I recently bought a floor lamp from Target. The lamp is touch activated and lit by what appears to be a "3-way" LED chip. There's no traditional bulb socket that I can see. I've never seen anything like it. Here's a photo:

LED chip

I've plugged the lamp into an outlet that's wired to a wall switch so that I can turn the lamp on when I enter the room, but the lamp only responds to the wall switch when I turn it off, not when I try to turn it on. The only way to turn the lamp on is to turn the wall switch on and then turn the lamp on separately.

Does anybody know whether I'm possibly screwing something up in the connection between lamp/outlet/switch, or is the lamp itself defective?

  • Those little yellow squares are the LED light chips, by the way (you probably knew that). There isn't a "3-way" light chip; there's a microprocessor that controls the current flowing through the LEDs, and it provides three different current levels. The white wire marked "SW1a" might go to the metal chassis of the lamp to detect when you touch it (but I cannot be certain).
    – Jonathan J
    Mar 10, 2017 at 20:53

2 Answers 2


It sounds like the when the lamp does not use a hard mechanical brightness switch. Responding to the brightness control is done in software. When power connection is severed, it is not able to remember its previous brightness setting, and returns to a default of "off" when power returns. You can test that by plugging it into a regular outlet, unplugging it while on, and replugging after 5 minutes.

This type of lamp is not suitable for use with a hardwired light switch or smart controller which interrupts power. Since the product doesn't clearly state that up front, you should have no compunction about returning it.

I just saw a lamp at IKEA with a similar problem. I did the "unplug" test and it did not relight on replug. It had a "power brick" with a lightweight DC cable to the lamp. See also the PC board plainly labeled where white is switch and the two active conductors red/black is Vin+ and GND-, the +-, colors, and "GND as conductor" are all hallmarks of low voltage DC power, along with the wall-wart. DC isn't bad, safer actually, but it invites more "complicated" lighting controls which may not behave as expected.


I agree with the previous responder, but with a clarification. The brightness of your light is controlled by a capacitive trigger coming through your finger. That said you could make it work by having a separate (isolated) conductor NOT in the romex that would bond to the lamp at its lowest physical point to the floor and end up somewhere by the switch. The separate (isolated) conductor could be though of as a really long stylus for your touch screen device.

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