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Lighting Motion Best Practice(s)

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    Lighting Motion Best Practice(s)

    Hi All,

    I have a combination of DS10A's, Motion Sensors through DooMotion, and X10 fluorescent modules (with status reporting). I have set up basic motion sensing to turn on a light, or turn it off when no motion is detected but I am wondering what other people are doing with their events.

    How do people handle Occupancy, does anyone have events that are based on things like Google Latitude that also control occupancy and lights, and how do people set up events and what are the conditions you place on those events to control your lighting?

    I am keen to get people's ideas to see if I can implement any of them to improve the WAF.
    HS3 PRO, Win10, WeatherXML, HSTouch, Pushover, UltraGCIR, Heaps of Jon00 Plugins, Just sold and about to move so very slim system.

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    I have struggled with occupancy. I use RFID tags in my cars and BLRFID but I get less than reliable results and you have the issue if you and your wife take 1 car how does HS know you are not at home. I also use general motion but as you know if you stop moving HS things your are gone. I have tried google latitude but for me it updates slowly and is inaccurate if you lose GPS. You also drain your phone quickly. I have tried bluetooth and had very spotty results and the same battery issue. The absolute most accurate is some kind of button that is pressed for home/away status and motion sensors for a given room/area occupancy IMO.


      I also use RFID tags in cars paired also with BLRFID to sense when we are home. I do have two tags in each car and it's been flawless. When all cars are gone the house is automatically put in away mode or if we're taking one car I have a UPB switch by the front door that I double tap to put the house in away mode.

      I never did get motion detectors to properly control lighting. I found that they worked just fine for rooms that get occasional use but not so much for heavy use rooms, there just ended up being to many variables to contend with for my taste and need.
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        I have been working on occupancy as well, it irritates me to no end when my roommates (That is what I call my family when they irritate me) leave fans and lights on and no one is in the room.

        Let me start by saying that I do not use motion to turn lights On except in the closets and late at night in the bathroooms when I bring them to a low dim. I use them mainly to know when people have LEFT the room, and turn the lights off. The only somewhat reliable way I have found of doing this so far is to use delayed off commands. For example, what I do is when a motion detector sends an On command it triggers an event that deletes any delayed events associated with Light X and then puts in a delayed Off command for Light X that is 1 minute longer than 2 cycles of the motion detector. For example, if I have my motion detector set for a 4 minute on then I send my delayed Off at 9 minutes and if the motion detector triggers again during that window it resets the counter every time.


          I utilize the hard wired ceiling mounted smoke detector looking occupancy sensors. They are discreet unless you look up in a room.

          In a finished home they are not easy to wire; so every room that I have "redone" (painted, new floor, etc) on the main floor of the home I've added these.

          On the second floor; having an easy to walk around attic; its been a non issue. These are large; and I originally purchased them in "bulk"; but the newer ones are much smaller and way more discreet.

          Historically my attempts / events related to occupancy created low WAF; so I tread slowly into that realm.
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            I've been fine tuning my system for years, and have it down to just about what I want. Very few of my light switches get used manually any longer, and - more importantly - my wife and kids don't even notice any more. They only notice when HS is behaving badly, because they suddenly have to think about turning lights ON and OFF, and I can tell you for certain turning switches OFF is almost never done.

            I have DS10As on a few doors, and use those to turn lights ON if appropriate. Examples are going from the house into the garage (turn garage O/H light ON) or doors from the inside to the outside (turn ON the nearest outside light if it isn't already ON, if it is dark outside). Most other places I have motion sensors. In all cases when I turn a light ON I schedule a delayed event to turn it OFF some # of minutes later, and if there is motion / door event before that time I reset the timer. A good example of this is in the kitchen. The lights go on when someone walks into the kitchen, and as long as there is any motion in there, the light stays on. If everyone leaves the kitchen, the lights will turn off after about 8 minutes.

            I've not had good luck with keeping track of occupancy, because we have two house dogs: Motion sensors aren't smart enough to tell the difference between a dog and a person. However, now that I've got Snevl Latitude I'm going to try and track occupancy with that. Our phones go everywhere with us, so if the phones are gone clearly we are gone. The only issue I have with this is that my daughters both chose Windows Phones, which don't have a Google Latitude App yet. Truth is, I think my daughters are relieved that I don't have HS able to tell me where they are at all times.



              I think based on the low WAF I currently have, I might try and tie occupancy with the Snevl Latitude plugin on both phones, as well as motion sensors. The easy bit is turning off lights when no one is home, or when the security system is turned on, however setting the right length for lights to be turned on seems to be one of the hardest things to do, to long and its a waste of power, to short and it is also pointless and annoying.

              How did you guys work out how long to keep each light on for with the motion sensors?
              HS3 PRO, Win10, WeatherXML, HSTouch, Pushover, UltraGCIR, Heaps of Jon00 Plugins, Just sold and about to move so very slim system.

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                Originally posted by travisdh View Post
                . . . setting the right length for lights to be turned on seems to be one of the hardest things to do, to long and its a waste of power, to short and it is also pointless and annoying. How did you guys work out how long to keep each light on for with the motion sensors?
                Two points to keep in mind:
                - The major power waste from leaving lights on is not about extra minutes, but hours. I typically try to leave lights on as long as I can before letting HS turn them off.
                - It is at least difficult, and possibly impossible to automate something that has no standard practice. I'd recommend both careful observation and even recording the motion sensor output for a room for a while (weeks) to see if there is any identifiable pattern. If no motion is detected for x minutes, is that predictive of no motion for a longer period of time? If you find those kinds of patterns, then you can use them as the basis for your algorithms. Of course, you can also use trial and error (or scream and curse) methods. WAF tends to suffer though.
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                  I'll admit my approach has been less scientific than Michael suggests. Like I said, I've been tuning this for years. I did set the OFF time initially on each area based on how much activity was normal. If people would generally be moving around in the room (like in the Kitchen or a hallway) I would set it to a shorter time. If it is in an area where people might enter and then sit quietly, I'd set it to a longer time. I think I might have started out with these two extremes being something like 5 minutes to 30 minutes. I think the shortest that I have now is 8-9 minutes, and the longest is 30.

                  Another caveat about using Latitude for occupancy: Because you are dependent on both Google and your phone, I think it's possible to be home for quite a while (maybe as high as 10 minutes) before you would show up as at home with Google Latitude. Probably not an issue, but something to keep in mind.



                    I use several dfferent approaches depending on the room. In the TV room, I use the status of the TV to turn OFF the lights: if TV is turned OFF, turn lights OFF in 15 minutes.

                    In the kitchen, the overhead can lights are controlled manually; no automation. WAF is not an issue.

                    Downstairs bathroom; motion sensor turns lights ON, If no mottion turn lights off after 15 minutes. This works 99% of the time (no teenagers at home- no 20 minute showers)

                    Garage: When service door opens; light on. Lights off if overhead door opens. Lights off if no motion for 20 minutes.

                    Outdoor floodlights; All exterior floods around whole house on if motion detected by any of 3 motion dectors, off after 8 minutes if no motion.

                    Since I use a lot of x10 stuff, I send Off commands to everything at 3am.

                    I track my total power usage very closely. Trying to get the lights to turn off a few minutes after the room is empty is really not worth the effort. The main thing is to aviod leaving the lights on overnight or on for hours.

                    This is the first I have heard about the google latitude app. Sounds interesting. I think this would be a great way to initiate a vacation mode. If 50 miles away, go to vacation settings. When less than 50 miles (by car) if vacation mode is on, return to normal mode. This would be great for me because I always for get to turn on the AC when we are on the way home.

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