No-Load Switches

I’ve a few places where I’d like to add ‘scene’ switches: i.e. they have no direct load but trigger multiple devices via the hub programming. This may also be a very flexible way to add extra dimmers to multi way switches, or where extending circuit wiring is problematic (I’ve a 70ft cable run just to add a third switch!)

Another option is to make them like the Insteon keypads with multiple buttons, though with so many control options (voice, phone, tablet etc.) this may be redundant now.

I know I can use the existing dimmers without a load (at least I assume so), but hoping this would be a cost saving… If not, kill the idea!

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Would you be open to something that’s battery powered or were you thinking something more permanent with 120V?

For instance, it would be a paddle or multi-button remote that fits in a standard decora style faceplate and would look like a normal light-switch.

Was thinking 120v as batteries are a pain in ‘utility’ devices, but they do have their place.

Long term the piezo wireless switches would be amazing: saw them installed in Vancouver as a commercial demo and very, very flexible. Currently needs a dedicated receiver and light controller (120v) but would be interesting to see a smart home standard developed on such ultra low power controllers. Not sure how much data a piezo switch is able to transmit, but receiver could easily be programmed to mimic actions based on device id.

After that, lets get rid of ac altogether and switch to net-positive DC powered homes… I expect a roadmap to solutions within 6 months Eric!

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Not the first time I’ve heard this sentence :joy:

So that piezo thing is pretty cool. I’ve never heard of it before, but after reading a few articles, it is interesting to say the least. I will admit, I have very basic knowledge of how electricity works within a house and struggled a bit to understand how this would be implemented - are you pretty familiar with the technology?

I guess what I struggled with was, how would this save you energy if you still are required to power the lights somehow? Is it bc piezo uses less energy in the electronics than Z-Wave (or equivalent)?

Honestly it saves diddly squat in power. The advantage is 100% flexible location, zero cable runs for switches and reduced install cost.

Where it really shines is in commercial buildings that get redesigned as the rewiring cost is effectively zero for lighting controls.

Some offices are now wired with CAT6 to control and power lights…

I use the old Lutron Connected Bulb Remotes for this. They can be programmed to shortcuts in Wink. I have several of them and no Lutron bulbs. Some sit on tables as remote controls, one is mounted to the side of a cabinet in a room where it can control the lights and one is mounted into an empty half of a duplex switch box that only had one switch. The flexibility of how to locate them was great. Too bad they’re no longer available and used ones are very expensive.

The only problem I’ve ever had with them is when one fell on the floor and the dog got it and made the lights in the house go crazy as she was biting it. It still works though!

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I’m looking for something like this as well. I have a GoControl and Leviton outlet plug which are in the same (large) room on opposite ends. They each control a lamp. At the entry to the room, I have a 3 gang box with only two spots being used. I’d like to put a remote similar to the Pico remote in the empty spot, but I can’t find any scene remotes which do. I have a hub and refuse to have to add another hub, so Insteon and Lutron’s Casetta Pico are out. Aeotec (Wallmote) and GoControl make a scene remote, but they are butt ugly and don’t mount in a gang box. My hub is a Qolsys IQ2. If I find something that works for this, I have another application that is identical but involves two GE/Jasco in wall dimmers for another room. I’m also fine with battery powered, not a concern to me.

Thanks for the help.

I’ve always wondered about the generally close coupling between the action control part (buttons, paddles etc.) of an HA switch and the load control part. I wonder whether a general design could be done that separates the 2 in a modular fashion. So you would design the faceplate part to be a paddle, buttons or whatever. On the back would be a small plug into which a separate load control module could be plugged - think the micro modules that most HA companies offer. Clearly there are physical size constraints but I would guess that the faceplate part could actually be made quite thin since it is mainly a power tap and small circuit board. The trickiest part might be how to arrange the power connections since in the case of just the faceplate in use the 120 should attach there, but in the case of also using the load control the 120 needs to be in it. One could imagine literally making the load control a micro module but this would mean a separate power supply for it as well as a separate zwave/control module. However, the load module could certainly be used as an attachment to a micro module faceplate replacement that just had the electronics of the faceplate to yield a functional micro module. Designed this way you would have a couple/few faceplate modules, a couple of load control modules (on/off, dimmer) and get a very complete and flexible product line as a result. Just a thought.

ETA: This is actually similar in approach to what Swidget is trying to do with outlets, although I think there approach really seems pretty limited in real world applications.

@Eric_Inovelli, what happened to this project ? Just what I’m looking for. Add a 3-way, 4-way, 5-way etc. with no wiring at all. Just mount the faceplate wherever you need it. Rechargeable battery would be nice but I’m fine with a long lasting disposable. We already have to deal with them for most motion sensors.

I found a reddit post that might provide some additional information about a potential battery-operated remote switch.

You know they say nothing ever dies on the internet and now I know where they get that saying from lol!

Alright, I’ll spill the beans on this.

Here’s a TLDR: We started this with our old manufacturer, things went south with them and then picked it back up with our new manufacturer. However, we’re not super happy with the design and have been going back and forth with them. The other unfortunate thing is that since the firmware engineer was overworked on the Dimmer Switch, all of our projects have been pushed back. Originally we had this slated to get to market in April 2020, but we have to prioritize the Fan/Light switch first. So, the date is TBD at this point until they get new resources.

I debated on sharing the project, but since it was a lot of things up in the air, I chose not to. However, I do believe we will still do it as it’s an awesome idea and there’s definitely a need for it.


Checking in to see if there is any update with this. We have a serious need for a no-load switch. We bought a house with 10 sconces that can only be controlled by switches on each sconce. We can add switches that receive power from the same line as sconce (e.g. the sconce closest to an entranceway) for controlling smart bulbs in each room. This would save us from rewiring our entire house in order to have switches in order to controls the sconces. Our electrician admitted this would be a clever solution, and that he would regularly have uses for this type of device (i.e. a hard-wired smart switch with no load).

Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but AFAIK you can use a hard wired switch without a load and as a scene controller. I think this thread is discussing multi-button options, although that may be what you’re looking for.

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My understanding is that all inovelli switches require a load to be connected, and that this thread is discussing options for a dedicated scene cotnroller (similar to Lutron’s Casetta Pico remote, but hardwired).

Hey @charles.rauch – welcome to the community, glad to have you here!

So good news is that @Bry is spot on. You can actually connect our in-wall switches with just the line and neutral wires and have it operate as a scene controller (Red Series). No load is needed. The only time the load wire is required is if you have a non-neutral setting.

Hope that helps!

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To expand on what’s been said- An Inovelli dimmer needs either a load or a neutral wire. It works best with both, but you need at least one, and you can run without a load no problem.

I have two Red dimmers running right now with no load at all. They’re just wired to power and neutral, the load terminal is empty. They control Inovelli smart bulbs via Z-Wave Association links. This works really really well and is instant because an association doesn’t require a hub.

However even without associations, you could just use them as scene controllers. Tapping the button sends command to the hub which then turns the light on.