Outdoor Floods - light switch vs smart light

I asked a similar question in 2018 and am wondering if there has been any progress on this. I want to do something that I think would be a common use case. I have 5 outdoor floodlights that light the back of my house (3 of them light a patio) all controlled by 1 single light switch. 1 big requirement is to use Motion Detection on the lamp unit itself. (Ideally, there would be a Z-Wave or Zigbee unit I could just buy and control them manually but if they exist, I can’t find them). If I install a Lutron wall switch and turn them to ON/OFF and set the flood lamps themselves to motion detection, will this work? And will I be able to turn them on w my Lutron or ST app? The motion detection part is what is confusing me since I have Lutron wall switches all over the house that work flawlessly.

I have four GT500R fixtures by RAB Lighting. There is a manual override procedure to force them on for 6hrs. After 6 hours, or after turning it OFF-ON, it returns to it’s previous values. The procedure is OFF-ON-OFF-ON within 5 seconds.

My issue is that i have them set to motion detection after dark and i leave the switch on 24/7. I’ve done a little testing and i’m not sure how long the lights need to be off before you can perform the manual override sequence. I’ve emailed RAB Lighting support in hopes that they can tell me.

If i can find out how long the lights need to be off, i can use a pico remote with Hubitat to manually turn the lights on with the initial OFF delay. The “off” function in my case would cycle the lights OFF-ON to return them to motion detection.

Hope this helps.

Thanks. I thought the GT500R was a bad-A mustang. :slight_smile: So it looks like that unit is a standard flood light and you’re controlling w a pico (which I also have). I dont have the requirement for 6 hrs on/off. I just want it to go on at night but i also want to be able to turn on or off w either a Pico or ST app.

If you installed the Lutron Caseta switch, you’d definitely be able to control it via any pico that you paired with the switch.

I’m not sure if it would work through ST. I know the only way it works through Hubitat is via an integration with a Caseta pro hub.

Well I do have a Caserta Hub but not sure which model i have. I use Lutron whenever I need to control a light switch and smart lights for everything else. Does anyone know if the Ring Floodlamp would work for what I am trying to do?

It’s going to depend on the specific wiring of the floodlight. First rule of home automation: “the model number matters.“ That applies even to the relatively dumb devices like A dumb motion sensor floodlight.

Basically you have three options here, but the wiring can get tricky.

1) dumb outdoor motion sensor floodlights, smart indoor switch.

There are motion sensor floodlights which have wiring that allow you to add a switch. If you get one like that, you are all set. You can definitely put in a smart switch to replace the potential dump switch and everything should work fine.

The trick of it is obviously that you don’t want to cut power to the motion sensor when you turn the light off from the switch or the motion sensor trigger won’t work until you turn the switch on again. That’s not usually what you want.

If the motion sensor light does not already provide wiring to add a switch, it gets more complicated. You may be able to put a smart relay in line between the motion sensor and the light, and once you have that, you can then have another smart switch that would trigger that smart relay. Then the smart switch doesn’t even have to be on the same circuit branch. But it’s going to get complicated, and many motion sensor lights just don’t have a way to do this.

So I would take a step back and look for models of dumb motion sensor lights that let you add an optional light switch. That’s just going to be the easiest way. :sunglasses:

There are two other alternatives.

2) separate outdoor motion sensor

I think the option most people use is to put up a separate outdoor motion sensor. There are now two made for outdoors, the hue outdoor motion sensor which is zigbee and Zooz outdoor motion sensor which is Z wave. The Zooz has an official integration with smartthings. The hue is trickier.

In this set up, if you only want a motion sensor to turn on some of the lights, you don’t worry about the switch in doors: you put smart bulbs in the lighting fixtures and that way you can use any motion sensor to trigger any combination of the smart bulbs.

If you want any motion sensor to turn on all of the lights, then you just use a smart switch and use each motion sensor to trigger the same switch.

3) One smart switch inside, one smart motion sensor light at each position outdoors

I think this is the one you were imagining. Homeseer now makes an outdoor zwave motion sensor to retrofit dumb motion sensor lights. So you put a smart switch indoors that does not control the circuit. (Or use the smart switch cover over the existing dumb switch) That switch will turn all the lights on or off at the same time. But the motion sensor at each light can also turn its specific light on when motion is detected.

I put this one last because I think it’s going to be the most expensive option and it’s also somewhat non-intuitive. But it does exist.

If it was me, I would use a separate motion sensors, either the dumb ones from option one or the smart ones from option two. But choice is good. :sunglasses:

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The SmartThings/Lutron Caseta is a cloud to cloud integration, so any model of Lutron smartbridge will work, you don’t need the pro.

None of that solves the issue that the OP is describing in the first post, though, since he wants motion sensors outdoors.

I think this is precisely what I need to do. This is a good lead to begin my search :slight_smile: With this, I should be able to:

  1. Use a Caserta Light Switch + Pico remote to control all 5 lights

  2. Use a dumb light unit with optional light switch

Any suggestion from anyone on such a light? (i’ll research for sure but if someone has done this specifically before, that would be great. :smiley:

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RAB Lighting makes some solid lights. Made in the USA with a 5-year warranty. They’re a bit pricey, of course, but their motion sensors last and their fixtures, metal and ceramic, last much longer than plastic.

Just make sure you buy from an authorized dealer or they won’t honor the warranty.

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They do have some pretty high end products. I also just discovered the Hue Lily. They look great but are pricey.