Help mounting a tablet over existing switch

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can offer. This post got away from me a bit, so I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it. I was unable to find an answer to this question elsewhere on the forum, and I think it could be a cool (and relatively cheap) project for a lot of people on here. Without further ado, here’s what I’m trying to do:

I wanted to replace the light switch in my bedroom with a multi-switch so I can wake-up/shut-down the house, in addition to locking/unlocking doors, when someone shows up. I looked into this guy ( ) for that application, and I think it could work with the smartapps that this amazing user base have created, but it’s $200! I was thinking, “for that cost, I could just get a tablet!” which lands me here:

I am going to mount 7" Amazon Fire Tablet ($50) on the wall to control my stuff. I’ll be using for the interface. I’m decent at wiring, and have installed quite a few switches in my home. The issue is that I want to place it where my current (single-gang, single-pole) light switch is located. I’ve looked into a duplex receptacle like this one ( ) for this project, to install where the light switch currently is. My idea is to use the always-on port with a slim USB charger to keep the tablet powered, and to somehow get smartthings to treat the z-wave receptacle as a switch to control the load, which is my bedroom lighting.

My bedroom lights are all lamps, plugged into 3 separate outlets, all of which are directly controlled by the one wall switch. I realize that I can just replace all of these outlets and solve the problem, but I’d like to avoid that if possible. So the issue is whether it’s possible to wire up the z-wave receptacle to act as a light switch, as far as smartthings is concerned.

I’d also be open to alternative suggestions. One thought I had was to replace the light switch with something like this ( ), and then somehow hard-wire a USB charger in there too.

Thanks again for any help you guys can offer!

Why not use smart bulbs like the GE links? Not much more money then the Z-wave outlet and you will have full control, dimming etc with them.

Then just use a regular outlet in the wall switch location? Or to make things interesting USB Duplex Outlet


That’s a good suggestion, and I had thought of that too. I do use hue bulbs for accent lighting during parties. However, I’d really prefer to be able to use regular LED bulbs if possible, since I already have a stock of them in the house for replacements. Thanks for the link to the USB outlet, that would definitely be the way to go if I end up putting a dumb outlet in there.

I would suggest replacing that switch that controls the 3 outlets with this device. It is small and designed to fit into the box. I have this device and the dimmer version. I used these devices in my 3 and 4 way lighting. much cheaper that replacing all the switches, or in your case the outlets.

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That’s an interesting idea, thanks! Since I’m replacing the switch with a tablet (and therefore will not need to keep the physical switch), does this have a benefit over the relay I posted above? How small is it? If it’s small enough to fit behind the receptacle that @celblazer recommended, that could be the perfect solution!

I would say that this device is much smaller than the one you were looking at. I do not have the exact measurements but it fits in the palm of my hand. Should easy fit behind an receptacle.

Very interesting ideas. Please let us know what you end up with.

I REALLY appreciate the responses here. I just ordered the following:

  1. Amazon Fire Tablet 7" $50
  2. USB Charger Duplex Receptacle $19
  3. Aeon Labs Z-Wave Micro Controller $35
  4. Low-Profile Right-Angle USB Cable $7

I’m going to try to 3D print something similar to this wall-mount bracket, that will fit the tablet and hide the receptacle and cable: If that plan works, I’ll share the .STL file for the bracket on this page.

I think a wall-mounted tablet controller for $111 is pretty fantastic if the setup works.

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Looks good. Love to see the bracket you come up with. I recently got the fire tablet and it is working well with smarttiles. I immediately rooted it and put on CyanogenMod. Here is a link to the device for the aeon microswitch. works very well.

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I would suggest mounting your Amazon Fire something like this:

I LOVE that idea! For this application, I think I’m going for a more permanent setup, so I’d like to avoid the excess heat and energy loss from a wireless charging setup. I’d also like to angle it up a bit, since it’s not at eye-level.

That said, I’m going to find an excuse to set up another one like that somewhere because it’s just so cool.

Thanks for the tip, and the device. Was a root necessary to get everything up and running? I always used to root everything right away, but I’ve found (with my Fire TVs, for Kodi) that since Amazon lets you sideload whatever you want, it hasn’t been necessary.

I also stopped rooting devices a couple of years ago. I do not think root is required, but I think you will at least need a different launcher to get smarttiles in a full screen mode. I rooted for other reasons.

Second thought on the custom device type. Since you will not be connecting a physical switch to the Aeon Micro you can just use the device type that smartthings detects. zwave switch. I needed that device type to get faster updates if you were to toggle the switch manually.

Just a quick update here. Everything came, except for the tablet which probably won’t get here for a couple weeks due to backorder. I drew up a couple quick plans for the wiring. Ideally, I’d like to use “Plan A” since space in the box will be scarce, and I’m trying to limit wires. The receptacle that I ordered does have a convenient space for two wires on each terminal:

I can’t think of why Plan A wouldn’t work, but Plan B includes some pigtail jumper in case I’m missing something:

I forgot to draw them in, but I’ll obviously be grounding these as well.


One more thing, I’m going to use the method described here to activate the tablet on motion:

I’ve set it up on another cheap tablet, and it works beautifully. Wakes up and goes straight into whatever was open before (in my case, It’s very sensitive on max settings, in fact I had to turn down the sensitivity a bit, so it’s perfect for this application.

I had one more thought that I’d love to get some input on: My usual practice is to replace switches, not light bulbs. primarily because if SmartThings isn’t working, all the lights still work the usual way.

When SmartThings went down yesterday, it occurred to me that we would not have been able to turn on/off the bedroom lights without unplugging the lamps. Because of this, and the fact that the Micro Controller that @mnflanagan97 recommended can accept input from a physical switch, I think I’d like to add a hidden backup switch to the project.

I’m still tweaking my mounting bracket, but it’s designed to hold the tablet on an angle facing up at the user. This leaves some useful dead space behind/underneath the tablet. Anyone have suggestions for small, dumb switch that I can tuck underneath there, outside of the electrical box? Is this a bad/dangerous idea?

I think I just answered my own question on this one.

Looks like I’ll have to find another place for that other USB receptacle!

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Either one of the wiring diagrams will work. Nice find on the switch/usb device. Good idea to have a backup plan in the case of the smartthings failure. I am planning on putting in a standalone wifi switch so I can remote reboot the hub.(taking batteries out) this will be handy if I am out of town and they continue to have issues with hub connectivity

I am pretty sure you will need to root and flash CM 12.1 on the tablet to get the motion sensor to work.

Since you are going to use that switch to connect to the Aeon Microswitch, you will need to use that custom device type.

Mission (Half) Accomplished!

I’ve got everything but the tablet, so I wired it up today. Here’s the final diagram I used:

Not the prettiest, but I hope it can help someone. I wasn’t able to find any diagrams or pictures of the switch online, but fortunately, there was one in the box. You need to break the tab between the two hot terminals so that the switch can operate exclusively from the micro controller and the USB ports remain hot no matter the state of the switch.

I connected everything, and then tested and added the device to my network. I’d highly recommend doing this before putting it all back in the wall, as it’s a REALLY tight fit in a single-gang box. After it was discovered (as a z-wave switch) by smartthings, I switched it to the custom device type that @mnflanagan97 provided, and it’s perfect! Also, thanks to @Mike_Maxwell, as it appears to be his code.

As I said, the fit in the gang box was extremely tight, and it does bulge a bit from the wall, which is probably something that I’d be the only one to notice, and is irrelevant to this project, as it’s going to be covered up by the tablet in phase 2. I’ll update once it’s complete, thanks for all of the help so far! Here are some pictures:

Great work keep us posted. I have been watching this thread in extreme interest.