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Fun with Simply Automated UPB

Posted by Work2Play , 21 July 2014 · 3046 views

Once in a while I make mention of some of the more advanced features of UPB - but rather than bury this deep in someone's thread, I figured I should put them in their own place that can be referenced.  
I had a handful of UPB switches in my last house just for testing, but really didn't need more.  Well, we started a family and needed a bigger house - so this one is 4K sq ft; 2 story, 6BR 4BA.  It's also newer so it's victim to some of California's idiotic energy-saving (attempts) code requirements which seem to supersede intelligent light switch placement.  UPB let me fix that.
So - on to some of the scenarios I solved with UPB:
The Guest Bath
Upstairs is the bedrooms; downstairs is living space with the 1 guest bathroom.  It has a door to the adjacent bedroom (exercise room) which has never been used.  When you enter the bathroom, there are two switches by the door, and two across the room on the other side of the vanity.  The switches closest controlled the Light and the Fan in the light/fan combo over the toilet.  To turn on the vanity you had to go into the bathroom and to the other side where the switches controlled the Vanity and the same light over the toilet.
UPB solution: 1x 1140, 2x 240's and 1 USR.  Now on either side of the sink there is a full-height paddle and a split horizontal double paddle.  The big one is for the vanity and the double-paddle is light/fan.  It makes sense and it works perfectly despite the fact that what the switch controls has nothing to do with what it's physically wired to.  Then I went a step further and added a motion sensor to the room that turns on both lights upon entry and keeps them on until you've left for 3 minutes due to potty training kids that couldn't reach the switches yet, and keeping things even easier for guests.
Back Yard Add-on
When we landscaped the back yard, a new electrical circuit was run; on that is the landscape lighting.  Inside the transformer box is a place to put in a plug-in timer; I put in an appliance module instead.  Now the landscape lights can come on/off with the same switch that turns on the patio light.
Next step will be a covered area back there - which will be fed off the new circuit and have lights and fans.  The patio light switch will convert to a scene switch at that point so it can control the lights/fans as well - and I even set the fire pit and fountain up so they can be controlled from that point as well.
Our kitchen has 7 can lights and under-cabinet lights.  6 cans equally distributed with a 7th over the sink.  The sink light had a switch by the sink; then there were two 3-way switches side-by-side to do just the center lights (separated only because of a code requirement that also made them fluorescent) and the other 4 lights.  
I installed US240 scene switches and 1140/USR's - so now a single tap of the on or off turns on all the lights in the kitchen.  The dimmable lights all dim/brighten together like they were a single load, and depending on how you do things, you can leave the under/over cabinet lights on or off.  My wife gets it so it works great.
Heading Upstairs
The night time routine drove me nuts - there's ~75 light switches here... you'd have to walk around every part of the house to turn off all the switches.  Instead, now we head upstairs and the same paddle that turns on/off the upstairs hall-light has a double-tap feature that actually turns off the whole downstairs in one shot.
My home office has 2 switches at the entry plus its own bathroom with 2 lights and a fan.  One switch is supposed to control an outlet but it's just capped off - using that switch actually controls my desk and cabinet halogens and can dim them.  A double-tap of any of the switches in the room or bathroom turns off every light in the room.
Master Bedroom
The master suite has 12 switches in 7 different locations.  Now there's a scene switch that you hit first on the way in or out - we really only use 2 of the buttons though; 1) Kids' bath (lights up the whole room at different levels); and Exit - which turns everything off including the closet I always forget.  We have another similar scene that's controlled by my nightstand controller that turns off everything but the ceiling fan.
Daughter's Room
This is totally half-finished but we've used it like this for a while; All bedrooms have 2 switches - one for the overhead light and one for a table lamp.  I ran out of UPB switches so her room only has one - and her table lamp isn't near the switched outlet - so it's on a UPB dimmer which can be controlled by the same paddle that controls the ceiling light - but only on double-taps for on/off or during dim commands - so we can turn it on/off and adjust the light levels, then single-tap off kills the ceiling light.  It's a hack because the main light follows then you turn it off when done - but it works.  Next step will be a scene switch of sorts and a Phillips Hue so we'll hit the Nighttime button and it'll start off brighter with circadian-friendly colors then get darker during the night, and change colors in the morning based on if they should be leaving their rooms yet.  That's on the list for Fall '14.
Front Entry
This isn't so much trick with UPB as it is just handy - but the UPB switch is controlled by the Elk so the timer self adjusts based on location so I never have to set the clock.  It turns the lights off at a set point - later on weekends than week-nights; it also is smart enough that if it's so late that the lights turned off but you open the door (to let someone out) they'll turn on; or if you ring the doorbell - say you're returning home from vacation at 3:00AM - hit the doorbell to turn on the lights so you can see to get your keys out.
Holiday Lights
Included in the "Downstairs Off" and other scenes are the xmas lamp modules.  The christmas tree turns on when we get home and off when we turn off the downstairs.  Generally speaking, if we're home and downstairs, it's on.  It can also be controlled by the scene switch by the front door.
Similarly, the exterior lights are on a schedule.  They automatically go on and off basically the same as the exterior lights except on christmas night they'll stay on until morning.  
These scenes and events are programmed into the system and don't care that the modules are unplugged most of the year - when I break them out for xmas or even halloween, they just automatically kick into gear and follow the scenes they're taught to follow.  I don't have to do anything.
Nothing complicated - but the garage lights are tied to the motion sensor and the contact sensors on all the doors in the garage so if I'm out there, all the lights are on... so much better than just that little overhead light on the garage door opener...  any event resets the timer (motion or doors) - and after 5 minutes of no activity, they turn themselves off.
I'm sure there's more that I'm not thinking of - but for now that's it.  Many of these features with the double-tap or even having the switch control a different load than what's wired to it entirely - just aren't possible with the other lighting solutions out there.  I'm still quite happy with my UPB decision 6+ years later, despite all the changes in this landscape.

Jul 22 2014 10:47 AM

I really like this one:
Hit the doorbell to turn on the lights; I've already got the doorbell detector, so that would be easy for me to implement.

For the guest bath, you stated, "Then I went a step further and added a motion sensor to the room that turns on both lights upon entry and keeps them on until you've left for 3 minutes due to potty training kids that couldn't reach the switches yet, and keeping things even easier for guests."

Could you comment on what motion sensor you used for this? I'm interested in doing this in a handfull of locations.

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At the moment it's X10RF fed into Elve to do the translation to UPB - using a cheap X10 motion sensor.  My Elve server has been unreliable (HP MediaSmart - failing due to overheating hard drives) so it's in the plans to just convert to a ceiling mount hardwired motion since I have a keypad on the adjoining wall (it's right at the garage entrance).  Even though this is the first floor, I have access to the ceiling and wall cavity from when I fished the keypad there - that was an adventure...


I want more occupancy sensing - I've considered adding in RadioRa2 just for the motions and pico remotes; or the Aeon Labs sensors in pretty much all the rooms.

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My Master Bath is well integrated.

The shower light and fan are on separate UPB modules.
Turn on the shower light and the fan comes on.
Turn it off and the fan stays on for one hour.

The water closet is similar with a shorter duration for the fan.

In the morning I press one of the buttons on a US240.
The main lights and shower lights start ramping up from 0 to 100 over a 10 minute period, the shower fan comes on and the bath heater (controlled by my Omni Pro II which can see the UPB traffic) comes on only if the temperature in the bathroom is below a set threshold.

My wife's walk-in closet has an IR barrier across the doorway which turns on the lights when the closet is entered or the door is opened.
It has a SensorSwitch occupancy sensor in the ceiling that turns the lights off after a set period of inactivity.
I use the IR barrier to turn the lights on because we have cats and they can trip the occupancy sensor.
Also if the closet door is left standing open, the lights don't come on unless someone actually enters the closet.
The IR Barrier is hooked to a zone on the OmniPro, but I had a spare input channel on a nearby UPB IO module, so I also wired the IR relay to that so the IO module sends a UPB link as well to speed the process of the lights coming on, provide redundancy and increase WAF.
(This same setup is going in the laundry room - which only has the ceiling sensor right now.)

Turning off the Master Bath main lights turns everything off, including the heater and closet lights, but not the fans.
The Master Suite switch at the bedroom exit turns everything in the master bedroom and bath off.
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July 2022

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