I have a problem with the lights in my appartement. The current setup is below (and photos further down):


There are two switches: one is at the kitchen door frame, the other one is in the electricity box by the entrance door. It works well, however, it takes the electricity from the switch for kitchen's (and all other rooms') lighting and not from the circuit breaker marked "HALL LIGHTING", which is bad because when the breaker goes off, I'm in the darkness (this has already happened to me recently when a bulb broke).

The problem is that there are only 2 wires connecting the door frame box with the main. I see a solution in re-wiring SW1 so that it either connects the two wires or not. Then I would need some sort of a relay in place of SW2. Is such thing possible? Of course, I would like it to be low consumption and silent (I know some relays are pretty noisy).

Now the photos: Top: Door switch SW1 + the kitchen switch providing "wrong source". Bottom: Detail of the door switch and the Electricity box, it is large enough to fit some device there if needed.

Any help or suggestion is appreciated. Just for clarity: I'm in Czechia, 220V/50Hz AC

Door switch SW1 Door switch SW1 + the kitchen switch with "wrong source"

Door switch detail Electricity box with SW2 at the bottom

  • Have you checked whether your landlord will let you alter the circuitry? I've found that they're generally willing to let me install a new switch -- which may be a remote-controllable switch -- but for anything which involves actually changing the circuits they would want me to bring in an electrician at my own expense, and I'd have to first explain to them why the change made sense. – keshlam Sep 1 '14 at 21:37
  • The appt. is mine, so don't worry. – yo' Sep 1 '14 at 21:38
  • @keshlam It used to be a problem of a missing wire, since originally the switches were in series so that both needed to be on for the lights to be on (AND instead of XNOR). I checked with my neighbor two flights down who has the original setup. – yo' Sep 1 '14 at 21:40

My instinct would be to either go ahead and pull the third wire, or to try to solve this with something like the Lutron remote switches.

  • Ahem, if there were a reasonable way how to pull the 3rd wire, I would have done it months ago. The wires are below the floor and below like 2cm of concrete. The door switch is in the middle of a tough concrete wall. – yo' Sep 1 '14 at 21:42
  • That's why I offered the alternative of off-the-shelf remote control switches. – keshlam Sep 1 '14 at 22:01

USA, 60hz,120v.- Using X10s (or Lutron Maestros?) it is possible if that switch has a neutral (which it'd better have) along with it's live wire. X10 fourms:

If your switch boxes contain a neutral wire, you can emulate 3-way switching with a pair of "two-way", i.e., receive and transmit, wall switches and not require the traveler wire. (The switches must transmit an X10 On/Off when they are manually operated - not all do this.)

Other options are to blank-off one switch, and install a standard switch in the other location. Or run new wire. Check inside the load center to see if the breaker is double tapped, rearranging it appropriately (one of the wires needs to go onto a breaker on the same leg, I.e, skip a breaker above or below it).

This picture is not from the forum page I linked. I'm not exactly sure what that red capped black wire is for, this may be a diagram for a different (standard) type of X10 switch. From what I've read, they make a version that does not require this 'traveler'.

enter image description here

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