Hello, i have an in wall electric fireplace that plugs into a standard electrical outlet. The fireplace has a hard on/off switch and also soft a power button. Basically the power button wont work unless the on/off switch is in the “on” position. Is there anyway to automate this?
if the fireplace is on and i pull the plug, unit shuts off… if plug it back in i have press the soft power button to turn it back on again.
You could use a SmartThings compatible power outlet to ensure the fireplace is powered off when your GoodNight or GoodBye routine runs or some determined time. You could allow power to it when your Good Morning routine runs or based on some time.
You would have to hit the soft button to start the fireplace though. There is always a way and you could make it work with some soft button wiring hack, but your warranty would likely be void and your home owners insurance may be as well if it started a fire.
This is usually a safety feature in many types of devices, and may be required for UL listing. There are more and more of this type of design than there used to be, because it significantly improves fire safety for devices capable of causing fires. It pretty much means the device can’t be turned on in unattended mode. So you do see these more now, for example, with electric blankets.
It would certainly be possible to get around it with rewiring of any of several kinds, but it may not be to code in your jurisdiction. Some townships do require that fireplaces have essentially only an attended mode.
There is a real product currently in development for exactly this purpose. As someone who is quadriparetic, I have been following this closely, as it would meet a number of needs in my own home.
The company is Prota, and they’re for real. They have some good engineering credentials. They are working on developing a series of micro bots of which the first will be “push” which does nothing but push a physical button.
They’re getting ready to start their first indiegogo campaign, so who knows when the product will actually come to market or what it will cost. It has a control bridge device which uses Bluetooth to pair to the individual battery powered buttons.
The following is a shareable link they sent me that is supposed to have some kind of coupon associated with it, I don’t really know any of the details. So if you prefer you can just wait and look them up on indiegogo after the launch. Or just wait until it shows up on Amazon.
But it’s an interesting project and I will certainly be following it closely.
Of course that still doesn’t mean use of such a microbot would be to code for a fireplace in any particular jurisdiction, you would still have to check on that. Nor does it say if a SmartThings integration might be achieved. But I do think this kind of form factor for retrofits to existing appliances may be on the market from several companies in a year or so.
I had a similar problem with my Mac Mini that I use as a media player for my home theater setup. I could automate turning everything on except for the Mac Mini because of it’s soft power button as well. I used a solenoid contraption plugged into a z-wave switch to make it work. I talk about here. Problem for you might be hiding the contraption.