I am new to all this automation stuff and am looking for some advice.
Instead of purchasing 2 exterior front door lights with ability to do what I am wanting and paying big buck for them and having them only work correctly for a year if I am lucky, I am looking for a better alternative.
Here is what I am thinking:
I am thinking of getting 2 plain on/off exterior lights( one on each side of front door) that work off one interior switch.I would like them to come on at dusk at a dimmer setting and remain on for X amount of hours, I would also like them to be motion activated at all times during darkness and come to full bright when motion is detected.I am just not sure what parts are required to accomplish this. I am assuming it could be done at a better price than buying 2 lights that have ability withing them, and I am also assuming doing it with other parts would provide a more consistent/reliable solution that would outlast most lights that can be purchased at the box stores.
IMO built-in photocell is the simple way to do it, doesn’t depend on internet working. And a built-in photocell adds about $20 to the light but it would probably interfere with dimming.
FYI sunset / dawn schedules seem to have national peak load problems with lost or delayed commands. Maybe that can be worked-around with time offsets, not sure if that is built-in to ST routine “Smart Lighting” since I don’t use it yet.
Also dimming addressable bulbs are $12 each now.
Here is my set up for the porch lights that has not failed once in a year: at sunset, lights come on dimmed at 10%, when there is motion, the lights go to 100%. When motion stops, lights go back to 10%. When we go to bed, the lights turn off and only come back on if there is motion detected. The lights turn off at sunrise. I use one Smartthings hub, one z-wave dimmer and one Aeon Labs motion detector. Since upgraded to second generation of SmartThings hub, my set up is not dependent on internet. Cost $200. Seems expensive for a light project, but when you take in consideration that same hub handles 90+ other devices and that the motion sensor is also used to regulate the temperature in the house and to turn on/off lights in the house when there is dark outside, buying the devices is well worth it.
I think what you are using sounds just right. My smartthings hub will be here Friday.So not counting the hubs cost (since I would have it anyways) $100 is not that much to spend to accomplish what I am looking for.
It just seems that any motion type lights I have ever owned don’t seem to function right for very long and I am hoping zwave type items will have better lifespans.
Did you need a special bulb, or would just any dimmable led bulb do the trick?
Thanks for your input.
I have the same set up that you are wanting. I have 4 ge link bulbs that cone on at dusk and turn off at 11pm. After that the motion detector turns them of and on.
I’m using a ST V2 hub - 100.00
4 GE link bulbs - 60.00
1 ecolink motion detector that came as a kit - 40.00
I have had zero problems with any of it working.
Also note, all of this equipment, except for the hub, is on the west facing wall of a brick house in Birmingham, AL. Last night the temp was 50° with a high of 85° today. The temp sensor well register temps over 100° in the evening because of the brick. They are literally baking in the Alabama heat and I have had no problems.
On the front porch I have an on/off z-wave switch with 2 GE Links bulbs. In the back I have a dimmer with 2 dimmable LEDs. Here is a thread on dimmable bulbs and why I use a z-wave switch with them…
So, to get started, I could just get 2 GE link bulbs.
Forgive my ignorance, but like I said this is all new to me. With those bulbs I could control dimming and time for lights to go on and off?
Then later I could add the motion detector?
I get what you are saying about the switch thing, but off the record, it is my house and I plan on being there forever and I always shut off the breaker prior to touching electrical, just seems like a smarter idea, IMHO.
This is an interesting topic as I am in the same boat as you are. I have just started with ST and I am trying to figure out whether to put my regular front porch lights on a z-wave dimmer switch and control them that way or to go with bulbs. Also, I need a motion sensor that can withstand cold temperatures as I live in Canada and the winters can get pretty cold. Suggestions?
Yes, with two bulbs and the hub, your dimming and timing would be taken care of. Anyhow, is not about electrocution, as it is about habits. If you live by yourself, there is no problem. But if you don’t, other people may like to use the physical switches, like my wife, and then your automated bulbs will stay off if you don’t give them power( when the switch is off).
Also, just a personal preference. But I like using the bulbs over switches in some places because I like the control of individual bulbs. For instance I can turn on the two bulbs on the porch and turn off the ones on the garage.
It’s really a matter of what you want it to do.
I now have another question, do I need the hub that goes with Hue bulbs or Link bulbs to make them work?
or will the smartthings hub handle these without having the other hub?
I was talking with a guy at work that has a Vera system and he thinks I will need the hub that corresponds with whatever bulb I choose to use.
No other hub needed for either bulbs, although Hue hub has its advantages for integrating it into ST, however, doing so would disable the local processing.
Great. Thanks for all the input. I am going to start gathering items and see how things work out.
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