Idea in place of a switch for lights

I wanted to replace the switch in my daughters room with a dimmer, wanted to have the lights slowly turn on to wake her.
After removing her switch I noticed it was wired with only 2 wires (white and black) so with my limited electrical knowledge I know this will not cut it :smile: I am not going to rewire this switch.
Normally we are totally against tcp/hue bulbs, part of keeping the WAF in my house at a normal level is having manual control of the lights even if ST is not working.
My daughter likes technology and may be ok using her phone primarily to turn the light on and off but how will the switch work? I think I ready that you have to leave it on and if you want to manually turn the lights on you can flip it off then back on to manually turn it on…is that right? I would like to keep that to minimum on the chance someone leaves the switch off.
Should I consider some sort of wireless switch?

Just looking for ideas that may be in a similar situation.


While I haven’t used one (I’ve got one for an upcoming project, but haven’t done the install yet) the aeotec mico switch dimmer might work for you. Basically, you wire this in and can still use your mechanical switch, and also have a z-wave operation going on…

I’m sure someone will chime in with more details…

We use a ton of GE bulbs in places and I wish I used more switches because it can be a pain - you are correct, you just flip it off and then on and it works but the problem is if someone leaves it off there is no automation until you turn it on manually again. This is the exact reason why I am lining my house with tablets using smarttiles so hopefully no one touches a switch ever again…well for any automated room that is.

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The aeotec requires a neutral, so that doesn’t help in this particular situation.

I think the aeon requires 3 wires - hot/load/neutral. I have 2 used and they are running on that, never tried with 2 wires - i’m far from an electrician but… @swindmiller - did you look deeper in the box? You may have a neutral wire capped off in the back which if that’s the case you are good to go with most switches…

Oops, I read the OP’s post as two wires, black and white…meaning a hot and a neutral were present. I guess I just assumed two black wires were on the switch and the neutral was, well, neutral. My bad!

As I read the aeotec ppwk, I thought the micro switch basically took the place of the mechanical switch (meaning it’s always available) and the mechanical switch basically became a secondary, allowing local control but never cutting the aeotec out of the system. No?

Basically, yes. The mechanical switch becomes a momentary switch. But the Aeotech still needs a neutral so the radio is on and it can hear the next networked command.

The neutral I understand. But thanks for confirming the micro switch usage…

Back to the original question, and assuming that you want to go with a smart bulb…

You’re right that a smart bulb needs to always have current or it can’t hear the next on command.

The easiest way to address that is to put an inexpensive switch lock over the existing switch (the one I use cost about two dollars) and then put a battery operated smart switch on the wall next to it. That way there are no wiring requirements, but you still have a switch that looks like a switch and feels like a switch and can be used whenever you want to. You could also get a second one to put right next to your daughter’s bed. Or she could use her phone, whatever you think is better.

Once the Bulb is up with current on you can then dim it from either the phone or automation set up through smart things.

Now it’s just a question of selecting a switch to go on the wall. Which one you pick will depend in part on how often you think it’s going to be used. Here are some ideas:

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Thanks…I had not thought about the switch lock.
Also there is definitely only the 2 wires. It’s an old metal box with only those 2 wires coming out.

@JDRoberts likes to make life easy and simple for us here but if you are still thinking of going the hard road then you can have a peek inside your light fixture box for an Aeon micro switch. High chance you will have load, neutral and line there.


I am going to take a look as I hit another snag. I just remembered that her light (ceiling fan) has 3 bulbs but not normal size bulbs…the socket is a lot smaller. Do they make smaller socket hue or tcp bulbs?
When I get a chance I will pull the ceiling fan down and see what all is in there, it that where you meant for me to look @Navat604?

If it’s a ceiling fan, we’re in a whole other world. Don’t even start taking it down unless you’re really comfortable with electrical work. And photograph everything, including all screw attachments, before you disconnect anything.

My suggestion instead would just be to put a lamp with a smart bulb near her bed, and then set up controls for that however you want. You could still add one of the battery powered switches on the wall for it. She could still control it from her phone. You could give her a little Aeon Minimote for it. Just don’t fool with the fan.

Hue light strips are really popular with kids, you can get a lot of nice effects with that and probably get the alarm clock affect you wanted.

Or you can get a striim light bulb, which changes color and can play music. That’s a fun effect for a kid’s room too. :sunglasses:

Look at the Wi-Fi striimlight, not the Bluetooth model. @obycode wrote a device type for it.

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Thanks @JDRoberts, I was not looking forward to taking the fan down. I have replaced them before and they are not fun.
I like the idea of the light strips. She has a Murphy bed with a cove of shelves inside of it. It would be nice to add a strip or two in that and have it gradually increase the light to wake her up. This would also make a nice light at night for her while she is reading or laying in bed.
Thanks for all your advise!

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Is hue the only light strip that will work? I just briefly looked and it looks like the hue is around $90. I was hoping to not spend that much and that one is colored which I am sure she would like but does not necessarily need.

I’ve never used it but st announced support for the Osram lightify not that long ago


Good point! The Osram light strip is on the official “works with smartthings” list and is noticeably cheaper. :sunglasses:

Reworking on ceiling fans doesn’t have to be terrible. If you have a third hand person for 5 minutes, that’s all it takes to get the fan off the ceiling base, and hang it 6 inches lower on temporary hooks. You make hooks from coathanger wire, 6" long with 0.25" loop ends, to hang from the screwholes in the ceiling base, to the screwholes in the fan base. Then you can wire at leisure without your third hand holding up 10# of fan motor.

If you do put something like Aeon microdimmer in the fan housing, then you probably could wire the fan builtin lightswitch to the input of the microdimmer for local on/off control. That’s a guess. The wallswitch has to stay on.

Wires to the fan are switched_load(from your wallswitch) and neutral (unfortunately not from wallswitch).

The Osram is a lot cheaper and I get 3 2ft strips, one for each shelf :smile:
I may have to try those out, and they are colored too :smile: