I have had several learned people state that, “a two wire electronic device in series with a load can not control that load.” They then go on to say, “It may be possible if the load characteristics are known ahead of time and the device is built to accommodate those characteristics. But if the load is unknown or is changed, a two wire electronic switch won’t be able to handle it.”
That’s the beauty of an electronic switch, especially one with a microcontroller. It can adjust very fast.
So, what is a microcontroller? Todays computers have microprocessors that perform billions of instructions a second. A microcontroller does millions (with an “m”) of instructions a second, or less. So there is no way that the microcontroller we use in the Touchless Switch could be used for gaming or video processing. Not a chance. But it can look at the load it is controlling a thousand times a second and adjust accordingly.
The other key aspect of the microcontroller we use is it requires very little power to operate. This is important because it is sharing power with the load. The load should not notice that the microcontroller in our touchless device is even there.
So the microcontroller we use can change its behaviour thousands of times a second and uses hardly any power. All that was left was to tell the microcontroller what to do and when. That was the hard part.
Click here to watch, Why the No Touch Switch is the best switch ever.
A plain old toggle switch (POTS) passes all of the available power to the light or none of the available power to the light. When on, the Touchless Switch passes 99.9% of the available power to the load and keeps that tiny bit that’s left over for itself. And when it is off, the Touchless Switch withholds 99.9% of available power from the light but again keeps a tiny bit for itself in order to operate its electronics and sensor.
A discussion of this process and an animated video tutorial can be found here.
I was asked what would happen if someone actually touched the touchless switch either by accident or on purpose.
Enter my warped sense of humour. “Because of its energy efficiency the shock received would not be lethal but would serve to help train the individual to not touch the switch. It’s touchless.” The truth is so much more boring.
What would happen to an individual if they actually touched the front of an installed Touchless Switch? Nothing. Nothing at all. During the certification phase of development the TS was shown to be extremely effective at isolating the front of the switch from the voltages within. The TS would turn the light on or turn it off because you would be “seen” as you approach the switch, but that is all. The TS checks for an object in its target zone 40 times a second. Sneaking up on it would be difficult. Besides, not touching it is how it helps keep you safe from germs.
The two black wires on the Touchless Switch are used to make the TS work. There is a third wire that is green and is riveted to the switch faceplate. The green wire’s only function is to ground the metal parts of the TS. Most device boxes, the thing into which all switches are mounted, are made of metal. And, the screws that attach the switch to the device box would do a fair job of grounding the switch faceplate however, some device boxes are now made of plastic.
It is a CSA/UL safety requirement that all metal parts in an electrical system be well grounded.
So… to be sure the TS faceplate will always be safe, there is a green wire which must be connected to the ground for the device box.
“Research evaluated the survival of the COVID-19 virus on different surfaces and reported that the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard. This research was conducted under laboratory conditions (controlled relative humidity and temperature) and should be interpreted with caution in the real-life environment.” COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses, WHO reference number: WHO/2019-nCoV/Food_Safety/2020.1
A touchless switch in the bathroom will not eliminate Covid from our lives. It will reduce the number of potential transfer points.
Touch the old fashioned toggle light switch to turn the bathroom light on. Wash your hands before you leave the bathroom and then touch the old fashioned toggle light switch to turn the bathroom lights out and in doing so, re-contaminate yourself. And as an added bonus, leave the virus on the light switch for the rest of the family to pick up. That wouldn’t happen with a Touchless Light Switch.
If a touchless switch prevents just one person from getting sick, it’s worth it.