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Author Topic: Proximity Switch?  (Read 5695 times)

kevinv

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Proximity Switch?
« on: April 09, 2016, 07:10:50 PM »

Hi All,

I have a stairway that I want to automate some lighting on.  I dont think a general PIR motion sensor will work too well b/c I dont want just anyone walking by to activate the lights... I actually want someone who goes down the first step  (let's say0 to activate them...  so a close range sensor maybe./

Any thoughts on this?
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HA Dave

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 10:37:31 PM »

Maybe something like a stair tread pressure mat? Or here

I'd wire the mat to an X10 Power Flash Unit and then set the codes up to trigger a macro through a CM15A ActiveHome Pro interface module. Use your own imagination... the possibilities are endless.  

I'd also searched for a laser sensor switch... but didn't find anything acceptable.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 11:02:55 PM by HA Dave »
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dave w

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2016, 05:17:46 PM »

FYI,

Just want to alert you to a problem waiting for X10 and the first step to turn on any lights. I have a X10 motion sensor at the top of our basement stairs. As soon as you open the door and move in the door way, the sensor triggers. It takes about three seconds from motion sensor trigger to actually getting the stair lights ON. HA Dave's suggestion of using a tread switch to a Power Flash unit is excellent and would trim about one second off that three second time since it is a direct PLC command, not an RF to PLC command.

But my point is: X10 is slow and even a direct wired trigger will not be instant, there will probably be enough time to go down two or three steps before the lights come on. If that delay isn't a problem, or if you can hit the wall switch when in a hurry, then go with X10.
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kevinv

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2016, 05:49:16 PM »

Yes I got to thinking about that problem too... especially since I race down the stairs pretty often.

I am thinking maybe I need to opt for a PIR light switch and somehow just limit the scope and range.

Thanks everyone for the ideas!!!
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HA Dave

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2016, 04:53:55 PM »

Not every solution has to be X10 (IMHO). I use the regular motion sensor switch (from the hardware store) in the garage and laundry room. They are instant and dependable.   
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kevinv

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2016, 04:54:54 PM »

yep,  I agree... the fewer solutions that are X10, the happier my wife is.... rofl
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toasterking

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2016, 07:19:22 PM »

When implemented properly, X10 can be extremely reliable.  The problem is that X10, the company, has never done much to help the consumer to implement it properly and never given full disclosure on how demanding a task that can be.  And I agree with HA Dave; limiting your options to one technology platform unnecessarily can be... limiting.  :)

I would be tempted to go with an infrared beam switch kit, similar to the kind used to stop a garage door closing when the beam is interrupted, to get faster, more deterministic behavior in a tighter range than with a PIR.  This would be more of a custom installation than the PIR options, but it could be worth it for the reliability.  If you really wanted to, you could probably easily find one that would play nicely with the PowerFlash module for X10.  But again, you'd have the ~800ms delay prior to activation, and perceivably longer if using a "soft start" lamp module.
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HA Dave

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2016, 08:05:20 PM »

When implemented properly, X10 can be extremely reliable.......

I certainly agree. I have a... somewhat large X10 automation setup. And I've found X10 to be very reliable. But there are just so many choices, and different ways of doing things. And nothing remains static! The way things were done a decade ago... has nothing to do with how someone might setup something new today. 
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kevinv

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2016, 08:06:32 PM »

Yeah I also thought of the beam thing... I think that would be the best idea but require some hacking which I am not above, but low on time.

As far as X10 reliability being "extremely so" ... I'll just let that one pass except to say that the XTBIIR is key...   and even then there is no way I would ever call my system extremely reliable   -- happy for you though!  :)  :)
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bkenobi

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2016, 11:06:05 AM »

Light beam and consider using a different tech to turn on the light.  I'd go with an Arduino setup with a relay if I were to go reliable and instant.  Or, look at the new ESP8266 based modules which can be used just like an Arduino.  For your needs here, that's the way I'd go.

toasterking

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 12:05:21 PM »

As far as X10 reliability being "extremely so" ... I'll just let that one pass except to say that the XTBIIR is key...
For me, there are at least four:
1. XTB-IIR at the distribution panel.
2. XTBM/XTBM Pro meter and be vigilant about isolating noise makers and signal suckers.  Test any new devices you plan to plug in permanently.
3. Use only transmitters that follow the X10 line access protocol for collision avoidance.  (That especially means no motion detectors talking to a TM751!)
4. If using a PC interface, the most reliable by far seems to be the XTB-232.
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kevinv

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Re: Proximity Switch?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 09:34:03 PM »


By way of follow up.

I chose to go with this PIR switch.   http://www.lowes.com/pd_393909-334-OS306U-W-K-L___?productId=3648048&pl=1&Ntt=occupancy+sensor

The lens is easily removed and I covered all but a tiny section of it on the inside with electrical tape.   It seems to be the perfect solution for me.   I can walk by the top of the stairs and the light stays off but if I set my foot on the first step... boom,  on come the lights. 

This switch also supports a 3-way setup so I have another one at the bottom of the stairs. 

Thanks for all your input!
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