Remote light switch?

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Old 03-08-08, 06:17 PM
klt
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Question Remote light switch?

I am building a closet in a downstairs hallway which is going to shut out light to the adjacent stairs going to the upper level. I am installing a hardwired light on the side of the stairway so we can see the stairs. At the top of the stairs and around a corner there is already one light which partially lights the stairs, but isn't enough light once the closet is built. The existing light is on a two way switch so we can turn the light off at the bottom of the stairs and at the top of the stairs. The problem for the new light is that we cannot wire it for a two way switch for some reason that has to do with the old wiring in my house. I can have only a switch downstairs for the new light, but not upstairs. Here is my question: is there some wireless switch device that I could stick to the wall upstairs so that I could shut the light off once I'm upstairs? Any ideas?
 
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Old 03-08-08, 07:16 PM
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There are three-way switches that work off of a remote. These are not reliable, at least the ones I have seen. Let me suggest this for you. Since you have an existing 3-way configuration already, see if you can wire your new light off of the old existing light. Then both lights, new and old are controlled from your existing 3-ways at top and bottom. You will have to fish wire from your new light upthrough the wall into the attic an into the box for the existing light. I am assuming you have attic access. FYI, a 3-way switch is really a single pole double throw switch. I am sure you meant 3-way, not 2-way. No offense! I have to tell you though, there are some interesting wiring shemes out there for 3-way wiring! I hope you dont have one of these.

Indii
 
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Old 03-08-08, 07:33 PM
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I missed telling you one more thing. If you are handy and can figure out wiring, try this. Take the cover off the switch at the bottom of the stairs. (shut the power off at you panel) Remove the wire from the terminal marked "common" or the different colored screw. Leave the other two travelers attached. Turn the power on. Check and see if this wire is hot all the time. If not then you can wire your light from this switch and parallel to this wire. If its hot then you will need to wire from the existing light at the top of the stairs.

Indii
 
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Old 03-09-08, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by INDII View Post
I missed telling you one more thing. If you are handy and can figure out wiring, try this. Take the cover off the switch at the bottom of the stairs. (shut the power off at you panel) Remove the wire from the terminal marked "common" or the different colored screw. Leave the other two travelers attached. Turn the power on. Check and see if this wire is hot all the time. If not then you can wire your light from this switch and parallel to this wire. If its hot then you will need to wire from the existing light at the top of the stairs.

Indii
Still might not be possible. If there are only three wires in the switch box and all of them are connected to the switch then still can't do it.
 
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Old 03-09-08, 11:38 AM
klt
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Thanks for the tips. Yes, I did mean three-way, not two-way...I'm obviously not an electrician. The guy who is doing my electric did look into configuring the new light into the three-way wiring for the existing light, so they would both be on the same switch, which is what I wanted. But it didn't work and he explained why, but since I don't know the electrical lingo my eyes starting glazing over. I will ask him again and get more detail and also pass on your suggestion. Running wires in my 1921 house is an ordeal if you have to go through the attic in which you first have to hoist yourself through a hole in the ceiling of a closet, then you have to crouch as the ceiling is to low to stand up straight, and in another part which was an addition, you have to go on your knees.
 
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Old 03-09-08, 04:15 PM
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If you are fine with only using incandescent bulbs, then X10 makes plenty of devices which would work nicely in this situation.
 
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Old 03-09-08, 06:41 PM
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That's correct Joed, I was hoping for a neutral also. I should have mentioned that to him. I suppose thats why his electrician told him it would not work. Core, I am not familiar with X10. Have you tried them? The ones I have seen at menards and home depot did not work well when I tried them.

Thanks,Indii
 
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Old 03-10-08, 03:10 AM
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Core, I am not familiar with X10. Have you tried them? The ones I have seen at menards and home depot did not work well when I tried them.
My whole house is X10. And since everything in here is switch loops, (no neutral at the switch,) I'm also stuck with incandescents. But that is my only complaint.

I don't know what they sell at the big box stores. I'm not sure that it even matters. Reputable powerline carrier (PLC) devices will likely be X10-compatible even if they are not made by X10. Leviton has a ton of stuff.

I did say powerline carrier, not strictly wireless. I'm watchning an infomercial right now for a $9.95 stick-on switch. This is not what I mean.

For the PLC solution the OP would have to swap out the existing working switch with a momentary push-type, plug in a receiver into any receptacle, and finally install the stick-on switch.

Powerline signals do have their own problems which need to be resolved (sometimes), but this not even an issue when the wired switch and receiver are on the same legs and in close electrical proximity.
 
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Old 03-10-08, 09:27 PM
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Thanks for the reply Core. I am familiar with most of Levitons stuff. The big box stuff is junk as far as I am concerned. One I installed had a "cheesy" antenna and was nothing but callback city when it failed to work. I told the customer to let me research but they refused. I wanted to hardwire from the getgo but they did'nt want to get into wirepulling, (or paying for it.) Learned my lesson that time. I try your way next time, Thanks, Again!

Indii
 
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