Switch controlled outlet

(Justin Hutchinson) #1

Hello, I am relatively new to smartthings and am trying to solve an issue that I believe could be done by a SmartApp, but I couldn’t get any leads from searching, so I thought I would ask.

Basically, I have an outlet that has both ports controlled to receive power to one switch. I currently use this switch to turn a lamp in and off; but we’re rearranging this room and I’ll need to use this outlet for my computer as well as the lamp. I don’t want the switch to kill the power to my computer, but I don’t want the lamp to necessarily be on all the time either.

Before I go and rewire the outlet, is there a SmartApp that anyone knows about that could be used with a smartthings-compatible switch that keeps the switch in an always “on” state, while the physical switch would control a connected light bulb?

Thank you,


(Luis) #3

This should work for what you need. Top outlet is on constant, bottom outlet is controlled by smartthings.

(Luis) #4

Sorry misread your post. This may not work for you since you want to use a regular switch for the light. I’m not sure how you could do it without a separate always on Hot wire going to the outlet.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #5

I think a micro-relay switch might do the trick, especially if wired just right. The relay doesn’t have to control a load, so the other would be always on. The relay on/off message is still seen by SmartThings as an event and can trigger the smart bulb.

There are a few Topics that describe the above in detail. Try “micro controller hue” or similar as search terms maybe.


If you’re willing to leave the wall switch always on, you don’t need a micro relay, you can just use a plug in appliance module. Those typically have one networked outlet and one nonnetworked.

But you also have to put a switch lock on the wall switch so no one shuts off the power.

Now–what do you replace the wall switch with?

You could put a battery operated remote on the wall next to the locked switch. Or a dashboard app on a cheap tablet.

So you can do it without any rewiring, but it just depends on how you feel about the aesthetics. And it requires one device at the outlet and one by the wallswitch.

The more elegant solution is to Rewire to split the circuit again and not to replace the outlets but rather replace the light switch (now controlling only one nonnetworked outlet of two) with a smart switch that controls that one outlet.

That gives you networked and wall switch control of the lamp outlet while leaving power always on to the PC outlet and only requires one new device while maintaining the current look. But does require rewiring.

(HousePanel Author) #7

Hmmm it isn’t clear what your configuration is from your post. What exactly do you mean when you say:

an outlet that has both ports controlled to receive power to one switch

You basically want to have one outlook that is z-Wave enabled and the other one not so it is always on. Wall power wiring is a billion times less complex that light wiring so I would recommend that you just open her up and go for it. If you currently don’t have any z-Wave items then you could get the GE switch noted earlier or use the plug-in one that JD noted - but I think the GE built in ones look so much better and they are cheaper.


As I understand it, he wants one outlet that is always on, and one outlet that is controllable by zwave AND by a wall switch.

In the current configuration, nothing is networked and the wall switch turns off the power to both outlets at once.

(HousePanel Author) #9

Oh okay - I get it now. The micro switch is a cool solution but it sure would be easier if you just fixed the outlet to operate as most do which is only one controlled by the switch. Having both triggered is very odd and not too useful anyway so this fix is something that should be done regardless of whether a ST install is done. If you are comfy with doing electrical work then it should be a simple fix to separate the two. The hardest part will be identifying which line goes to the switch and which one goes to the hot line in the main box. The other option is to neuter the wall switch and make both outlets always on. That is a super easy hardware fix where you just short or wire nut together the two hot lines inside the switch box. Then you can install a z-Wave outlet which is simple and cheap. In the place where the switch is located, you could put any of the options JD mentioned. I personally would take this route.

(Justin Hutchinson) #10

You’re right, that outlet is pretty useless aside from making it easier to turn on a lamp (or two lamps!). Thanks everyone for the recommendations, looks like I’ll be fixing the outlet and proceeding from there.

Thanks again!