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Smart Outdoor Lighting Advice

Krotch

Standard Member
Dear all,

I would be grateful for your advice to a smart home "newbie".

I would like to add "smart" functionality to the outside lights at the front and back of my house (the outside lights will be fairly bright spot lights). In an ideal world:

  • for the outside lights at the front of the house I would like:
    • ability for lights to come on when my wife or I drives into the driveway in the evening (I think the functionality is called geolocation)
    • ability to turn lights on or off remotely using smartphone
    • ability to set time for lights to automatically come on and go off
    • in the evening movement to trigger lights going on
  • for the outside lights at the back of the house I would like:
    • ability to turn lights on or off remotely using a smartphone
    • ability to set time for lights to automatically come on and go off
    • in the evening movement to trigger lights going on
From the research that I have done, I believe the closest device for achieving most of this is the Lutron Caseta range of light switches, however I believe that product is not available in the UK.

Grateful for any advice/tips you may have.

Many thanks,
Ilan
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
OK I am actually in the middle of wiring these as we talk. I have 3 sets of outdoor lights, Front Side and Back, each on its own circuit. Each is controlled by a ZWave control module. This allows me to control the lights with a regular light switch which doesnt affect automation, whatever position it is in (SWMBO is happy). Automate the lights (timers, events, geo-fencing). Use a smart external PIR to trigger the lights (security). Control the lights via Alexa - in an Emergency I can say to Alexa 'Alexa Emergency' and she will turn on all of my house lights or just say 'Alexa Rear Lights On'. Use my phone to turn on the lights or use third party events to trigger my lights. My front lights are on dusk until dawn as the front of my house is very dark otherwise.
This does rely on using a third party hub, I use Homeseer but there are plenty of alternatives.

I have pondered this set-up for a while now and I think that will allow me to control my lights in whatever permutation that I want.

I decided not to use spot lights but have used a combination of down and up/down barrel lighters with GU10s. The aesthetics are nicer and still provide plenty of light (well my cameras think so).
 

Krotch

Standard Member
Thanks so much mushii - this is all really helpful. I'll need to read up about ZWave and components that are compatible with it, but from the sounds of it it looks like my proposed setup is likely to be achievable. Thanks again.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
If you want an easy Home Hub the Homey’s are very popular and flexible. Then look at Fibaro modules, around £50, but you can control 2 circuits of each one. Install deeper back boxes for the switches and the modules live inside them. Ideally ask your spark to ensure that you have Neutrals at the light switches as it makes wiring easier.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
If you go down the hub route it will open a world of Home Automation up to you. You can mix and match technologies, zigbee (Philips Hue) ZWave, Wi-fi. Control heating, blinds, home entertainment, security from one platform and make it interact with one another. For me it allows the WAF (wife acceptance factor) as things can operate in a traditional manner, like lights and be smart also without having something on the wall that looks like it either came off the Enterprise or Saddam’s Palace. It is very discrete but allows lots of things to happen in the background without having to use phones or tablets to control them.
 

Krotch

Standard Member
This is all incredibly helpful. Thank you. I have an AppleTV at home already. Do I narrow down significantly my home automation options if I use that as the hub, rather than the Homey?
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
You will be restricted to HomeKit if you use your ATV. Homey or similar are platform agnostic and give you much wider choices. Have a look on Vesternet’s website. They have lots of useful info.
The important thing is to make choices that everyone can use (or choose not to) without negatively impacting on how they interact with their home. This is commonly referred to as the WAF.
I like the ZWave solution as my wife wants normal light switches that she can use in a traditional manner. I want HA. She sees the HA and likes it, but how it works is invisible to her. Lights just come on at dusk and go off in the morning. We always come home to a lit house and when we say Alexa Goodnight all the internal downstairs lights turn off, except the Hall which dims to 30%.
 
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