Converting dumb rocker switch to smart Zigbee switch for 7$

A brilliant chap from the UK posted this instructional on YouTube and I don’t feel like it’s gotten enough attention.
Light Switch Hack for a SmartThings Home

He takes a UK switch and Xiaomi Zigbee Button and with a couple minutes of soldering created a battery powered Wall Switch that actually blends in with all the other switches!

Going to try this out tonight and report back.

The only thing I am not sure about is whether it could work with a rocker switch as is with both an open/closed state or if I’d need to convert it to a momentary switch?

I’m afraid that if placed in the wall, this would be an electrical code violation in most regions.

Batteries not allowed in wall, nor any modifications to a UL certified switch, etc.

2 Likes

Sure. It’s not up to code. But it’s not really much different than say Lutron’s Caseta Pico remote (other than they are a real company with UL certification and I’m not :smile:)

I plan to tape it up well so that the wires and battery are fully shielded.

1 Like

I feel like I have no other option but to do this. I just want real looking switch to control my smart bulbs! With all the companies pumping out HA product and not a single one of them willing to give us a smart switch/remote that looks “normal” and fits in standard decora wall plate. Lutron did for a hot minute with their Connected Bulb Remote but it’s now discontinued.

In this regard, it is completely different, as has been discussed in other threads on similar projects. (See the following, just as one example:

Smart battery wall light switches for use with Smart Bulbs (UK). )

The Lutron pico is sold with a shield that is used if you intend to insert it in the wall, which creates a separation between it and the house wiring.

They are only safety rated because of this method of installation.

See page 15 in the official Lutron installation guide:

https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/115002631466/Caseta_Advanced_Instructions.pdf

The Hue, Eaton, and Popp battery operated switches are all designed to be surface mount.

Whoops. I looked for one but apparently not well enough. I’ll go check that out.

Indeed. I am glad there are experts here like you guys @JDRoberts and @tgauchat who help to keep us automation-loving schmucks inline or at the very least aware of electrical code and possible dangers. I am still determined to proceed but I will do so cautiously/sparingly. :wink:

3 Likes

You can avoid all the dangers just by surface mounting the switch. That is, don’t put it inside the wall, put it on the wall. That keeps it away from the wiring, which is all you really need to do. :sunglasses:

I have a bunch of ole dimmer switches sitting around. I will remove the guts from it leaving a UL certified box. then I can put the device in the dimmer box with a Decora paddle switch on top. This way the push-button is isolated from the Line Voltage.

1 Like


@tgauchat, @JDRoberts, @ArthurGuy

2 Likes

Love that idea! I was thinking about the same thing. I’ve never done that before so I am not certain which guts need to remain to still send the signal to the smart button.

You take all the guts of the dimmer, all you need is the box it was in.

Well I am still wanting a rocker switch to control the smart button functionality. Perhaps I can use a standard rocker switch with the dimmer housing so as to gain extra space to contain the smart button circuit board/battery.

Since you are willing to solder, you can make your switch smart with a sonoff for about the same price. Check this video out 17:30 minutes into it if you don’t want to watch the whole video.

1 Like

Yep. Just came a crossed that also. Got 8 sonoff’s coming my way tomorrow.

I have been looking for a solution to this for some time now as well.
Recently found out about SwitchBot. Did the job pretty well for me. Works with all kinds of switches and no set up required. Works with Smartphone, Alexa and Google Home.

We use both switchbots and the better engineered Naran Push microbots at our house, but while they definitely have their uses (I have very limited use of my hands) they get pretty expensive if you’re just using them for a light switch. $29 for each switchbot plus you have to get their Cloudbridge if you want to have integration with SmartThings (via IFTTT). So that’s not really the same audience as this thread was intended for.

Instead, you can look at the two options already discussed in this thread: a battery operated button or A Sonoff relay and spend much less. :sunglasses:

Buttons are listed in the following thread (this is a clickable link)

And of course the new 2018 smartthings button only costs $15.

For information on Sonoff, which requires some technical work, just search the forum.

And if you’re not concerned about the price as much as you are finding a solution for a switchbox that doesn’t have a neutral, see the new FAQ on that:

So again, I like the switchbot for some purposes, but I use it more for pushing buttons on things like a blender or a DVD player.