Controlling plug-in lamps with switch?


In my master bedroom there are about 5 outlets where the top plug is switched and the bottom one is always on. We just plug lamps into the top outlets, as anything else would be powered off when we hit the switch.

Due to Smarthing’s extremely high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) I’ve been asked to add the bedroom lights to ST!

But…every in-wall switch I look at, such as the GE Z-Wave switch (which I have 3 of, and like a lot) specifically mention “in-wall lighting” or “overhead lighting” – giving me the distinct impression they aren’t designed for controlling outlets…

Is this just a CYA because they have no idea what devices might be plugged into a switched outlet?

Any reason I can’t use an in-wall switch to control a pair of lamp CFL/LED bulbs? Dimming would be nice, but optional.

(My other idea was a Link-style light bulb plugged into the ceiling fan lights which we don’t use, which didn’t have the same WAF as the normal switch…)

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

Check to see if your in-wall switch has a Neutral Wire (usually white, but in older homes, may not be properly colored). Most switches in many old homes only have a HOT (“black” … into the switch) and LOAD (out to the circuit) wire.

The reason a Neutral Wire is required is to power the Z-Wave switch (i.e., it requires a little bit of power in order to remain connected to the network to receive commands). In the past, regular incandescent bulbs would allow a trickle current to pass through the circuit and that would power the switch. That won’t work with CFL or LED loads.


@xoff000, You’ll be just fine! I do exactly what you want to do with a floor lamp, and during the holidays to control some interior lighting and tree lights plugged into switched outlets.

I also have several GE Link bulbs in desk/table lamps that are primarily controlled by ST via motion sensors and sunrise/sunset actions. In the event that they are manually turned off, no big deal. Eventually they get turned on, or no motion actions turn the bulb state to off. We are so use to how ST manages lighting that we hardly ever manually turn off lamps anymore.

And as @tgauchat states, the neutral wire is a must have.


Thanks for the feedback! I do have neutral wires, and have 3 other wall switches in use with ST, which work great!

I happened to stop by Home Depot last night and was planning on picking up a GE Link bulb, and noticed that Cree (which makes the best LED bulbs) now has a ZigBee connected bulb for the same $15 price!

That works perfectly in the ceiling fan socket, although it did take quite a while (minute) to register itself.

I do the same thing with various switches – I put them in the mode they’re supposed to be in regardless of their state, so if something gets missed it’ll get reset at the next event.

Thanks again!