New lamp problem: multi stage design

Well new for me lol. I’m sure I’m not the first to run into this. You guys helped me a lot with suggestions in the past. So I’ve got a new challenge.

The Problem

We moved a couple months ago. In the excitement of decorating, wife came home with new matching lamps for our nightstands. The previous lamps were simple on/off so at the suggestion of people here, I put a hue bulb in each lamp, a hue remote at each nightstand, and unscrewed the knobs to stop anyone from physically turning them off. Problem solved.

Not going to be so easy this time. I call these 4-step lamps because I don’t know the technical term. Anyway starting from off, the first turn powers on the bottom integrated LED section of the lamp, next knob turn turns off bottom and turns on top self-provided bulb, turn again and both top and bottom come on, last turn shuts both off.

Here’s the link:


“Simple” Solution?

One idea I had that I guess would be ok if there isn’t anything better:

Step 1 - turn lamp to both always on, put lamp on smart plug, add on/off remote to control plug

Step 2 - put a different, less expensive smart bulb in the top and use some other remote to power/dim the bulb


  1. When the plug is turned off, the top smart bulb will still be unreachable
  2. It will not be possible to ever have just the top bulb on. Not that big a deal but seems there should be a better way.


  1. I can handle a simple rewiring of the lamp. I do not solder. Don’t have the tools or the knowhow.
  2. WAF. I’ve done some other things she’s been pretty happy with at the new house which has maybe bought me some goodwill lol so I don’t feel I require a 5-star solution, but hopefully at least 3/5.


Sonoff basic or something similar added to the wiring? Could these be set to understand that pushing the button does more than just on/off but rather cycles through the options? Does something like this exist?


Smart bulbs need to be free to set their own current draw. They hardly ever work well in any kind of lamp/fixture intended for dumb bulbs which keeps changing the current available other than straight on/off. It’s even possible to burn out the bulb, the fixture, or both if they are sending conflicting instructions.

In addition, every time you restore power to a smart bulb you are creating an inrush current Spike which can significantly shorten the lifespan of what are already expensive bulbs. Most just aren’t designed to operate in that kind of environment.

So I think about the only thing you can safely and logically do in this situation is use dumb bulbs and a smart plug. :thinking:

I know That’s not the answer you wanted.

As far as being able to cycle through the current settings through rewiring, I personally wouldn’t even attempt it. The odds of creating a fire hazard are just too high once you start messing around with the existing engineering.

If you could find something that could physically actuate the existing knob turning, that should be fine, you would keep all the safety features intact.

Next time, get a lamp with a separate remote and you will have a lot more options. Just sayin’. :wink:

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By the way, most multi stage lamps of this type work by having a different cycle pattern for the different stages.

You have a top light and a bottom light on this fixture. My own guess would be that the cycle pattern is set as follows:

Bottom: on, off, on, off

Top(controlled by the same knob): off, on, on, off

If that’s true, you get the following result

First knob turn: bottom light turns on, top light turns off. So the bottom light is on and the top light is off.

Second knob turn: bottom light turns off, top light turns on. So the bottom light is off and the top light is on.

Third knob turn: bottom light turns on, top light turns on. So both lights are on.

Fourth knob turn: bottom light turns off, top light turns off. So both lights are off.

Controlling that with just one smart plug may be tricky. It’s also going to vary from model to model because it depends on whether it has a built-in power restore logic. Turning on the smart plug restores the power that’s coming into the fixture, but where that power is going depends on where you are in the knob turning cycle.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention all that because if you haven’t worked with those kind of patterns before it could take you a long time to figure out what’s going on. :thinking:

Well my wife won’t let me exchange the lamps so can I exchange your answers for new ones? :laughing:

I did know the part about potentially shortening the lifespan of the bulbs. That’s why I was thinking of switching out the hue bulbs for cheaper smart bulbs, as it wouldn’t bother me as much if I killed them. I did not know it could also affect the fixture itself. That’s a bummer.

If I could just figure out a way to isolate control of the integrated LEDs in the bottom, I could leave the lamp in the knob turn #3 position and control each part separately.

Oh well, thanks for responding.

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Yeah, unfortunately that’s not going to happen without completely rewiring the lamp.

It’s like laying out domino tiles. There’s only one circuit and only one power source.

As you turn the knob, you are opening or closing paths through the fixture itself. Probably mechanically, although I don’t know with the built-in LEDs. Anyway think of it like a falling domino trick.

In knob position one, you are opening the path to the left and closing the path to the right, so the dominoes are are only going to fall in the direction of the lower lights.

In knob position two, you are closing the path to the left and opening the path to the right, so the dominoes are only going to fall in the direction of the upper lights.

In the position three, you are opening both paths, so it looks like a split with dominoes falling towards both lights at the same time

And in knob position four, you are closing both paths.

In order to get separate control of the lower lights, you have to build a whole new control channel for the upper lights. At which point you’ve completely destroyed the fire safety integrity of the lamp and you’re basically starting from scratch using it as parts.