Submission by Tim Fletcher – The Maplin telephone controlled mains socket adapter is a device using a telephone landline to switch a 13A socket.
What’s in the Box – Switcher Unit, 3M telephone extension cable, Instructions (see image below)
Operation – First out of the box the unit must have the 4 digit passcode reset from the default 0000. This is achieved by dialling in to the unit. The number of rings before the unit answers can also be selected. Once the passcode has been set, the switch can be operated easily.
*1# turns the socket on
*0# turns the socket off
There is also a function to allow the status of the socket (on or off) to be remotely interrogated, as well as the ability to set an off time in the future and an “On For” duration. All communication with the device is by a series of audible bleeps so it is vital to keep the original instruction manual.
The unit is somewhat limited in its operation but has a good user interface and performs well. Effort has been made to allow the unit to be used in conjunction with a Telephone Answering Machine (set the to answer in fewer rings than the TAM, if the device answers the line and hears no passcode it suspends operation for 2 minutes allowing the new incoming call to be answered by the TAM. This assumes that the caller dials straight back!)
Conclusion – This device is especially useful for occasional use whilst away on holiday or resetting a device remotely – especially if there is a spare phone line available. Using it in conjunction with a TAM is a bit “Hit and Miss” but is a decent attempt at a solution. Not bad for £25, especially good in the half price sale. 8/10
Maplin Order Code A94BK – RRP £24.95
[UPDATE] This product seems to have been discontinued – Try These Instead