I have 3 recessed lights in my house that are controlled from a single switch. Actually they are controlled from 3 places with 3-way switches, so it's not really working all that well.

What I would like to be able to do, without running new wiring, is control each light from an individual switch. I'm envisioning each light junction box having a smart relay in it, and the switches sending a signal addressed to the specific light, which would allow for controlling from multiple locations. Ideally it would also be possible to dim them individually. I haven't been able to find anything ready-made, either because they don't exist or because I don't know what they would be called. Also, would such a solution even meet code since each fixture would now be live all the time?

I don't mind if it requires a hub (e.g. Z-Wave, Zigbee) since I'm considering going that route anyway for a smart deadbolt. What I'm trying to avoid is having to pull new wires. I'd also like to convert a couple of the cans to pendant lights, so a smart bulb solution isn't going to work either.

This is not really a duplicate of How can I convert two recessed lights on a single pole switch to two separate lights with light controls? since that appears to be looking for a more usual pull new wires solution.

If I can't find anything I'm probably just going to live with controlling them all at once and replace the existing switches with multiple remote dimmers.

  • Buying a device that uses some type of powerline networking or signaling seems like it would be significantly more expensive than just opening the walls and running the new wire...
    – William S.
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 22:50
  • @cathode I don't disagree, from a monetary cost. However, the wires are in the ceiling, under 18" of blown-in insulation, under a hurricane-spec hip roof and I'm in Florida so the attic temps approach Venusian levels very early in the day. Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 1:19

1 Answer 1


First step is to identify the switch that the power comes in to. The other two switches will just be farther down the line. Disconnect all of those switches and put wire nuts on all of the wires individually. On the first switch, figure out which wires go to the lights and wire nut those to the incoming power wires. Now none of the switches control anything and the lights should just be on.

You can then get something like X10 screw-in adapters for the light fixtures.

  • I kind of figured there'd be an X10 solution. With the term "screw in" I was able to find Z-wave solutions also. I was really hoping to find something that could go into a junction box, because I want to convert a couple of the fixtures from recessed lights. Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 2:28

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