Secret Switch – Review

The “Secret Switch” operates by detecting movement near a wire antenna, designed to be sunk into a wall, hidden behind a tile or anywhere else you can imagine.

The Secret Switch is supplied in the form of a standard plastic back box, requiring a mains feed and supplying terminals for a switched live (L1), neutral and earth that are to be connected directly to the light(s) in question. (Provision of an L2 terminal caters for two-way lighting installations.) The switching capacity is rated at 500W.

The enclosed leaflet provides good advice on siting the Secret Switch (ie ideally hidden in a floor or ceiling) and the antenna. It is advisable to experiment with different patterns for the antenna wire depending upon your chosen ‘detection area’, by taping the antenna to the surface in question. If the supplied antenna wire does not give you the results you want, then advice is given on alternative home made antennae that simply need connecting to the appropriate terminal in the Secret Switch.

The clever part of the Secret Switch is that it is self-calibrating to accept the conditions where it is installed (ie dampness and pressure exerted on the wire). This is demonstrated by taping the wire to the wall and pressing it constantly for a few seconds. The light switch will cycle on and off a few times then settle down. When releasing pressure on the wire the conditions have changed and the Secret Switch will recalibrate itself by cycling on and off before it settles down again. It is the success of this self-calibration that makes it feasible to locate the antenna anywhere you want (within reason), whether taped to the back of a plasterboard wall or sunk into plaster under a tile.

If there are any gripes, it is that the switch feels a little fragile when tightening the cable terminals, as the terminals are located directly on the circuit board and not really designed for the torque required for making a good mains connection. Luckily I did not break the legs of the terminal block, even though I thought I had. Also there is not much room inside the box for the cable wires themselves and you have to be careful not to break some of the components on the circuit board when putting on the cover.

Conclusion: I tried one and immediately bought two more.

Since then there have just brought out ‘Sensor Switch’ priced at £17.00, it would appear to be similar to the secret switch apart from the sensor being contained within the unit instead of a separate detection wire

Approximate Price £31.91 + delivery
Available From Sensor Consultants – www.sensor.co.uk (no longer available)

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