TV is turned off. Thanks to @Entityxenon adding this feature to his TVTimer App he created (which you can download at the bottom of this thread).
These are the outlets I switched to:
15 Amp: http://www.amazon.com/Enerwave-ZW15RM-Resistant-Receptacle-Screwless/dp/B00SXEMD9G
20 Amp: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SXEMALM/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687642&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00SXEMD9G&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1KV017YDFNKD8GN6RSSS
The reason I have the padlock and the locking cover is to keep the kids from being able to unplug the TV cable and plug it directly into the wall. The BOB has a cover lock that performs the same function.
This works best with Hardwired TVs or TVs with special power cables that are not readily available.
I also believe you could make one of these using a regular Smart Outlet plug and just use this box to hide the wire in. I don’t know if you will save much money doing this however if you already have the regular plugs you won’t have to reinvest. I used the GE Smart outlet so I could have one always ON outlet and one Smart Outlets built into the box.
Any and all ideas welcome. Thanks.