Wireless Outlet Channel

IMG_7393For the past five years I have used wireless outlet adapters to control my Christmas lights. These things normally work really well for outside lights and on the Christmas tree. However, this year my wife and I noticed that the lights were on when returning home. She would assure herself and me that they were off when we left the house. This happened several times before we finally realized that one of our neighbors must have bought a similar adapter. As it turned out I found that the house across the street had purchased the same wireless adapter operating on the same channel. Our neighbors thought there was something wrong with their lights, as they were always turning on when they didn’t expect it. I told them not to worry about it, I would buy a new set and solve the problem.

Then I got to thinking about it and figured there had to be some kind of control mechanism on the inside of the adapter that selected what channel (frequency) they operated on. I decided to crack one open to see, and sure enough I found something. I was kind of expecting a switch or some kind of solder connection. What I found was a little surprising, but simple none the less. There were four pins connected to ground from the main chip. Then one of the traces on the circuit board was physically cut, breaking the connection to ground. I thought that had to be the selection method. I solder a jumper to connect the broken trace back to ground and I broke another trace. I did this on all three plug adapters and remote. In the end they worked perfectly and we no longer had any cross talk with the neighbors. Best part, I saved myself $20 by not buying another set. For very little effort I was able to change my set from channel D to what I think is channel A.

I placed a blue and yellow dot next to the traces I modified.

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