Smart switch that works without a load wire?

I have an 1980s house and want to do as little rewiring as possible. I’ve been using Leviton products with great success but I’ve run into one application that has me stymied.

I have a switch that controls a single (bottom) plug in two outlets in my living room - and no light fixture. (Actually, I have the same situation up in the master bedroom)

Both the outlet boxes have dual hot (black) wire, dual neutral wires (white), a load (red) wire, and neutrals. But the switch box has a single hot wire, single neutral wire, and ground - no load wire and no second neutral.

After installing new plugs, I got everything working with the old light switch, no problem. But when I went to install a Leviton DW15S, wiring it like the original switch, I get no success. And all of the videos show dual hot and dual neutral (and a ground) in their models.

Any suggestions for another product that will work? I’m trying to use standard switch plates throughout the house to keep decor continuity and, again, don’t want to have to rewire the switch box (it’s on the other side of the house from the breaker box) or call in an electrician, cash flow is tight right now.



With your current understanding, I’d highly recommend getting a book, or taking a free Home Depot class on home wiring. Although hiring an electrician is probably the safest bet. This is not meant to be an insult but light switch’s only interrupt the current between line and load. So your switchbox most likely does not have a neutral if you only have 3 wires. Also in the US the wire colors dont necessarily mean anything. Be safe.


Smart switches are typically not wired exactly the same way as the dumb switches they replace, because there has to be a way to power the radio inside the smart switch. So you need to work from the wiring diagrams in the user manual for the smart switch, not simply try to replicate the dumb wiring that was there before.

Always take a before picture of the dumb switch, including showing how it connects to the screws on the switch, so at least you can put the dumb switch back when you need to.

The Leviton smart switches don’t use a “dual neutral” for anything, so I definitely agree with The very good advice that you got from @sidjohn1 : you need to pause here until you understand more about wiring, or bring in an electrician.

If you live near a Home Depot, many of them have free classes on how to install a light switch, and you can learn more about wiring and the tools you use to map the circuits in your house. They won’t cover Smart switches directly, but you will understand a lot more once you are done. And since Home Depot does Carry some of the Leviton smart switches, the instructor may also be able to get you answers to some specific questions.

And also, as he mentioned, in most cases wire color is not mandated by US code and you can and do find any color used for almost anything, so you can’t just go by the color. You need to be able to map the circuit.


I did take pics, and the original switch has been reinstalled while I search for a solution. My question was whether there might be a product that could accommodate my description.

What the responders are saying is that any standard smart switch is capable of doing this. Nothing ‘special’ is required (except don’t use a dimmer on an outlet - code compliance)

You have all the proper wires there to make this work but they are likely wired differently than you suggested. (basically, colors don’t matter and may go in wierd places) Some time with a tester will likely unwind what goes where.

If you can’t unwind it its worth getting an electrician… Ive done nearly 100 of these smart switches in multiple configurations and every once in a while I still run into one I need to call an electrician for help with.


You will need a switch that doesn’t require a neutral, of which there are a couple options. The wiring you’ve described in the switch box is not possible, what you actually have in there is a line, load, and ground. You’ll need a tester and some basic electrical knowledge to determine which is line and which is load to properly wire the new smart switch. Another option would be to run a neutral from nearby, in which case you’d then be able to use any smart switch. Here’s a thread that has some suggestions for switches that don’t require a neutral:

Not quite. Most smart switches require a neutral to power the radio, which I don’t believe the OP has available in his switch box.

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There’s a new 2019 FAQ for “no neutral required” options:

FAQ: SmartThings-Compatible Switches that Don’t Require Neutral (US, 2019)

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Ah, thank you. Almost mentioned that some of the options were no longer available. Edited above to reflect more current FAQ.

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And I added a note to the end of the one you originally linked to to mention the new FAQ. :sunglasses:

Another option would be to use a Zwave relay in the back of the outlet box. They the switch can just be a wired to the relay to command it on or off. The relay can control the power to the outlets.

Qubino, like Aeotec, Designs primarily for an EU/Asian market, and their outlets typically only go to 10 A, like US light switches. But US code in most places requires that outlets be able to support 15 A. So you have to be really careful to check the specs on the model micro that you intend to use if you’re going to connect it to an outlet. Really careful. Also, don’t use a dimmer module for an outlet.

So it’s not impossible, but it’s tricky. Even if the marketing says that a particular model works with “washing machines,“ those are European style and typically 10 A or lower. So read the exact specifications.

And you still have to understand wiring in order to hook up the micro. Just Sayin’… :wink: