No neutral wire -> rewire fixture and switch for smart bulb + smart switch?


(David G) #1

I have an exterior light that has 2 14/2 cables - one is line + neutral from the panel and the other goes to a wall switch inside the house (effectively a line+load). The neutral from the panel and the white leg of the wall switch cable are connected to the light, and the black leg of the wall switch cable is connected to the hot line from the panel.

I’d like to replace the switch with a smart switch and it would be nice not to have to pull new cables. The best I can come up with is doing a 3 way junction of neutrals and a 3 way junction of hot lines at the light to power the light fixture all the time and have a line/neutral at the wall switch. I’d put a smart bulb in the fixture and a smart switch in the wall. Then I’d just need to add some automations to get the bulb to turn on/off with the switch.

With the smart lighting app it should function during ST outages, but I’m not sure about safety / best practice or if there is a simpler solution that I haven’t thought of.


#2

As long as you’re going to use a smart bulb outside anyway, why not use a battery powered device for the switch? Then you don’t have to worry about the wiring.

You can get one that fits over the existing switch, or goes next to it, or really goes anywhere at all you want.

The switch will talk to the hub and the hub will talk to the bulb and everything should work fine.

See the FAQ. Some of these are mains powered, some of them are battery powered, some are wall-mounted, some are handheld, so read the product description carefully to make sure it’s a match to what you want. This is a clickable link.


(David G) #3

Thanks for the reply! I’ve been replacing switches one at a time with zooz toggle dimmers and zooz on/off toggles. Keeping the look/operation the same as the rest of my smart switches and having the device function as a repeater are reasons why I’m thinking mains powered.

Also, on the smart bulb front, are there any local device handlers for zwave bulbs?


#4

That all makes sense. I’ll leave the wiring discussion to some of the electrical expert in the community like @Navat604. As far as local, if it’s just a white bulb, not RGBW, it should work with a generic zwave dimmer DTH.


(Ray) #5

As far as operation is concerned. It’s not an issue to hard wired the light at the fixture and control the smart bulb with a smart switch.
There are 3 things to consider. 1) depending how circuits are hooking up to this breaker because it would be a pain to shut off the breaker to change the bulb and yes it’s good practice to turn off the breaker to change a hard wired bulb.
2) It’s a nightmare for the next buyer so check with your local to see if it’s allow.
3) unless you are controlling the bulb and switch with the apps. Dimming and changing colors physically won’t be easy.
Beside cosmetic. Consider an Aeotec Nano dimmer. It works without neutral.


(David G) #6

Good points, I hadn’t thought about changing bulbs and trying to explain everything to the next buyer or an electrician! That Nano dimmer looks perfect and I think I could even hook up a ‘dumb’ momentary toggle to it so it functions/looks like the rest of my smart toggle switches.

Appreciate all the input!


(David G) #7

Ah yeah, that makes sense regarding the DTH. My brain just wants to categorize dimmers/switches as the thing you flick on the wall instead of the actual action of what turns the light on and off.


(David G) #8

Figured I’d update with the solution. I ended up getting the Fibaro Dimmer 2 instead of the aeotec because the Fibaro can work with a 3 position momentary toggle switch (tap up to turn on, hold up to brighten, down to turn off, hold down to dim), so it’s operation will be just like the zooz toggles I have in the rest of the house.

Right now I’m using it with the standard toggle that was already installed since there aren’t many options for momentary 3 position toggles (‘dumb’ electric window blinds seem to be the only home application I can see them being used for).