SmartThings Community

2 Gang Switch Replacement

Hello! I’m brand new to SmartThings, pretty new to home elctricial stuff, and completely new to home automation in general. So, pretend I know absolutely nothing.

Our home was built in 1999 and has all traditional 2, 3, 4 gang light switches. I want to buy a SmartThing (or other brand) switch that replaces the 2 gang (2 switch) 4.5" by 4.5" face plate fixture in my garage. I apologize for (most likely) using the wrong terminology. Again, pretty new to this. I’m trying to be able to control my interior garage lights and outside flood flights remotely.

Every home automated switch I look at offers multiple “switches” but they’re all single gang fit. I need two “physical” switches that I can still flip/top/push, that are able to be controlled with Google Home and Wifi, and fit in a traditional 2-gang space.

Also, the lights I’m referencing above CAN currently be controlled from switches inside the house as well. I’ve read this can pose a problem as well.

If this has been discussed in another thread PLEASE reference it so I can read up and not bother asking questions that have already been answered.

Thanks

Welcome! :sunglasses:

Different manufacturers do used different terminology, so a picture would help a lot.

In the US

In general in the US, this is a 2 gang switch plate. “Gang” refers to the width of the switchbox.

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However, in the US a 2 gang switchplate is not actually Square. It can come in any of several sizes, but it will be just a little bit wider than it is tall.

In the US, the following would be a dual switch in a single gang box.

Terminology in the UK is different

I mention all that because in the UK, they are square, and the term is a little different. There “gang” refers to the number of buttons, not the width of the faceplate. The width is the same.

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The choice of devices does vary somewhat by region. So we do need to know if you’re in the US or the UK.

Back to the US…

If you are in the US, everything is easy – – almost all of the single smart switches that you can buy that will work with SmartThings can just be put side by side into a double gang switch box. :sunglasses:

So for example, the following are some different brands of US smart switches that can work with SmartThings. All are bought as individual switches but will fit side by side into a 2 gang box. It’s only the cover plate that is different.

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But again, it would help if we can see a picture of the switch that you want to replace. Then we can be sure we’re talking about the same thing. :sunglasses:

Hi JDRoberts! Thank you so much for your help.

I am indeed in the U.S. (Ohio). After reading your input I remeasured my gang (plate?) and sure enough it’s 4 7/16’’ by 4 9/16" (can’t remember which dimension was wider).

So really the question I was asking (thanks to your help) is what “smart switches” fit side by side in said 2-gang box (your photo is exactly what I’ve got). Also, which switches are the best (I hear/read Z-wave is good) and which are compatible with Google Assistant? (Again I read Z-wave is a winner?)

Thanks again!

The device class FAQ should help answer your questions. The light switch discussion starts around post 40. As long as you are using SmartThings, any switch that works with smartthings will work with either Google Home or Amazon echo. :sunglasses::bulb:

Answer my question? That thread answered every question I have plus a bunch of questions I never thought to ask!

Okay a couple random thoughts/questions.

Switch Route
I was watching a YouTube video (Keith Credindino video) and he mentioned some extra step he had to take to ensure that a light controlled by more than switch worked with his switches. I didn’t quite understand what it was he needed to make that happen.

Our Set Up
On the outside of our garage we have a set of flood lights up high and two “scone” style lights hanging on either side of the garage door / entry door. On the inside of the garage we have a set of lights in the ceililng. Thus there are “three” sets of lights (flood, scones, interior bulbs).

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The strange thing is the scones and the interior light are operated by the two-gang switch inside the garage. The FLOOD light is ONLY operated by the FOUR-GANG switch inside_the house___

This FOUR gang plate with four active switches. Three switches operate the aforementioned outside flood, outside scone, and garage interior lights. The fourth switch operates an inside hallway light.

Bulb Route
Bulb - does anyone make bright (1800 lumens or more) smart outdoor flood bulbs? Trying to decide if I should swap the switch or go right with a smart bulb. I could (obviously) do the same on the outside scone lights and interior garage lights.

In all of the aforementioned instances dimming is not a need at all. There is never a time where I need “less” light in my garage or outside. If anything its the complete opposite.

I need switches/bulbs that work even if the network goes down. Garage interior lights is one of the “physical hazards” you mentioned could occur if the light wouldn’t come on. Same for outside flood lights, really.

I really like the write up you had on the Lutron switches and I think that’s the way I would go. The important things I need is reliability, traveler wire (or whatever I need to use the lights if network is down), and decent aesthetics would be nice.

I don’t know if Lutron has this but I (REALLY) like the idea of a little LED light indicating whether a certain light is on or off. For exmaple, if I walk into the garage and flip on the outdoor scone lights and then walk into the house - I have no way of knowing if the scones I just turned on are on or off (I forget an hour later). So when I go to turn all the outdoor lights off (flood and scone) it’s a complete guess as to whether scone are on or not. The flood light I can tell simply by looking at the direction of the toggle switch. For that matter, though, I can’t tell if the interior garage light is on or off either without opening the door to see! I need a system that, when the light was flipped from inside the garage, the corresponding switch inside the house indicates if the light is on or off.

Does that make any sense? I can easily send pics of needed.

1 Like

Sorry, I’m not feeling well today, so others will have to answer some of the details for you.

Two quick comments.

I’m not aware of any smart bulbs that are that bright, they tend to run cooler because the radios inside of them can get overheated. Which generally means a little bit dimmer light. But look into the LIFX brand, they tend to be the brightest.

Lutron can be wired with a physical Traveler wire but most people instead use the Lutron battery operated pico devices as the auxiliary switches. These work great and have a 10 year battery. Very popular. And you can have multiples of either masters or picot’s, so you just have a lot of flexibility in configuration. They also come in several different styles, including a four button option. So they will work even if your Internet is out.

The only thing is that if you are using the official smartthings/Lutron integration then you could only use the picos by pairing them with Lutron master switches, The pico itself will be invisible to smart things. So you can’t use it for things like arming the security features or something like that. But people still like them and use them. It means you can put an auxiliary switch anyway you want and they are both fast and reliable, whether the Internet is available or not. You can even get custom engraving if you want to pay a little more. But no LED indicator on those.

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Most of the other brands also don’t have an LED indicator on the auxiliary switches, just on the master, but you would just have to look around and check.

The other alternative is to go for a “dashboard“ display on a tablet or a wall-mounted phone. That way you can see everything at a glance And you can use the tiles to toggle the switch is on and off just like the phone app. Actiontiles is a very popular app for this, and it will run in any web browser so you can just get an inexpensive android tablet or wifi phone. It does have a license fee of around $25 (per hub, not per dashboard), but it’s still very popular. You can customize what devices appear, the colors, and the size of the tiles.

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Back to the switches… If you’re going to use wired switches and travelers, one of the wiring experts like @Navat604 or @jhamstead Will hopefully be able to help. They’re probably going to ask you to post circuit drawings though . :wink: so you might start by taking a look at the GE wiring FAQ and see if that helps frame the issues at all.

Sorry you’re not feeling well. Others are (obviously) free to hop in.

I want easy. Pico wins! I don’t care if the Pico is operational from ST. I just need to have a switch that, should I walk into the garage and hit the switch and nothing happens, I can tap the Pico button and override the problem.

I guess my question is - do I need six switches, then? Do I need to do something unique to make sure the two switches which operate the same sets of lights are on the same page with each other?

Inside the house where the four switches are I just need to be able to glance at each switch and see if the light it operates is on or off (with an LED light). So if four master switches will fit side by side in a 4-gang set up (and has its own LED light) we’re good.

I decided to stop being lazy. Here’s the setup.

So, there are two light switches that operate the scones, two switches operate the garage interior lights, one switch operates the outdoor flood, and one operates the interior hallway light. I’m going to murder the technicality of the following (most likely) but I’m assuming this means I have four double pole switches and two single pole switches?

Hey JD

I bought a bunch of Caseta Lutron switches. Love em. The only thing I don’t like is if I want to operate a light from its second (or 3rd) switch I have to use a pico remote to do so. That works fine in some cases but in other areas of the house the pico would be right next to a physical lutron switch (and they wouldn’t blend in at all).

Do you have a suggestion for a company who makes a wireless switch that I can put in two location? Two wifi switches (or three) - not a wifi switch and it’s pico.

Thanks!

Jake___

I didn’t quite understand your second question, but several of the Lutron Caseta switches can also work with regular nonnetworked auxiliary switches. The instructions are in the advanced wiring guide.

Can you show us a picture of the existing switches that you don’t want to change out? Then it would be easier to figure out what would work with them.

Also, are you aware that the pico’s come in many different models, although some have that round button in the center, they’re also just plain two button in for b can you show us a picture of the existing switches that you don’t want to change out? Then it would be easier to figure out what would work with them.

Also, are you aware that the pico‘s come in many different models, although some have that round button in the center, there are also just plain two button and four button picos.

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You can even get them with custom engraving

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