Best Practice Recommendation on Setting up Lighting Automation

There seems to be many options on how to turn lights on and off. Some are feature rich, some basic. I have been using SmartThings for a few years and I have lights that use different automation approaches. As such, it is very confusing. I want to wipe them all out and redo them. Is there a best practice guide on how to set up light automation? I have done a bunch of google research and get confused.
I am looking for the following:

  1. Set of lights come on an hour before sunset.
  2. The balance of lights come on at sunset.
  3. At 7:45 some lights go off and some light dim.
  4. At 9:45 more lights go off.
  5. Remaining lights go off at sunrise.
  6. Also want to have the location of two phones detected to have a modified number of lights following the above senerio if they are both detected as away from the house.

I have some lights where I use the on/off options on the device itself. I have some lights where I use the Smart Lighting app. I have some lights where I set up Automations. It all works ok, but when I want to make modifications I have to rummage around to find the automation.

Any written guide that is available would be very helpful? Thanks in advance.

I am only going to respond to this and let others deal with your questions.

You may want to start planning to move away from Smart Lighting as it will be phased out when groovy is shut down.


To me it seems like you might be well served by thinking in terms of Scenes instead of individual lights.


No written guide that I know if, in part because there are so many variations on what people want to accomplish.

I agree with @orangebucket that barring fine details that might not have been mentioned yet, it seems like scenes might be the simplest solution for you. And also with @jkp that setting the triggers for them in routines/automations rather than SmartLighting.


A lot of fear of when smart lighting will no longer work :roll_eyes:. I tried to use routine , but some things are not possible, and others force cloud use instead of local. Do you want examples?

  • delay the switching off of a light after a few minutes from the end of the movement is possibile with smartlighting but not with routine.

I believe there is an option that if the motion sensor does not detect motion in a set time…

Have you tried that?

Sorry, my motion sensor died so I can’t check what that command was. Maybe I will get a new one during BF/CM. :slight_smile:

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I don’t want to go too far off topic but I want to explain my situation to you:
the automations of the lights are the most used in my house, I have 10 motion sensors and all the rooms have at least one light that turns on automatically.
This would be very simple to manage if I were satisfied with a simple switch on at the movement and switch off at the end of the movement, but this is not possible because in many rooms I need to keep the lights on even if there is no movement, and a way to do this was to use virtual devices and only when this device is turned on to perform the automation.
This produced a second problem, if the virtual device is turned off also prevented the option of turning on and not just turning off, being in the same rule with the flag activated (turn off at the end of the movement).
So I had to divide the automation in two, one for switching on the movement and one for switching off at the end and this is only possible with smartlightingh and not with the normal routine automation. Do you know why? Smartlightingh if set with turn off the light after 2 minutes from the end of the movement works well even in the critical situation for example if the movement ends, a minute passes, detects a new movement, the timer will stop and the light will remain on. With classic automation, it is only possible to perform the action delayed by two minutes, and then if it no longer detects movement, the 2-minute timer starts and then the light will tourn off, even if a subsequent movement is detected.
also another problem, if I use a timing, the automation will work in the cloud, smartlightingh instead continues to work locally.

For these reasons I think that the best solution to date is to use smartlighthing … and I say this after trying to replace my virtual devices with drive edge and trying to move all my automations out of smartlighthing and in that moment I discovered these problems. many hours wasted, but I learned a new thing

With Automations/Routines you need to have the delay in the condition, not the action. So one routine turns on the lights with motion, the other turns off the lights if motion remains inactive.

Rather than use virtual switches, I use virtual motion sensors. This works best in Rules because you can apply ‘remains’ to a combination of motion sensors, whereas in Routines it applies to individual devices. Smart Lighting makes a right mess of handling multiple motion sensors.

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Thanks for the advice, But I don’t understand how to do it.
How can this automation be rebuilt with a routine?

I didn’t understand how to use virtual sensors. But in that case, would virtual sensors created with edge be okay?
I tried to do a simple automation with a two-minute delay in the triggering part of the action, but even so the automation goes to the cloud and not local.

Thank you for your support