Wall Switch with lights and power separate

I am looking for a Zigbee wall switch that has an “air gap” but communicate wirelessly with the bulb(s).

So the bulb it’s self handles dimming / color.

I want the power to the bulb to be decupled from the switch except for an “air gap”

Does it have to be Zigbee?

  1. There is a Z wave switch that does this from Inovelli. It is designed for exactly this purpose.


This one should meet code in almost all US jurisdictions, except that it should not be used for an attic switch.

  1. Alternatively, there are some zigbee battery operated and battery free devices that work with the Phillips hue bridge. But they do not currently work with the smartthings hub.

I like the Lutron Aurora dimmer switch cover very much and have several in my own home. They are completely intuitive for guests. However, they do not work directly with smartthings, they act as an alternative parallel means of control.


There are also some “friends of hue” devices which would work the same way.


  1. It should also be possible to bypass the load for a GE Zigbee switch, which meets code in many US jurisdictions, but not all.

So there are several options, it just depends on the exact details of what you want to do.

(I should also say that none of these methods work by means of an “airgap.“ That has a specific meaning in residential lighting which does not apply, because it means that the device has been completely removed from the power supply, which is important when doing wire work. Instead, options one and three remain attached to power because you need that to operate the radio, but they are not attached to the load wire which goes to the light fixture. )


Thanks for the reply I may look into the Z wave version.

I wanted the “air gap” so I could e.g. replace bulbs. I though all switch needed to have them in US jurisdictions.

I also did not realize I could by pass the load and still meet code ( I live in MI ) for some reason I though I has to have an “air gap”.

I also looked at the Lutron and though about them. What do you mean to not directly with smart things?

I have lightify bulbs RGBW I am controlling.

Airgap is a completely separate issue. If you pull the airgap, then the switch doesn’t work. That’s different from a switch that controls a smart bulb by communicating through the hub.

You never want to have a smart bulb controlled by a switch, smart or dumb, which cuts the current to the bulb unless the bulb is specifically designed for that, which most brands are not. Because if you do it that way, then the bulb cannot hear the next on command . Perhaps even more importantly, if you do it that way, every time you flip the switch on again there is a large “inrush current“ which over time can damage the radio inside the smart bulb. It’s not a big problem if you just have two or three power outages per year. But if you are using a switch on a regular basis to turn the bulb on and off, it is a problem.

That’s why I thought your original question was about how you could have a switch on the wall to control the bulb without cutting current. So that’s what my suggestions were for. :sunglasses:

Since your bulbs are LIFX bulbs, they don’t work with the hue bridge, so option two does not work for you. (I’m confused about why you were asking for a Zigbee switch, though, since the LIFX bulbs are Wi-Fi. Not zigbee. So the protocol of the switch should not matter in that case as long as the switch can talk to the hub.)

Anyway, either option one or option three should still work. And both do have an air gap, but again the airgap is not for every day use.

I hope that’s a little clearer.

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They are Zigbee bulbs they are SYLVANIA General Lighting 70555 SYLVANIA Smart+ ZigBee

My bad, I thought your last post said LIFX. I just miss heard “lightify“ as “LIFX”. Sorry for any confusion on that score.

Again, the airgap requirement is a completely separate issue than having a smart switch bypass the load in order to protect the bulbs. Air gaps are used for when you are doing maintenance and you want to make sure the switch is disconnected from the current altogether.

If you just bypass the load, the switch remains live electrically. We’ve essentially split the circuit so that one line is going directly to the load, providing the smart bulbs with current, and the other is passing through the radio in the switch so it has current to operate the radio. That has to do with every day operation, not maintenance. The airgap will cut the power to the switch, but it would leave the fixture live.

As for whether that meets code or not, you just have to check with your local jurisdiction. The national electrical code does allow residential lights to be operated by an automatic system in most parts of the home (again, the attic is an exception), so usually you are fine with wiring the load separately from the switch. But not all jurisdictions adopt the national code completely, they may have their own variations to it. If your local jurisdiction requires that the bypass also be controlled by the airgap, then the Inovelli switch should Still work. The difference with that device is that since it is designed by the manufacturer to separate load control from the switch, it has more options.

With the GE, you are just tying off the line, and then the airgap might not control that part of the circuit depending on exactly how you do it.

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The Lutron aurora dimmer, which is the one I had in the picture, is a nice device. As I mentioned, we have several in my own home. But they don’t work with just a smartthings hub. You need to use a hue bridge with them, and when you do, they are not exposed to smartthings so smartthings doesn’t even know they exist. They just become a physical switch on the wall. So they can only work with Devices which the hue bridge also controls. They could work with Hue bulbs or IKEA Tradfri bulbs. But unfortunately not with your Sylvania bulbs because those use a different zigbee profile. Those can connect to the smartthings hub, but not to the Hue bridge.

FAQ: Zigbee Application Profiles, or why not all zigbee devices work with SmartThings

By the way, I apologize if my posts have been confusing today and not well organized. I rely on text to speech and our air quality is horrible because of the California wildfires. It’s been giving me a headache and I know I’m not following everything as clearly as I normally would.

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