I have a set of outdoor flood lights controlled from two switches next
to a sliding glass door in our family room. The issue is that we no
longer use that door and it will soon be replaced entirely with a bay
We would like to control the lights from the sliding door area in the
kitchen which is how we get in and out of our backyard. However, the
wiring to the family room is a bit complex and would be a real pain to
re-run to the kitchen area.
That got me thinking that perhaps there's a way to remotely operate
those switches from a panel in the kitchen so that no re-wiring would
Is that possible or is there a better way?
Poke around Home Depot. There's a company that makes all sorts of remote
control stuff that allow you to install a receiver in a wall plate where
there was previously a switch, and mount a sending switch elsewhere to
control the thing in the other room. If the store hasn't got it, check the
X10 is a confusing term - it's a protocol, and also the name of a
The protocol itself isn't bad. I've been using the protocol for years
to automate my house, and although I had some initial problems, I got
through those very quickly.
Having said that, I wouldn't buy any products that use the X10 protocol
from the company called X10.
To the OP: Go lookaround over at smarthome.com. They have exactly what
you are looking for.
Once you find the product, google the product name, or even look on
Smarthome has virtually everything you could ever think of, but their
prices are a bit steep. I can usually find the exact item, new in box,
for at least 20% less elsewhere.
Watch out for Smarthome, their stuff is a crapshoot. Some is great,
some is junk. If you get a bad piece you will have to sit on hold for
a half hour to get a return authorization. In my case, they sent me
back my defective part, just slapping a new label on the box I sent
them without even opening it. I got back my own note telling them what
Anything being cooked a second time needs a hot oven.
You can find some X-10 stuff at Smarthome
But I would normally try to go hard wired for anything that was not going
to change in the future. It may seem complex to you, but a professional who
has seen it all and knows all the tricks is likely to be able to do what you
want a lot easier than you think.
In my case it'll take a week or more.
The family room sits back futher than the kitchen so getting to those
switches could be a real bit of fun. Then there's the situation that
to get the wiring over to the kitchen, I'd have to go through several
wall studs and I can't imagine doing that without removing the sheet
rock. THEN there's the odd complication. ONE of the lights is
subsequently controlled from above the family room in the master
bathroom. I have yet to comprehend why that was necessary. I guess
they figured that if you're in your bedroom and hear a noise in the
back yard, you can just turn on a light and see back there.
What I'm thinking about doing in the SHORT term, is picking up a
couple $30 dual floodlights that have motion and dusk-to-dawn
capability and just putting them in for now. That will hold me over
until I figure out the bigger situation.
I'm glad I got thinking about this as one of the switches does nothing
but turn on two normal lights around the unused, unwanted sliding
glass door. That I could remove entirely.
RAdio Shack sells some switches that can be operated locally or
remotely. plus that have timer modules and hand held remote controls.
lots of stuff. I have done similar a few times with outside lights.
There is. Replace the two wall switches with X-10 wall switches. Then put
a wireless keypad for them in the place most convenient to operate them.
The wireless keypad will speak to the wall switches via an RF receiver that
plugs into a nearby outlet. Additionally you could replace the outside
fixture with an X-10 dual lamp motion sensor and control it remotely as
X-10's crap for anything that "must" work reliably. Line noise and a host
of other factors all contribute to making it a pain in the ass for anything
other than simple stuff.
Otherwise you could gradate to using higher-end systems like Lutron's
RadioRA. It's wireless RF-based and nowhere near as unreliable as X-10.
The switches are NOT inexpensive but they work, every time. There are other
systems like UPB and Zwave. UPB is also powerline based and claims to be
more reliable than X-10. Zwave is also wireless and supposedly reliable.
Control4 and a number of other companies may start shipping units based on a
new standard known as 'zigbee'. Once they're out and installed for a year
or so they might be worth trying.
But meanwhile in your situation a wireless slim switch from X10, the RF
reciever and the wall switches is probably your cheapeast course of action.
Thanks everyone. Lots to go on.
I suspect I will take my own advice and see if I can make the motion
detector/dusk-to-dawn lights work. If they do, I really won't ever
need to bother with the switches.
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