My goal
I want to run a single track light rail all across the entire ceiling (about 38ft) in my family room using one junction.

My problem
I also want the ability to turn off certain light segments, such as; only the light on the left or right side of the room when desired.

My question
Does anyone know of an attachment I can add along the rail to give me this ability ? or maybe someone could point me in the right direction to overcome the issue ?

In my imagination, I picture some kind of wireless transmitter and receiver kit I could purchase on ebay or my local hardware store.

The receiver would fit and look like a standard track connector does, except, this would, of course; be a two way switch receiver, allowing me to use transmitter(s) to control each receiver along the track rail, turning the lights on and off as I please, but not all of them.

track light connector

Background details
I live in a condo in the USA with certain restrictions on how much work could be done with and without a licensed and insured electrician, because of those limits, I'm trying to avoid too much cutting, drilling and serious electrical work (aka, anything that requires a month or two of back and forth with management). I already have two 4ft tracks mounted on their own junctions, one in the hallway, the other on the right side of the family room.

I figured it'll be best I just extend the track from the hallway since it's closest, and would look more "natural" given the angles of the track.

I understand that power might be an issue when considering the kind and power requirements of the light bulbs, which currently; are standard halogen, but will likely be replaced with 2700k LEDs.

  • There is 2 circuit track, in that case the track fitter either makes contact with circuit 1 or circuit 2. I don't know how you would extend that beyond 2 circuits tho.
    – Tyson
    Feb 20 '18 at 16:59
  • 2
    You might also consider smart light bulbs, like Philiips Hue or other types. In any case you're really asking a shopping/product recommendation question which is not on topic.
    – Tyson
    Feb 20 '18 at 20:15
  • @Tyson I didn't know about the different ones, I'll definitely do some research on this.
    – 2032
    Feb 22 '18 at 16:20

I am by no means an expert, but I don't think what you're looking for is something inherently compatible with the idea behind track lighting.

Track lighting is, fundamentally, a hot rail and a neutral rail separated by insulating materials. When you install a "head", it contacts the rails and completes the circuit, so when you energize the circuit, you get current through the head, producing light.

The hypothetical wireless device you are describing would have to interrupt the rails somehow, turning off power downstream of them. This would not divide your circuit into segments, however, it would just turn off everything past your device. A multi-rail track would allow you to get around this, but would also solve the problem inherently by giving you multiple parallel track circuits. Short of modifying an existing track to permit a third-party device to open and close the circuit, I'm not sure how this would be done, or if it has been done commercially.

An alternative is something that exists between the head and the light bulb (or integrated into the light bulb itself) that allows you to connect and disconnect the bulb from the circuit. Smart-home-based lighting might be an easier (albeit potentially pricey) alternative, permitting you to group different lights together and issue them commands wirelessly.

  • Hi Chris, Thank you for your reply. I did see these lights earlier, but given the huge expense (15-20 items = $600-$800), I dismissed it, seeing your reply now, I went back for a second look and found some intresting and cheaper options on Alibaba, not a lot cheaper, but cheaper than an electrician. I think i'll give those a try first, and if it doesn't work out, I guess the only fall back would be to put in the extra work and money for real electrical work.
    – 2032
    Feb 22 '18 at 16:09
  • 1
    Don't connect things from Alibaba to your mains wiring. That stuff is super super junk. Electrical is the #5 cause of house fires, and the #3 cause of fatals. Feb 22 '18 at 18:06
  • @Harper Thanks for the tip ! Definitely not worth the headache down the line. There was another option on Amazon for $16 that fits the goal, it's just the bulb, so I guess not a lot could go wrong if it was a cheap job. amazon.com/…
    – 2032
    Feb 22 '18 at 19:56
  • @2032 dude, that's Just Amazon Marketplace, the same exact stuff as Alibaba with the same problems but higher prices, see my diagram here. Feb 22 '18 at 21:18

This is rather difficult to do neatly.

Simple track; smart bulbs

Look at one of the smart-bulb systems like Philips HUE and install those bulbs on the track. Then use smart wall switches, your phone, whatever to set the lighting the way you want, typically via some sort of smart hub, including typically things like Google Home, HomePod, Amazon Echo, etc.

Systems like Philips HUE can set the bulb to any of a couple million colors. Obviously, two of them are "full bright white" and "completely off".

Complex track using surface conduit

Surface conduit is a listed product such as Legrand Wiremold. It should not be confused with cheap plastic wire guides intended for ethernet cables. This easily tacks/screws onto the surface of walls.

With surface conduit, you can segment the track lighting any way you please, and the conduit will provide the space needed for the multiple switch loops.

Low-voltage DC

With LED lighting it's now practical to run lighting with DC power. Electrical Code is greatly relaxed for low voltage installations: you still have to follow Code, it's just a lot easier to do so. Even so, arcing could start fires, so I recommend a power supply with arc fault sensing.

Stay Code

Aside from the fact that the Electrical Code is maintained by the National Fire Prevention Association, you may have contractual requirements with your condo association to do quality work. The gold standard for that is the aforementioned Electrical Code.

The first thing Code says is that all equipment used in mains voltage wiring must be approved (by the local authority, i.e. City). They all delegate the job to Underwriter's Laboratories or equivalent (CSA, TUV), who run a testing lab and maintain lists of approved equipment acceptable in every authority. That is what it means when a device is listed.

Stuff from ”vendors you've never heard of" in Ali/*, eBay or Amazon Marketplace are never listed. CE is not a listing mark. It means "Che*ese Excrement". EU allows it as a voluntary mark for any maker who wants to claim his item meets certain EU standards, but refuses to have the item tested by a reliable testing lab. Who says government regulators can't troll?

Lastly, follow the proper wiring methods as will be proscribed in instructions to listed devices, books, better web sites, and most of the time, here.

  • Hi Harper, thanks for your reply. I will definitely be looking into a Wifi LED solution, found a couple cheap options from China that should work, but not look as nice. However, I'm curious as to why this topic was "put on hold as off-topic by Tyson, ThreePhaseEel, Daniel Griscom, mmathis, Machavity". I don't see how it strays from home improvement, but I appreciate your contribution, and that you weren't one of those who reported this topic.
    – 2032
    Feb 22 '18 at 16:14
  • @2032 the reason is stated below your question. Sometimes VTCers see a how-to question and believe the only possible answers are off-topic in one way or another. Saying "you need a class of products" is not a shopping question IMO. One guy VTC'd a wiring question saying "this is only solvable with relays, so belongs in ee.se" I solved it with switches found at Lowes. Feb 22 '18 at 18:00
  • @2032 i greatly widened my answer to provide some more alternatives. Feb 22 '18 at 22:52

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