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Considerations Converting Switched Lighting Circuit to Always On for Smart Bulbs

Considerations Converting Switched Lighting Circuit to Always On for Smart Bulbs

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  #1  
Old 04-23-14, 05:37 PM
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Considerations Converting Switched Lighting Circuit to Always On for Smart Bulbs

A homeowner wants to use smart bulbs and convert a switched lighting circuit w/ permanent fixtures to always powered. They also want to replace the existing switch with a smart switch. The smart switch will send commands to the smart bulbs to turn them on and off but will not actually function as a power interrupter. Is there any requirement to have the ability to interrupt the power to the fixtures? Is there a problem with the fact that the switch turns off the bulb and arguably could lead someone to believe the circuit is unpowered? If the switch has an LED indicator which is on when the bulb is off to indicate the circuit is still powered does that alleviate the previous concern, or is the switch required to also have an air gap feature that will interrupt power to the fixture when activated. Looking for general code considerations.
 
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Old 04-23-14, 05:42 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Smart bulbs and smart switch ?? Do you have a link to these products you'd like to use ?
 
  #3  
Old 04-23-14, 05:45 PM
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I don't believe you have any code issues at all. If there is an LED at the smart switch, however, you'll probably need a neutral at the swicth location that you may not have.
 
  #4  
Old 04-23-14, 06:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I understand the neutral requirement. There are many smart bulbs on the market such as HUE, Lifx, TCP. As for smart switches, one example would be Belkin Wemo. The basic concern was whether the presence of a switching device implies any condition with regards to power at the fixture. For example, it is reasonable to consider the situation when someone turns off the bulb using the switch, then goes to change the bulb assuming the power to the fixture is off. It seems like this is something that could be addressed in either building or safety codes. The LED seems like a possible way to indicate that there is still power to the circuit. However because of the flexibility of the smart devices there is no guarantee the switch and bulb would be powered from the same circuit. Just trying to see all possible implications of this type of setup.

Of course if the generally accepted rule is that there is never a reasonable expectation that a fixture is unpowered then there is nothing left to discuss here.
 

Last edited by sparkologist; 04-23-14 at 07:57 PM.
  #5  
Old 04-24-14, 04:40 AM
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Of course if the generally accepted rule is that there is never a reasonable expectation that a fixture is unpowered then there is nothing left to discuss here.
That is exactly why the generally accepted safe way to change a light fixture is to turn off the circuit at the main panel and not rely on the switch to remove all power. As far as I know, there is no code requirement for when changing a light bulb.
 
  #6  
Old 04-24-14, 03:39 PM
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^what Joe said.
And even if the owner had a toggle switch in place, but had a switch loop wired in, they would turn off the switch yet still have a live wire in their fixture box.
Also consider motion sensors and timers. You can manually turn a sensor switch off, yet it will come back on while working on a fixture. Or a timer could suddenly kick in.
Your concern isn't a bad thing, but sometimes you have to just stop and let natural selection do its thing.
Again...
the generally accepted safe way to change a light fixture is to turn off the circuit at the main panel and not rely on the switch to remove all power
 
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