Take control of spotlights


I’ll probably ask a number of N00B questions in this thread…

Here’s my situation: I have a spotlight in the front of my house that never gets used. This is due to the design flaw that the switch is upstairs rather than at ground level. Very inconvenient. I have never had any smart switches or smart bulbs in my house to date, so I’m starting with zero knowledge.

What I’d ideally like to do is be able to either set these spotlights on a schedule that matches nightfall or perhaps turn these on after dark if my cameras detect motion.

First decision to make is: Do I use smart bulbs or a smart light switch. Going against the smart switch: The current light switch is part of a 4-way light switch plate and I’m assuming that will make installation of a single smart switch difficult.

So, then there is a decision about which bulbs to use, do I need a base station, does it integrate well with HA, etc.

Any opinions/advice would be greatly appreciated.

There are switches that support 4-way, my preference in manufacturers is Inovelli but I think Zooz may support them as well. Inovelli has both Zigbee and Z-Wave devices. Check the device manuals, generally the good manufacturers will give you examples of wiring under different circumstances (no neutral or 3-way or 4-way, etc).

Bulbs are fine too, but you first need to find a smart bulb that works outside - which can be challenging. They are out there but number far fewer than bulbs that are rated for indoor use only. The bulbs can be wifi, Zibee, Z-Wave or proprietary needing a hub.

In all cases but wifi, you will need some kind of “hub”, whether it’s a Z-Wave stick, a Zigbee stick or something like a Tuya or Hue hub.

The biggest use case for using a bulb over a switch is if you want color control or, like you, there’s a desire not to fuss with internal wiring or it is otherwise inaccessible.

I think the direction you go not only depends on this particular need, but if you have plans to expand home automation elsewhere in your house. If not, go for wifi and call it a day, if you do then you might want to plan out other areas and decide which protocols best suit your needs (for me I use ALL of them so I have a variety to choose from when I need to do something).

There’s nothing stopping you using a switch module that sits between the actual switch plate and the light. You wire the light to the module, and the switch to the module, and you have smart control and dumb control, and no need to change the switch or light.