Dipping my toes into home automation ... barely

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  • Dipping my toes into home automation ... barely

    One of the timers for my Christmas lights failed when we put up the lights this year so rather than buy a new one, I spent a little bit more and bought 3 Wemo outdoor outlets that can be controlled with HomeKit on my Mac, Phone, iPad, or AppleTV.

    After an hour of setup and testing most of which was consumed by the fact that I have multiple Apple accounts and the devices weren't all connected to the same account, I now have all the functionality of X10 from 1978. My lights turn on and off on schedule and not a single command line script was involved.
    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.

  • #2
    Mine are controlled by a $20 Stanley digital timer. it's on its 7th season. I bought two of them to have a spare if needed. We have a modest display, only 3,000 lights, so the amperage load is below what the timer can handle. I watched my BIL struggle mightily with a bunch of Nest implementations and still haven't come up with a need for any home automation. I have enough issues keeping PCs and iDevices running.
    Jim Frye
    The Nut in the Cellar.
    ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”


    • #3
      Sometimes simpler is better.
      I use a (Stanley I think) timer on a spike that has a light sensor and turns on at dusk.
      It has a one button interface and a 7=segment LED which allows setting time to 1-9 hours after it comes on after dusk every day and also cycles 1. to 9. which means 1 to 9 hours after being set and repeats every 24 hours. Can also be set to on (0) and off (F) and dusk to dawn (d).

      Just don't aim the sensing eye at the floodlight it controls... after 5 minutes of bright light hitting the eye it turns off, And a few minutes later turns on because it thinks its dark again. The delays make it cycle in about 10 minutes on and off all night. DAMHIKT.
      Last edited by LCHIEN; 12-06-2022, 02:39 AM.
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


      • leehljp
        leehljp commented
        Editing a comment
        That last line is funny. I did something like that once with lightbulbs with sensors built in - with a light on both sides of the front door. I had to turn one bulb holder 90 so that the bulb sensor was not aimed at the light on the other side.

      • twistsol
        twistsol commented
        Editing a comment
        My dad had a 1972 Cadillac that had a sensor to turn on and off the high beams. When it snowed, the headlights reflected off the snowflakes and turned off the high beams, then turned them on again. It was fast, about a 2 second cycle. The first time I took the car skiing,I came home with the headlights flashing the whole way because I didn't know how to disable the sensor.

      • Jim Frye
        Jim Frye commented
        Editing a comment
        SWMBO had a '68 VW Bug that would switch between high and low beams randomly. Actually generated some road rage occasionally. Took me forever to figure it out. The steering column stalk that controlled things had a set of brass contacts that closed when you pulled the stalk towards the driver. That tripped a relay to switch between high and low beams. They were just close enough together that road vibration would allow them to move close enough together to arc and trip the relay. A gentle tweak with a pair of needle nose pliers corrected things.

    • #4
      Had I wired this house, there would be a set of switches indoors that controlled all of the outdoor outlets like I had at our last house, but the builder did the wiring. I can't do that here because a couple of the outside outlets need to be active continuously for snow/ice melt systems.

      This shows one of the timers I really don't want to go reset, and the other is in the eaves over the garage. Because of all the new building here, the power system is overloaded and horribly unreliable. We lose power a couple of times a month for an hour or longer.

      Click image for larger version

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      An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
      A moral man does it.