Light/Luminance Sensor suggestions please


I’m tired of getting up in the morning, going out into the garage and finding that the garage lights have been left on all night.
I’m looking for suggestions for a good sensor (AC or battery) to text me around bedtime if it detects that the lights are on.
I don’t care about temperature, motion included could come in handy.
Looking for something that would sense the light from two (I think) 75 watt bulbs.

I’d prefer z-wave rather than zigbee. Seem to be a few on the market, not sure which ones work best.
Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

why not just replace the physical switch?

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That was my first thought, but my wife nixed that idea for aesthetic reasons.

Do you have like gold plated devices or something?
Anyway, the firaro and aeon multi would both be capable of the task.

Also, an in wall micro controller, such as the aeon uses the existing physical switch. So there would be no physical external change in appearance.


No, not gold plated.

The lights have 3 way switches. The one in the house that I would replace is a black toggle switch in a black wrought iron faceplate.

I’d get a zwave switch If I could find a black 3-way version. Don’t think they exist, and my wife doesn’t want anything different than the look we have.

I don’t imagine an in-wall micro switch would work with a 3-way switch?

Guess I could change the switch in the garage, she wouldn’t care what that looks like, but I was hoping to change the indoor switch so that the indicator light in it would be a reminder that the light is on.

You could always add in a led to indicate ON - mount in the switchplate.

I know it’s not what you want - but there are 3 way where the paddle is illuminated when on - clear plastic with a neon inside.

Why not relate the bulbs with smart bulbs. Leave the switch on all of the time (bulbs require power even when off), include a 30.00 iris motion sensor.

Make a rule that turns the lights off after x minutes of no motion.

I’ve looked at the clear illuminated switches.
She might be ok with that.
The only lighted-when-on unit I could find was quite expensive.
The lighted when off switches only $2-$3, when on switches

the aeon micro switches work just fine in a 3 way configuration, I have a house full of them, dimmers in three way as well, though that’s a bit more complicated.
The aeons do not require a slave device like the ge’s do, due to this the aeons are less expensive to implement.

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The most popular Zwave sensors for this are probably the Aeon multi sensor or the Fibaro. Both also have luminance, motion and temperature reports.

Since this is for a garage, I would definitely go with zwave plus to get the extra range. Garages are always tricky because of all the metal and typically concrete in them.

here is a thread that has recent discussion of These sensors. Since that project was for outdoor use, we talk about disabling the motion sensor feature, but that’s only an issue outdoors. It should be fine in your garage.

You could also consider the plug in HMS200, which has a weird luminance sensor based on previous light levels in just that room, and is intended for nightlight applications, but I don’t think I would use it for your use case. I just wanted to mention it in case you see it while searching the forums.

One other note: many luminance sensors take about a day before they start reporting accurately. That’s normal. They keep an internal table of changes and light is just a little trickier than motion or temperature. Some people put them under really bright light for about an hour first, but I’ve never been convinced that that really makes a difference for the typical home automation sensors. For me, I just pair them and then check the reports starting the next day.

As for black zwave switches, both jasco/GE and Cooper make them, and Leviton may as well, but I think only rockers, not toggles. Usually you order the cover plate separately and swap it out. GoControl (Nortek/Linear) also has a “color change kit” which is a new face plate for its zwave switches and it’s available in black.

All of that said, I also wanted to mention that the wrought iron on your face plates May be be a problem. If you keep that switch cover and use a micro in the switch box, signal may have a hard time getting through. You could put the micro up at the fixture itself and that would probably solve that problem, but it’s just another thing to be aware of.

Thanks for all the replies.

Looks like I have more options than I realized.

Going to have to think about this a bit.

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