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I want to automate my home lights, but nobody sells me what I need

I’d like to automate my home. I’d like having all my electrical circuits centralized and remotely managed, and being able to turn on and off lights from outside home, or in a scheduled way.

Pressing a button when exiting home so all the house lights turn off immediately would be very cool, and the perfect solution to my kids’ carelessness (it’s obvious they don’t pay the electricity bill).

Seeing the current market, they sell “smart light bulbs” as if they were the perfect solution. When, IMHO, they are rubbish. Why in the world do I want a lightbulb that I only can remotely switch on and off when the wall switch  if it olny works when the wall switch is in ON status? If I manually switch off the light from the wall switch, I won’t ever be able to turn it on again from my phone, computer or via Alexa. Moreover, I’m adding smartness to the most expendable piece of equipment in the whole light circuit… It doesn’t seem the best of ideas.

We have a different alternative: adding smartness to the switches instead of lightbulbs. Smart light switches can be remotely operated via WiFi or 433 MHz radio waves. There are a lot of makers in AliExpress, all of them based on China. These light switches allow controlling the light circuites manually (as they are controlled until now) and also in remote mode. The solution is ideal: for every circuit you’ll only have to replace the “classic” wall switch with one of these smart ones, maybe rewiring a little bit. If they are controlled through WiFi you can manage them using IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, or other similar system. If they are controlled via 433 MHz radio, you can use a IP-IR/433 gateway, at Broadlink RM2.

Ok. So what is the problem? This wall switches work really well in circuits with a single wallswitch

Problems begin with circuits with two wall-switches for the same bulb, that is: with two 3-way switches.

In this case, changing one of the wall switches should be enough. The other one could be the same as it’s now. We have a similar case with circuits having three wall switches, or more, in which we have two 3-way switches, at the beginning and the end of the circuite, and 4-way switches between them.

But the Chinese manufacturers that are making remotely-operated wall-switches aren’t building items that allow me replacing my existing switches in an easy way. They want me to change all the wall-switches in the circuit.

Connection scheme of supposedly 3-way wall-switches of Livolo brand

Definitely, I don’t want to change all my 3-way switches at home. I have many of them, and several are also 2-gang switches, so I have two keys controlling 2 different circuits. And I also have some 4-way switches…

Is it so difficult? Am I the only person in the world that is looking for a light wall-switch to replace a classical 3-way switch with a new one that adds remote control capabilities?

If anyone knows about a electrical maker that builds lightswitches like the one I’m describing, please tell me about it. Ideally, it should be operated via 433 MHz radio, so I can use the few systems I already own.

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