Vacation mode?

Hi, sorry if this question seems silly but I’ve searched for this and feel like I’m going crazy.

I’m almost certain that there used to be an app called “make it look like I’m home” for automating the lights while you’re on vacation. Now that I’ve finally put smart switches in the places needed to make this happen, i can’t seem to find a way to turn this on anywhere in the android app or web dashboard. I’ve checked under Safety & Security, Mode Magic, etc. It seems to have disappeared.

Am I crazy? Did this exist, and if so, where did it go?

I just watched the lated Developer Office Hours video from this week and I learned that ST is removing some of the smart apps. Especially any that are redundant. I also learned from a previous Office Hours video that there is a concerted effort being made to move users into using the Dashboard and Hello Home to control ST instead of using apps and using the Things tiles.

As for your lighting, under Lights and Switches in the Dashboard, consider doing a test by setting up a dashboard activity for a light you wish to automate. You’ll have options for activating the light, such as Schedule, Sunrise, Sunset, Motion, Mode etc.

Thanks Jim. Much has change in the UI. I have automated other lights via the dashboard, however the “random” aspect of a vacation mode seems to be absent. I appreciate the advice though!

Has anybody made any progress on coming up with a vacation mode?

Even with remote access and the sunrise / sunset timers, I think there’s still plenty of value to be had from a proper random vacation mode.

I’m on the road often and generally have internet access, but at times I’m out of the country or in a cruise completely cut off for days at a time. I think there’s not enough variation on sunset times to make it seem like the house is occupied, so it would be useful to have a random “after dark turn on / off some random light” to simulate occupancy.

Any ideas?


I might be willing to take a stab at this… but what exactly is the desired behavior? How random do you want it? The same lights coming on after dark, but coming on based on a randomized period of say within 45 minutes of the start time?

Or, a pool of lights, with both lights and on times randomized? And if so, would there be any exception to the random selections (like always turn outdoor lights on)?

I’m thinking some kind of randomness to which lights and when. Basically simulated occupancy, same as when a real person is home.

I’m thinking maybe you’ll go downstairs and get a beer or make a sandwich, and go back upstairs. And you go to bed at 10 because you’re tired rather than 11. And at 2:30 you get up and get a drink of water and use the bathroom. Or maybe you don’t :slight_smile:

The behavior is hard to predict but you can see it’s easy to explain. A sunset timer for all the same lights day after day is predictable, and chances are that anybody that sees me load luggage in the car will eventually figure out they’re on a timer – albeit a sophisticated and expensive web-enabled timer :slight_smile:

Maybe use a random interval after sunset (say 0-30 minutes) to begin turning lights on, then 30-45 minutes after that turn another light on, then off after 5 minutes, etc.

Ok, how about something like this:

1.) Lights to always turn on
  a.) when to start (time/sunset/offset)
     b.) randomize by how much (minutes)
     c.) when to turn off  (time/sunrise/offset)

2.) Lights in main living areas
     a.) when to start (time/sunset/offset)
     b.) randomize by how much (minutes)
     c.) average period for scene change (minutes)
     d.) when to turn off (time/sunset/offset)

3.) Lights in satellite living areas
     a.) when to start (time/sunset/offset)
     b.) randomize by how much (minutes)
     c.) average period for scene change (minutes)
     d.) when to turn off (time/sunset/offset)

Keep in mind that no more than 4 simultaneous schedules can be set at any given time, so any overlap will be overwritten by the latest scheduled item to be added to the queue.


personally I think that would work, but obviously you might have other folks that could chime in

or perhaps I’m the only one that finds this useful? :slight_smile:

Well… my first stab at it is posted here. Seems pretty darn random to me but I must admit I didn’t have the patience to test it thoroughly.


That’s great. Thanks, I’ll give it a shot and see how it works out, as I have a few trips coming up in the next couple of months.

In order to make this mode more convincing, another approach would be to “record”/log one’s ON/OFF switch interactions at the house over a period of say one week, and then replay them in vacation mode.
I’m new to ST, so my question is: is there a way to create such a log, persist it somewhere and then be able to replay it? So the app will be in Record mode for a few days, then in playback mode.
In this way, random lights wouldn’t just pop open in say one corner of the house and then immediately another corner of the house without any activity in the corridors in-between.
Of course, this is probably an overkill solution but it would make a really interesting app, and its only possible on a platform like SmartThings :smile:

All events are logged. You can retrieve a list of events for any device with device.eventsSince(date), but don’t know how far back you can go.

The only challenge would be that you can only queue 4 schedules in any SmartApp at one time, so you would need to store the recent events in a state variable, pull them out one or two at a time, schedule them, and when those schedules run, repeat the process.

You wouldn’t need to record anything as it is all there (but just how much I don’t know). Just specify the date range you wish to repeat activity for, and then condition the operation of the app on away mode (or whatever).

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Thanks! I was trying to explore the event logs but kept getting exceptions. Hopefully the answers to this other posting on syntax might help:

I’ll try again tonight.

Is this App working good to simulate someone in the home?


Never really used it… wrote it for @viguera

Anyone up for creating something like this? Or already have it?:

I was hoping for an App that would start up at Sunset (± correction value in minutes). Having a set time to start is good as well, especially for testing.

Then just have only one light on at any one time (on for 5 to 40min (5 to 40min would be random) then that light would turn off and randomly another light would turn on for the 5-40min etc.

Maybe a way to set the intensity level % of each light?

At the App shutdown time (hard time or sunrise), all lights turn off. I have several TCP bulbs and they don’t always shut off / receive the signal, is there a way to send the OFF command twice? Or to verify light is off, and if one is found ON to turn it off?


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Has anyone been able to develop the vacation SmartApp? I was thinking along the lines of @Dave but with a few modifications. Provide the following ability:

  • Create Light Groups (a grouping of lights to represent a behavior pattern)
  • A randomized method to turn on/off lights in a group
  • Ability to randomize which group is active

Just a few thoughts. Unfortunately I am not a developer so I will be of little help writing the scripting/code, but I would be happy to work with others to test.

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@viguera @StowMtMan @greg @ogiewon @Kooltaco
Tim just created a great Occupancy Light Simulator App:


This link is now broken:

Is the code still available?

Use the app Vacation Lighting Director.
It is in the marketplace.