I've reached the end of my rope with family members who won't turn off lights. I'd like to replace several light switches in my house with switches that just turn the lights off after 30 or 60 minutes.

Here's the thing though: Some of my circuits are 3-way. And I want the timer to start regardless of which switch is flipped.

The thought occurs that it should technically be a simple thing to build a switch that could start its timer any time power starts being supplied to the load and then flip itself to the other state when the timer expires. However, I've been unable to find such a product.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. Or, I'd gladly try to follow instructions. I've got some experience with solder and electronic components.

Best, Michael

  • Where are these switches located in your house, and are motion sensor switches an option instead? Nov 21, 2015 at 7:19

3 Answers 3


You could try something like this but I am not endorsing any particular brand: http://www.amazon.com/Lutron-required-Single-Pole-Location-MS-OPS5M-WH/dp/B005WM3C42/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448105879&sr=8-1&keywords=3+way+Occupancy+switch

Apparently they do operate like you say. They still turn the light off after there is no motion for a time.

Check the install instructions here. http://www.cesco.com/resources/027557/596670-AttachmentURL.pdf

Take a look at the 3-way wiring diagrams. You have to make a small wiring change at the mechanical 3-way when you install one of these.

These switches do not require a neutral to operate but they do require a ground wire at the switch location. Check to make sure you have ground wires present at your switches.

Good luck👍🏻


The occupancy sensors work great most large companies are converting storage and basement locations to these , they detect motion and after their programmed time if not tripped turn off, you want the master slave / or control remote type 1 is the main control the other can turn on off but it is talking to the remote or slave , they are a bit spendy but do exactly what you ask some even have dimming ability just checked Home Depot & jerrys home stores carry the standard 3 pole non dimmers occupancy sensors for 29$ each,,, hope that helps


Where the motion sensor lights will drive you crazy is if you're doing something like working at your desk, or curled up in a chair reading a book. Then the sensor switches off thinking no one is around.

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