3 Light switches in a single gang box?


#1

I have two floodlights and a deck light on the outside of my home. They all run to a single, 3-gang switch (one gang box, single switch with three individual rockers on it, one for each light).

Of course, I want to replace this with a smart switch.

I’m currently looking at the Broadlink TC2, but it would require buying yet another hub. I already have the rest of my lighting on Lutron’s CasetaWireless but - to the best of my knowledge - they have nothing that could support this application.

Any suggestions?


(Kirk Hilzinger) #2

They do not even make two switches for a single gang box. I have seen where you can control a smart relay with a switch but shoving 3 of those smart relays into a single gang with 3 switches to control them manually is probably not going to be possible.


#3

There are some scene controllers, some battery powered and some means powered, which can handle multiple buttons, but they don’t handle multiple relays. You would have to put a smart bulb or a micro in each of your three outside positions and then have the scene controller button press talk to the hub and the hub then talk to the device at the fixture.

That will work fine as long as the smart things hub is working and the smart things cloud is available, but it means you don’t have a switch for when it isn’t.

What I myself do for this kind of situation is leave the original switch in place, put a box cover over it, and then put one of the battery-operated multibutton devices on the wall next to it. That way the original switch is available if needed, but I can use automations as well.

So that’s an option if you want to consider it.

IMG_2378

As Karl said, it’s hard to get three radios into a single gang box. There are some multi endpoint devices ( One radio, multiple relays) which should be able to do it, it’s just that they don’t work great with SmartThings.


#4

They make both 2 and 3 in the standard and smart switches. It’s just a single unit with 2 or 3 rocker switches on it and separate screws for each to go the individual lights. There are replacements at most home improvement stores (Lowe’s, Home Depot). They fit in the single gang box just fine. Design-wise, there really isn’t a whole lot to a switch.

I’ve found several touchscreen replacements but it’s difficult weeding out which ones are quality vs fly-by-night.


(Chris C) #5

Single gang box will really limit you. Do you have depth behind the box to change to a deeper single gang box, or add a junction box lower in the wall?

You could use something like https://www.amazon.com/Aeotec-Switch-controller-switches-Compatible/dp/B076BM4D48/ for 2 of the switches, and a single unit for the 3rd. But I doubt you’ll fit both and the 3 way switch you’ve got in a standard single gang.


#6

Yes, they absolutely make these as dumb switches. But the smart switches are a different story because you would need three radios unless it’s a multi channel switch, as I mentioned. The radio units themselves are fairly large plus there’s an issue that code restricts the number of wires that can be in any one box, so by the time you try powering all three of the radio units you can start to exceed code that way.

Leviton used to make a Z wave device with two switches in a single gang, the VCRS2, but they discontinued it. And they never made a three switch version.

The battery operated multibutton scene controllers don’t have the same code issues because they aren’t going inside the wall and they don’t have wires


#7

No; not much depth, especially with the neutrals tied in back there. I’m considering using Sylvania smart lights - the PAR38 - as a stopgap solution but would really prefer to be able to control it from the switch for obvious reasons.


#8

This is what I am currently considering as an option:

http://a.co/7h8BXkj


#9

There are some community members currently using broadlink, but you need to add two additional devices: The broadlink pro as the transmitter and a separate android device. To run the code to issue the commands to the Broadlink pro. So it can be done, but it’s a lot of work. And you don’t get status back, which can be a problem with switches. That is, if someone turns the lights on from the wall switch, smartthings will not know that. You’d be able to issue commands to the switch, but not get status updates back.

You could also look at a Wi-Fi switch which works with the “smart life” app, as those have an IFTTT channel. It’s not a perfect integration, but you don’t need the extra bridge devices that you do for Broadlink.

(Note also that personally I don’t recommend going with all Wi-Fi switches in a home because they are competing with your other Wi-Fi devices (unless you run a whole separate network) and they use a lot more power than the other home automation protocols. But when you have a particular use case where they can solve a particular issue, it’s worth considering.)

Here’s a typical one:

And the integration FAQ:


(Michael) #10

Can the single gang box be replaced by a 3 gang box? Do you have the width to make the hole bigger?


#11

I’ve considered expanding it to a 3-gang box and putting in one switch for each light. It’s just a royal pain; I’ve worked on old houses before and I know that you never ever find what you expect when you start cutting into walls… You’d be Surprised some of the craziness I’ve found just working on basic upgrades, without even doing anything major yet. :scream_cat:

Here;s a pic of what I’m dealing with…

What concerns me is the positioning of the studs and wall junction (about a foot to the right is an intersecting wall).

I was hoping for an easy solution, like the CasetaWireless dimmers I’ve been installing, but… :sob:


(Michael) #12

Completely understand. I would suggest removing the plate and push a long flat piece of metal coat hanger to the right of gang box to make sure it’s open and somewhat measure how much room you have. I’ve had to do this on many switches in my house and once I was so close I had to notch out 1/8 inch out of a stud to make a box fit.


(Kirk Hilzinger) #13

If you are already in construction, anyway, then I would expand it to a 3-gang box and be done with it. If you don’t want to tear up the wall too bad, use an old work one. They are cheap. Then, you don’t have to deal with the headache.

I had a 2-gang box near my front door that handled the porch light and an outlet in my front yard. I had an in-wall remote for a ceiling fan I wanted to put into the room to manually control my ceiling fan over RF since I added the Zigbee controller to it. I had a metal box in it from the first time I rewired my house. Pulled the power, removed the dumb switches, and carefully destroyed the 2-gang box in there to keep me from having to pull new wire. Installed a 3-gang old work box, wired in my smart switch and dimmer, then installed the remote in the 3rd gang, then patched up the drywall and painted it. It is as if it was there since the house was built and I was happy to have the extra room for the wiring.

If you have 3 switches in there, now, that has to be a nightmare as far as wire crowding.


(James) #14

I know this isn’t something you discussed in your original post but I felt I would be remiss to not add it. I had that situation in my home except it was for a porch, outside garage and inside foyer lights. I realized after several years living in my home, I never had a situation where I wanted the garage or porch on/off independently. So I combined the leads for those and made it one switch. That way I only needed a two gang box.
Just a thought.


(Bernie H) #15

I use a 2 gang version of this and IFTTT and ST for my bathroom light and fan and it works really well. Took me forever to find a nice solution to the single gang multiple switch issue. The faceplate can be tricky to get on all the way and it’s a tight fit in the box but I’m very happy with it and the wife loves it. :slight_smile:
3 switch, single gang


(Edward Niedziejko) #16

My first thought would be, how often do you individually control these lights? You might be better off with combining 2 or all three to a single switch, especially if you intend to combine it with day night triggers, motion sensors, luminance sensors or all the above.


#17

I’ve considered combining two of the three into a single switch, but I would still need to find a 2-gang Wi-Fi switch to put into this 1-gang box.

BTW…the Broadlink solution is out. Apparently, they did a firmware update and removed support for devices other than their app. Not a terribly bright idea, but… :thinking:

Thanks for the suggestions, all. Looks like I am moving on to the garage next… :sunglasses:


(Edward Niedziejko) #18

Wire the flood lights switch legs to incoming power, use smart bulbs, use bulb remote for the local switch, and put the deck lights on a caseta. :smiley:

I put a receptacle and 3 dimmer controls in a rwo gang box this way:


#19

The Lutron Connected Bulb Remote (LCBR) has unfortunately been discontinued and is now very hard to find except at exorbitant prices. :disappointed_relieved:


(Edward Niedziejko) #20

True, but with a smartbridge pro, a few pico remotes, and a Node.js server in between (or a Hubitat) you can use picos instead throughout the house.