It's difficult to build a comprehensive, whole-home smart lighting setup without at least a couple of smart switches. In the CNET Smart Home, we wanted to see how hard it would be to install four of them into the same switch plate. Click through for the step-by-step rundown.
Our smart switch of choice: the Belkin WeMo Light Switch. It's a relatively affordable option with Wi-Fi built right in, and it works with a lot of popular third-party services, including SmartThings and IFTTT. The only downside: it doesn't dim.
Capping the wires off wasn't the solution -- instead, we ultimately had to connect the black line wire to the red traveler wire, completing the circuit with the first switch. The wires still run across the room, but now they run back, as well. It's a bit inelegant, perhaps -- but it worked.
Of course, that left us with a nonfunctional switch. We could either cover it with a blank switch plate or seal it up with a drywall patch, neither of which sounded appealing.
Instead, we opted to cover the hole up with the Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Switch. Just peel off sticky tabs and stick it in place. We're already using Hue lights in the CNET Smart Home, so it'll get put to good use.
With that second switch taken care of, we can start wiring everything. The first step is to remove the old switches, making sure to keep the wires labeled as you go. Then, you can start connecting the new hardware. We had to group the ground and neutral wires together in new bundles, then connect each of those bundles to the existing ground and neutral wires.
We were also able to add each switch into the WeMo app, which lets us turn each light on and off remotely, automate them according to a preprogrammed schedule, or integrate them with other smart-home gear.
Published:Caption:Ry CristPhoto:Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET
One such piece of smart home gear: the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Sync it up with your WeMo Light Switches, and you'll be able to turn them on and off with voice commands. That's exactly what we did in the CNET Smart Home.