YAPLQ: Yet another Pantry Light Question--auto shutoff?

Hola Folks… first time poster… I did read through other threads on this topic but it still seems to be a problematic challenge. I have a pantry with a door open switch… my family of course leaves this door open all the time so the light is always on. I have not been able to get them to change their behavior, so I trying to solve it with technology.

I previously looked for ‘smart bulbs’ that would turn off after a preset amount of time… these actually exist (10 minutes is the shortest time that I have found… however they are incandescent and $20 each + shipping.

I received a Smartthings hub for my BDay and promptly set up a socket to my Espresso machine so that it automatically turns off 15 minutes after it is turned on… works great.

Now, back to the original challege… how to turn the pantry light off after something like 3 minutes of it turning on.

I do not have a neutral and the light socket obviously only gets 120V when the door is open. I guess the best way I can actually see this working is to make the switch on the door permanently closed to ensure the light socket has 120V… then put a SmartBulb in there, then add a motion sensor in the pantry to do the dirty work.

Downsides to this approach are…

  1. Battery in the motion sensor
  2. Needs ‘smarts’ to even turn on

Isn’t there anything that when power applies, that the light is ON by default and would tell the SmartHub it’s status (on ON) which would then let me turn it off with a smart app timer?

Has anyone else solved this problem or worked through it already? I would be curious to hear your stories. Otherwise, I will start experimenting and replying here with my results.

thanks in advance…


(I’ve moved this to projects so you can get individualized responses based on your own set up.)

Sounds like a very practical project! :sunglasses:

My first question is how does the pantry light turn on now? Is there a light switch? Or is there already some built in wiring that turns on the light when the door is open?

Second, are you willing to do some wiring? In particular, there are some in wall micros that have a built-in relay timer, that you could definitely set up to turn themselves off after X minutes.

That said, is that really what you want? Because then that light will always turn off after X minutes. I suppose if you want it on for longer than that, you could just close the door and open it again, but would that work for your household? I know sometimes during a big party when there’s a lot of preparation for a meal, a pantry door might just be left open for much longer than usual.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s going to be a solution, but first let’s get the parameters of the problem defined.

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thanks for the followup questions…

  1. There is only a door frame mounted pressure switch… this is wired in series with the light fixture. HOWEVER, I just popped the fixture off and im lucky in that I do have a neutral in the fixture box… they have a dedicated wire going down to the door frame switch… so at least I have that going for me. :slight_smile:
  2. Yes, I am happy to do wiring, but for the door switch, the wiring is no longer accessible due to drywall. I can of course do some fancy stuff in the ceiling if needed without affecting dryway… I could put a motion sensor in a jbox about a foot away from the fixture and put a smart (and line powered) motion detector in there I think.

I think that question about what I really want is ‘YES’… the auto off is acceptable and fine.

If I did get a separate line powered motion detector, then I could program a ‘party mode’ in my SmartHub where the rule is not in effect… truly smart. :slight_smile:

OK, you could probably put the relay at the light fixture rather than going through the drywall.

The remotec is popular, and has a configurable auto shut off.


A lot of other ways to approach this project, but that one would give you a timer in the light that you could change from your phone if you wanted to.

I have recently replaced my schlage hub (Nexia) that controlled a variety of Zwave items in my home with SmartThings. So far I have been able to connect all my old devices and now looking to add additional ones. My first project will be to wire my low voltage heat-n-glow gas fireplace with the REMOT-ZFM-80 or the MIMOLITEUS. It appears both have worked for low voltage gas fireplace but possibly the REMOT-ZFM-80 has a easier setup and possible built in timer feature which i would like to incorporate. I currently have a low voltage timer wall switch that simply closes the low voltage loop to the fireplace. Also the fireplace has a built in low voltage toggle switch built into the fireplace and located behind lower access door to fireplace.


Do you have experience with either of these switches and if so which do you feel may work best in my situation? Then if REMOT-ZFM-80 do you have advice as to how to install in my situation as well as incorporate timer feature you mentioned in your previous post?

Any advice would be greatly appreacated.

On another topic…do you have any experience incorporation a Sonos into SmartThings? I am using new Sonos beta app that was recently released but seem to have each Sonos speaker shown twice in Alexa. One coming from the SmartThings hub and one coming direct long into Alexa. This is of lesser concern but thought to ask in case you also have Alexa and Sonos along with your SmartThings hub.

On another topic…my Linear garage door is now in SmartThings and also pulled through to Alexa but appears to only can be controlled by SmartThings with Alexa only being able to state if open or closed. Assume this is safety issue. Anyway to override this issue so it can be alcohol controlled by Alexa.

Thanks for any advice you can provide.

Keith from MN

My first suggestion would be that you start your own topic on these projects, because people reading the thread title for this topic (pantry Lighting) aren’t going to recognize the subject you are introducing here and you won’t get as many responses.

In fact, I would suggest you start three different topics, one for each of the three use cases that you mentioned. That way people who have Sonos experience can respond to your Sonos question, people who have garage door experience can respond to that question, etc.

You’ll get better answers faster, and it also keeps the forums easier to use for other people in the future. :sunglasses:


Is the light in the pantry LED?
Are you looking for a buy back period?
I still have a couple of “dumb” motion switches in closets and the laundry room that work perfectly.

You can set it so it turns on the light with motion and turns off the light when there is no motion for a specified amount of time.

Cost was $12…

I guess everything didn’t “need” to be “smart” if it’s practical.

If you wanted it “Smart” I would do a motion and actually recommend a smart “bulb” since you already have a means of turning on/off the light.

Cant believe I recommended a Smart Bulb. :weary:

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How about a Lutron motion sensor switch with timer? They cost about $20 at Home Depot, really not something that needs to be automated on ST.