Holiday Lighting with SmartThings

I want to hear how you’re using or going to use ST to control your holiday lights and displays. Pics would be cool too.


I’m just getting ready for implementation on this Twack. I’ve actually got to order a few components but I’ve got a spare motion sensor that will trigger everything.

I’m also interested in everyone’s ideas ahead of time.

What you got folks…?

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I’ve got a small Christmas Tree in each of my kids rooms. Both are plugged into a Intermatic Z-wave Outlets. They come on a 8:20 (just before bedtime). Each kid also have a Tasker app on their tablet to turn on the outlet whenever they want. The outlet will automatically turn off two hours after turning on.

I have two strands of outdoor lights hooked up to Z-wave module. I turn these on manually (I may automate it in the future). These turn off automatically after 4 hours.

I have a my main Christmas Tree plugged into a Remotec z-wave module. This is rigged up with a motion sensor to turn on when there is movement in my den, then off automatically after no motion for 5 minutes.

Christmas Decorating Day 1:

Shopped all day so I only had a couple of hours to hang stuff. Started with 250+ feet of blue icicle lights on the white rail fence in the front of the house. Used a GE Outdoor controller and a “Lights and Switches” app to have them come on at Sunset and go off at 8:30.

I am still planning on creating a “car coming” sensor to turn on the outdoor Christmas lights. I’ve got a ST Arduino Shield and I’m going to make it into a switch with a photo light sensor. I’ll use a barrel from an old hotel black ball point pen to create kind of a directional focus for the sensor. This way I can point it down the road so that when I car comes at night, the light will come through the barrel and trip the switch. I live in the boonies and I might as well save watts and $'s when there is no one around to see the lights. But, with SmartThings, some solder and some glue, I can be ready when someone comes by.

More coming…

We have a pretty simple set-up. I have a switch that controls an outlet in the eaves which we installed just for Christmas lights along the roof line. The switch is set-up with a Jasco 45609. We have several outlets outside that I have outfitted with Jasco 45604 outdoor modules. These power candy cane lights up the walkway, some lights strands in garland on the front porch and a big, lighted Snowman. Inside, the Christmas tree is plugged into Jasco 45605.

I used “The Big Switch” app to tie everything into the Jasco switch. Turning that switch on and off controls everything (roof lights, yard lights, and Christmas tree) or as my wife likes to say “We can turn Christmas on and off with one switch”.

I also set-up “Once a Day” app to turn everything on at 5pm (although my wife generally turns it on well before that) and turn everything off at 10pm.

This is the one time of year my wife understand (and supports) that “home automation crap” I like :slight_smile:

I don’t have anything setup yet, but my plan is to put the tree on my sunset/motion switch (comes on at sunset, turns off at 10, turns on again when motion detected until morning). Outside lights I’ll probably rig up similarly, but without the motion piece.

I’ve got 1000 LED lights on my bushes and trees in the front yard. I have them controlled through my Smart Kitchen project ( that is in development. I have the lights turning on and off with the Sunrise/Sunset app.

Not very clear, but this is my front yard.

Does anyone have a suggestion for how to automate a tree with multifunction lights? The tree has a button that switches between color and white lights. Because of this when the power is turned on it does noting until I push the button. Any thoughts?


Holiday cheer in one row!

Turn on the fireplace, the Christmas Tree, and the outdoor Christmas lights, all from SmartThings!

@chrisb I love the layout! Very nicely done.

I’ve hooked up my tree and internal lights to a ST outlet. I finally found a use case for wanting to monitor the power usage. The documentation of this device says you can “meter and control” an outlet but the device only seems to only control (on or off) an outlet.

Am I doing something wrong or has this feature not been built out yet?

Good question Craig. I’ve wondered that too. I also have the same setup as you and it works great. I have it turn on automatically when the sun sets for the day and turn off at 11 PM.

@urman I see you on this chain and you’ve been extremely helpful on my other thread so I hope bumping this thread to you will help!

Any idea about how to meter power usage with the ST outlet?


The Metering for the ST Outlet hasn’t be implemented yet to the best of my knowledge. Taking it a step further, I don’t know for sure if it ever will. Now… that’s just me saying that, not SmartThings, so don’t take that as gospel! It’s just one users opinion.

My understanding is that SmartThings bought/licenses/whatevered the outlets from a third party and that SmartThings has been less than pleased with the results. Again, this is my opinion based on rumblings and rumors so I might be wrong but I think SmartThings is trying to move away from these outlets. For what it’s worth, it doesn’t appear that they are available for purchase anymore on the SmartThings shop.

@craig I’ve been working on it for some time now. I think I will have the hardware side of it done next week. I think the biggest thing we’re working on is SmartApps support.

Simple setup of appliance modules and one outlet to power all in inside and outside lights. Very nice to see an outdoor switch out there. I was running x10 (until I received my ST kit) and never found a good one, so I was putting it in a ziplock bag… Anyway, it all works great!

Oh no… Some of the Christmas lights came with a RF remote that has two buttons. An on/off and a mode switcher (changes the color-shift, twinkle patterns). There is no way that it can’t be made better…

Time to break out an Arduino Micro-controller and a ST Shield. :slight_smile:

Happy Hacking Time!

Does anyone know if the smart outlet has an auto shut off? It seems it only stays on for 4 hours and then shuts off…

How did you customize the color of each switch?

It’s a semi-involved process…

You need to create a new device type, then copy over the SmartThings z-wave switch code.

After that you can change the color (using the RGB Hex number) in a couple of lines of the code. Save your modified device type, then publish it. You need to do this for each new color you want.

Next go to your device in the IDE and edit the ones you want to change. Go to device type and change the type to the new device type you just created. Again, do this for each device you want with a different color.

Log off, then log back on the mobile app. It should now light up with the color you selected.

Warning: If SmartThings changes the device type code for z-wave switches your custom devices will NOT update with the new code. You may see (as I did) after a few months that your custom devices aren’t really working quite right. If you run into this just copy over the code from the z-wave switch again, change color, publish, repeat. :smile: