Is it possible to create a routine to turn lights on/off when away?

Hi all, I’ve seen the last post on the vacation lighting thread and it seems there is still no replacement for the old vacation lighting SmartApp - unless it’s buried somewhere in the middle of the thread! Whereas I used to use that SmartApp to randomly turn on and off most lights in my house for a random number of minutes when away, I’m now prepared to reduce that requirement to 3 or 4 lights where one turns on for say 5 minutes, then turns off and then the next light turns on for 5 minutes and so on until it all loops again. I tried recreating that in a routine but it doesn’t seem like it’s possible.

Has anyone managed to get anything even simple working as an alternate solution until something better comes along?

It should be possible, although it may take some work to set up. :thinking:

Do you have a SmartThings/Aeotec hub, and if so, which model?

The reason I ask is that sometimes “daisychain” routines of this type are easier to set up if you use some virtual devices, and the type of virtual devices available to you is larger if you do have a hub.

Also, what type of phone do you have? Some options may be available to android that are not available to iOS, and vice versa.

BTW, Amazon offers “away lighting” as a feature in its free Alexa Guard system as long as you have at least one echo device. It will randomly turn selected lights on while you are away, and is supposed to use some AI based on your typical usage patterns to select which lights to turn on when (although reports are that it’s not great at that part). Anyway, if you do happen to use Alexa, that might be another alternative.

You set it up in the Alexa app.

Thank you! So I believe I have the V2 Smartthings hub. And the phone is Android. I did see the advice about Alexa Guard in the other thread but I’m invested in the Google ecosystem so no Echo devices I’m afraid. I did check the Google Home app in case there was something similar there but nothing.

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You usually can get an Echo Dot for really cheap, like 30-35, if you wait for a sale. I’m mostly Google Home also, but the Alexa automation is much better (although I haven’t tried Google scripting yet) so I relented and stuck a dot in the garage (since it has to verbally announce many automations) and use it to solution a bunch of gaps left after the transition. Currently using it for away lighting, Blink cameras,band Ecobee control.

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If you’re using a driver from @Mariano_Colmenarejo they have a built in timer function. I did use it once and cannot remember the details of it, it may not be available in automations? He explained how to use it in his driver post. It maybe useful for you.

One community member posted a “how to“ on randomizing lights, using the third-party app, Sharptools. At the time of this posting it has a subscription cost of $30/year, so might not be worth it If this is the only function you need, but it’s a popular app for a lot of different reasons, and it does fill some of the gaps that smartthings currently has. It has a very nice visual interface to its rules engine so it’s an easier way to do things than some of the scripting choices. And it runs in pretty much any browser, so it doesn’t matter what kind of phone you have and you don’t need to have a smartthings hub to make it work. It won’t be for everybody, but I did want to mention it since it gives you a lot more control options then Alexa guard.

Here’s the how to thread:

Vacation Lighting & SharpTools

Also, if you have an android phone and you live in the US or South Korea, there is a “no worries when away“ service under the “labs“ category, but apparently you have to manually start and stop it each time, it doesn’t have a geopresence option, so people are saying it’s not that useful. But it’s free and it’s an official feature so it might be worth looking at. Here’s a discussion about that:

Vacation Lighting Alternatives? - #34 by milandjurovic71

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Hi @freddyq

If none of your lights use zigbee light multifunction Mc driver then.

You can use Virtual Mirror switch device created with the Aplicaciones Virtuales Mc driver.

This device has a timer with the Random option:

  • In preference settings you choose the minimum and maximum time to calculate each random turn on and off.

  • Select Mirror and Switch profile

  • When you set Random mode manually or with a routine, a timer starts that calculates the time between the minimum and maximum random set values to turn On the switch and will show what time this change will occur.

  • When the switch is turned on, it calculates another new random time to turn it Off and will show the time when it will happen.

  • These random changes will persist indefinitely until you set Inactive mode manually or routine.

  • You can set routines to activate and deactivate it automatically at a certain time when the mode is Away.

    • Activation Routine

  • Deactivation Routine

My Channel link