Trouble Turning On
December 23, 2010 4:33 PM   Subscribe

I've got a lamp plugged into a wall switch controlled outlet. I'd like to be able to turn off the light at the switch and next to the lamp while somehow maintaining the ability to turn the light on from either spot regardless of how I turned the lamp off. (Degree of difficulty: I don't want a Clapper).

The switch is right inside the front door and the outlet is on the far side of the room, leading to the rest of the appartment. Often I'll turn off the lamp physically at night because I don't want to have to traverse the room in pitch black when I'm turning in for the night. Trouble is that then the wall switch won't work when I get home from work because the lamp itself is off.

My best idea: Is there any type of switch that I can put inline between my lamp and the outlet that will flip to the "on" position after the power running to it is cut (turning the wall switch to "off")? Then it won't matter if I turn off my lamp (by this inline switch), when I get home, I can just toggle my wall switch, power would be cut to the inline switch, flipping it to "on," and then when I flip the electricity back on, the lamp will get the power.

Does this exist? What is it called?

Any better ideas that don't involve an electrician?
posted by JakeLL to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found this a week or so ago. Think it might meet your need?
posted by curious nu at 4:37 PM on December 23, 2010

A touch-switch might do it. It's a $5 device you screw into the lightbulb socket, then screw the bulb into the device. There is a wire coming out of the device, which you attach to whatever metal surface you want to be your touch-switch surface. Then touching the metal turns the lamp on and off.

The question is, does the capacitance sensor reset when you switch the lamp off at the wall? If it does, then you can turn the lamp off by touching it, then turn it back on at the wall by turning the wall switch off then on again.

I don't know if the touch-switch retains a memory when turned off at the wall, but I think there is an excellent chance it doesn't, and thus will do the job. Does anyone have on on-hand to test and find out?
posted by -harlequin- at 4:46 PM on December 23, 2010

Wait, from memory, I think that the touch-switch lamp, on being powered on, will rest but it defaults to "off", and if so, it wouldn't meet your criteria. It might not be difficult to modify it to default to "on" if you know a bit about electronics. (But if you don't, I don't advice messing around inside wall-voltage appliances, especially when they're connected to a metal touch-plate that people will touch)
posted by -harlequin- at 4:50 PM on December 23, 2010

That is what 3-way switches do.
posted by JayRwv at 4:53 PM on December 23, 2010

How would you feel about putting it the lamp on a timer? You can easily turn it off at the timer and it would come back on when it was programmed to turn on.
posted by advicepig at 5:07 PM on December 23, 2010

You could put the lamp on an X-10 controller and put switches at the door, near the lamp, anywhere you would like.
posted by caddis at 6:17 PM on December 23, 2010

Well, the easiest way I can think of is to get one of those wireless switches that also has a switch at the base. But you'll have to abandon your current wall switch.

The professional way to do it is to install a three way switch. But to do that you'll need to run at least one extra wire. Do not let temptation/laziness tell you it is okay to repurpose the ground wire. You need an insulated wire for the third one, common color to use is red, and you'll have to pull it yourself (easier if every involved box is on an interior wall). Really, this is not something I recommend you do yourself.
posted by sbutler at 6:56 PM on December 23, 2010

All you need is a screwdriver and this (Turn off the electric to that switch first!)

It replaces the switch you have on the wall right now and the wireless unit can go anywhere (i just keep it on my nightstand)

It gives you the same benefits of a three way switch without having to deal with running any extra wiring. So the lamp itself stays on, but the wall switch and the wireless work togetherlike a normal 3way and the wireless can be wherever's comfortable for you.
posted by emjay at 8:35 PM on December 23, 2010

« Older Should I just drink more?   |   Blow thirty mill' like I'm Hammer Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.