Triggering lights when powerbot vacuum enters room?

Does anyone have experience with getting a Powerbot (or similar vacuum) to trigger the lights to come on when it rolls into the room? The robot vac’s (supposedly) can’t “see” in the dark and need some level of light. I was hoping to pair up a ST motion sensor to trigger the lights when the vac entered, but I’m curious if the vac might be too small.

I have the same problem with my roomba 960. I also won’t turn on the lights and stalls out in the dark.

What if the motion sensor was installed closer to the floor?

No thermal signature to trip it. PIR looks for infrared changes to signal that something is there.


Why not install a vibration sensor on it?

In theory that might work, however, it would turn on every light associated with the ST “SmartApp / automation” weather the vacuum was in that particular room or not. This is the best solution so far, not perfect, but your idea is better than anything I’ve come up with!! I’d also need to figure out where to attach the sensor, the vac already barely clears the underside of my couch!

Use a pressure mat. These are quite easy to integrate to smartthings, you can find one graded to a light enough weight, and unless you have someone using a cane in the home it should be possible to set it up so that it is not a tripping hazard. And you don’t need to attach anything to the vacuum.

In the past people have use these for a welcome mat, for Halloween decoration theft detection, and on beds and sofas to tell when someone is occupying them, but it should work for your use case as well. :sunglasses:

You will need to decide whether you also want the lights to come on when a person steps on the mat or whether you want to only have the mat trigger the lights when the home is in “away“ mode. Just depends on the details of your use case.

You could also set up a trip beam but those require a lot of technical knowledge and quite a bit of work, so I don’t usually recommend that.

1 Like

The mat (linked) triggers at 60 lbs. My Vac is less than 10 lbs…

That specific mat model, yes, but as I mentioned you can find mats graded at pretty much any level, down into ounces. :sunglasses: otherwise everything is just the same.

So you just need to find a mat with the lower threshold. There is discussion of this in the thread I linked to above if you’re interested.

Specifically in post 15 in that thread:

(You might be able to make an inexpensive one yourself with parts from a robotics supply house. Usually you buy the sensor part And then give it a fabric covering. In your case a thin strip might work. But it’s easier to just find a premade mat.)

There was one guy who was going to use one for when his keys were put in a bowl, for example.

So part of this depends on what your budget is as well.

My robot vacuum produces enough heat to trigger my PIR motion sensors once it’s been running for a few minutes. It also triggers motion on both my Foscam camera and Wyze cam. I’m sure not all vacuum/motion sensor combinations will work for this, but it would with what I’ve got (Roborock S5 and Xiaomi/Aqara PIR sensors).


I’ll have to test that using my ST motion sensor. Typically my 'bot’s been running for awhile before it ever gets around to my master bathroom (the dark room in which it needs lighting help). My wife and I are in agreement though, no cams in the bathroom! I like the idea of the vibration sensor. I wonder if the vac undocking would cause enough of a shake to trigger the sensor??? I think the idea of adhering the sensor to the bot would drain the battery faster than id like. I think I’ll move my ST motion sensor to the bathroom and see if I get any notifications when the bot running.

1 Like

If you have your vacuum triggered via SmartThings like I do, you could simply add a rule that turns those lights on when the vacuum starts and turns off after a set period. My vac uses lidar which doesn’t need light, but it starts when everyone leaves the house each day (if it hasn’t already run that day).

1 Like

I haven’t figured out how to trigger my Shark AE vac via ST, there seems to be some integration hurtles on the vendor side. Plus, my Shark doesn’t use LIDAR, it uses optical sensors and needs some level of light to operate (i.e. not get lost). Apparently I made a poor decision when picking out a robot vac if I wanted integration. The ONLY thing I’ve gotten to work is integrating it with Google Home, and I don’t even know how I got that to work b/c I no longer see Shark as a integrated partner when I open Google home.

Confirmed. The Shark 101AE does appear to generate enough heat to trigger the ST motion sensor!