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How best to control closet lights

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  • How best to control closet lights

    Some of the few lights yet to be automated in my house are pull-string ceramic sockets in 3 small closets. I've come up with a couple ways to handle them but want to see if there are other ideas out there. Walls are plaster so I'd rather avoid tearing into walls for rewiring.

    Activation: Wireless door contact or wireless switch/remote.

    Control: Z-wave bulb or nano-switch in box behind pull-string socket

    Am I missing anything obvious? Motion sensor control doesn't make sense in this case due to the size and configuration of the closets.
    -Wade

  • #2
    Sounds like a reasonable approach. Do the closet doors always get closed? I have a few that I want to automate similarly, but the doors are left partially open most of the time, so door contacts don't work in my situation.
    HS 3.0.0.548: 1976 Devices 1156 Events
    Z-Wave 3.0.1.262: 123 Nodes on one Z-Net

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    • #3
      Here I used a screw in module with a wireless remote sensor. It is one of those inexpensive Heath Zenith like units so it is not integrated with my HomeSeer system.




      Or go low tech and cheaper with something like this for about $25.

      https://www.smarthome.com/functional...ontroller.html

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      • #4
        Originally posted by sparkman View Post
        Sounds like a reasonable approach. Do the closet doors always get closed? I have a few that I want to automate similarly, but the doors are left partially open most of the time, so door contacts don't work in my situation.
        Exactly the reason the door contact isn't a slam dunk for me. A couple of the doors frequently stay open. Could use a timer to have HS turn them off but then the door has to be closed and reopened to turn the light back on which would't be very user friendly.

        Originally posted by drhtmal View Post
        Or go low tech and cheaper with something like this for about $25.

        https://www.smarthome.com/functional...ontroller.html

        I have a comparable switch on a closet door that necessarily stays closed and it does the job. Was hoping to come up with an idea for closets where doors might not always get closed. This did prompt another thought though...with an aeotech micro or nano behind the pull-string socket I could discretely run a wired door contact and at least eliminate the battery maintenance of a wireless door contact. (Mine are small reach-in closets with the light bulb on the wall over the door so the wire run would be short and relatively unnoticeable.)
        -Wade

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        • #5
          I recently purchased a product called OpenGarge. It uses an ESP 2286 and an ultrasonic sensor to detect if your garage door is open or closed.

          If you really wanted to be hard core with turning a closet light on or off you could probably modify it or DIY something that uses an ESP 2286, MTTQ and the ultrasonic distance sensor to monitor the position of the door. You could also use an Arduino and Enigmatheatre's Arduino driver.

          Using the ultrasonic distance sensor would allow you to determine if the door were closed in which case the distance from the sensor to the door was a known distance. If the door was closed and was then opened you would know because the distance has changed. The case where the door is not fully closed would be a little more tricky because you would have to monitor how far the door is from the sensor and if that distance had changed.

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          • #6
            Re the door partially open problem, I've used one of these recently (https://www.amazon.com/GE-Wireless-A.../dp/B01KQDIUAW) - it's a hinge-pin sensor and won't report "open" until the door is about 6 inches open.

            Useful for doors that never really fully close.

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            • #7
              Appreciate all the suggestions.
              -Wade

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sparkman View Post
                Sounds like a reasonable approach. Do the closet doors always get closed? I have a few that I want to automate similarly, but the doors are left partially open most of the time, so door contacts don't work in my situation.
                I have door sensors and Z-wave light switches, tied to an event that turns the lights on when the door sensor changes to open, and then off after 10 minutes or off when the door sensor changes to closed. Simple, easy, and it works.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Richel View Post

                  I have door sensors and Z-wave light switches, tied to an event that turns the lights on when the door sensor changes to open, and then off after 10 minutes or off when the door sensor changes to closed. Simple, easy, and it works.
                  If I had switches this would be my approach as well. Adding them would be a serious undertaking in my case.

                  Thanks for the feedback.
                  -Wade

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cc4005 View Post

                    If I had switches this would be my approach as well. Adding them would be a serious undertaking in my case.

                    Thanks for the feedback.
                    Smart bulbs, then.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Richel View Post

                      Smart bulbs, then.
                      Right. But still the problem with turning the lights back on after HS turns them off (door left open, timer expires). Have to close and reopen the door. To my mind it's not really automation at that point.

                      Still pondering...
                      -Wade

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cc4005 View Post
                        Still pondering...
                        Stick a motion detector in the closet or on the back of the door.

                        I have tried EVERYTHING to get my family to close closet doors (and cabinet doors) and turn out lights. People are either door closers or they are not.

                        .

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by outbackrob View Post

                          Stick a motion detector in the closet or on the back of the door.
                          I've been thinking about whether this could work. The closets are only ~36" wide and 32" deep--reach-in, not walk-in--so haven't figured out a place where a motion detector would be effective. I guess maybe over the door shooting down so reaching in triggers it maybe. Hmmm.

                          Originally posted by outbackrob View Post

                          People are either door closers or they are not.
                          Amen.

                          Thanks for the response.
                          -Wade

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cc4005 View Post

                            I've been thinking about whether this could work. The closets are only ~36" wide and 32" deep--reach-in, not walk-in--so haven't figured out a place where a motion detector would be effective. I guess maybe over the door shooting down so reaching in triggers it maybe. Hmmm.
                            Try the back of the door.

                            Also, GoControl makes a wireless Z-Wave switch you can stick on the wall.
                            .

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by outbackrob View Post

                              Try the back of the door.
                              Thinking of my son's closet door that stands wide open all the time. Every time someone walks into the room the closet light would come on. On 2nd thought, maybe it coming on when he rolls over in his sleep would help him learn to close the closet door! ;-)
                              -Wade

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