Smart home switches

A project this past weekend was to install some smart home switches in the house, to enable us to control lights via our iOS devices thanks to Apple HomeKit, and (potentially) Amazon Alexa. We already have some Hue bulbs in some lamps, which we have come on and change color automatically at appropriate times. But we wanted to extend that to some built-in lights, too.

We got a plug-in switch for our “light toys” — some decorative lava lamps and such in the living room. Plus some iDevices wall switches:

So time to pull off the old switches, and install the new. 

Here’s the old kitchen switch:

And the new one wired up:

And finished (it includes a color-changeable nightlight, too):

Next I tried to install a new switch for the light above the sink… but it didn’t work, as there is no neutral wire. So we might have to leave this one on the old switch, unless we get an electrician in to help with the installation:

The bedroom light had a similar frustration; this switch controls an outlet, instead of a built-in light, which I gather often is hooked up this way. So again, we’ll have to leave it or get professional help. This light is already on a Hue bulb, though, so isn’t too big a deal:

I had better luck with the entry outside light; it had all of the needed wires:

Here’s it done; leaving the other switch (for the inside light) intact will make it even more obvious which one does what:

Finally, here’s a screenshot of the Home app on my iPhone, showing the various lights and switches. They can be turned off or on with a tap, or long-press to change the brightness or color of the bulbs. They can also be controled via voice, e.g. “turn off the office light” to Siri or Alexa. Living in the future!