MaxMon's Actuator-RF is one of our most powerful features, enabling you to switch mains-powered electrical devices on or off at your remote property (like lights, heaters, dehumidifiers or pumps) on a daily schedule, automatically in response to sensor alerts, or via our remote control web application. Here's our step-by-step guide to getting it working.

IMPORTANT: Please do follow these steps as the process of 'training' third-party remote control power sockets to respond to the Actuator-RF is not 100% obvious :)

Pre-requisites

This page assumes you already have a Quatropus unit with external sensors connected to the Android phone and working with the MaxMon app. If not, please return to Getting started.

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You'll also need an Actuator-RF module plugged into the Quatropus and one or more supported remote control power sockets or strips. You can buy remote control power sockets direct from us (see Accessories in our online shop) or purchase them separately. If you buy the sockets from us, at the same time you buy a Quatropus bundle that includes an Actuator-RF and pre-configured phone, we'll pre-configure them to work together out-of-the-box!

Configuration

maxmon-settings-actuatorsFor this tutorial we will assume you have an Energenie 4-socket remote control power strip, but the steps will be very similar for any other supported sockets. Ensure that:

  • The Energenie power strip is nearby and connected to power.
  • The Actuator-RF module is plugged into the Quatropus.
  • The Quatropus is connected to the Android phone and power.
  • The MaxMon app can read one or more sensors plugged into the Quatropus (see Getting started with MaxMon).

Run the MaxMon app and go to "Settings> Actuators".

maxmon-settings-actuators-1Radio-controlled sockets cannot be automatically discovered by MaxMon, so nothing will show up on the actuators screen until you tell MaxMon which power socket(s) you wish to remotely control.

However, you can see that the Actuator-RF module is present because the message "Actuators available (MENU to add)" appears at the bottom of the screen.

maxmon-settings-actuators-2Press the MENU button and select "Add".
maxmon-settings-actuators-3Select the power socket or strip you wish to remotely control. In this example we select the "Energenie 4-socket".

maxmon-settings-actuators-4This adds 4 actuators in a single step, corresponding to the 4 sockets of the Energenie remote power control strip. If you had four individual remote control power sockets you would repeat the above step to add each of them.

Note that actuators are initially disabled, as shown by the ON|OFF toggle button to the right of the actuator being disabled (grey).

maxmon-settings-actuators-5Touch an actuator (in this case the first one) to access its settings. Set its status to "Enabled". You can also give an actuator a more meaningful label here, such as "Hall lights" or "Bilge pump".

Press "Save".

maxmon-settings-actuators-10Some remote control sockets (for example Brennenstuhl sockets) require you to configure codes on the settings screen that match switch settings inside the remote control socket itself. For example, in this image we have configured the channel code to be '11100' and the key code to be 'A'. See the documentation that comes with the remote control socket for details.

Most remote control sockets don't have special settings, but DO require you to 'train' the socket to recognise MaxMon as its controller (see below). 

maxmon-settings-actuators-6When you return to the "Settings>Actuators" screen you should see that the ON|OFF toggle button is now enabled for the first actuator.

Touch the ON|OFF button to toggle its state to ON.

maxmon-settings-actuators-7The Actuator-RF module is now repeatedly sending radio commands to switch ON socket 1 of the Energenie strip. But before this has any effect you have to 'train' the Energenie to accept these commands. This usually involves pressing and holding a button on the socket/strip to put it into 'learning' mode. Once it is in 'learning' mode (on some sockets a light flashes) you can release the button and the socket/strip should shortly accept "Energenie 4-socket - 1" as its controlling actuator. See your remote control socket documentation for exact details. 

maxmon-settings-actuators-11IMPORTANT: While 'training' one socket you MUST disable all the other radio-controlled actuators in the MaxMon app, so their commands are not being broadcast by the Actuator-RF and the socket being trained only hears the commands meant for it. Otherwise it might 'learn' to obey the wrong actuator. To make this straightforward the "Settings> Actuators" screen screen has "Enable all" and "Disable all" MENU options.

So "Disable all" the actuators, enable the to-be-trained actuator from its settings screen, train it and then "Enable all".

Tap the button beside "Energenie 4-socket - 1" to toggle it ON or OFF. You should hear the corresponding socket on the Energenie power strip switch ON or OFF (the Energenie sockets also have a little status light above the socket). Congratulations! You can now control your power socket from anywhere in the world (see MaxMon remote control), for example switching on a noisy food mixer to startle your dozing cat out of its torpor and back to guard duty.

Note: the Quatropus Actuator-RF module repeats its ON|OFF commands every few seconds (in case a command is missed). So if the MaxMon app is showing a socket as being ON, and you switch it OFF at the socket, it will soon switch back on again.

maxmon-settings-actuators-8Furthermore, and this is where MaxMon enters a realm of capability all of its own, if you return to the "Settings>Actions" screen you will see that the newly added actuators now appear as ON|OFF actions.

So you can switch on a light, heater, bilge pump or dehumidifer in response to sensor alerts or scheduled tasks. You can even add actuator actions to sequences, for example switching on a light before taking a photo in response to a motion alert, then switching off the light a little later.

You're no longer just monitoring ... you're taking control!

maxmon-settings-actuators-9For more information about actuators see Help: Actuators or, from the "Settings>Actuators" screen of MaxMon app, press MENU and select "Help".

Other possibilities

There is more you can do with the Actuator-RF than described. The Actuator-RF emulates the handheld remote control that comes with the remote control power sockets, with each actuator on the "Settings> Actuators" screen emulating an ON|OFF button pair on the handheld remote control. So there is nothing to stop you training a single MaxMon actuator to simultaneously control multiple remote control power sockets. Please consult the documentation that comes with the remote control power socket for details.