I'm building a project that will have 3-4 dumb buttons (something like Easy Buttons) all needing to interact with the RPi. In this setup, wireless is really the only option, but most of the options I've found are transmitter/receiver pairs that would need a microcontroller for each button. That seems overkill to me, but I can't seem to find many transmitters that are uniquely IDed. I'd like to make the buttons as simple as possible, partly because they are likely going to be battery powered. Additionally, the range is about 30 feet.

I've found this remote from Adafruit, but I'd have to buy multiple and only use one button of each. That might do, but I'm also worried about the <25 foot range.

Anyone know of any good options for this?

  • Hey, what solution did you end up with? I am looking to do something similar, but haven't found too many great options. – Tom Apr 30 '17 at 5:44
  • @Tom I ended up using those 4-button Adafruit buttons for the initial version. I did a rebuild with more funding and used several Particle Photon devices. I wired one button to each Photon and used the built-in publish-subscribe framework to send messages between the devices. It's working very reliably and makes new development very simple. (For example, we added a REST API a while back.) – Corban Mailloux May 1 '17 at 14:53

I'm looking at doing something similar. The idea that you'd need a separate receiver is unappealing and would make the system harder to expand in the future.

A Bluetooth LE based solution is what I'm eyeing now. The Flic is an IndieGoGo project that aims to release a BLE button that would become a beacon / send a presence command when pressed. It's an interesting idea that might work for your scenario if it turns out to be extendable.

Another option would be to use BLE with your phone directly. So instead of pressing buttons through your house, you'd touch your phone to a receiver location. That would then activate on your phone and send the data back to the Pi to actually execute the command.

Let me know if you come up with something else, though!


If you want dumb then you can make the buttons transmit analog slightly different FM. You could even use the force on the button to power the transmission so no need for batteries. That's as technically simple as it gets. and is basically that remote you found($7), you would have to hack it a bit to get more than 4 buttons.

Maybe you could use IR($5) (line of sight) 21+ buttons

BLE 4, XBee, Electric Imp are more complicated but pre-made solutions.

The Imp($30) or xbee($23) might be good for you; just connect it to the simple button/switch and it will work anywhere there is wifi (after coding it). that's as simple (implementation wise) as it gets. (until there is an abundant supply of hackable Amazon Dash Buttons)

Or you know just make a web page and get people to use smart phones ($0). (why the need for more hardware?)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.