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Install a Wireless Light Switch

Control lights or outlets from up to 100 ft. away; without wiring or batteries!

how to install a wireless wall switchFamily Handyman
Tired of groping for pull chains in the dark? Wireless, piezoelectric switches allow you to control lights using nothing more than the energy generated by a fingertip push.

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Install the wireless wall switch within 100 ft.

Photo 1: Install the receiver

Disconnect the black and white wires from the porcelain fixture (power off). Connect them to the receiver/relay black and white wires. Then connect the red and white wires from the relay to the fixture.

Photo 2: Use a plastic box

If your pull chain fixture is mounted on a metal box, the receiver won’t work because the metal will shield the radio signal. Either replace the box with a plastic one or mount a plastic remodeling box near it.

Close up

The wireless wall switch doesn’t need a switch box, and can be mounted almost anywhere.

You can save yourself a lot of hassle by installing a wireless wall switch. One option sold at home centers or online uses a screw-in radio receiver that installs between the porcelain fixture and the bulb. The battery-powered switch mounts on any wall. Although it’s inexpensive, it’s not very attractive and only powers a 60-watt incandescent bulb (it won’t work with CFLs or enclosed fixtures).

If you plan to install an enclosed fixture or don’t want to deal with dead batteries, buy a self-powered wireless switch kit (do an internet search for “wireless, batteryless switch”). The switch never needs batteries. It sends a wireless coded command to the relay mounted inside the ceiling electrical box. You can mount the wall switch anywhere on the wall as long as it’s within 100 ft. of the receiver/relay. You don’t need a switch box!

Turn off the power before you install the receiver/relay. Connect the relay to the fixture and the house wiring (see Photo 1). Then turn the power back on and follow the receiver/relay programming instructions. Test the light switch. Turn off the power one last time so you can safely tuck the receiver/relay into the electrical box and finish the installation.

Required Tools for this wireless wall switch project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Cordless drill
  • Non-contact voltage tester
  • Wire stripper/cutter

Required Materials for this wireless wall switch project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Plastic remodeling box
  • Wire nuts
  • Wireless switch and receiver kit