Automate The Odd Things

Another stubbed toe, another problem solved with a Shelly smart home product – the Shelly button.

The Shelly Button is an enclosure (with button) that allows you to wire a Shelly 1 or 1PM inline into an appliance’s power cord. If you’re nervous about rewiring a switch or outlet, the Shelly Button is a very easy way to add automation to a dumb appliance.

I’ve got an old “Clamp Lamp,” manufactured in 1998, that I put in hard-to-reach places where I could use a little extra light. That turns into a headache, though, because “hard-to-reach” also means “hard-to-turn-off.” I have an outlet in the ceiling for my garage door opener, which is a favorite place for me to plug in “Clamp Lamp,” which I then mount on shelves or on the garage door’s rails.

That means climbing a ladder to get to the lamp – for mounting it or to turn it on and off. Today, instead of grabbing a step ladder, I climbed up my work bench to turn on Clamp Lamp. While reaching to grab the switch, I smacked my toe HARD against the side of my work bench and said “Enough!”

I happened to pick up a couple of Shelly Button modules from when I bought my Stay@Home And Automate bundles last week. They were a few bucks each and I figured I’d find a use for them in short order.

First, identify neutral. In the US, you can easily identify neutral by finding the large prong on the end of the cord. You can also check if either wire has any markings. The high voltage line usually has markings, but not always – regardless, the wire connected to the large prong is always neutral.

Cut the power cord of your appliance. Strip about 1/3 of an inch on each end of each wire. If the insulation is thin, you can get away with less, just compare the diameter of the wire to that of the terminal.

Use your finger or a small object to press the lever on each terminal and insert your wires.

For the Shelly 1, the wires wire up evenly from left to right.

With the Shelly 1PM, the position of SW is swapped with L (I on the Shelly 1), so you change those wires.

I used a pair of tweezers to guide each of the wires into the Shelly’s terminals.

Once you lock the wires into the terminals, click the module into the enclosure.

Close the enclosure – make sure that the wires are flat, or else the surfaces won’t mate and the button’s lever won’t align properly inside. Lock down the two screws on the bottom.

Now, I can add the new module to the Shelly app and my Wi-Fi network.

Here’s a link to the Shelly button user guide, with excellent step-by-step instructions to set up.

Time to install? 6 minutes. is the website for our Facebook community, The Smarter Home Club – which is an umbrella for all kinds of smart home technologies – home automation, security, custom electronics, weather stations, alternative energy, you name it. DIY focused.

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