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  #1  
Old 01-13-2018, 07:34 AM
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donaziza donaziza is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Atlanta
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Default Turning on cold weather Eng. heat w/smart phone.

I;ve been reading with great interest about you guys turning on your engine warmer uppers in your hangars, miles away, using your smart phones. Would like to do same. How are y'all doing that? Are you buying something that you plug the heater in one end, the power cord to the power end, and that "something" inbetween gets the on/off signal from your phone? Where would I get it. Really be nice to have my engine all toasty by the time I got there.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2018, 07:57 AM
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Saville Saville is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donaziza View Post
I;ve been reading with great interest about you guys turning on your engine warmer uppers in your hangars, miles away, using your smart phones. Would like to do same. How are y'all doing that? Are you buying something that you plug the heater in one end, the power cord to the power end, and that "something" inbetween gets the on/off signal from your phone? Where would I get it. Really be nice to have my engine all toasty by the time I got there.
I have that setup and I LOVE it. I bought the SwitchBox from these guys:

www.switchboxcontrol.com

Pricey - yes. But saves me from having to go to the hanger, plug the heaters in and then spend many hours doing something else.
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:02 AM
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bullojm1 bullojm1 is offline
 
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A lot of people use "The Switchbox" for $300:


http://switchboxcontrol.com/the-switch-box/

I am too cheap to to shell out these kinds of bucks, so I built one for less than half using the KiaoTime GSM-RELAY-US4G:
https://www.amazon.com/KiaoTime-GSM-...itch+GSM+relay

They both work nearly identically - you purchase a T-Mobile SIM card for $10 (lasts 3 months or 30 texts), and send a specially crafted text message to the # associated with the SIM card and voila! Switchbox turns on and you get a confirmation text in return.
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  #4  
Old 01-13-2018, 08:35 AM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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The deal breaker for me is that I would have to pay F'n Verizon $20 per month for an extra "line". No Wi-Fi at my hangar.
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:51 AM
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olyolson olyolson is online now
 
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Location: St Louis, MO
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Default Engine heater

I have an engine heater I turn on with the identical Switchbox discussed above. I got it used here on the Forum for $200. Yes you have to get a T-mobile account but it only costs $3/mo to use it. When it gets low you can just add some money with a credit card- Easy.

There's two outputs, outlet one works directly from the phone number and you can call as many times as you want for that $3/mo. Outlet 2 sends a text message to the other line and costs .10 cents each time. So you could put the heater on the phone line for unlimited use and the other on a hooked up battery charger for a ten cent charge each time you use it (on or off). Or you could hook both of them on the phone line and have unlimited use.

No worries about having wifi in the hangar. I don't have any and with the small included antenna it picks up the signal in my hangar from my IPhone at home just fine. You'll just have to set up the "phone number" of the Switchbox unit with T-mobile. No additional line required, kind of like the pagers from the old days.

You can buy a new one at the website in the post above but I bet someone here on the forum might have a used one to sell. I contacted the Switchbox guys and they stepped me through the process to get mine set up.

Get one, they work great and when you get to the hangar the engine is warmed up. Pull it out, crank up and go fly!
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Last edited by olyolson : 01-13-2018 at 08:58 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2018, 09:00 AM
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RV6_flyer RV6_flyer is offline
 
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Location: NC25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saville View Post
I have that setup and I LOVE it. I bought the SwitchBox from these guys:

www.switchboxcontrol.com

Pricey - yes. But saves me from having to go to the hanger, plug the heaters in and then spend many hours doing something else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullojm1 View Post
A lot of people use "The Switchbox" for $300:


http://switchboxcontrol.com/the-switch-box/

I am too cheap to to shell out these kinds of bucks, so I built one for less than half using the KiaoTime GSM-RELAY-US4G:
https://www.amazon.com/KiaoTime-GSM-...itch+GSM+relay

They both work nearly identically - you purchase a T-Mobile SIM card for $10 (lasts 3 months or 30 texts), and send a specially crafted text message to the # associated with the SIM card and voila! Switchbox turns on and you get a confirmation text in return.
Quote:
Originally Posted by olyolson View Post
I have an engine heater I turn on with the identical Switchbox discussed above. I got it used here on the Forum for $200. Yes you have to get a T-mobile account but it only costs $3/mo to use it. When it gets low you can just add some money with a credit card- Easy.

There's two outputs, outlet one works directly from the phone number and you can call as many times as you want for that $3/mo. Outlet 2 sends a text message to the other line and costs .10 cents each time. So you could put the heater on the phone line for unlimited use and the other on a hooked up battery charger for a ten cent charge each time you use it (on or off). Or you could hook both of them on the phone line and have unlimited use.

No worries about having wifi in the hangar. I don't have any and with the small included antenna it picks up the signal in my hangar from my IPhone at home just fine. You'll just have to set up the "phone number" of the Switchbox unit with T-mobile. No additional line required, kind of like the pagers from the old days.

Get one, they work great and when you get to the hangar the engine is warmed up. Pull it out, crank up and go fly!
I used an early version of the above with great results. T-Mobile is the lowest cost option. Using a 200-Watt EZ Heater from Aircraft Spruce, I would have 80-degree oil temp after 2-hours of preheat in 32 degree weather when I got to the runup area.

Now that my hangar is 18 steps outside the house and on the same WiFi network, I just use a Lowe's Iris smart WiFi switch. Not sure it gets cold enough here to need it but I can still turn the heater on if I want to fly when it is cold.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2018, 09:23 AM
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bullojm1 bullojm1 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopercod View Post
The deal breaker for me is that I would have to pay F'n Verizon $20 per month for an extra "line". No Wi-Fi at my hangar.
Get a T-Mobile SIM. $10 or so, gives you the following:
  • You get a combined total of 30 minutes of calls or text messages per month.
  • Additional outgoing/incoming calls or texts are $0.10 each.

https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-4826

Once the $10 is gone, you can simply refill the card online via CC, or let it expire and get a new SIM.
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2018, 11:43 AM
CharlieL CharlieL is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Harwinton, CT
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If you have wifi in your hangar, you can use a "Wemo Smart Plug" Very simple and inexpensive. I think the one I have is called the Wemo mini, cost about $29 at Homer Depot. I've only been using it a couple of months, but seems to be working fine. I can turn it on and off remotely via cell phone.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2018, 01:31 PM
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Plummit Plummit is offline
 
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Those Chinese GSM switches are just junk. I had lots of problems with them. As we know the times we'll be flying I ordered a digital timer that I'll program to start the heater when we expect to fly. WiFi would be a better choice and I may go to that later, but for now this seems like a better alternative.

-Marc
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2018, 03:02 PM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bullojm1 View Post
Get a T-Mobile SIM...
So the SIM card would just plug into the Switchbox device as if it were a cell phone?
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