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Adding to Staircase Circuit

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by hedgehog144, 14 Oct 2021.

  1. hedgehog144

    hedgehog144

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    Hi

    Apologies if this has been answered before, I have found some similar threads but nothing that applies exactly to my circumstances.

    At the moment we have a small upstairs hall, stairs and small downstairs hall. The upstairs and downstairs halls each have a single light fixture. Downstairs there is a double switch; one controls the light fixture downstairs and one controls the light fixture upstairs. Upstairs there is a single switch which controls the light fixture upstairs only. The wiring is all only a few months old (had the house rewired). We agreed the previously described set-up with the electricians at the time but now we are using it, are finding that being unable to turn on the downstairs light from upstairs isn't ideal as the bottom of the stairs is left fairly dark.

    I wouldn't be planning on doing the work myself (my lack of experience is generally well enough to keep me away from electricity) but before I waste an electrician's time asking them out for a look can anyone advise if it is, in theory, possible to alter the wiring at the bottom of the stairs so that both lights are wired to come on and off together, for example, from a single switch at the top and bottom of the stairs?

    Of course, we have already arranged to have the hall replastered after the rewiring so not looking to have new chases cut - if it's not a fairly straightforward fix we will stick with what we've got.

    Thanks in advance
     
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  3. Mottie

    Mottie

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    I’m not an electrician but if you have an upstairs and downstairs lighting circuit, you’ll need to swap the upstairs switch for a double and run another three core cable between the two switches to make the downstairs two-way lighting too. I think! When I am locking up for the night and I turn the lights off, I turn the upstairs landing light on to give me some light when I’m going upstairs. Could you not do that?
     
    Last edited: 14 Oct 2021
  4. ericmark

    ericmark

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    There are a number of methods to retro fit more controls.
    1) Fit a smart bulb and leave switched on, and use phone and time to switch lights on/off.
    2) Fit a wireless switch some need batteries and some use the energy of switching to transmit.
    3) Fit a wireless relay, these can be switched either with existing switch or phone plus time setting.
    4) Fit a smart switch, these can be worked with remote controls or with phone, or at switch of course.
    5) Hard wiring.
    Each has advantages and disadvantages, small LED bulbs are hard to find as smart bulbs, also the small bulbs tend to have more of a problem with flashings when switched off, and shimmer when on. The relay although small does need some space in the lamp to fit it, the smart switches often need deeper back boxes, hard wiring means plastering.

    I am using a smart bulb for landing light at moment, and I have a new lamp with smart relay ready to replace it once my son brings some ladders to reach the lamp and swap for a larger unit, most my bedrooms have smart switches and remote controls next to the bed, plus one room zigbee smart bulbs and remote control, today so many ways to get same result.
     
  5. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    Are the two lights on the same circuit? That is both switched off by the one circuit breaker in the consumer unit.

    This isn't likely but if they are - and wired in the normal way - what you want to do would be easy.
     
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  7. hedgehog144

    hedgehog144

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    Thanks for all the replies (y)

    Mottie, would like to avoid running new cable as (as far as I can see) would involve repairing a chase.

    Ericmarc, thanks for these suggestions, I had seen smart bulbs etc being referenced in similar threads but hadn't thought of using a smart switch. Will definitely be something to investigate - thank you.

    EFLImpudence, unfortunately they're not, as you expect one is on an "upstairs lights" circuit and the other on a "downstairs lights" circuit. It sounds like the kind of easy fix you have in mind was what I would like to do, but it sounds like it won't be possible!

    As mentioned in my original post, it really isn't the end of the world, so I think the likely outcome will be me leaving things "as is". Will definitely have a look at the smart switches though and see if they would suit.

    Thanks all.
     
  8. ETAF

    ETAF

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    Some smart switches may require a Neutral to work, which you may not have at the switch. just so you are aware , maybe worth checking before / if you do decide to purchase a smart switch
     
  9. ericmark

    ericmark

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    My smart switches light_switch.jpg do not require a neutral, however there is a minimum bulb wattage, think from memory 5 watt, the normal LED bulb has a parallel resistor to stop any current from capacitance or inductive linking in the wires, and this current is enough to power the switch when switched off. So it does not need a neutral. The third connection is when used in a master slave arrangement.

    My relay DSC_6061.jpg DSC_6060.jpg is not very big, but larger than would would fit in a ceiling rose, but I have fitted it inside the ceiling lamp, if house wired in normal UK way the switch wires become extra low voltage, and it can work so the phone is like a two way switch with existing switch, so either switch can switch it on or off.

    Mine is zigbee but already had zigbee hub for smart bulbs. I have set it up so the 4 outer bulbs are independent to single inner bulb DSC_6058.jpg DSC_6059.jpg seen here being tested on the bed before being put up. The problem for me is the fitting is over the stair well, so waiting for my son-in-laws special ladder to be able to fit it.

    Instructions here Landing-light-relay-instructions1.jpg Landing-light-relay-instructions2.jpg you can buy smart bulbs with remote controls Lampandremote.jpg I got the Lidi GU10 smart light bar, which came with this [​IMG] remote, it has a magnetic back, so it can have the back screwed to the wall, and the remote can be used like a wall switch, if required, see more here problem with Lidi you have to wait until they do them again, and the remote came as part of the light bar, it actually works through the hub, so I have it in wife's bedroom to work a wall light and table lamp, but were not sold separate.

    There are Quinetic switches these use the power generated by flicking the switch to send radio signals to the master.

    Also battery powered RF switching [​IMG] there is no shortage of methods.

    I will however warn the Energenie Mihome I used worked fine when I had one smart switch, but I increased to five and then started to have problems with lights doing their own thing, how much is due to Nest Mini and how much co-channel interference I don't know, now down to two, only used in bedrooms as two way switching.

    We had problems playing music on Nest Mini we used command "Hey google turn off" and it replied turning off 5 switches and we were plunged into darkness, the command "Hey google turn lights back on" got "I don't know how to do that yet" the google mini's work well for playing music and radio, but not impressed with voice activated controls.

    Son says he has no problem with Alexa, but we had no problems to start with. We live in a radio dead zone of Wales, so Google Nest Mini's replace our radio well, preferred method to listen to radio 4, and great to work out how to spell words, maybe it is my Welsh accent which causes the problems?

    I find the Energenie App great, Mihome-used-crop.jpg with central heating, car battery charging, and all sorts accessed from computer or phone, but the Smartlife app on the PC need a Bluestacks bluetooth emulator to work, and is slow to use, even direct on the phone loading the app is slow, while waiting for son to put up that lamp I am using a simple smart bulb, it switches on at 7 pm and off at 1 am, but to switch on or off early, is a pain getting out phone.

    When I get home my mobile phone goes on charge, I don't tend to walk around with it in my pocket at home. So I also have one of these upload_2021-10-15_12-21-5.png plugged in at top of stairs, it has a PIR built in so lights as we walk past, and also lights with power cut, so if we have power cut easy to unplug and use it to work out why. Better than falling over the stuff wife tends to put on bottom stairs to come up. I have a second one in living room looking more like a torch.
     
  10. hedgehog144

    hedgehog144

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    That's brilliant, thanks for the pointer re. a neutral wire and thank you ercicmark for a really in depth guide, much appreciated!

    We have the same problem being based in Scotland, she's a bit hit or miss :LOL:

    Thanks again
     
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