Simplify, simplify! ( non-ST automations)

Ok, ST and other systems are cool and fun. But let’s face it, not all automations require - or even benefit from - connectivity.

As one example, I have a laundry room in my basement. It’s a basement, it’s dark… you always need light on when you’re there. And it being a laundry room you don’t need elaborate lighting; a simple broad diffuse light is it.

But having a manual switch when you’re carrying loads of laundry is inconvenient, to say the least. And I certainly don’t want such a simple function beholden to a complex system where malfunctions might hinder things, and will never really benefit the scenario.

Therefore, I have installed a regular ol’ $15 motion sensing wall switch. Set it for five minutes, and it’s done. My basement workshop and fridge/passthough areas also will be getting similar switches.

Btw, such things also boost the wife-buy-in factor :slight_smile:


We did this as well for outdoor path lights. Because i’m in a wheelchair, the original ones that were there when we moved in just weren’t catching me all the time. They were up fairly high on the wall along the path. So we just added a second set of the Garden stake kind. All of them are Mr. Beams. Well engineered, inexpensive, easy to set up, and work perfectly for what we needed. :sunglasses:

We also have several closet lights that definitely don’t need to be networked, so $10 Mr. Beams for those.

I somewhat agree with you, I have used Lutron switches in all my bathrooms and have set them all with 1 min off (no motion) works pretty well because it’s a small area. I used the same in Garage, however i had to replace it with ST automation because 5 min shut off seemed to be too long for all lights and garage being bigger area there is no way to cover the whole area for catching motion. Now with ST I can have them to turn on as soon as someone goes in and turn off only when no motion detected in whole garage for 15 sec…

Very useful to conserve energy because many times a day someone would walk into garage only for few seconds to pick something and I didn’t want to leave the lights on for 5 min…Just my view…

My garage opener has a built in motion sensor, and the light goes off after two minutes. In fact, I’m leery of even integrating the garage into ST; it seems to work just fine as-is. The only thing missing is the ‘cool’ factor that would accrue to “ok Google, open the garage” :slight_smile:

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I did the same thing for a small walk-in closet. I think sometimes the HA Addiction can get the best of us “Because I Can”. :grinning:


I did this in my walk-in closets and bathrooms. They get the job done, and at a good price. I believe in the KISS principle.

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I did the same for a small half bath of the back hall.
But I did automate the fan in there. I would see someone come out and they would turn on the fan. I’d walk back a couple of hours later and it works still be running.

Thing is, it not only uses power to run, but it’s just pumping conditioned air right out of the house.

I’m in. Can we call the startup DumbThings?


I’ve had a Lutron motion sensor switch for the bathroom lights for several years that replaced an X10 setup. It’s 99% reliable. X10 did a good job as well, but replacing the batteries every few months required re-programing it.

I also have the same in a dim basement stairwell, it lights it until I can turn on the switch for the stairs.

I added a few lights to the garage with a motion sensor as well, it gives me enough light to navigate, only stays on a minimal amount of time and is all LED so no useless energy waste. Only issue there is as it gets warmer in the Summer it does not have the range I’d like. Need to optimize placement. That’s one advantage of a Zwave system - one could easily move the sensor.

These Lutron seem to work well, are proved to work in commercial occupancy applications, and are half the price of a Zwave sensor\switch application.

Actually, the sensor/switch concept can be done without too much expense if you think it out. Have that in my wife’s main closet (not a walk in). The bulb is the $15 GE bulb, and the Lowes Iris sensor for $11.40 or whatever it was. Given the door configuration (dual French door), a hard wired thing where opening the door activates the light is impractical. And the fixture is pull-chain. A screw-in motion sensor would work, but it would also drop the light an additional three inches into the storage space. So I put the smart bulb in there, and put the sensor on one door and the magnet on the other. Lights up as soon as either or both door panels open, and shuts off the moment they are closed… or ten minutes, whichever comes first. In that case, the smart arrangement definitely works.

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Ok for a single bulb - but not if running multiple bulbs, or ones not available as smartbulbs (vanity in particular with a candelabra base. Or 4’ florescent fixtures.

All my closets have “cheap” 4’ florescent with a simple pull string. I debated adding a motion switch, but not worth the cost and probably be hard to get proper coverage.

Each situation is unique inn both the physical aspects of the space and in the wants and abilities of the home owner.

My half bath it’s literally 20 ft sq. It has a fan, a light switch, and two bulbs. The Lutron presence sensor cost me 40.00. It works 100% of the time with zero lag.

I have a ton of the GE smart switches that I got for roughly $8.50 each. I’ve got iris contact sensors that I paid around 13.00 for. I could have automated the room for half the price.

I chose to not automate the lights with HA.mainly because the space just want worth it AND because I had installed the dumb sensor before I got the contact sensors AND because I’m too lazy to change the switch.

The fan is automated and I’ll probably eventually get around to doing it, but it works as it is now.

The closet in my foyer has an outlet, but no light. I hung a fixture from the ceiling and plug it in the outlet. It has a smart bulb and a contact sensor. It’s used less than the half bath, but for the closet HA works.

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All my fans are are timers, so you have to set a duration. Another KISS solution.

Pricing out smart switch and motion sensors it would easily be $50 (not everyone a deal on $8.50 smart switches). Or spend about $15 for a semi-smart switch.

The funny thing is that my house is about 50% automated. Lights turn on and off while you are in the room, voice control, power blinds, Color changing lights, Nest, etc. Most people comment “I like how the light turns on in the bathroom when I walk in” when they come over.

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Yeah, I don’t have everything done yet… I really want to do my blinds.

What option did you go with on yours?

Bali blinds which uses Somfi for their powered lines. Added about 30% more to the cost of the blinds, but new house and needed to purchase. We are considering replacing some of the dumb blinds that came with the house. Would purchase again, ordered through Costco.

I have large 2" plantation blinds in my house. Way too expensive to replace all of them, or even some of them.

I’ve been following a thread about using the photon and spark core with servos to modify current ones. It’s looking at about 30.00 per blind.

Talk about the blind leading the blind… :smiley:

I’ve been considering a “follow the sun” arrangement for automating my blinds. But the cost for plug-n-play systems is ridiculous, and I really don’t want to ‘hack’ the existing ones. Aesthetics are, even for a geek like me, an occasional consideration. So I’m leaving them manual. On any days where the sun’s heat might be undesirable, we can simply draw the blinds before leaving the house.

Which gets back to the thread concept: sometimes, automation systems are not necessarily the smartest approach.

Very true. Which is why I try to build in non HA redundancy to everything.