Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Sep 5 2021

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
Is it bright enough to not walk into the wall but dim enough to not wake me up?

I ran into an interesting problem that I thought fits in well with the “Is the room occupied” package now available in the library. If you are not familiar with that, please look at my previous message about that.

Rather than replacing the fixtures above the sinks in my bathrooms, I opted instead to replace the “vanity” lightbulbs with LED ones. After a long search I finally found a brand that would dim well to low levels and didn’t make any noise when they are at that level. I brought a bunch and replaced all the incandescent bulbs with them and saved a lot with this upgrade, as nice new LED lighting fixtures can be expensive.

As the character of the light is different – I opted for “daylight” color - I needed to figure out what level to set them to when the motion sensor sees me in the middle of the night. Upon receipt of the motion sensor report, HCA sets the lights to a low percentage. A bit of messing about and the percentage I picked seemed ok. Project done! Maybe not…

Recently I had occasion to be in bed reading for a bit and got up and headed into the bathroom. I thought, “Hey, why didn’t the lights come on?” but then looked up at them they were indeed on. But they didn’t seem bright enough. Odd! Later that night I repeated the bathroom trip and the lights looked just right – dim enough to not wake me up fully, but bright enough so I didn’t walk into a wall.

In the morning when I could think again, I realized what was going on. When I went from the lighted bedroom to the unlighted bathroom my eyes had not yet become dark adjusted, so I need more light. Later, when my eyes where dark adjusted – as I had been asleep for several hours – I needed less light. Obvious, right?

How to fix this? I could put in some sort of time test – if after 10pm go to x percent. If before 10pm go to y percent”. But that really doesn’t work. While I always get up before dawn – very early in the summer and later in the winter – I go to sleep at much different times of the year.

The answer used what I just built for my motion sensor project:  When dark, if my bedroom has been occupied for at least 2 hours then go to 20%. If it is dark but my bedroom has not been occupied 2 hours or more than go to 30%. Let’s see how that works.

When I enter the bedroom the motion sensor sees me and marks the bedroom as occupied. Regardless of what the motion sensor sends – motion or no-motion – the bedroom is still occupied as that is what the occupy programs do. If I go into the bathroom within 2 hours the assumption is that I was reading or watching TV so the lights should be a bit brighter than what happens later. I go to sleep and then take one of the late-night trips to the bathroom, since the room has been occupied for longer than 2 hours, the assumption is I was asleep and so the lights come on very dim.

This required changing the “occupy” package to record the time that the room changes from occupied to unoccupied and unoccupied to occupied. I save that time in a tag like the ”occupied” indication. I updated the package in the library to do that.

Now I can change my bathroom motion sensor handler to control the light to different levels depending upon the assumed state of my eyes.
Anyone who is using Hubitat with HCA – not SmartThings – please drop me a note as I would like to add you to a discussion list for those users. I have some Hubitat ideas that I would like to “kick around” and it would help to have a group of users who have experience with Hubitat. Please just send a note to the regular support address saying you would like to be added to that discussion list.

When was the last time you made a backup of your HCA design? Not a month goes by without at least one tale of woe from a HCA user. Please use the "Design Backup Assistant" on the Tools ribbon category. The work you save will be your own.

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