Motion sensor inactivity turns lights off too early (2016 discussion)



Continuing the discussion from [VFAQ: Lighting Control Options for UK SmartThings]

There are many threads in the forums discussing how to handle the issue of lights turning off too early, but now that Rule Machine and SmartZone Manager exist, the answers given in the previous threads might not be the best solutions.

There are several general approaches that most people use, just depending on preference and local circumstances.

One) use multiple devices to cover different areas. The devices might be different types.. For example, a motion sensor might trigger lights to come on when a person enters the room, but then a multi sensor or weight sensor attached to the chair or couch might be much more effective at deciding when to turn lights off. Of course this assumes that you’re always using the same chair, which works in some homes but not others. Or you might just use a second motion sensor which was closer to the seating area.

The Smart Chair project thread, with discussions of several different types of devices:

Two) Use multiple sensors the create one large zone.The recently created Smartzone manager by @Mike_Maxwell requires positive reports from multiple devices before counting a detection event. This gives you some additional options for using multiple devices. You could use activity on just one at the doorway to trigger lights to come on, but require inactivity on multiple devices in the room to turn the lights off again.

Three) As a variant to 2), use one sensor to automatically turn on the lights when someone enters the room and a different one to intentionally turn them off. ( The difference between options two and three is that two happens automatically every time and three requires an intentional activation of the off trigger.)

I use this in my own home. The first sensor just catches anybody walking into the room. The second sensor is pointed down underneath the small table next to my recliner. it requires an intentional hand wave to trigger. So I don’t trigger it when I get into the chair, but when I’m getting up, I just intentionally wave my hand over the sensor and that triggers a delayed off.

Rule Machine (smartapp)

Right now, the easiest way to do a delayed off (as well as a number of other things) is the very popular custom smart app, Rule Machine by @bravenel . ( its existence is the main reason that motion sensor off threads from 2015 and before Are no longer as relevant.)

So those are probably the most popular, but there are other ways as well. :sunglasses:

( And if you’ve never installed custom code In SmartThings before, here’s the FAQ for that:


Best way to make lights stay on when you're spending an extended amount of time in a room
Motion sensor in bedroom?
Rule machine - as per the app developer, this app is no longer available for new installs, distribution, or support
VFAQ: Lighting Control Options for UK SmartThings

just out of interest what sort of time-outs do you use for your lights to turn off? I am constantly finding myself in the dark as motion has stopped eg when watching tv … I currently have the wait timer with cancellation set for 8 minutes which still seems to be too early …

(Wayne) #3

I constantly fine tune but found several things useful to bear in mind.
Transient places like hallways and stairs to be short eg 1 or 2 minutes.
Places that you stay longer in like breakfast bar or lounge much longer like 10minutes or more.
A tip… place sensors really close to where you are seated like behind sofa or above dining table. This way even the smallest movement triggers the sensor.
Good luck!