Somewhat of a challenge...

I'm going from a single light to recessed lighting in my studio condo. There is a single pole switch that this single light is currently connected to.

I'm going to install about 10 recessed lights, but; I want only 5 lights to turn on when I press XYZ button and all lights to turn on when I press ABC button.

My main challenge here is with this switch, it's housed in a concrete wall with hard drawn solid copper 10AWG wires, so there's no options for rewiring anything, all wiring goes into in a concrete wall and ceiling.

Is there anything I can use to control an array of 10 different lights with an immovable/modifiable single pole switch?

My idea was to leave the single pole switch as is with the dimmer, and have some kind of wireless routing panel in the closet that would allow me to then switch between the lighting "zones" (if that's what they're called) using a wireless switch installed "next to" the current switch. I see Lutron makes some interesting products, but I'm not sure which will do what I need, or the less expensive alternatives. Expense isn't a serious issue here, but I'm not trying to spend $4000-$6000 on a solution.

Does anyone have any idea what I should be searching for, or the proper name of what I'm looking for to make this work?

Thank you in advance for your help

  • 1
    Rather than messing with the switch, have you considered wireless smart bulbs? Then you could slap a controller for them next to your current switch (or just bypass the switch, and put the controller in the box., since the lights will turn themselves on and off.)
    – Nate S.
    Apr 23, 2019 at 17:13
  • 1
    For example, the Phillips Hue line could work well in this application. amazon.com/Philips-Dimmer-Switch-Installation-Free-Exclusively/…
    – Nate S.
    Apr 23, 2019 at 17:15
  • 1
    The hue line has recessed lighting fixtures as well: homedepot.com/p/…
    – Nate S.
    Apr 23, 2019 at 17:18
  • @NateStrickland I was thinking the same thing. Write it up as an answer and I'll +1. Apr 23, 2019 at 17:26
  • Hue is a great choice, but if that doesn’t work out this can be done with Insteon. I’d need more information to be exact, but for the specific functionality listed the materials should be around $200
    – Tyson
    Apr 23, 2019 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


This can be done with wireless smart bulbs (or fixtures) and a remote switch in place of your current light switch. I'm going to describe how to do it with the Phillips Hue series, since I'm more familiar with them, but other brands will probably work just as well.

For the lights themselves, if you have not already bought the fixtures, you can get Hue recessed fixtures with built-in communication and dimming capability, and you'll never have to change a bulb.

Hue Recessed Lighting Fixture

If you already have fixtures, you can simply add smart bulbs to them, but make sure they fit and will cool adequately!

Hue Smart Bulbs

Then, to control it at the location of your current light switch, install a wall-mounted remote.

Hue Wall Mounted Remote

For your current light switch, you can either leave it in place as a way to disable the whole system, or remove and bypass it to supply the Hue fixtures with always-on power and let them turn themselves on and off remotely (recommended if you want to use any other smart features, like timer on/off, or google home/alexa connectivity). If you remove the current switch, you can install the remote over the top of a cover plate. Otherwise, you can install the remote on the wall next to the current switch.

Lastly, you will need a Hue hub to tie it all together. You can place this wherever you want -- it need not be on the same circuit as the lights. This will also give you voice control of the lights.

Hue Smart Home Hub

You can learn more about the Hue line here. Again, I don't mean this as a specific endorsement -- Hue are popular and capable, but not the cheapest, and there are competitors that are also well regarded.

  • Note that you likely will not need two switches for the two zones -- the switches are programmable, so you can do something like one tap of on for five lights, two taps for ten. Here's a page with programming directions: howtogeek.com/244803/…
    – Nate S.
    Apr 23, 2019 at 20:05
  • Makes me wonder if there are rules against having light fixtures wired always on with no switch. Seem to remember something about that, but maybe not..
    – JPhi1618
    Apr 23, 2019 at 20:10
  • @JPhi1618, I don't think there is in the case of fixtures with built-in switches, like a closet light or ceiling fan with a pull chain. And the smart control would count as a built in switch.
    – Nate S.
    Apr 23, 2019 at 20:12
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    @JPhi1618 there are no such rules in the electrical code against hardwiring a light on 24x7. There probably are in the building efficiency codes, but they give full credit for smart switch control systems. Apr 23, 2019 at 21:54
  • The NEC just wants a switchable lighting outlet -- it doesn't care what smarts the switch has, although something based purely on "smart bulbs" might not count... Apr 24, 2019 at 0:09

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. It’s tempting to compromise on the hue, and I would only use Philip’s smart bulbs because I only trust Philip for this (history, quality, partnerships, third party integration, community, warranty, etc), however, I don’t think this application is in its intended scope; to be “every” ceiling light, maybe just 3 or 4 lights around the house or apartment. I’ll also be limited to one specific brand and bulb for practically forever to justify the original expense.

My budget is wide enough, and I would also like spend wiser than that, so for a little more, I'd rather a home lighting solution that could give me infrastructure and would work with "any" bulb or fixture in the future.

I've decided to go with the Lurton RadioRA2. It allows me to plug in a wireless keypad replacing the single pole switch, which communicates to the receiver to be programed as I please. A starter bundle is fairly inexpensive. If I were in the UK, I would've just used the Lutron In-line Load Control Dimmers on each zone (RRK-R25NE-240), but the setup of a dimmer array or graphic panel and connect bridge is IMO the best option to gain the flexibility and stability I'm looking for with my situation.

I'm looking at a total one time cost of $2000. Which is half the cost of the Philips solution over the next 5 years, with more than twice the flexibility. RadioRa2

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