Smart light switch - automated by motion but still works as a switch?

Hello - I’m new to home automation but have recently moved and want to automate the lights in our kitchen, but am struggling to be certain I’ve found exactly what I’m looking for. I’m in the UK.

We have two lighting circuits in the kitchen:

  1. We have 10 x GU10 spots in the kitchen - all currently non-dimmable LED lamps. Given the number, I’m reluctant to go down the Hue route as it gets pretty expensive, and wouldn’t really help me if I decide to do other rooms in the future.
  2. We have under cabinet fluorescent spots. Not against changing these if I need do as I don’t particularly like them anyway.

What I’d really like to get to is

  • Dual gang light switch that continues to operate the lights as normal and that would continue to operate the lights in case of a automation failure. We have quite a few friends and family come and stay, so I’d like to keep operation as normal as possible.
  • Motion and lux sensor that automatically turns the lights on when someone walks into the kitchen, below a certain lux level, and turns the lights off again if no motion is detected for a period of time or the lux level increases.

I’ve been looking at and a SmartThings hub, but can’t find anything that confirms if it works as a standard switch if the automated side of things fails (I think it does).

I do have a neutral at the switch.

On the sensor side of things, I’ll probably start with the SmartThings motion sensor as one of those is included in my starter kit - unless anyone tells me I’m going to need something different to do what I need. I’ve looked at the Aeotec Mulitsensor 6 and the Fibaro - both of which look good, but maybe are unnecessary at this point?

Really I’m looking for some confirmation that the way I’m approaching this is a good idea and that I’m not missing a different approach along the way. Any suggestions of kit I should be using would also be welcome - I’d really like it to work reliably, so happy to spend a bit more if it increases reliability.

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions!

My preference is to go with a Fibaro modules to provide a way of automating the existing lights as I have many and find them 100% reliable. Depending on how deep your back boxes are they can fit behind the switch plate. They can operate in either momentary out toggle switch mode, so you can reuse your existing switch and nobody will even know they are there. The type of module (dimmer, single relay or dual relay) will depend if you have a neutral in the box and if you have a single gang or dual gang switch.

You can then add additional triggers for turning the lights on. The ST sensor can act as a motion trigger along with the simple “Smart Lighting” smart app to automate. If you want to add lux as a trigger well then the Fibaro motion sensor will so this. At this point you will probably want to look at CoRE for the automation as it is a lot more powerful than the “Smart Lighting” app and allow you to create all sorts of rules over when how and what you automate.

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Using a smart switch or in-wall module will allow the lights to be operated from the wall switch even if the hub/controller fails or is not available. So your approach is indeed a good one, and much better than using smart-bulbs.

+1 for the Fibaro in-wall modules. They tend to be much more configurable than their competitors, plus they allow you to use any physical wall switch. (Separation of HA hardware from aesthetic/physical hardware is a good idea IMO as they evolve and are replaced at different rates.). They are very popular with the SmartThings community and there are plenty of great device handlers for the entire Fibaro range. I’ve had over a dozen in operation for the last year and they are 100% reliable.

You may want to consider the Fibaro Dimmer 2 module. This can be configured as a simple switch, but would also support dimming if you converted the bulbs to dimmable ones in the future.

When selecting a sensor, look for one that supports Z-Wave Association (assuming the smart-switch/module you buy is Z-Wave). This will allow the sensor to send commands directly to the switch, which will offer better response times and resilience in the case of controller failure.


Thanks both - really appreciate the speedy replies and advice. The Fibaro modules look good and I think I’ll have space for them.

SmartThings starter kit is now here, just the module to get. I’m hoping more of what you’ve written makes sense once I get started!