Quick & dirty three-way switch w/two iris buttons & a bulb. Why not?

Recently I picked up four of the Iris buttons at Lowes (Gen 2) that have been on sale for in various locations for $10. I’ve got a handle on the quirks and tweaking required, and they have actually been working very reliably and I’m growing unexpectedly fond of them. But I really only had clear plans for two of them. However, I believe I have come up with a good use for the other two in one of our kid’s room.

The bedroom has a light attached to the wall above the bed (directly wired, no plug) that serves as the primary room light - controlled by a switch at the doorway. The light has a switch on it as well, but it’s inconvenient to use it both physically (it’s mounted several feet above the bed) and logistically - once it’s off at the lamp, the switch at the door won’t turn it on.

So I’m thinking I’ll put a connected bulb in the fixture, mount one Iris button above the dumb wall switch, and put the second one on the side table next to the bed. Boom - I’ve got a three-way switch on the lamp for just $35 ($15 bulb, $10x2 for buttons) and no wiring required (no neutrals in this part of the house, so would have been a PITA).


A quick and dirty upgrade that will make good use of my button surplus, and will take all of about maybe ten minutes to complete. I can’t think of any downsides, aside from potential reliability issues w/the Iris buttons, and it’s easy to reverse this setup if that issue does arise.

Anyone else who’s done this or similar and have tales of woe (or valor) to share before I embark?

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Lots of people do something like this. :sunglasses: It should work fine with the one caveat that the iris buttons are known for going to sleep if they aren’t used frequently, which means you may have to tap it twice every once in a while to get the light to turn on.

And of course there’s always the issue of how do you get people to not turn it off with the regular switch.

More discussion in the following threads:

Good point JD - I’d forgotten the sleep issue. The good news is this is for one of my kids, not my wife, so I will only have to tell them about the sleep issue once and they’ll remember. :smiley:

I plan to put a small bit of clear packing tape to hold the switch on - maybe a little tacky, but effective and doesn’t require me to do any additional work. Captain Lazy reporting for very limited duty, sir! :wink:

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Mine have been asleep for over a month. I finally just gave up on them when tapping repeatedly did nothing. And the battery drain is quite ridiculous.

Thanks for the input. I’ll have to see how ours go. I think we’ll be using them (at least where they are now, and in the bedroom) pretty frequently.

Right now I’ve got the four set up in the family room and our master bedroom attached to lights that we use. We’ll give them a try for a while and see how they behave.

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I have considered doing the same thing with the same buttons, but I wouldn’t call it the “lazy” route. For me it’s the “affordable” route. I have a circuit with three switches, and converting them all to compatible Z-wave switches would be much more expensive than using the buttons that I plan on getting at a discount. Although since they’re discontinued, I’m waiting until they drop to $5 each before executing my plan.


Thanks for the suggestions, Robin, but key points of this exercise were to leverage “extra” materials on-hand and have a little fun w/the buttons. My son is all in - he’s been carrying one of the buttons around like it is a light saber since I suggested we do this. You’re talking a kid who if left alone would have a pile of mixed dirty and clean laundry on his floor three feet high. He is not going to mind a little piece of clear tape on a switch. :slight_smile:

And I sort of feel like buying a bunch of switches and micro modules would be cheating, and not how MacGyver would have wanted it. :smiley:

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Yanno, you might be able to MacGyver it up a bit more, and fill his life with buttons. I’m not sure how much more responsive and reliable these are, but I’ve seen articles and Youtube vids about people getting fairly creative with these, and they’re only $5 each (free if you use the button to order the product it was initially programmed for).

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Oh my…I’m thinking a button suit he can wear at home that would have buttons across his chest and on each hip. :smiley:

Thanks, I saw the activity on the Amazon buttons a while back but forgot about it. Button mania here we come…

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