Let There Be Light
Wish that your household lights were ON only if someone is in the room? With the simple guide outlined in this post, this wish can become a reality in under 10 minutes.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it work:
- A motion sensor mounted either in the room or entrance to the room.
- A method of controlling your household lights or lamps.
I’ll be using an Aeotec MultiSensor 6 as the motion sensor and a SmartSwitch 6 in this guide to demonstrate how we can control a lamp, however any motion sensor / smart switch combination of Z-Wave devices will work.
The gist of this automation is as follows:
- If motion is detected, the light will turn ON.
- If no motion is detected for a set number of minutes, the light will turn OFF.
Now there’s a number of ways to set the number of minutes ‘no motion’ is detected before the light will turn off. The simplest solution we’ve found is to change the ‘no motion’ parameter of your motion sensor. Why? This approach will prevent your automation from turning off the light while someone is still in the room due to a delay error, which may happen if you use a delay.
Tip: Keep in mind that parameter names for individual motion sensors may vary. If you don’t have a list of your devices' parameters handy, you can easily find them in your devices' user-manual by following the links in our link library.
It's also worth mentioning that different methods can be used to achieve this automation. The method we'll be using in this guide requires we create 2 automations. One for turning the light ON, and another for turning the light OFF.
Let’s see how we can create this automation in Fibaro, Vera and Homey systems.
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The first step when working with Home Center is to navigate to the 'scenes' menu. From here, you’ll be prompted to select the method of scene creation you’d like to use. I’ll be using the Graphical Blocks.
Tip: Rename your devices as they will become much easier to find when creating scenes! I have named the 'motion sensor' of the MultiSensor 6 'MS6 Motion' and the SmartSwitch6 'SS6'.
To create the TURN ON scene, we must select both the trigger and action. For this scene, the trigger is ‘motion’ detected by the MultiSensor 6. The action is to ‘turn ON’ the SmartSwitch 6.
The graphical blocks read: If the MotionSensor 6 is breached (motion is detected), then turn ON the SmartSwitch 6.
To create the TURN OFF scene, the trigger is ‘no motion’ detected by the MultiSensor 6 for a number of seconds, and the action is to ‘turn OFF’ the SmartSwitch 6.
The graphical blocks read: If the MotionSensor 6 is safe (no motion detected), then turn OFF the SmartSwitch 6.
Note: Avoid adding delays within the scene, as these can cause undesirable effects, such as lights to turn OFF while you’re still in the room. Instead, update the device parameter using the method below.
To set the amount of time the light will stay ON while 'no motion' is detected, it's good practice to change Configuration Parameter 3 of your MultiSensor 6. This parameter controls the number of seconds before a ‘no motion detected’ message will be sent to our controller. More simply, this parameter sets the number of seconds before the light will automatically turn OFF after someone leaves the room.
You can update this configuration parameter by navigating to the advanced settings of your motion sensor device, and scrolling down until you reach the heading 'Configuration Parameters'. Then simply change the value to the desired number of seconds you'd like the light to stay on.
The first step in creating this scene in Vera is to navigate to the 'scenes' menu.
To create the TURN ON scene, click the ADD SCENE button and select your desired motion sensor as the triggering device. Then select the trigger condition for your motion sensor, as shown in the below image.
Next, select the action you’d like to happen. In this case, we want our SmartSwitch 6 to turn ON to control our lamp. Now give the scene a name and the TURN ON scene is done.
Once your scene looks like the image below, give it a meaningful name and it's good to go.
To create the TURN OFF scene, repeat the above scene creation process with the following changes. Select the trigger condition ‘Whenever _______ stops detecting motion’, and the action to TURN OFF the SmartSwitch 6, as shown in the below images.
Note: As we stated earlier, this method relies on us changing the ‘no motion’ configuration parameter. If you are unsure how to add/change parameters within Vera, check out this how to article.
Tip: It’s always good practice to test the scene to ensure it is functioning as intended.
The first step in creating this automation (scene) within Homey is to navigate to ‘Flows’ menu.
To create the TURN ON flow, click the ADD FLOW button ( + in top right hand corner). The ‘When…’ parameter is your triggering device. In this case, it’s our desired motion sensor (a MultiSensor 6), and the condition is when the motion alarm is turned on.
1.Create a new flow.
2. Select the 'When...' condition (motion detected).
3. Select the 'Then...' condition (turn ON switch)
To create the TURN OFF scene, click the ADD FLOW button. The ‘When…’ will again be our motion sensor (a MultiSensor 6), however the condition this time is when the motion alarm is turned off. We’ll use this to trigger our SmartSwitch 6 to turn OFF.
1. Create a new flow and select the 'When...' condition (no motion detected).
2. Select the 'Then...' condition (turn OFF switch).
3. Do not add a delay!
4. Navigate to the motion sensor's Configuration Parameters and adjust the Motion Alarm Cancellation setting to the amount of time you’d the light to stay on after no motion is detected.
Note: If you aren't sure how to change Configuration Parameters in Homey, see our step-by-step guide here.
True automations such as the one explored in this article can be used to conveniently streamline our lives.
And as seen in this guide, the same principle applies to a specific automation irrespective of the automation system you're using. Fibaro, Vera and Homey systems (and the rest) all require an automation to have a trigger and an action. What may differ are the nuances of each system, including the term used to describe an automation (scene/flow), the parameter names for your device and the actual devices themselves.
It's worth mentioning that this is not the only method that can achieve this result, which is one of the awesome things about automations. New and improved ways to achieve a specific function can be found, and can drastically reduce the complexity of setting up some seemingly tricky or complex automations.
If you've found one for this automation (or any others), or have any questions about the method outlined in this article, drop a comment below. It's always nice to hear from you!
Best of luck setting up your scenes, automations or flows.