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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    The Random NPC's Avatar

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    Default Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    I'm trying to find a cheapish solution to my front door being dark when I come home, but I'm not sure if I should go with a smart switch or a smart bulb, or if there's another solution. I don't care about changing the colors, I mostly just want to have the front door light turn on when I come near. Any advice would be appreciated.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    I'm trying to find a cheapish solution to my front door being dark when I come home, but I'm not sure if I should go with a smart switch or a smart bulb, or if there's another solution. I don't care about changing the colors, I mostly just want to have the front door light turn on when I come near. Any advice would be appreciated.
    A circuit run off a motion sensor is probably the cheapest option.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Excession's Avatar

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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    I'm trying to find a cheapish solution to my front door being dark when I come home, but I'm not sure if I should go with a smart switch or a smart bulb, or if there's another solution. I don't care about changing the colors, I mostly just want to have the front door light turn on when I come near. Any advice would be appreciated.
    The solution I've always seen locally is a sensor light. These replace the light fitting, and have an IR sensor that will detect movement and switch the light on. With some fittings you can switch the light on manually by turning it off then on again from the switch inside. I've generally seen lights with the sensor integrated, but you can get the sensors separately as well. Because you're replacing a wired in fitting you may need to get an electrician to install it.

    Alternatively, you can get battery powered, solar charged versions now. They not as bright, but you can put them almost anywhere, and you can install them yourself.

    This is an New Zealand shop, but these are examples of what I mean. There are wired and solar versions there, along with some unrelated products.

    Edit: it turns out you can get bulbs with motion sensors built in. If the bulb is exposed, and in the right place for the sensor to see you, they would be a really easy solution.
    Last edited by Excession; 2017-12-13 at 05:49 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    I rent, and have a pretty strict HOA, so I can't do much about changing the fixtures. I'll look into the motion sensor bulbs though.
    See when a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, you can bet we've bought the vinyl.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    I rent, and have a pretty strict HOA, so I can't do much about changing the fixtures. I'll look into the motion sensor bulbs though.
    What I did back when I rented and needed a cheap solution this time of year was a bunch of white Christmas lights run off of a timer. (I had a second floor unit up an outside staircase that only led to my unit, so I wrapped them all of the way around my front entry and down the staircase. I ran the cord inside the doorframe (taped down really well) and to a timer on an inside plug.)

    I don't know of that's a possible solution for you, but it's cheap and worked well enough the year I had that problem. (I finally took them down around spring break, but that might not fly if you have an HOA.)
    Last edited by Algeh; 2017-12-13 at 10:08 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Algeh View Post
    What I did back when I rented and needed a cheap solution this time of year was a bunch of white Christmas lights run off of a timer. (I had a second floor unit up an outside staircase that only led to my unit, so I wrapped them all of the way around my front entry and down the staircase. I ran the cord inside the doorframe (taped down really well) and to a timer on an inside plug.)

    I don't know of that's a possible solution for you, but it's cheap and worked well enough the year I had that problem. (I finally took them down around spring break, but that might not fly if you have an HOA.)
    That could work for a while, but I was thinking of a more permanent solution. Partially prompted by the landlord deciding to install some light fixures in the rooms that don't have them. I figured that if I was gonna have to buy some more light bulbs, I should solve all my light problems.
    See when a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, you can bet we've bought the vinyl.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    That could work for a while, but I was thinking of a more permanent solution. Partially prompted by the landlord deciding to install some light fixures in the rooms that don't have them. I figured that if I was gonna have to buy some more light bulbs, I should solve all my light problems.
    That makes sense. I knew I was going to move out at the end of summer and was thus trying to solve my problems for only one winter. (I was in graduate school at the time and knew I would be moving to a new town once I finished up and got a teaching job.)

    Since your landlord is making improvements anyway, you could also ask them if they'd be willing to install a motion-sensor front porch light. That's the kind of improvement that future tenants would likely also appreciate, so they might go for it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Algeh View Post
    That makes sense. I knew I was going to move out at the end of summer and was thus trying to solve my problems for only one winter. (I was in graduate school at the time and knew I would be moving to a new town once I finished up and got a teaching job.)

    Since your landlord is making improvements anyway, you could also ask them if they'd be willing to install a motion-sensor front porch light. That's the kind of improvement that future tenants would likely also appreciate, so they might go for it.
    I'm not sure if I can find one that'll match the HOA requirments but can't hurt to ask.
    See when a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, you can bet we've bought the vinyl.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    I'm not sure if I can find one that'll match the HOA requirments but can't hurt to ask.
    Better ask anyway. If the HOA is strict enough they may have rules about motion sensing lights. I've rented in a neighborhood where they weren't allowed.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Really? That sounds stupidly strict. Thanks for the heads up.
    See when a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, you can bet we've bought the vinyl.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    There are also sensors for daylight detection. Ideally they sense it getting darker outside and turn on automagically. It is possible the HOA will okay one of "sense motion" or "sense light level", but not the other. If you have access to a Home Depot or equivalent, they have lots of examples. Heck, if you just want enough light to see the keyhole but want to pass inspection, use a battery powered touch-light 3Med to the door. "What light. Nothing here but us glass with stickum removed".

    My personal experience, I replaced a back porch light with a solar powered motion sensing so I didn't have to fiddle with electrical hookups. Solar part works well. What doesn't work is the sensor. Not sure if there is too much light from other sources, the lamp is so bright reflections are messing with the sensor, or it has a really aggresive timer to save battery power, but the silly thing flashes rather than lights. Dog moves, light comes on, light turns back off in under a second. Annoying, but not worth calling the electrican yet.

    Oh, one thing I've learned recently is motion sensing can be a no-no in some conservative Jewish neighborhoods. Something about not purposely turning on lights on the sabbath. YMMV
    Last edited by SpoonR; 2017-12-19 at 11:22 AM.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Just leave it on?
    If you put an LED bulb in it is will use how many pennies a month of electricity? Someone will come up with the number, but it's probably cheaper than any of the other solutions unless you are talking years.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Well, I went to Home Depot and go a motion sensing light bulb. Works great, stays off during the day, and turns on when I reach the top of my stairs.
    See when a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, you can bet we've bought the vinyl.
    -Snow White

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Just leave it on?
    If you put an LED bulb in it is will use how many pennies a month of electricity? Someone will come up with the number, but it's probably cheaper than any of the other solutions unless you are talking years.
    I'd imagine an HOA would be more inclined to disallow that than a simple motion sensor bulb. Dunno for certain, the wife and I had "no HOA" as one of the top requirements when we were house shopping.
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