(UK) Best way to detect someone coming up the drive and turn lights on? (Gate posts, but no gate)

Hi all, I had some unwelcome visitors last night at 4AM, I was only alerted to their presence when I came outside this morning to find someones glove box contents all over the front of my car. I consulted my Logitech circle cam and sure enough a couple of low lifes were trying all the car doors on the street, including mine on the drive.

The camera isn’t good enough to detect faces in the dark and in fact had failed to detect the person as a person, which it normally does. either way it makes no difference as i wouldn’t have been alerted due to my phone being on silent and also, the intruder saw my camera and covered his face. All in all not much i could do with my current set up.

so what I want to do is to try to scare anyone away, with lights and noise, but of course false positives are annoying. luckily my house is difficult to get to without walking through the gates, and this gives me the option to use a break beam sensor similar to this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retro-Reflective-Photoelectric-Detector-Sensor/dp/B008EHJ0L6 I have no expirience with these but im hoping it would detect a person easily the same way they do in lifts whilst being high enough to avoid cats and other wild life.

my plan would be to wire it up to a security light so if all else fails (smart things) there is a physical action, but i also want to link it into smart things somehow and wondered what the best method might be.

Could i use a fibaro relay to turn on the light and link into smart things wire the sensor up as a switch? the sensor works as a relay itself, but i assume it only changes from hi to low or low to high when the beam is broken, so whatever is triggered would need to be able to see a state change and alert to it even if the state changes back quickly.

any suggestions would be great. thanks.

More than likely, this is a simple open/close sensor. There are smart contacts that can receive external open/close connections so that part is simple as far as SmartThings.

However, you would like for:
This to work via a manual connection only…i.e. “No Smarts” to turn on the light
Work with SmartThings…

This is going to be tricky…,

I took the approach of getting a Habitat Hub for things that NEEDED to work if SmartThings is acting up. I physically connected various Smart Sensors to it because everything runs locally and doesn’t need the internet. Then I mirrored those devices in SmartThings.

Will be following this thread to see how others have tackled this.

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What material is your gate? Can you use a magnetic door sensor? That may not work if the gate is metal, but wood or vinyl shouldn’t be an issue.

From there, it’s just a simple configuration to have the door sensor trip your relay between certain hours.

Maybe treat it as two separate items:

Basic Contact Sensor to alert SmartThings to alert you when something is open (or wire a dry contact into a beam sensor)


A motion sensor light or alarm.

Don’t over complicate things, else it can go wrong.


I called it my gate, but alas its actually just a driveway opening between two posts where gates use to be. I cant actually fit working gates any more due to the position of the parked cars, plus I dont have the cash to build the gates.

The second issue is the gateway is at the end of the driveway, so something powered is a better solution, wires back to the house about a 4-5m run i would think. I can probably use a fairly simple relay to split the feed from the sensor, so one feed from the relay could trigger some kind of Z Wave device, the other could trigger a light of some kind.

What devices that work well with smart things are able to take a 240v trigger assuming thats how the sensor works on mains (UK) power?

Hi @steve.bratt,

I have an idea for you since you are in UK and don’t have a driveway gate.
You will need two things.

  1. A Dry Contact sensor. Preferably something like this one:
    or this one which I know has two ports for fire contacts

  2. and you can wire it into this driveway sensor which is rated for UK:

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I have a similar situation. My solution was to place a Xaiomi Human sensor (10 GBP on ebay) hidden in a sheltered outdoor spot, next to the gate. This communicates wirelessly with the ST hub over 30m away and through two doors, using ZigBee (and a custom driver from github) to detect any reprobate entering my drive. I then used a sonoff wifi switch (hidden behind an existing manual light switch enclosure and flashed with Easy ESP) and the Sonoff Connect app plus device driver (again from GitHub). It was then a simple job to create an automation for automatically changing a mode on ST on or off to represent daylight hours. And create an automation to switch on the lights only at night when motion is detected and lastly turn them off again 10 minutes later.

All the information on how to do this (apart from wiring the sonoff in parallel with the existing switch) I got from this forum. All the software came from Github and the additional hardware came from china via ebay. Thank you all.

I next plan to have the sensor on the drive, speak ‘There is Movement on the drive’ on my Google Home (using the google announcer project) during daylight hours. I have thought that I could add an external speaker too, this would command the rascals to leave the property in a more colourful language (‘Go forth and multiply’ or words to that effect) and then open a relay to release the hounds.

What about something like this with the really contact connected into a door sensor or Fibaro universal binary sensor

all solid suggestions, thanks, im leaning more toward the relay linked due to 240v power, no messing with electronics as I only have basic knowledge.

Instead of the Fibaro relay, im also thinking of using the fibaro dimmer 2, the reason for this is at night I can have the drive lights on low and then bring them up to full if the beam is broken or the front door opens. I can then lower the lights down again.

After a bit of reason im thinking the best bet will be

use the dimmer 2 switch 2 contact on the relay for the sensor
user the dimmer 2 switch 1 contact for a manual switch in the house

monitor switch 2 in smart things and when pressed trigger switch one for 10 mins or full brightness for 10 mins. The only downside to this is having to have all of the automations running online, so it wont work if the internet is off

im planning to put about 6 hard wired low level lights around the driveway. so it should look quite nice

im looking at these sennsors (3v?)

and bypass the reed switch of a box standard contact sesnor