Converting light switches

Hi all

I would like to make some lights changes inside my house.
The house is all equipped with toggle switches, so regular on/off.
Now i would like to control them all with HA, but in case if HA crashes or is turned off (for one or another reason) i want to control them manually for safety reasons.

How would you guys do this?
Convert all toggle switches to momentary switches in combination of controllable switches?
It would be a challenge to also keep it low cost :slight_smile:

Love to hear some recommendations
Many thanks

I’m on a similar search here, definitely interested in options.

I see many reference installing a sonoff or Shelley relay behind the existing switch, but I’m missing how that will work with a “traditional” switch.

Eg: the physical switch is down/off then HA turns the relay on behind the switch. Won’t it simply stay off? I need it to be seamless for manual and automated use or it won’t pass the wife/family factor.

I’ve been looking at the tplink switches lately in lieu of the numerous rebranded/generic China options. My only challenge is to get the ones that support 3-way wiring for hallways.

It is not really a concern. Most HA switches (ZWave, Insteon, Zigbee, etc) operate normally without a controller.

Thank you for your quick response, but my last option is to buy ZWave switches.
They look too expensive to me.

Any other solution?

I havent’t tried these yet, but the comments further down the thread indicate that they work fine without HA being online

I’m simply and slowly converting my toggle switches with momentary ones, putting sonoff behind. The momentary switch wires are weld at the sonoff’s contacts for the physical button, and all works just fine via physical switch, home assistant and google assistant.
The problem is that the momentary switch is actually more expensive than the very sonoff (at least bought from gearbest…)!
I choose to transform only the lights that have meaning in being smart, kitchen and living room for now, and gradually adding others when I see a real benefit in doing that.
I actually can’t see a reason to make lights in bathrooms or in the kids’ rooms smart.

That was my first plan to do.
But now i’m seeing more and more post about sonoff’s that took fire.
So i’m not really convinced to apply this.

What about ZWave switches?
Are they trustworthy, electric certified,…?
And also what are good switches to use and also cheap ^^

What standard momentary switches are people purchasing?

Most HA switches are certified, if not I wouldn’t install it. There are insurance implications to consider. Whatever you decide I highly recommend you use wago lever wire nuts or some other way to connect things without resorting to twisting. Any non-mechanical solution is going to fail eventually and have to be replaced, warranty is typically 1-2years for most HA switches. I have replaced a lot of switches in the last 20 years and it is no fun to have a wire break while twisting and having to replace the box and/or the wire to it. I don’t mind electrical work but drywall is another story… :slight_smile:

Can you recommend some HA switches?

I think most people use Zwave, Zigbee, Insteon or UPB. There are pros/cons to all of them. My current house is Insteon with ZWave for things like blinds and locks. I run an ISY to manage all of it. Insteon is not 100% reliable, due to interference from other electronics on the powerline, so I have a couple of trouble spots. I would also stay away from Wifi. Wifi protocols seem to have around a 5 year lifetime, so when you get ready to replace your router you will have the difficult choice of how to maintain support for your legacy devices. Even if you are lucky enough to have a router that still supports legacy protocols that usually comes at a cost of dragging your whole wifi performance down for the newer devices.

I think if I was going to do it again, I would look into Lutron RadioRA and/or ZWave. I would start with a couple of switches and see how they perform.

Looking at Tasmota wiki it’s possible to use sonoff with traditional switches., connecting the switch on GPIO 14 and GND.

The Dr ZZS video on youtube (linked in the tasmota wiki) is well worth a watch.

A simple question that deserves a simple answer, but your not going to get it unfortunately. I’m still looking for it at least, or trying to create it if I don’t … :slight_smile:

For switches, I started with smart wifi lights for our bedroom, wired the light switch as always on (just connect the load to line) and put in a blank switch cover. It still hasn’t went over well, with the wife (and me, honestly) having to OK google turn on the damn bedroom light, turn off the light, etc etc - It’s a bit much. Tried motion sensors, device trackers, and circadian lighting to try and automate the lights to work when needed, but finding you just need a switch or light, especially when you have guests that are having to use the lights. I guess what I’m saying is switches are needed, which, brings me to other switches that I’ve replaced in the house…if it’s a single pole (just one switch, not a 3-way) your good to go, as it could get complicated. I actually got rid of some of the 3-way lights since it wasn’t even needed in a few places. I’ve also went with z-wave throughout for the light switches and dimmers. The light switches we use are,

I’ve thought and looked into replacing the switches with WiFI ones, they are cheaper, but haven’t found any that work locally, support something like mqtt, support dimming, and basically play well with home assistant. I’d like something that would be able to control a smart WiFi light, since using a z-wave switch and WiFI light doesn’t seem to work, once you turn off the switch, the WiFi light loses state and has to be reset. I have found WiFI lights to be more reliable, so this is one I’d like to figure out. Which is something you may want to think about, are you planning to have simple lights or you want something more jazzy that you can control with colors?

If there was a solid WiFi switch and dimmer that worked seamlessly with HA, local, mqtt etc and worked out of the box (Tasmota firmware looks cool but all I see is more time than I want to spend hacking on light switches) - I’d totally go for that. WiFI switches are way cheaper ($15 vs $50 for z-wave) and any unreliability encountered can be fixed with juicing up your wifi network with mesh or amplifiers.

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Thank you for your detailed explanation @kevinw, so i guess i’m not the only one with the struggle of finding a decent and affordable solution ^^.

What do you like better about the HomeSeer dimmer compared to the GE ones? I had read some feedback that the dimmer function on HomeSeer doesn’t get very dim, have you found that to be the case? Also be interested to know what z-wave stick/hub you’re using with those devices.

Do the Shelly1’s work with a traditional decora switch or does it need to be a momentary switch?

Traditional switch.

So even if the switch is in the “off” position, the entity can be controlled via HA? Does it report status accurately?


Y’know these devices are well documented, both in this forum and on the shelly website.