Who makes a simple remote control switch ?
December 31, 2018 3:37 PM   Subscribe

The problem I have is simple. In my basement, the lights are controlled from the top of the stairs. Lately, I've been having guests staying down there, and it's a pain to have a single switch upstairs. The traditional fix would be to add a second switch wired as a 3 way. Unfortunately, there is no convenient place to mount the switch. But I bet there is a better way...

The best solution I can think of would be replacing the switch with an RF controlled switch, and a remote control for downstairs. One that I found is this switch, combined with this remote. But it's unclear if there needs to be a hub between them.

What I don't need is a dimmer, the lights are florescent bars, and there's a fan wired in as well. No timer needed, no WiFi or Web access wanted. Just on and off.
posted by Marky to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Clap on, clap off, the Clapper
posted by ejs at 3:58 PM on December 31

I've installed quite a few Caseta switches. There basic model is standalone (IE:no hub). While it includes dimming it works ok with non dimmable fixtures.
posted by Mitheral at 4:37 PM on December 31

I got a Heath Zenith BL-6133-WH to solve a similar situation in my home. I had trouble with dimmable options as this was for florescent tubes. This was 7 years ago and this particular product has since been discontinued. A brief Amazon search for Wireless Switch and Wall Switch turned up the SK-8 that functions the same.
posted by zinon at 4:49 PM on December 31

We have Caseta switches all over the house for this reason. I don’t believe (but am not sure of) you need the hub to do want you want.

We recently installed one at kid height at the top of our basement stairs so Kid can turn on the lights and go play down the basement herself. Next switch will be at Kid height in her bedroom for the same reason. The kid-height ones are just the remotes sticky-tacked to the wall but you can make a more permanent looking one with the faceplate.
posted by kellygrape at 5:43 PM on December 31

Once upon a time I used to have a remote light switch that was not smart at all. It was barely even electronic, more like electromechanical—when you turned it on via its remote, it would give out a hearty Ka-CHUNK! as a solenoid physically moved something inside it. I loved that switch. I bought it on Amazon.

I can't find it today, of course. However, I would suggest that this Lutron unit is a good bet. Aside from having all the stars, Lutron is a brand that was trusted by a really excellent home electrician I used to work with. He was an old-school guy, probably about 60 years old, who'd been in the business long enough to see construction fads come and go and get a sense for what worked and what was just overcomplicated crap.

A Lutron Caseta switch similar to that one was what he always recommended when someone wanted a light switch in a place where no light switch could go, such as on a section of wall that had a pocket for a pocket door inside it. (They make ones where the remote is fixed and looks more like a regular light switch, too.) I note that it can be attached to your home network and your Alexa and all that stuff if for some reason you want it to be, but it requires some kind of smart hub for that functionality. Out of the box, it is a drop-in replacement for your existing switch (you do need to be comfortable replacing a switch to install it) except it has a remote. It's also a dimmer that works with both LED/CFL and incandescent loads, if that's something you want. It should do the job.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:49 PM on December 31

Caseta. You wire in a new switch. It comes with a remote that acts just like the main switch. You can mount the remote to a wall. The battery in the remote is supposed to last ten years.

No hub, no internet access, no WiFi or devices needed. The default model is a dimmer, but it works fine with fluorescent bars (that’s what I have in my garage). There are four buttons on the main switch: full on, full off, dimmer up, and dimmer down. The remote adds another button that goes to a preprogrammed dimmer setting. You can just ignore all of the dimmer buttons and it works beautifully to turn your lights on and off.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:17 PM on December 31 [1 favorite]

Oh, and you can get a two button version if you’re really turned off by the dimmer functionality, but it costs about $15 more.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:23 PM on December 31

I actually would put a nice small table lamp down there - both to make it easier to turn off the light from bed, but also to have a softer dimmer light available as an alternative to florescent lights - they give some people headaches
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:28 PM on December 31 [4 favorites]

I would just plug in a floor lamp or a table lamp. Especially if people are staying overnight, it's nice to have a dimmer, more quaint light source as you prepare to go to sleep. I also like have something I have direct access to turning on or off from my bed.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:10 AM on January 1

Socket adapter.
posted by sammyo at 5:40 AM on January 1

Despite the lack of pop-up ads, good old X10 is still around, and has products that should work for you.
posted by Sophont at 10:34 AM on January 1

In my extended family, all such problems are now solved by Hue lights + Amazon echo + a little note on the nightstand that says the name of the room so they know what to tell Alexa to turn on. :)
posted by oblique red at 9:26 AM on January 2

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