Do I really need a hue hub?

Edit: now I am thinking maybe there is a way to use the sensors on my cameras.
I am doing outdoor lighting with smart switches and want a light sensor with wifi but it seems the only option is Phillips Hue, unless I wire a sensor the light fixtures to the sensor or use them with Sonoff, but I am not an electrician and have no idea what I am doing to be honest with you. I don’t know if there is a way to use the phillips hue sensor with home assistant? I’m trying to avoid getting embedded in their expensive ecosystem because of one device… I know I could just do an automation to turn on the lights after sunset, but the issue is where I live clouds are a thing and we get thunder storms every week in the summer, so sometimes it is really dark before the sun actually sets. Does anyone know if it will work with the Hue Sensor or can recommend me something else? Thanks.

Also I know I could just wire $5 sensors to each fixture, but I am not an electrician and one electrician said they charge $70 Per set of lights, but that would cost us like $900 vs just using a sensor and installing smart switches then writing an automation.
(edit:) Also if the sensor can work without internet with just home assistant, that is preferred because of our garbage internet.

Also what light switches are the best value? I’ve considered some but I’m not sure yet. I do not need dimmable ones.

To get started could you just use the sun component and an automation?

You could have something like automatically turn on one hour after sunset and turn off one hour before sunrise (all customisable)

As mentioned (sorry if i wasnt clear, i suck at this), I don’t want to use the sun component because sometimes it gets dark 2 hours before sunset because of the weather. I guess I could have them always turn on early, but it is weird to have them on when it is clear weather and still bright outside. One day the sky could be clear the next the whole sky can be covered with dark clouds.

Do you only want to do it with a motion sensor?

Maybe a very cheap solution is a miflora sensor. He has a light sensor and costs 20 $. So you could place it somewhere outside with an automation script if < 500lx turn on the lights.

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Got ha. Sorry I missed that in your first post.

I think if you get a hue hub and a single outdoor light sensor you can get the data into home assistant using this custom component:

Once you have the hue sensor data in you can build an automation to switch the hue lights on and off using the sensor value.

There might be a way without the official hue bridge (using something like zigbee2mqtt).

IMO I’d just get the bridge and a single sensor like I mentioned above unless you plan on doing more home automation and setting up so.ething like zigbee2mqtt would be useful for other reasons.

If all you want are light sensors lights - I’d study the use of a photocell like in your first post, the wiring really isn’t that difficult. One sensor in series with your lights or in conjunction with a relay could let you do all of this without buying ‘smart’ anything.

Now that I think of it, you could use a sonoff with the photocell wired in as a sensor. That would give you both homeassistant and light sensor control.

Lots of options! Depends how creative / nerdy you want to get.

esphome has a light sensor implementation which you could use.

Xiaomi produce light sensors but you will need a zigbee setup using one of the integrations such as zigbee2mqtt.

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Esphomelib would be a good option as long as you come up with a location that gets good daylight values (not close to a light) and is weatherproof.

The built in YR sensor, sensor.yr_symbol, can be used to tell if the sun is shining or it is cloudy, rainy etc. This situation is exactly what it is for and I have found it to be pretty accurate for where I live. It passes a numeric value for all weather conditions as defined here. Do a little search there is a fair amount on it written in the forum.

I must have overlooked the outdoor requirement (although a sensor inside a window can tell if it is dark outside).