Detecting night/Day -> Luminance?


#1

Hi all,

Going deeper down the ST rabbit hole and loving it. :smile:

I am wondering what thing I should get to detect day/night. I am using the sunrise/sunset settings but it seems like it would be better if I could actually detect light/dark at our house to control when the outdoor lights go on.

Which thing should I get for this? I am having trouble finding one. Or perhaps one isn’t available yet which I can live with too.

Would this work? http://www.amazon.com/Fibaro-Z-Wave-Motion-Sensor/dp/B00QQNGACC/&tag=smart0f3-20

Thanks all,
-Steve


(Mike Maxwell) #2

Yea, that’s one of the best lux sensors out there, particularly if you’re going to point it outside.
All lighting in my house is controlled via LUX enabled smartApps.
I don’t have any time scheduled smartapps.


(HousePanel Author) #3

I was actually considering going the other way and using sunset and sunrise settings based on time of day and location. Is this easy to do? Not sure where to look… for me this seems more accurate than fussing around with a lux sensor - that is assuming the sunrise/sunset parameters are set accurately. Might even write a custom one that reads the weather and adjust to cloudy conditions.


(Mike) #4

@mike_maxwell Can you elaborate on this? I’ve been thinking about switching to a lux-based control model and am curious to hear how others are doing this.


(Mike Maxwell) #5

So I live in the pacific northwest, so ST’s sunrise/sunset firing issues aside, we have our own issues with sunrise/sunset…
So for me, using the current exterior LUX level is a better representation of interior lighting requirements than what the weather/solar system or clock says…
I also decided adding modes as a flag for lighting didn’t make any sense, to do that you just have way too many to keep track of.
home day, home night, away day, away night, and on and on…
It’s really that simple. So there’s a few stock apps that allow use of a lux sensor, and most do not.
I’ve modified a few of the stock ones to allow selection of the lux thresholds, and written others to make specific use of LUX readings.
My home modes reflect the state of the occupants, changes being driven only by life360 presence via hello home actions that trigger the mode changes.
Lighting is driven by motion sensors and LUX readings. A separate auto dimmer app I wrote subscribes to dimmer on events, then modifies the current dimmer levels based on exterior lux readings.
So when it’s mid afternoon and dark out (which never happens here), the dimmers don’t blast on at the same level they would if it were super sunny (which mostly happens in august…)
No time schedules, no dst issues, no weather feed is wrong issues, no zip code issues.

In other words, lighting is based on actual environmental readings vs the vagueness of sunrise/sunset.

It works, wife loves it, I’m good…


#6

Sunrise/sunset are built into the mobile app in two places: Hello Home Actions and Shortcut Groups. The one in HHA allows an offset like “15 minutes before,” the one in Shortcut Groups doesn’t.

If you’re writing custom code, they’re also available as events.

Lux may be more helpful if you have a lot of cloudy days.


(Joe) #7

I have those and loved them for 1 day. Then the lux level stopped updating. My smartThings service has been having problems for 4 days now. Resetting the sensor makes it start working temporarily, but they stop again shortly after.


(Mike Maxwell) #8

I’ve got 5 of them, no issues, they are solid.


(Joe) #9

Did you have to do anything special? I seriously continue to have problems where lux won’t update.


(Mike Maxwell) #10

The default settings for lux reporting requires a change > 200.
So the default sensor configuration parameters will need to be changed.
There’s several threads about this, including the how toos.


(Andrew Cockburn) #11

I played around with LUX levels for a while but concluded Sunrise/Sunset was a better option. I changed my mind one cloudy winter afternoon. It was dark enough to trigger the lights when the sun went in but they would come on when the sun went out …


(Joe) #12

I thought sunrise/sunset was based on a weather channel or something like that. The only reason I am no using it is specifically for days when it’s kind of gloomy out. light makes me happy, gloomy makes me sad. :smile:


(Andrew Cockburn) #13

It’s actually based on astronomical calculations and takes no account of the weather or light levels, whereas the weather tile tries to combine sunrise/sunset times with an estimate of light levels based on the weather at your zip code.


(Lost and Confused) #14

I have an Aeon Motion/Luminance/Temp Sensor which seems to be good enough. Its controlling my indoor/outdoor lighting at this point, but I’d like to have my mode changes triggered by luminence as well since ST sunrise/sunset has not been consistently working with tslagle13’s app ( https://github.com/tslagle13/SmartThings/tree/master/Magic-Home ). I’ve looked at his code, but its beyond me to modify it to run off of lux instead of sunrise/sunset.


#15

Finally got my Fibaro! I am not seeing how to trigger my outdoor light using lux though. I have browsed through the smartapps and tried a few… they seem to be “if lux and motion” required.

Is there a smart app that would let me just have the lights on or off base don lux alone?

Thanks all!

I also got a bunch of cree bulbs to go put around the house. :slight_smile: fun times!


(John Shepherd) #16

Mike, would love to hear more details on how you have set up lighting in your home. It sounds like exactly what I’m after, but I don’t have a luminance sensor yet, and keep struggling with modes and hello home phrase confusion.

Care to expand how you use motion, luminance, presence, modes, and hello home phrases together? I feel like there must be a better solution than what I have now.


#17

Have you had a chance to look at Tim Slagle’s “Magic Home” smartapp yet?

It’s very popular, and combines the factors you mention. This is now an officially published app under the name “Hello Home Phrase Director.” You can find it in the mobile app by going to the dashboard, tapping the plus sign, then in smart setup scrolling right on the top to MORE and then tapping CONVENIENCE. It’s in there.

You can also find discussion of it in the following topic:


(Mike Maxwell) #18

Sure, it’s pretty straight forward actually.
The modes I have simply reflect the state of the occupants, I have home, away, vacation, wake and sleep.
I have 5 hello home actions, good night, good by, good morning, I’m back and staying at home.
Good night is manually triggered, good by and I’m back trigger from cell presence (life 360) , good morning is motion triggered within a specific time period. Staying at home is presence beyond another time period.

These phrases and modes are sufficient to completely manage heating, and allow a sufficient mode selection to enable/disable the remainder of the smart apps I use.

This leaves a pretty large gap in modes, if you wanted to include level based lighting management.
I initially used sunrise/sunset as lighting filters, but soon found that not all apps had this and dim levels as well.
I also noticed that here in the Pacific Northwest, sunrise/sunset have little meaning in regards to how bright it is outside.

For me lighting is about contrast, the brighter it is outside, the brighter it needs to be inside. This of course unless you live in a box with no windows. Well how does this make any sense, If it’s bright outside, it will be brighter inside, so if someone turns on a light, they want it even brighter inside than what the natural lighting is providing. If you support that interior lighting requirements are directly related to exterior lighting conditions (for the most part) and that a relationship exists between the two, then managing the default light levels becomes simpler and more accurate.

But when we add luminance level requirement to the smart app mix, we have even less choices, and these apps are simply geared to tell you when it’s light/dark out.

So I wrote autoDimmer.
Auto dimmer does not turn lights on or off, all my other smart apps do that, motion, time event apps whatever…
None of my other smart apps manage dimmer levels.
Auto dimmer sees a dimmer turn on, and says hey, its super bright out side, but your dimmer’s currently at 20%, I’ll adjust that to 100% for you.
Or it sees that it’s very over cast, you turn on a dimmer, autoDimer says hey, that dimmer’s currently at 100%, let me back that off to 60%… Or it’s completely dark out, so let’s set that bad boy to 20%…
If you manually change a dimmer level after it’s turned on, auto Dimmer won’t mess with it, it only adjusts the level when it’s initially turned on.

You could do the same thing pretty much with enough modes and hello home actions, but it didn’t make sense to me to use the modes and actions that way due to the quantity of them that would be required and the added complexity of managing them all correctly.
I also wanted an app that could just sit on top of an existing setup and do it’s thing, without having to re-wire and or replace any existing modes/actions.


#19

Hi Mike,

My Fibaro motion sensor seems to be defective. It doesn’t update the lux value. I have tried resetting it. Removing it… re-adding it.

I couldn’t find the posts you refer to update the setting. Can you send me a pointer?


(Mike Maxwell) #20

Think its in here.
By default the fibaro only reports lux changes > 200.