I'd like to install smart lighting in my home. I wish to use lights that can be dimmed, but I would also like to control the color temperature of some lights, and perhaps even some RGB lights or light strips. This means that my lights or light bulbs need to be smart, as changing the color temperature is impossible otherwise. I would also like to be able to turn a light on and off using my phone.

This leaves the question that what should I do with my in-wall switches?

Obviously, the switches need to be either "always on", or remotely switchable if I want to be able to control my smart lights using a phone. I definitely do not want to end up in a situation where a switch has been manually turned off, and then I am unable to turn my lights on using my phone.

The second issue it that I want the automation to be gracefully degradable, meaning that all lights should be switchable on and off using the wall switch, no phone or gateway needed.

The third issue is that I don't want to hardwire the in-wall fixtures to be always on - because that would mean that when switching a light bulb or working on the wiring, I would have to switch mains power off to ensure work safety.

This leads me to believe that having both smart switches and smart lights (at least for the white balance lights) is the only solution that gives me all these points.

However, there is still a problem I think that will happen. If the in-wall switches actually cut off power to the smart light, then the smart lights cannot be controlled before turning on the power via the smart switches. Since there probably is a delay after the smart light has power before it can be controlled using whatever protocol it uses. This means that scene changes would need to understand that they need to turn the switches immediately, but configure the lights only after they appear in the network.

The other choice would be to have the in-wall switches actually not control power to the smart light, but toggle the smart light on and off, leaving power always connected. However, I do not know if the in-wall switches could be configured as such. Also, for maintenance work, the in-wall switch should actually switch the power off, so it would be somewhat dangerous if someone assumes the switch does exactly that.

Has anybody built this kind of setup? How have you solved these issues? Is there some guide on best practices for building these kind of setups?

  • you are doing the correct thing by thinking through all the possible scenarios
    – jsotola
    Jan 17, 2019 at 8:07
  • 1
    I've heard most people just end up putting a sign over the dumb switch saying "do not turn off". They way you can still turn them off if you need to, but they'll generally be left on. I think you'll struggle to find guides on this because there are no great solutions! Jan 19, 2019 at 21:53


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.