Advice needed for step light control based on lux

Hello, I’m looking for guidance on the best way to approach the dusk-to-dawn activation of fluorescent step lights already installed in my home.

Currently, they are activated based on a photocell switch mounted outside the house, much like a lamppost light controller. It works ok, but the photocell switches need replacement after several years due to heat and weather. I’d prefer to integrate their control into Smartthings.

For safety, I would like these controlled by outdoor light levels, so changing weather and changing seasons activate the lights at different times and as needed.

What do you recommend? Should I get a luminescence / lux sensor, then automate some sort of relay? Or instead of the relay, should I add a smart switch to the circuit instead? I don’t have any sort of wall switch for this circuit but I could hide one under the stairs if needed. Smart relays I’ve looked at seem aimed more expensive and aimed at low voltage control.

I’m sure I could use the lux sensor for other automation opportunities. Not sure where to mount outside or even if it needs to be mounted outside.

Appreciate your insights in advance!

As far as the luxe sensor goes, a lot of people mount them indoors near a clear glass window, one on each side of the house, and create zones to control indoor lights that way. But that doesn’t work for everyone because if there’s a light that comes on near that sensor, it can throw things off.

There are several which are designed for use outdoors and shouldn’t have the same issues you’ve run into with the other photocells.

Regarding the existing circuit, I’m not quite sure I’m understanding the issue. Can’t you just put any inline micro on that circuit to turn the lights on and off?

If you also want to add a switch, you can add a battery operated switch anywhere in the house that you want that could activate the micro via SmartThings.

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Also, the following zwave plus light sensor is expensive, but very well engineered, has a 10 year battery, and can be used indoors or outdoors for light and temperature readings. :sunglasses:

If it works with your budget, it’s a definite candidate for projects like yours:

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Thanks for the advice, your reply has given me much food for thought!

The Sensative strips look like an interesting solution.

I think I prefer a hardwired solution like the Homeseer HS-FLS100+, as I have a flood light project coming up anyway. It appears that it should do lux measurement for me, and on the same side of the house where the existing photocell has given good service. Any thoughts on this device pro/con?

So it appears the Aeotec Nano Switch could handle the on/off duties and load… just insert into an outlet box, correct? Since I don’t need a manual on/off switch, I can just control via SmartThings - correct?

Many thanks for the help!