Staircase lighting - What did you use?

Right now i’m using a 5 battery powered motions sensors along a staircase. It gets very dark there.

It works ok, but sometimes the bottom or top switch doesn’t work and it’s dangerous.

So i’m wondering if this application will work.
2 Motion sensors, one and the top and one at the bottom set to trigger a Aeon Power Plug which will turn on power plug which powers a set of LED’s.

The z-wave motion sensors I have, was just thinking to pick up one of these

Any recommendations?

Your timing on this post is a good one. I just set up 2 Iris motion sensors on my stairs to work with a GE Zwave switch (3-way setup) and SmartLighting automation to turn on w/motion and off when it stops.

My stairs (all wood, no carpet) have a platform where people turn 180 degrees to continue, unlike a straight shot up/down. One motion sensor is at the top step just under the lip tucked nicely the into the corner, right where a person would step down on the first step. The other one at the bottom is on first step pointed so that someone walking past won’t trip it, but as soon as you step on the stairs it will turn on the switch. It’s been working perfectly so far.

I’m curious why your your switch sometimes doesn’t work. If there’s a range issue with your hub, adding that Aeon device may have the same issue. It could also act as a repeater to make your original switch work better.

How far away is your hub? Performing a zwave repair may also help optimize your zwave mesh.


Hi John.

Thanks for your reply. Do you have the motion sensors wired to the switch? I was thinking to have 2 motion sensors, a condition that it’s after 6pm and once triggered will turn on the Smart switch. I cannot use a built in wall switch because I have a US frequency hub with 220v power (Asia). So the above is pretty much all I can use.

Regarding the sensors that I currently have. They are $10 ones, not z-wave. I agree that the above Smart Plug will act as a repeater and give any other device a better signal. I do have issues with the top floor and hoping this will solve.

Are you using LED’s? Never heard of SmartLighting automation.

No, these are battery powered (

You can easily do that with Smart Lighting automation with the setting “Only during a certain time”.

Yes, then that’s a good idea to add something up there to extend your mesh network. You can also move your hub around within your house, but also the orientation it’s current in because it could just be the position of the internal antennas that could make a difference.

I use a ton of LED bulbs, if fact everywhere now that I think about it.

With regards to SmartLighting, it’s a SmartApp you install within the app that lets you set up automations based on all sorts of events like motion, open/close, etc…

“Smart lighting” is the SmartThings name for the rule set up wizard where you assign a rule for a light. Like “when this motion sensor goes off, turn on that light.”

An “automation” in this context is a rule you set up in the software in the official SmartThings mobile app :sunglasses:

I like @JDRoberts explanation a whole lot better than mine, with pictures and everything! Thanks JD, well done as always.


Well, not always. LOL! 3 in the morning after a rough week and still worrying over protocol selections I whiffed one bad last night, but you fixed it.

That’s the great thing about this community, nobody’s perfect. Nobody knows everything. And every once in awhile we all get one dead wrong. But the community will pick it up again. :sunglasses:


Thanks a bunch guys. Really appreciate the great feedback.

John, last questin. Why did you use regular motion sensors to trigger the switch? Would it have been easier to use z-wave sensors that trigger the app to trigger the switch?
May I ask how you wired them?

I see a Christmas project in my future, because it’ll take me a month to get the components :slight_smile:

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These are not regular motion sensors - these are wireless ZigBee motion sensors, no wiring required, and work the same within ST’s ecosystem as Z-wave sensors. The app that controls and manages everything is what JD and I were discussing above - Smart Lighting.

Look at post 188 for another innovative way to use these motion sensors if you have pets to deal with:

Will be giving this a go soon. Thanks JC and JD!

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This recent discussion of motion sensor placement in a long hallway might also be of interest: