A regular IKEA powerbar – with a 5V relay stuffed inside.

Wouldn’t it be great to power stuff on and off without having to get off the couch, or even having to be in the same room? How about turning on an alarm with a distance sensor?

There are four methods to turn this powerbar on/off

While most of the other projects on this site are defined as having a single purpose, this project is more of a ‘seed’ – it can be used in many different ways, to satisfy many different needs. Other than its conventional switch, there are four methods to turn this powerbar on/off:

  1. Infrared
  2. Temperature
  3. Ethernet
  4. Proximity
All the sensors


Using its I/O pins, the Arduino detects the various inputs from the external components – an infrared receiver, a temperature sensor, an Ethernet shield, and a distance sensor. When the condition is met – for example, the remote control button is pushed, temperature is high enough, distance is close enough – the Arduino sends 5V to the relay (located inside the powerbar), which activates the powerbar. The relay is rated for 10A.


Regular powerbar…
…plus 5V relay…












…= possibilities!!


This project started out with one sensor (the IR receiver) – dictating the state of the powerbar. But then another sensor was added which lent more capabilities to the project, and soon others followed. Not all the sensors are required to make the powerBar function; it is up to the end user which method to use. For example, you probably don’t need a distance sensor to warm up your engine block. Or an ethernet shield if you are simply turning on a fan across the room. But I have used all of these at one time or another: ethernet to power a light while I’m on vacation, IR to turn on a fan across the room in the middle of the night, proximity to surprise people… And other sensors are waiting: why not a moisture detector to prevent a flood in your basement?


with relay inside and 2 wires for Arduino


Here it is in action, using IP, IR, and motion to turn on and off: