Help - Replace Intermatic Timer with Smart switch to control large flood light


(Sean) #1

Hi all,

I’m pretty much a lurker around here, but could use some ideas before I call an electrician. I moved into my house last year. On the backside of the house is a large area light running on an Intermatic T101 timer. I don’t actually turn the light on because it brings all sorts of pests from the Jurassic period toward the house and the orange is so bright it gets through the blackout curtains in our baby’s room! However, I there are times when it would be nice to use this light.

Here is what I’d like to do… I have Arlo Pro 2 cameras and lights around the house. I only want to turn on this light when the Arlo devices detect motion. Essentially, it seems I need to replace the Intermatic timer with a smart switch and then use SmartThings to turn the light on when the Arlo detects motion. I do not have a gang box where the Intermatic timer is located and installing one is outside of my skill set.

Before I call an electrician and proceed with this, are there other ideas I should be considering?

Thanks for reading.


(Bryan) #2

You don’t need to replace the timer, just set it so it is on all the time by removing all of the "off"s.

Then replace the bulb with a smart bulb that will connect with your ST hub.

I don’t have Arlos, so hopefully someone can discuss triggering on motion. I’m not sure if the Arlos connect to ST and if they expose the motion action. If they do, then you can use the motion as a trigger to turn on the lights and then turn them off after a period of time.

I use webCore a lot, and this is easily doable with webcore with motion sensors. I’m just not sure about the Arlo piece.


#3

Yeah, that’s not going to work. This is a major flood light. Before you proceed you need to know the wattage of the floodlight. it looks pretty high up there so it might be easier to find the current draw and the timer/switch than climbing up to look at the light. Then you’d have to get a switch that is rated for that load. However, I’m going to tell you right now, you are going to hate that setup. Your arlo cameras are detecting motion all the time. Every time a tree sways further than it usually does. Every time an animal crosses through your yard. Sometimes just cause it wants to. My camera is pointed at my driveway and it detects the glare of a passing car’s headlights on my driveway as motion. Provided you don’t have any neighbors nearby that would mind, you might try setting the light to go on while you’re away. But i would test it out first. Rig it so your cameras turn on a virtual switch and then see how many times a day it turns it on. You’ll be surprised.


(Bryan) #4

Is that box looking thing under the eave the “flood light”??? I was thinking a regular flood bulb. I couldn’t see it in the picture but I didn’t realize that was the light.

If that’s the case, then replace the timer with a smart switch. You don’t need to find the current draw, just use the proper sized switch based upon the gauge of the wires. Sounds like you are going to use an electrician, so he/she will know the proper size. Presuming that’s a 120V circuit, then the switch (in the US) will either be a 15A (#14) or a 20A (#12).

Presumably, since your cameras are in place, you already know how much motion they detect.


(Sean) #5

Thanks, Bryan. Yes, the box up there is the area light. I don’t think I adequately explained what I have. The timer is running 120V and it appears to be 15A, but as you noted I’ll be hiring an electrician to put in a box for the switch and can confirm the correct switch needed.


(Sean) #6

This is a good point. I’ve had to make several adjustments to my motion sensitivity settings. The camera on the front porch goes off constantly because of Old Glory!

Fortunately, on the back side of the house, I’m in pretty good shape. I do get an occasional alert from a deer, cat, etc. I’m ok with this.

The back of my house faces the woods, so this light used to be on all the time. But, as I mentioned, the things attracted to the light at night are from another era. Moths the size of birds, springtails, etc.


(Rich) #7

At first glance this appears to be either a mercury, metal, or sodium vapor, meaning, it will have a ballast and capacitor, unsure what “smart” switch allows for ballasted loads.


(Sean) #8

At first glance this appears to be either a mercury, metal, or sodium vapor, meaning, it will have a ballast and capacitor, unsure what “smart” switch allows for ballasted loads.

You’re probably right. Given the orange color it could be high pressure sodium. I did not consider this. I’ll have to check. I have some Lutron Caseta on/off switches, but I don’t see anything in the specs for these types of loads. I just sent Lutron support a request for info.

Good thing this is a “nice to have” project.