Zigbee switch to interrupt power to ceiling light

My situation is that I have a two way switch setup - one switch at the bottom of the stairs and one at the top. They control a pair of 3-spot halogen ceiling lights that act as one, so the fact it's a pair isn't all that relevant to the schematics.

The switch box at the top of the stairs is chock-a-block with wires, including some apparently just passing through on their way elsewhere. The box at the bottom just has wires and plenty of room for a small simple on-off smart in-line switch. I do not need the switches to continue to work as they are now, so I can put a blanking plate over the 2-wire box, and use a switch guard over the multi-wire one at the top (leaving it in the on position), and rely on the zigbee control to turn the lights on and off.

So, given that the bottom switch box will then have one wire live all the time in normal use, is there a way I can wire this Vesternet Zigbee Switch or similar to control the lights?

Edit: The 2-wire switch box actually has 3 - if you include the one for making it into a 2-way switch, which I will probably have to disconnect

It appears to be a 3 way setup, although in the UK not sure. In my older home they originally had all steel switch boxes, not very zigbee friendly with the device and antenna buried in a steel box. Not sure if you have steel boxes but a better choice might be a zigbee wall switch (that supports 3 way)where the antenna is generally facing out, away from the metal box.
I did use a similar switch and drilled a hole to poke the antenna out of the box, probably against electrical code to drill a hole?

No it's just a hollow plasterboard wall and a plastic backbox.

One note of caution...I am not sure of the Electrical Code in Europe, but in the US, the Electrical Code requires a 3-way switch setup (i.e. 2 switches controlling a light) in many scenarios...including on a staircase.

If you make the modifications you were talking about (i.e. eliminating one of the switches), you may be in violation of the electrical code. Only a real issue if you are renting, if you try and sell the house, or if someone is injured in your house (in the US, your home owner's insurance may not pay if the cause of the claim is due to violation of the electrical code).

Just a thought.

GE/Jasco makes a Zigbee (and Z-Wave) switch that also has an add-on switch. You connect the main Zigbee switch in the box which has electrical power, and run the traveler wire (and neutral) to the add-on switch. The add-on switch gains the "personality" of the main switch (i.e. if it's a dimmer, then the add-on will act like a dimmer).

I don't have neutral at the main switch either. I don't think I can run any wires without having floors up etc and needing redecorating which is what has put me off simply replacing the existing lights. One thing I could try instead is to put these smart switches into the light fittings themselves, where they will find neutral wires! But that's working up ladders and so on. I was really hoping for a solution that would fit into one of the existing switches at floor level. PS we own the house and intend to remain in it until we die.

If you are willing to change technologies to Z-Wave, Inovelli allows their switches to be connected without a neutral, and can utilize the GE/Jasco add-on switch without a neutral required.

Inovelli 3-way

Scroll to the bottom for no neutral and 3-way.

I am using the Inovelli dimmers with GE/Jasco add-on switches for 3-way (with neutral) so I can verify that this setup (with neutral) does work.

I have found various no-neutral zigbee switches, including the one I linked to in my OP. Really I was looking for some guidance in how to wire it and whether I have the required wires at that switch. I am not finding the wiring diagrams you see. I could get an electrician in but even they're likely to need some installation guide unless they've done smart switches often. I think I'd avoid z-wave in that location as they tend not to be more fiddle to connect and I don't want to be inside an electrical box regularly resetting stuff :smiley:

I haven't had to go into any of my electrical boxes to reset stuff. If the switch needs to be reset, it can be done directly from the switch without having to remove any cover plate once installed.

For my home automation, I have sensors (motion, door contacts, etc) on Zigbee and lighting on Z-Wave. The Zigbee sensors tend to be faster than Z-Wave devices, with the switches being about the same speed (in my experience).

However, don't forget the MOST IMPORTANT RULE of home automation:

  • Anything you do has to pass "The Wife Test"


I think I definitely have to make sure the 2nd switch wire is disconnected or the live will be coming into the zigbee switch on the wrong pole if anyone should flip the master switch. probably destroy it or something.