I have a bathroom light switch with two outlets and one light switch. The switch turns on/off two wall-mounted sconces. Both sconces have their own on/off buttons and an outlet. The buttons on the switches will not turn the lights on unless the wall switch is flipped on. If a sconce's button is set to off, flipping the wall switch will not turn it on. Neither of the sconce's outlets will work if their light is turned off by button or switch. Neither sconce's button can control what happens with the other sconce. What kind of in-wall outlet/switch is this? How many poles and ways is it going? What would I need to buy to just replace the in-wall switch with two outlets? Thx

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    How serious are you willing to get? $100? $200? You know how in almost every room in every residence, there's always a wall switch in a standard location that you kind-of-expect to be there? That's because building codes absolutely require that. Does your local building code allow you to not have that in a bathroom? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 2 '18 at 16:31
  • Huh...Okay, no, didn't realize that was a legal requirement rather than design choice. This outlet/switch is not on a wall on either side of the doorframe. It's on the wall to left of the door, aside the medicine cabinet. The house is 115 years old and there's really nothing standard anywhere, everything appears to have been eyeballed & the walls are all brick & plaster. – Kerlix Aug 4 '18 at 10:32

Your switch sounds like a normal single pole switch. Someone basically wired up the switch to the sconce which already had switches so they could leave the sconce switch on all the time and turn both sconces on with the wall switch only.

So nothing fancy - you should be able to just get a standard outlet to replace the wall switch and run the line to the sconces as "load" from the new outlet. However since this is a bathroom you might want a GFCI outlet as extra protection.

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    Hold on though. Building code may require a light switch at a wall location next to the door (with additional restrictions like height). – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 2 '18 at 18:27
  • There are height restrictions? What if you want a kid or a little person or someone in a wheelchair to be able to reach the switch? There's no one who meets those criteria living here, but it's a private residence not a place of business. – Kerlix Aug 4 '18 at 10:33
  • The Code is so those people can reach the switch. You may not have any in your family today, but the Code requirement isn't for you today. It's for when you sell the house, get a kid, get disabled, have a houseguest, have a First Responder call, you name it. If you're lying there coding,do you really want the EMT spending your golden minute trying to find the light switch? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 4 '18 at 15:48

This is effectively impossible to do with parts from Home Depot. 3-way switch wiring will act very weird and have states where throwing the door switch will only exchange which light is on. That's not what you want.

You can do exactly what you want with two GE RR7 relays, a tiny transformer, and the switches used with RR7s.

They are special switches that are SPDT momentary switches. These are available in a wide variety of formats. You have one switch at the door which commands both lights on or off. Then you have a switch on each light that commands that light on or off.

The door switch must be DPDT momentary. It can be hooked up woth simple 5-wire thermostat cable instead of heavy electrical cable.

It works exactly as intended, that being the job of the relays.

An RR7 relay is essentially a switch which can be electrically thrown. Imagine if a common light switch had a little solenoid coil above and below the switch, and either one can throw the switch. . Apply power to one coil for a second, and it throws the switch (assuming the switch wasn't already that way). After you remove power from the coil, the switch stays where it is,

This is how the RR7s work. Pushing a lamp's on switch makes the "on" coil throw the RR7 into the "on" position (it may have already been on). Pushing the "off" switch makes the "off" coil thrn the RR7 off. The door switch is wired to throw both relays "on".

The wiring is somewhat complex, and is beyond the scope of this answer.

  • This is interesting because the switches I originally wanted to buy (for aesthetic reasons) are momentary switches. Can you link me to a diagram of what you've described? Where would the transformer need to be placed? This sounds fairly complicated for a novice, but drawn out maybe it'd be easier to grasp. Thanks. – Kerlix Aug 4 '18 at 10:39
  • The transformer could live right next to the relays, which could all be in the fixture. Mains could come into the fixture, and a 5-wire thermostat cable could leave it to go to the room switch. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 4 '18 at 16:27

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