Crazy or genius? Replace switches with tablets

So a decent single switch is $35-$60 each. In my living room I have three switches for two lights and a fan so we’re talking about $100-$180 to replace all of those switches. I was browsing Amazon and noticed they have really dirt cheap tablets. They probably suck for most things but for running a single app they probably work fine. I’m thinking, why no replace the switches with a usb outlet and then mount the tablet over the switches to act as any number of switches I want? This would require some initial work but not only would it probably be cheaper but it would probably be more versatile too. You could have you switches and scene/mode buttons too, even camera or music controls. Is am I crazy, has someone done this?

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Why? Because switches are reliable. Tablets are not, so much.

Wall Mounted tablets, or other HA enablement tablets are best as supplemental control / convenience control devices IMO. The switches must be there for backup.

I have no smart switches and only use tablets.

Here is a thread that covers a lot of use cases.


Oh boy, that should keep me busy for a while, looks great!

In the event of a provider outage how would you turn your lights on/off if you have no physical switches? SmartThings is kind of reliant on the cloud.


Good point. The cloud thing sucks.

I said I don’t have any smart switches. I still have dumb switches. You can just toggle the switch and the light will reset and turn on. There are a few downsides to this setup one of them being you need to leave the switch in an always on state.

This assumes you have smart bulbs.

Yeah, this is the decision I need to make. I have both and they don’t play well together so I can’t go the route of changing out all of my switches and uses dumb bulbs or using dumb switches with smart bulbs. Changing bulbs seem easier since you can upgrade them with the latest best tech but as it stands they’re a pain to use since you need an app to actually turn on and if they’re off at the switch they’re useless. I like the hue switch but I have yet to try it, ideally if there was a tablet over each switch bank that could turn the lights on my problems would be solved for the most part. I don’t know…so confusing. :slight_smile: #firstworldproblem

You will get all kinds of opinions on this. You just need to figure out what works for you. As far as control goes I use tablets throughout the house but I find myself controlling most of my lights via Echo and voice control.

I don’t have any switches I use all tablets and it works really good. In my house I make sure their isn’t anyway to turn off a light by a switch only tablets. Or the Echo or your phone . I also use motion detectors so most of the light just come on when you walk in the room.

What I am going to do eventually is replace all of my dumb toggle type switches with rocker switches. in a multi gang box I am going to replace one switch with this:

Then I am going to fabricate a mount that swings up or down for my tablet. This way if my internet provider has a problem I can slide the tablet down to access the dumb switch.


As mentioned, lots of people in the community use tablets. They work very well as long as your Internet and the SmartThings cloud are up.

At our house we keep all of the original switches in place, we just put child safety locks on the ones that are powering smart bulbs.

We use voice (Amazon echo) as the primary means of light control. Everyone likes it and it’s easy.

We also have a couple of tablets with dashboards in different parts of the house, and some of the Phillips dimmer switches. And the smarten IT 3 toggle switch.

So we use parallel means of control. It just depends on what works well for your particular household. Tablets are good, you just need to have an option for when the home automation controller is not working.

By the way, a lot of people just get $20 Wi-Fi phones at Walmart instead of a tablet if you just want light control for a single room. You can still use smart tiles, because it’s a customizable dashboard, so you can just put a couple of device tiles on it.

Here are a few examples from the community:

Again see the hardware topic to above for more pictures and ideas. There are some very creative options.

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