Switch to control smart bulbs (not what you think) (US)

I have an interesting problem. Well, I think it is interesting.


One room with three recessed bulbs. We replaced one of those lights with a fan. When you turn off the lights you turn off the fan as expected. I need a way to control the lights separate from the fan. The power to the fan can remain on. I cannot rewire without ripping out drywall. Not something I want to do.

I have been thinking of using smart bulbs (LIFX or Hue) with a smart switch but cannot put it together in my head how they are controlled. I know there are many smart buttons that would do the trick but I am looking for a traditional style switch. I have and open spot for an additional switch.

Yes, I have ST and multiple devices under its control.

Any ideas in the community?

There are battery-operated switches that could control the lights, but the problem is when you turn off the fan switch, you will still be turning the lights off as well. Then not only can the lights not hear the next network command, but when you do turn the power back on there is a surge of current (called “inrush current“) which, overtime, can damage the radios in the bulbs. This is why the user guide for the bulbs will tell you they are intended to always remain on power.

So the only way to do what you are talking about would be to replace all the switches, including the fan switch, leave them all powered on at all times and then use battery operated devices to control them separately without ever cutting the current to them. I don’t know if adding a new fan control is something that you would be interested in, though.

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Yes, I was trying to stay away from the issue of powering off the smart lights when dealing with the fan. That is why I will leave the power on to all of them including the fan. Then control the fan via the chains connected to it. I was hoping to stay away from battery switches. However, it seems that may be the only solution.

Wish there was a wired smart switch that would control smart bulbs.

Not sure the exact use case, but maybe control the bulbs with a motion sensor? No switch needed.


The room is multi-purpose on the second level and has a bed for frequent guests. It sometimes gets too hot even with AC. That is the reason for the fan. Do not want to freeze the people on the first floor. The fan should say on at night but need to turn the lights off. At the moment, I have unscrewed the bulbs and using a floor lamp near the bed. This makes the rest of the room unusable in the evening.

How do you control the fan? Do you turn it off at the switch or the pull chain? you would need to leave the switch in the on position to keep power to both the fan and the lights. I think you would have to automate both the fan and the lights as to keep the constant power and control each separately. Some of the smart switches have a built in scene controller , So you could do both from one switch.

It is being controlled by the chain.

What switch do you have in mind?

Out of stock but similar to this one. So if you do the smart bulbs and the fan controller you can control them both with one switch, But the switch must stay on always.


That’s a fantastic question!

I have a standard Decora switch on the wall that I have set up with packing tape to tape it to the on position so it can’t be accidentally turned off and then the provided remote control is Velcroed to the wall plate of that switch between the switch itself and the door opening that the switch is by so that a somebody reaches in they try to flip the switch on though feel the remote and remember “oh yeah I need to use that!” So for manual control so we use the remote control and for automated control I have automation’s written for the fan to kick on at certain temperatures and of course I use Alexa to adjust the speeds turn the light on and off etc…

I have seen somebody here that I’m going to probably look up to see if he still makes and possibly sells them but Hayes got a 3-D printed remote control holder that screws over the décora switch by attaching to the wall plates screws.

Yeah, for a room that has to function as a bedroom some form of switch is the way to go.

Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan and Hampton Bay Wall Switch will accomplish that with unlimited smart bulbs locations, as power need to stay on all the time. You will have full independent or synchronized control of everything over SmartThings.

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The fan is not the problem. It can stay on full time or be controlled via the chains. The lights are where I am struggling. The wife would like to have the switches blend. I have not seen anything on the market that would meet that requirement. I may have to just go with smart button and some smart bulbs like LIFX.

If you have an open spot for a new switch, and you have neutral available, you can simply wire in any zigbee or zwave switch to power and leave the load disconnected. Then setup automation for that switch to control the lights.

The current switch remains on all the time (you can get some cover to help prevent people from accidentally turning it off) and provides power to the radios in the lights and the fan.

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I’m Pretty sure the his lights and fan share the same wire , he had three recessed lights and turned one into a fan.

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I would do the following:

In the box with the switch that controls the fan and the two lights, remove the line and the load from the switch and wire nut them together. The fan and lights are now constantly hot. Add a jumper to be used with a new switch.

You can now use the pull chain to turn the fan on and off. Replace the lights with the smart lights of your choice.

Remove the old light switch and replace with with a smart switch that matches what you have (to keep the wife happy). Make sure that the switch you use will work without a load. I have not had to do this but it think it’s doable. Then using the jumper you added, connect to the hot on the smart switch. You’ll also need a neutral from the SAME CIRCUIT connected to the switch.

Program the new smart switch to control the lights.

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Tony and Bry,

I see what you are trying to do. Your solution may be the direction to go. Looking more into the ST automation I missed a key setup for the switch. Both filled in the missing link.

I have the following switch already that I was not using.

GE Z-Wave Wireless Smart Lighting Control Light Switch, Toggle Style

Still deciding on the specific bulbs. May go with Philips Hue.

Thank you all for your input.

Use smart light bulbs and control them with SmartThings sync with fan lights. Everything is on constant power, no need to change any wiring and you have independent control of lights and of fan. Read the manual for Hampton Bay zigbee fan. It is perfect for you.

The problem as I see it isn’t that you have the different devices it’s that you have a single circuit with a single feed going to it. So no matter what you do with a switch down below it’s going to affect all 3 devices both lights and the fan. The only way I can see to do what you are trying to do would require of a fan to beyond whenever you want to control the lights and simply add smart bulbs to the Mix. I’m sorry about my previous answer I was responding to something mid thread that looks like the person was asking me about a thread I had elsewhere regarding a ceiling fan and light controller however the wirings completely different.

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You don’t control power in wires in the wall with any of those two Hampton Bay Devices. You control circuit after fan module. That let you have live circuit for other 2 smart lights.

This what controls fan and lights on the fan. You can control module with this remote

Or with this one
Even that looks like wall switch, it is remote control for the module. It does not cut power circuit before module.
Than you can sync/mirror fan lights with two other smart light bulbs.
Black module that goes into fan canopy is zigbee device, remotes are just radio frequency controllers, not zigbee devices.

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Thank you all for your input. This helped me with a direction and possible new products.