How to override a Motion Sensor inactivity rule so the Lights Stay On when the Wall Switch is Used? (SmartThings Classic)

Looking for tips or general direction as to two items.

  1. I have several lights turning on and off with motion and preset to dim levels. When someone manually changes the dim level through the Lutron switch the motion then causes it to revert back?? Also if someone manually turns on a light the motion might then turn it off if set to do so. Would be ideal it manual adjustment were locked down? Hope this makes sense.

  2. If lights are set to do different things at say 11:00 PM such as motion now turns on lights at a low dim level what is the best way to override all of this when we are up late with guests? I don’t want crazy things happening and lights going off and such if people are over.

I am a new user and just trying to figure out best direction to take on these issues.

Any help appreciated.


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This is a pretty common use case now, many people have a motion sensor set to automatically turn the lights off after inactivity, but they want the manual wall switch to override that rule.

I think the most common way to do this is with webcore, which is a very sophisticated rules engine developed by the community. They actually have their own forum now. :sunglasses:

@anon36505037 might be able to say if there’s an existing topic there on this use case.

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Ok thanks. I guess I need to dive into Webcore. Just so little time and so many possible automations!


I use modes. I have a mode called override, as well as active/inactive night/day categories. All my motion lighting routines only work in the modes I choose. When we want to disable them I have a button controller that I use to switch to the override mode so the motion lighting rules wont trigger. I have a Core rule for resetting the correct mode based on time of day and occupancy. It’s pretty tight.

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I do this with virtual switches for each room.

Bedroom Automation
Kitchen Automation

I put one in each Piston that controls a device in that room. That way I can say, Alexa, “turn off Den Automation” and then Automation that has that restriction built in is paused in that room only.

For me, this is better than using modes because you can quickly isolate the room instead of effecting everything.

Piston for the Dining Light.

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This is really helpful in giving me ideas on how to setup my system. Thanks! I have started playing with Webcore and next I need to get everything organized.

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Also, for each room, I have a master Virtual Switch for that room.

I can say, “Alexa, turn off Day Room” and everything in that room turns off. If anything in the room is on, it turns on the Master Switch as well.

I only use the standard modes. With over 200 devices, using too many modes was a nightmare.

Here’s a Piston for the Master Switche.

Good stuff. Now I just need time to work on my setup!

Thank you again for sharing.

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Is this similar to the “rooms” created through the alexa app? I can say, “alexa turn off the downstairs” then it turns off all corresponding lights downstairs.
I am having the issue with overriding the motion sensor for “impromptu” reasons.
Through smartthings I have the “auto kids room” to turn off at 9:30pm - +/- 30 minutes to sunrise. That’s fine, but when guests are downstairs, the motion sensor takes over and we’re waving our hands… :expressionless:
As I have read this is fixed by a piston on a virtual switch that is created through the ST classic app correct? As a newbie can I utilize your piston for a virtual switch for my downstairs pretty easily?

Yep. The overide Virtual Switch has to be on in order for the Piston to work.

So each “Room” Switch has a matching “Room Automation” Switch. I can say:

Alexa, “Turn off Downstairs Automation” and the motion sensors no longer turn off the lights!

I also have a Piston that automatically turns the Automation Switch back on after a certain time period. Some rooms are 2 hours, some 5, etc…

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Could you post the piston

I am new to webCore. Anything pre populated will help me resolve this. Thanks

Be warned, it’s a little advanced…

So the gist of it is, if an Automation Switch turns back on then it’s sends a notification that that particular Automation has resumed.

If a switch turns off then a timer starts and once it get to the end of the time period, it turns it back on.

Since I have so many, I just lump them together and the Piston keeps track of which ones turn off/on.

Looks complicated but it’s pretty straight forward. You can dumb it down dramatically just by making a separate Piston for each Switch or…a separate “If” block for each Switch using just one Piston.

This Piston runs “asynchronous” meaning, each “If” block is independent of the next.