As I was migrating from the Smart Lighting app to use Automations, I ran into an annoying limitation. Previously I had it set to turn off my porch lights at 9pm every day, but then turn them on for 5 minutes if my Ring doorbell detects motion, all the way up through sunrise. This is a “period of time” automation, but in the Automations section of the new app, the only way I can select sunrise is if I bound both the start and end times to sunrise or sunset. No option to have start time be fixed and end time be sunrise/sunset, which is quite frankly a stupid oversight.
I don’t want to have the motion activity start turning off my light early in the evening, especially in the winter months. You can offset from sunset by up to 2 hours but that wouldn’t be enough in December. Nor do I want to set a fixed time to end this automation in the morning either.
Fortunately I realized a workaround. I settled on using the “Night” period of time, but also added a precondition to only activate if the light is already off. I have another automation that turns several lights on at sunset (including the porch), and one that turns just the porch off at 9. This way the motion detection automation can pass the precondition and turn itself back off again.