I want to install a light switch at my church that has a remote control. Similar to the Lutron Caseta. The only requirement is that it has a remote control. Prefer not to have a dimmer. I would like to have as few accessories as possible. Are there any solutions that have the switch, the remote and nothing else (i.e. a hub etc)?

I was thinking about Z-Wave or Wi-Fi, but it doesn't matter, as long as it's reliable and easy to use.

  • The simplest ones are 433 MHz RF, either to the light socket or to a switched outlet you can plug the light into. IR is less commonly used for lights. Aug 11 '17 at 13:15
  • I voted for 'close because primarily opinion based', because the right answer most probably would be anything you find with search 'rf light switch' from Google.
    – mico
    Aug 15 '17 at 17:36
  • Would a smartphone app be acceptable as a remote for this question?
    – Aurora0001
    Aug 24 '17 at 9:53

A Z-wave scene-capable switch can be operated directly with a Z-wave remote (like the $19 Aeon Labs DSA03202 Minimote). No hub is needed for a simple setup, but you will have to have to go through a "network inclusion" step to get the switch to recognize the remote.

The advantage of using devices that communicate via a broadly accepted protocol (like Z-wave or Insteon) is that if you need to add more control or devices, your existing hardware investment won't be wasted. They are also typically more secure than a typical IR remote.

If you really don't think dimmer switches are appropriate, you can choose a Z-wave "appliance" switch, which is a simple on-off toggle. The advantage is that it will work with every lighting technology; while a dimmer switch must be appropriate for the lighting technology it is controlling (a dimmer switch that works with CFL lighting might not work with LED lighting or halogen lighting, for example.)

Something else important to consider are the form factors of the other switches in the building. If the rest of them are traditional toggle switches, will ordinary people understand this one being a touch-on/touch-off switch? If you do introduce a new switch type, be sure that all the other new switches you add operate the same way.

A Z-wave in-wall module is also an option that would preserve your existing switches while enabling remote control.

  • I appreciate this solution the most because it mention the "minimote" which I was previously unaware of as a way to use z-wave without a hub. Thanks!
    – justin
    Aug 25 '17 at 0:47
  • The only drawback to a Z-wave network based on a remote instead of a hub is that configuring the network will typically be a painfully complicated and convoluted series of Morse code button pushing. I recommend you read the minimote manual before you commit to this solution. Aug 25 '17 at 1:36
  • Wheras the basic fixed-code 433 MHz ones "just work" with no setup - unless you're really concerned about an unauthorized party turning your lights on and off with a matching remote. Aug 25 '17 at 3:55
  • @ChrisStratton, those fixed-proprietary-code devices can't be later incorporated into a smart home, at least not without much difficulty and extra custom hardware. So if you buy one today, you'll be replacing it tomorrow when you want to include it in a scene with other devices. May 14 '18 at 21:21
  • @JohnDeters - integrating into larger systems was not part of the question asked, but cheap 433 MHz gear actually can be. The codes of light/outlet switches are "barely" proprietary and even without rather trivial decoding can be recorded and played back by systems having learning capability. May 15 '18 at 2:54

I created a project a while ago that some kids could/did put together. If there is Wi-Fi access, have a look at my project: http://davidtaylorgineer.blogspot.co.za/2017/07/wi-fi-enabled-bed-lamp-project-to-teach.html (Source code available)

ESP8266 with an appropriate relay would work. Probably cheaper than the same 433MHz remote without any range issues. ;-)

enter image description here Schematic

enter image description here We built it on Veroboard

enter image description here Screenshot from my Phone.

Only thing left to do would be to make the ESP8266 accessible over the internet (Securely) and you're done.

Hope this is useful.

  • Please re-read the question - it seeks something controlled by a physical remote, not "Internet control" - that might be an optional extra, but having a physical remote is a requirement. Aug 21 '17 at 15:06
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    A homemade circuit board like this would not be acceptable in a commercial building's wiring. You would need to buy a UL listed device in order to pass electrical inspection and maintain fire insurance. Aug 23 '17 at 3:31

The simplest remote control outlets typically use a digitally coded radio signal from a dedicated remote operating at 433 MHz or a similar unlicensed locally appropriate frequency band.

These systems typically have no real security, and make only moderate efforts to avoid false triggering from interfering signal, however their digital nature tends to mean that it would take a quite similar transmission to false trigger them - probably a remote from the same series of product, even if sold under a different brand or role (for example outlet and light socket form factor products may actually be the same internally, and the same design may wear many different brand names and plastic housings)

On the plus side, they're cheap, "boot" instantly, respond quickly, and you largely avoid all the "network down", "server down" and "long distance attack" possibilities - though a mischievous teenager can buy a matching remote, hide in a closet, and turn off the lights in the middle of services.

Should you later decide you want to create a more networked setup, play with voice assistants, etc, there are hubs available which can talk to these as well.


EDIT: Since having a physical remote seems to be a must, you can check the Sonoff RF that uses a remote to turn the lights on and off. But, RF are low security and does poor filtering of bad signals, so, it might be attacked. I'll go with wifi if possibe.

First of all, I don't have any partnership with this brand, just sharing my experience as a maker and electronics enthusiastic.

I have a couple of sonoff s20 at my place. It cost me about 12€ a month ago (buying in China), but you can find it up to 20$.

It came with an app that works pretty well. You can set up scenes and it haves ifttt integration. The phone (android or ios) doesn't need to be on the same network as the sonoff to work.

Also, the sonoff s20 it's easy to hack and it's possible to replace the firmware with a custom one.

It's a nice way to get started with home automation.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! Does this have a physical remote (or can be adapted to do that)? I think the OP was specifically looking for a physical remote for simplicity. I guess there's probably a way to modify the firmware and link it up with a remote—have you got any experience with that to share?
    – Aurora0001
    Aug 24 '17 at 9:45
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    Hi! This have a button (on the shell) that can be used to switch on and off and it can be switched as well with any smartphone + free app. This is not the proper solution to use with a remote , cause there is another "smart sockets" out there that do that. This gives flexibility of wifi connection and switching from everywhere.
    – Luis Diaz
    Aug 24 '17 at 9:49

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