Suggestions for a battery powered toggle wall switch

Looking for recommendation for a ZigBee or Z-Wave toggle wall switch to replace an existing two wire wall switch with no neutral. This is a different project from the bathroom fan project

The Hampton Bay receiver in that bedroom room works great as long as my wife does not inadvertently flip the switch on her way out. Then the receiver has no power and can’t be controlled remotely.

What i am looking for is a toggle wall switch that is not connected to the house wiring, but rather like the Hampton Bay 68109 which uses a coin battery. I tried using that control, but my wife does not like having to fumble around in a dark room pressing buttons on the wall remote trying to turn the light on, and ends up turning the fan on.

I am looking for a battery powered Zigbee or Z-Wave wall toggle switch to replace the existing wall switch. I plan to connect the load and line together with a wire nut so the receiver has power at all times, and when the switch is flipped on or off, it sends a command to the SmartThings hub to turn the light on or off.

Perhaps someone makes such a thing or there is an alternate solution

My wife is old school and tolerates my “d*mn SmartThings” because certain things do make her life easier.

If there is no battery powered switch is there something that does connect to existing wiring but the switch does not directly control the receiver, so when it is flipped off the receiver still has power and by flipping the switch it sends a request to the hub to turn the light on or off?

I’m only aware of one battery powered toggle style zwave switch, the one from Ecolink. It’s intended to fit over an existing dumb switch, but it will work fine by itself.

Most of the Zooz switches (The house brand for ) have the ability to be set up as you described, so that rather than controlling the circuit branch they are wired into, they just send a signal to the hub. This is very popular for controlling smart bulbs. They also have a toggle version of their switch.

However, I don’t know if their toggle model can also be set to just send a signal.

Tagging @TheSmartestHouse

Is there a reason why you don’t want to consider a rocker model? Because there are definitely rocker switches that can do what you described. :sunglasses:

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The ecolink you recommended physically moves the toggle, so that removes power from the receiver.

I might be able to convince my wife to switch to the rocker style (no pun intended) Recommend away!

Edit. She likes the popp but it is for the UK and from what I have read it won’t work in the US.

The point of the ecolink was not to put it over the existing switch, but to put a plate where the existing switch was or a box cover if you still want to be able to get to it and then put the ecolink over that. Or put the ecolink anywhere else that’s convenient. :sunglasses:

Anyway, for Z wave devices, yes, the EU and the US use different zwave frequencies and any device you get must exactly match the frequency of your hub. Frequencies cannot be changed after time of manufacture. So you have to get one which is designed for the region that matches your hub.

as far as rockers that can be used just to send a signal to the hub, again, the zooz are very popular. Easy to work in the dark, it’s just tap the top for on, tap the bottom for off.

JD, i do appreciate your suggestions. The Zooz needs a neutral. I will revisit the ecolink page. Putting a blank plate where the switch was and attaching the ecolink to that plate is a great idea!

Thank you

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My apologies, I missed that you had said “two wire” in your original post. But hopefully one of the battery-operated options will work for you.

The lack of a neutral has been an issue since I was introduced to the dark side. :sunglasses:

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Why not simply remove the switch all together? You can just mount a blank wall-plate in it’s place. Either that or if you want to keep the switch to reset the HBFC, you can use a toggle switch cover as well. They make them in all the typical switch colors and clear.

If you’re not planning to use the load part in the switch box, you can make a simple adjustment in the light fixture to connect it to power there (because this is where the power is coming to from the breaker) and use that “load” wire going down to the switch box to bring neutral instead. You have neutral available by the light so if you don’t need a load connection in the switch box, that would be the easiest thing to do here. You could then use any Z-Wave switch in that box or even a Z-Wave relay installed behind your existing toggle switch.

Again, I live in a home built in 1969 and there are no neutral wires anywhere in the house. It is 100 amp service with fuses. Copper wiring though :+1:. Every switch has just two wires. Some of the bedrooms have no grounded outlets. I am going with the eco link that @JDRoberts suggested. Connect the two wires together that went to the wall switch and put a blank plate over where the switch was then mount the ecolink on the blank plate.

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It wouldn’t be possible for a light to function without neutral so it must be present at the fixture :wink: Just check! The 2 wires you have in your switch box are coming down from the light fixture so you can change the connections of these wires at the fixture, you could bring down neutral and power down to the switch box. The Ecolink will probably be easier to install but we just wanted to put it out there in case other users research it in the future and would prefer a fully wired solution.


Gotta have a neutral somewhere!! The analogy that got me to understand electricity (and it works better for direct current than AC) is a water pipe. The pipe has to connect at both ends, otherwise you get water all over the floor. Don’t want your electrons spilling out all over the place.

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At every switch I have a black wire and a white wire. The switch breaks the black wire going to the load.

So the white wire is the neutral? Most everything I see requires a neutral

I am confused!

No, neither wire at the switch is neutral. You have your wiring like this:


Your switch comes after your light. So, you have a line and load at the switch itself. But coming into the light you have Line and Neutral. Every circuit has to have a neutral, otherwise you won’t be able to turn anything on. You have to end up with one complete circle all the way back to the breaker box. The issue is, neither line at THE SWITCH is a neutral, because there is one that is hot (line) and one sending current to the light (load) which has no current flow when the switch is off.

The reason you have to have a neutral for most smart switches, is that in order to power the radio in the switch, the switch has to consume some power. The only way to do that is to have a complete circuit. When the switch is off, there is no current flowing down the “load” wire, so there is no complete circuit. Some brands, like Lutron with their Caseta dimmers, are able to work around this because they require such a teeny tiny amount of power for their dimmers. So they never fully turn off the load wire. Just turn it way, way down, so the light won’t come on. That’s why these dimmers have an air-gap switch so you can totally cut power while you are changing the light bulb. Otherwise, you might get shocked, even if the dimmer is “off”.

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Question on the white wire with the tape at the switch. Typically, would that be ground? In my house, I think there is ground also. Would you have neutral and not ground? What do the electrical codes require? I think some of my boxes that do not have neutral have ground. But maybe I am mistaken.

No, that’s the solid copper wire. In that pic you have 3 wires…load, line and ground. The white wire with the tape is the line. The black is the load.

Current National electrical code requires ground, neutral, line in, and load, but those are just recommendations.

In the US, each individual jurisdiction can create its own building codes. Some just adopt the national code, but many have various changes.

And most US jurisdictions do not require updating all the existing wiring in existing homes: they just apply new standards to new construction unless there’s a definite safety hazard. So you can find homes if they’re old enough with all kinds of different wiring configuration, even knob and tube.

And in some jurisdictions, you used to be allowed to ground to the box rather than a separate wire. It wouldn’t be to code for new construction, but you do see it from time to time, so it is possible, if not common, to have a switch box with a neutral and no ground.

This is why Lutron offers some switch models that don’t require a ground and some switch models that don’t require a neutral… In most US jurisdictions you’re allowed to replace a light switch without having to update the wiring.

Back to the original question. @JDRoberts recommended the ecolink. It arrived today and does exactly what I needed it to do.

I am still trying to understand the neutral. Most all smart switches require a neutral, so the analogy of the water pipe means having a neutral is a given for the circuit to work.

Excuse my ignorance but for the last 40+ years I worked with positive and negative in the bays. Everything goes in one direction. .

DC vs AC?

note: that article is for commercial buildings. In residential buildings, in most places in the US most wire color is not mandated and people can and do use any color for pretty much anything. So for a residential project, you always have to map the circuits to make sure you know exactly which wire is doing what. but the article had a very good explanation of neutral, so that’s why I posted it.

The article has me questioning the source. It states “DC power consists of a positive, a negative, and a ground.” In addition to me, there are several seasoned techs at the shop where I work. We agree in automotive there is only a positive and a negative. Negative is the same as ground.