new ceiling light with wireless switch


Old 08-11-04, 11:44 PM
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Question new ceiling light with wireless switch

I am hoping that someone can help me with a slightly complicated lighting issue- replacing a hard-wired smoke detector with a wirleess switch controlled ceiling light.

In our kitchen to garage hallway, a smoke detector has been hard installed. Our place is a rented duplex, we moved in last year. The house is about 20 years old, but the bathroom that shares the circuit was installed a few years ago by the landlord, a DIYer. The smoke detector keeps going off from the kitchen smoke, and is too close to the kitchen, garage and bathroom by state recommendations. The hard wired smoke detectors (three in the house) are not interconnected and do not have battery backups.

It is also very dark in this entry way, and the smoke detector situation is not great, so we have decided to put a ceiling light in the hole where the smoke detector was, and put a battery powered smoke detector up, farther from the kitchen.

However, the wiring in the ceiling is not connected to a wall switch, but is connected to the bathroom, garage and part of the basement circuits, and appears to have been done by our landlord, not an electrician.

Since there is not currently a switch for the wires, we bought a wireless add-on switch system to install a swtich to put in the wall near the light, instead of opening the wall or running a wire down the wall.

The switch system we are using is a Heath Zenith add-on switch, which comes with two switches, one to replace the existing switch, and one to be a second switch to put where there is no wall switch. We had planed to put one switch in the ceiling, to put a switch into the circuit, and then the other one on a wall. The main switch, for the ceiling, has a master on-off switch and a toggle switch. The other switch only has the normal toggle.

Coming out of the ceiling, we can see the following wires: three black, three white, three copper.

The wirelss switch (the main one) has a red and a black lead. The light has a white and a black wire.

We have been able to wire the light to be on all the time, without the swtich. When we try to add the switch, the light will not turn on or off, with the master switch or the toggle on the master switch.

We installed the switch to replace a functional switch in another room (following normal installation procedures) and that light wouldn't turn on either, so it seems that the switch is defective.

We haven't been able to test the ceiling setup with a normal switch.

So my questions are: Does it seem to you that he switch is defective? Do you know about the swtcthes, are they usually bad or good? Is there a better way to install a ceiling light where there is not switch and have it be switchable? Is it possible to install the light to where the smoke detector was? any suggestions?

Is this installation safe, electrically and with the smoke detectors? From what I have read, it is fine for electrical code and better for safety and code in terms of the smoke detectors.

Thank you so much, I realize this was long and complicated!
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Old 08-12-04, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
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First of all, it is important to note that a renter cannot legally change the wiring. If your work causes a fire, your life as you know it is over.

You say you tested the switch and it doesn't work. Sounds defective to me, although there is no way I can judge whether or not your test was valid.

I agree that a smoke detector in the kitchen is unwise. However, make sure that you have adequate smoke detectors elsewhere to ensure you are protected.

Have you considered a simple pull-chain fixture?
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