Total newb looking for advice on simple (ish) requirement UK

Hi folks. I’ve been interested in smartthings for a while but not taken the plunge yet. Also, just so you are aware, my electrical knowledge is very limited. I have no experience of handling any home electronics apart from wiring a plug. So I find this a bit daunting tbh. I’m not stupid, I just don’t have the experience yet. But I can learn as long as things aren’t glossed over.

Currently I have a few LIFX bulbs and the arlo pro 2 with 3 cameras.

The first thing I am looking to achieve is to have the outside lights, which are at the front of my house, come on and go off on a timing schedule, say between 7pm and 10pm, and also be triggered by movement provided by the arlo cam (hard wired). Motion detection would occur after 10pm after the timed lighting period had ended, through till morning.

Currently we have one outside lamp which is totally dumb. Purchased from screwfix. It is operated by a standard 3 gang light switch in the hall.

I intend to purchase 2 more of these outside lights from screwfix, and place them either side of my garage door. They would have to be wired in to the garage and receive power from in there. There’s no way I’m prepared to chase the wires in to the hall. It would make a big job and a right mess!

So Ideally I would have the functionality mentioned above, and also have the current outside light and the two additional outside lights triggered by the switch in the hall.

My best guess would be to add the two new light fittings and wire them in to a blank box with a fibaro or sonoff switch.

Add a fibaro or sonoff switch to the 3 gang light switch in the hall (I’m guessing on the switch that controls the outside light) and then some other smartthings logic/wizardry…

I am concerned about what affect sticking to a standard light switch would have one the whole system as I have a wife and a 2 year old daughter who like to press light switches and I can imagine that this would cause no end of problems if the switch in the hall wasn’t left on at all times?

Thank you to anybody who takes the time to read this, let alone give me advice.


I’ve just finished doing this. I used a Qubino 1D relay module, but think any Z-wave relay module would work (not everspring as they have low voltage inputs)

First, I opened the lights and disconnected the PIR output and wired directly to the Qubino I1 input and connected nothing to the Qubino output.

As I used 2 light fittings, I wired the other PIR to the Qubino I2 input.

This way I have 2 separate motion sensors, ST picks them up as a switch and a motion sensor.

I can use webcore to detect when the switch or the motion sensor changes, even when the lights are off and use them for automations. I did it like this so I can use the motion sensors to trigger when someone walks/drives up the drive and use webcore to notify me.

I connected both lights to permanent live and fitted OSRAM RGBW smart bulbs.

I have them on at 50% from sunset to midnight and 10% from midnight to sunrise and when motion is detected changes to 100% for a minute after motion stops.

I chose RGBW bulbs so I can have them flash red when alarm is triggered and have mulitcolour sequence at Christmas, orange at halloween etc.

I also use webcore to flash my car’s headlights (BMW connected smartapp) to flash if motion is detected after midnight.

My next mission is to add OSRAM bulbs to a light next to the front door (same as the garage ones but without PIR) and add them to the same logic. I will bypass the double switch in the hall by connecting the cables with a wago and replace with a single switch to still control the hall light as normal.

Another thing is ST has a few seconds delay in changing the state of the bulbs, bulbs respond at different times, so am think I may in the future add an OSRAM lightify hub and use eventghost to control all this instead of ST.

Good luck, let me know if you need any more info

Existing switches are certainly an issue with smart bulbs as you don’t want to cut off the power to those. However when it comes to switch modules such as the Fibaro Single Switch 2, which is supported by SmartThings, things are often different. Take a look at the operating manual ( and you will see that the module is typically wired so that it is always powered and the existing switch can be connected to it so it works with it.

That’s not to say installing one would be trivial. In the UK we typically don’t have a neutral going to the light switch, as required by typical on/off modules, and often not a lot of room for a module anyway. So that might mean fitting it elsewhere.

That’s a nice idea.
I’ve not even thought of using the PIR in my outside lights.
So would the adjusters still affect motion as my lights lux dial is set to turn the lights on at dusk so would that mean unless I adjusted the dial it wouldn’t send a signal of motion.
So I’m guessing your Qubino is somewhere central not wedged into the casing of the outside light ?
I just use lanterns with IKEA Tradfri bulbs at the moment.

I have set the lux dial to make sure it always responds, day or night and can control when things happen in webcore.
I have a 47mm deep surface backbox high up on inside of garage wall with Qubino on the inside wall of where one of the lights is and used trunking for the cable from the other light. I also have a switch mounted on that for isolation purposes only.
My initial though was fit the Qubino in the light and it would fit, but decided to mount it inside the garage for ease of access.
See photos, you can also see the Z-wave door sensor I use to turn on the lights inside.

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I’d look behind the existing switch if you want to put a module there, if its switching an outside light there is generally a neutral there to go to the outside light, but if there is 3 switches, there will a lot of wires and not much room

Looks good :+1:
That’s one thing I’ve never really bothered with its the relays, need to think of ideas to use them with.
So I’m guessing they do low power inputs like 12v etc as well as 240v? I can’t see the PIR using much power.

The pir outputs mains in the lights so used the qubino as it take mains inputs. The qubino is not actually controlling anything just working as a sensor.

Thank you very much for the replies!

Mr @Simon_Tether , your first post sounds brilliant! Very detailed, however, it has blown my mind somewhat!

I’m not 100% sure where to start to be honest, and the delays you have mentioned do not sound like something I want. I can imagine the delays in my case would be worse as I would be asking arlo to detect motion and then ST to receive that message and then action that in to turning the lights on.

You mentioned eventghost, this looks to be a windows based piece of software? Would that be something that would require a raspberry pie or something similar, and as you say, replace the ST hub?

@orangebucket, interesting insight. Thank you. So am I right in saying that a fibaro/qubino device would allow the lights to be operated by ST scenes but also be manually switched on/off at the wall switch too?

I will have to have a look inside the switch box to see how much space there is in there, but as the house is only 3 years old I am guessing that a fibaro or qubino switch would not be able to fit. Would that mean that I would have to go the smart switch route?

Hi John if you type @ and then the username they will get tagged so they know you’ve replied.
If you are wanting basic you could just do what I do.
Just a big standard porch light with a IKEA Tradfri smart bulb in it attached directly to the SmartThings hub and then I just set routines to come on at a time or motion etc.

Thanks @Steveuk23 that works for you does it? I could try it with those bulbs and see what sort of success I get first.

Yeah works fine for me as all I need is the porch light to come on at sunset,
My living room lamp and kitchen lamp (both IKEA bulbs) to come on with the first motion in a morning.
Then off when I go to bed.
But Simon’s idea is great if you want to detect motion outside, but you have your Arlos that do that anyway I presume.


Eventghost is windows only and I have a 24/7 server with that running on it. I’ve used it for years for all sorts.

I wouldn’t replace the ST hub, just move the OSRAM bulbs from it to Eventghost because of the delays ST has in this case. I’m not doing it immediately, something I may do in the future, it’s liveable with for now.

Good luck !

Maybe another option is, for my back garden lights, which are similar but white only, I have replaced the switch with a battery operated Zigbee one (with the wires connected behind with a wago) that triggers ST to turn them on. That works almost instantly. The switch I used is an Xiaomi Aqara single switch, think it was about £12 from Aliexpress.

Thanks again @Steveuk23 and @Simon_Tether.

I think I might just get myself a v2 ST hub and trial it initially by using the front of house arlo cam to trigger one of the LIFX bulbs in the house to see what sort of delay there is. Obviously adding relays or A N Other method of making the outside lights smart will add delay. The aliexpress switch could also be an option. Just tricky for me as I already have the existing front light controlled by one of the switches on a 3 gang, and I also want to add two more lights outside which would be on a different circuit but would be triggered some how at the same time…

I guess the ikea tradfri would probably work for this. But I will have to see…

My situation is different but may provide some inspriation, the more ideas people have sometimes pops a light bulb above your head

Non of this is overly complex, just takes a bit of basic electrics and effort

Outside 30w LED security light from Toolstation ( DUMB)
Outside movement sensor again from screwfix or toolstation cant rem which ( DUMB )
10W LED security light from toolstation ( DUMB)
Porch LED strips controled via Fibaro RGBW controler ( Optional )
2 x Smart plugs which report power usage
A smart app written by COBRA here on the forum that detects voltage change

The smart plugs make the Dumb items, intelligent

So my setup allows for a 10W security light to be on all night ( if i want ) as it uses only 10w, im happy with that, it is mounted facing the wall under my soffit so it gives a wall wash downwards, not bright …but enough, it is controled for on off via a smart plug plugged into my garage

The 30w LED security light is connected to a dumb movement sensor located at a good location to detect movement from there it also goes back to a smart plug simply plugged into the garage, the smart plug reports power usage back to St

The dumb movement sensor draws 0.5w as standard when it is sleeping, nothing techy about it thats just what it does, and when it detects movement it goes from 0.5v to whatever is connected to it, in my case 30w as it is connected to a 30w security light which as expected illuminates, it is this change in voltage ( 0.5w to 30w ) that triggers COBRAs smart app to do whatever you want, switch a virtual button, say something through a speaker

So if anyone walks down my driveway, the Dumb movemet sensor detects movement, the 30W LED lights up, my Tv is configured to change chanel to my security camera input, the 10W security light illuminates and my LED strip go to bright white or whatever i want them to do, i did have them flash the Police colours but the dogs kept barking at it and the Mrs moaned because the dogs kept barking to now they just go white

Now i doubt any of this is usefull to your scenario but sometimes it is easy to overlook the simple things, just use a smart plug to control an outside light, with St any thing is possible