The Scope of Modes


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #1

A question…

Scenario:
1.) A SmartApp designed to turn lights on when motion is detected, and off 10 minutes later; set to work only in mode “Sleeping”.

2.) Hello Home action that changes mode from “Sleeping” to “Home” at sunrise.

Motion is detected 5 minutes before sunrise and lights come on. Will they be turned off 10 minutes later?


(Andrew Cockburn) #2

A good question, I can only guess as it comes down to how the mode exclusions are implemented by ST. My guess would be that the timer would fire, but the mode exclusion would prevent the app from executing the callback and the lights would stay on.

Alternatively you could argue that the callbacks may be excluded from the mode logic and the callback would happen.

Absolutely no help I know :wink:


(Linda Thomas-Fowler) #3

I think the answer is that they stay on based on memory. But… I’m basing that on a few instances of “hmm, why are the lights still on”. And it’s possible that was during the coupld of weeks of very erratic event handling.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #4

And I would, vehemently. This seems like a flaw in the logic as implemented.

In other HA systems I have used, we would just disable the motionsensor at sunrise. This would not preempt other schedules that have already been set. But with modes… well, they’re not very Smart.

So now I am asking if anyone feels there is any merit in the existing behavior; and if so, could provide a scenario that demonstrates it.


(Jody) #5

I don’t use modes for this reason and many others. For them to be useful to me, they need a serious overhaul. I would need to set up several different sleeping modes to accommodate the different schedules in my household. But then who’s I am sleeping mode wins?

Modes need to be more granular and there should be an ability to have modes at the location level as well as the zone/room/area level.


(Tim Slagle) #6

It will not fire… Unfortunately.

A quick fix, which i have done is when I switch to morning mode I “activate” my lux sensor. Once it gets bright enough it will turn off the light, as well as at every lux value change it checks motion to see if there has been motion in the last 10 minutes, if there hasn’t been it turns off the light.

This may not work for everyone but it does work for me.


(Bruce) #7

I get around this simply by separating “Turn on when there is motion” from “Turn off when there is no motion”. In other words, I don’t use the “Turn off when motion stops” option in “Turn on when there is motion”, but use the separate “Turn off…” app instead. For the “Turn on…” app I use modes to control when it does and doesn’t turn the lights on. But I don’t limit the “Turn off…” app, it fires in all modes. I also can use a different set of motion sensors for on vs. off this way.

With this approach the lights do turn off as you want after x minutes, even with a mode change to a mode where they wouldn’t turn on.


(Tim Slagle) #8

I use this at some places too! totally forgot about this. Good reply :smile:


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #9

Yup… but in this case, it would turn them off in the evening as well, which would be unwanted. I think the simplest work around here would be to just turn them off at sunrise. But finding a work around wasn’t really the point of my post.

I was more interested in how people felt about the existing behavior, and whether or not it should be changed (and if not; why not?)


(Tim Slagle) #10

Restrict the “turn off when” to your modes you want it to “travel over” and then have another “turn off when” for your night mode.

I like modes. But could they be better? maybe I like modes in their current iteration because they are a great way to restrict actions based on night/day/state of your home/state of your eyes/etc… I’ve thought about this one a lot and I don’t think there is a more efficient way to do it honestly. Every way to restrict actions is going to have it’s draw backs. Vera for instance completely disables the device if you disable it in a “mode”. Thats not cool IMO.

Right now i have modes setup exactly the way i want them and it’s a beautiful thing. Here is how my modes work.

  1. Away Day - Runs automatically when the house is empty and if the house is empty and the sun comes up. Is based off the current “sun state”. So if the sun is up it will change to this mode when everyone leaves the house.
  2. Turns on all my cameras and moves them into the away position and turns on the video feeds.
  3. 1 minute after I leave STs sends me a push message to tell me if my home is secure or unsecure.
  4. “Activates” motion detection in all the rooms to alert if motion is detected.
  5. “Activates” door sensors to alert if any door is opened.
  6. “Activates” door sensors to alert is someone knocks or wiggles door while house is empty
  7. “Activates” my door bell sensor to alert if the door is taken
  8. Turns off garage power
  9. Turns off all exterior lights.
  10. Turns off my dryer
  11. Sets Thermostat to the proper temperature
  12. Much more I’m sure I’m missing
  13. Away Night - Runs automatically when the house is empty and if the house is empty and the sun goes down. Is based off the current “sun state”. So if the sun is down it will change to this mode when everyone leaves the house.
  14. Turns on all my cameras and moves them into the away position.
  15. “Activates” my “Occupancy Light Sim” app to simulate the house being active while the house is empty
  16. 1 minute after I leave STs sends me a push message to tell me if my home is secure or unsecure.
  17. “Activates” motion detection in all the rooms to alert if motion is detected and turns on the video feeds and activates night vision.
  18. “Activates” door sensors to alert if any door is opened.
  19. “Activates” door sensors to alert is someone knocks or wiggles door while house is empty
  20. “Activates” my door bell sensor to alert if the door is taken
  21. Turns off garage power
  22. turns on all my exterior lights
  23. Turns off my dryer
  24. Sets Thermostat to the proper temperature
  25. Much more I’m sure I’m missing
  26. Home Day - Runs automatically when the house is occupied and if the house is occupied and the sun comes up. Is based off the current “sun state”. So if the sun is up it will change to this mode when someone comes home.
  27. Turns off all lights
  28. Sets Thermostat to the proper temperature
  29. Turns on my dehumidifier
  30. Turns on garage door power
  31. Moves security cameras to home positions and turns off the video feeds.
  32. Sends my fiancé a text to let her know I am home vice-a-versa
  33. Turns off all exterior lights.
  34. Turns on my dryer if there is still a cycle to be finished.
  35. Deactivates my “Occupancy Light Sim”
  36. Much more I’m sure I’m missing
  37. Home Night - Runs automatically when the house is occupied and if the house is occupied and the sun goes down. Is based off the current “sun state”. So if the sun is down it will change to this mode when someone comes home. This mode also triggers 30 minutes before sundown but only if someone is home.
  38. Turns on certain lights so we can see when we come home.
  39. “Activates” motion to turn on lights
  40. Sets Thermostat to the proper temperature
  41. Turns on my dehumidifier
  42. Turns on garage door power
  43. Moves security cameras to home positions and turns off the video feeds.
  44. Sends my fiancé a text to let her know I am home and vice-a-versa
  45. Turns off all exterior lights.
  46. Turns on my dryer if there is still a cycle to be finished.
  47. Deactivates my “Occupancy Light Sim”
  48. Much more I’m sure I’m missing

With modes i am able to do so much that I couldn’t with Vera or the 3 other home automation systems I have had. I activate most of this stuff based on mode change to a certain mode. Modes have allowed me to have a “hands off” approach to STs automation. In Vera, Comcast, ISY etc, it had to be very “hands on”. When I left my home I would have to “activate” these types of scenarios manually, or come up with some rinky-dink hackzored way to tell these different systems we weren’t home, and I was lucky if it worked when the sun and moon aligned and Hapooky the Home Automation god felt kind to me that day. When I had Vera, Comcast, and ISY there were COUNTLESS times I showed up to a home that was dark, or a home that was broken into without a single alert from my ISY because it didn’t activate my motion or door sensors… Yet STs has thwarted a group vandals since i got it… STs is winning in my book.

With STs I haven’t had to be “hands on” in quite sometime.

How would you make a mode more “granular”? A mode should be very broad IMO. I’m home and its day. I’m home and it’s night. I’m sleeping. I’m away and its day… etc.

When STs can tell if there is a person in a certain room I agree. But until then what would “Room Modes” do? You’d always have to manually set them as of now. I’m want automation not interaction.

I’m not saying modes are perfect, but I do believe they are the best way I have seen to do these things. Could STs improve them? I’m sure they could. But for now I am more than happy with modes in their current state.


(Jody) #11

There is usually someone at my house 24/7 so the away/here concept does not really work. I have motion detectors and door sensors in every room, so I can tell when someone is in a room. I do have home and away modes but they are rarely every used because someone is always here. I would end up creating 20-30 modes in their current iteration which is the opposite of automation. I would like for there to be modes at the zone/room level because we do tend to occupy our own areas of the house. To do this now means creating home and away modes for every user, then home and away modes for all users. And all of those modes are just in one giant pile.


(Tim Slagle) #12

Motion sensors will never work as occupancy sensors. Motion sensors aren’t sensitive enough. Currently there aren’t any really good occupancy sensors on the
Market. iBeacons could change that though.

Until then room based rules aren’t going to do you any good.

Unfortunately what you want to do is limited because of currenty technology. Technology needs to evolve a little.


(Greg) #13

Tim I’ve been looking for a door bell sensor, what are you using? And what do you mean by taken?


(Bruce) #14

I’m not sure one way or the other about this question. I guess it only applies to the specific issue of starting a turn off after x minutes timer as you describe. My first reaction was the same as yours: changing modes shouldn’t cancel the timer that was started. But, that begs the question of what is really meant by “Only during these modes.” What if you want the lights never to turn off at all during the new mode, so turning them off from an old timer (old from the prior mode) may be the wrong thing to do. I don’t think there’s a clear answer. But, ST offers the flexibility to do what you want, IMO.

Often these sort of things are puzzles, and the solution to the puzzle doesn’t always come easily, at least for me. Sometimes I write a bunch of funky code trying to work around something, only to figure out later that there is a simple way to do it with simple or no code. Based on that experience, I can’t say it should be changed.


(Steven) #15

You don’t record security footage when people are home? I had a thief put in prison for robbing us WHILE WE WERE HOME. I record 24/7, and just have the retention set to 36 hours. Only common areas of the house. Though I’m curious what cameras you use to automate the movement and the feeds on/off. That part is pretty slick. I’ve got a PTZ Trendnet and I hadn’t seen any way to get ST to speak to it.


(Tim Slagle) #16

They record on motion when we’re home.

I use foscams