Outlet integration with switch override


Howdy! First time poster, long time lurker. I just recently installed the SmartThings hub and only have 2 things so far…my Kwikset 910 front door lock (which is AWESOME) and my moisture detector placed in the attic in my water heater pan. I have a lot of big plans for future add-ons but have some big questions, one of which I am asking now.

I will be installing flourescent tube light fixtures in my garage and wish to control them BOTH with the SmartThings hub (via my phone) or with a switch on the wall. I plan to install 4 fixtures and can either connect them all to one outlet or to individual outlets. I’d like to be able to switch 2 of them on for “regular” mode and all 4 for “bright” mode. That seems easy enough if I have each one plugged into a smart outlet (or the pairs plugged into their respective smart outlets) but how does a single wall switch override work? I want my wife to be able to come out into the garage and flip the switch without worrying about her phone as shes not so keen on all this technology.


(Keith Croshaw) #2

The switches will be much easier. I don’t know of much florescent lighting fixtures (Honestly if I were installing from scratch I’d go with LED’s, but that’s me.) that can be plugged into a receptacle. I don’t think there are any special considerations for purchasing as the ballasts do all of the confusing work. The switches will easily allow your wife to turn the lights on manually. Just match the amperage rating on the switch you’re replacing which should be on the back.

I’m assuming if you’re installing the fixtures you’re comfortable with switch wiring. If not there’s a lot of great posts throughout the forum.

(Chrisb) #3

Ditto what Keith said. I went (for the most part) all with z-wave switches in my house rather than outlets and/or z-wave/Hue bulbs purely for this reason: Manual override.

My wife isn’t a “bleed-edge” type tech person and wouldn’t put up with automated stuff failing and not being able to do things manually.

I’d put in two z-wave switches myself… a pair of lights for each switch. What you could do to “high tech” the setup slightly is install a program like the Big Button Switch (I think that’s the name of it?) which would ‘slave’ the second switch to the first. So you’d have this setup:

Switch-A physically controls banks 1 and 2.
Switch-B physically controls banks 3 and 4.

Install the smart App with Switch B as the “master” and switch A as the “slave.” Now you turn on switch A for dim-mode. It turns on banks 1 and 2.

But for bright-mode you just hit switch B. It turns on banks 3 and 4 and also send a signal to wirelessly turn on Switch-A, which of course will turn on banks 1 and 2.

(Keith Croshaw) #4

Yea other than color changing bulbs I really don’t see the point in buying smart bulbs. Maybe for a random lamp throughout the house might make sense.


We went with smart bulbs so we wouldn’t have to rewire. Our house is about 75 years old, and anything electrical ends up being expensive. We have added solar power, a couple of new circuits, and replaced almost all the outlets with GFCI over the years, but the light switches are all in weird 3 way configurations to begin with, and I just didn’t want to get into sorting it all out.

Since we’re now using Amazon’s Echo for voice control of the lights, the xAF is way up and hardly anyone turns off power at the switch any more, solving that issue. :smile:

(Keith Croshaw) #6

Touche, good reasons. If I were in my grandfather’s house I’d probably agree with that, luckily mine was gutted and rewired before I bought it. How do you turn on one room full of them? Big switch SmartApp?

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #7

I assign multiple bulbs (in various combinations) to:

  • Aeon Minimote Buttons (ButtonController SmartApp takes single or list of lights).
  • Dashboard Lights & Switches Shortcut Groups

(Keith Croshaw) #8

Ah yes I forgot about the multiple:true setting on that dashboard app.


Groups. Both Echo and Philips support them. And a bulb can be in multiple groups.

So Nightstand is a bulb.

It’s in the groups “JD” (my bedroom), “bedtime” (a pathway of lights from the livingroom to my bedroom), “left zone” (all the lights on the left side of the house), and “all lights.”

We can turn on, off, or dim any of those by voice.


Great ideas, guys! It looks like the easiest would be to take down my single incandescent fixture and install a plain 2-outlet box there. I’d either get 4 fluorescent shop lights and daisy chain them (as designed) or hard wire some similar lights in. I’d then use a smart switch to replace the single one on the wall. I’d love to break it up into 2 and 2 but I don’t think fishing a new run of wire from the outlet in the ceiling to the switch area on the wall will be very easy being a finished garage with a room on top of it, unfortunately. My dream of having a “dim” and a “bright” setting may not work out in this case.