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Bathroom tech

ver0776

Active Member
I used a Levitron Occupancy light switch in my bathroom and it was nice and fast. However, I could never improve it because it has no X10 or any other interface.

I hooked magnetic sensors in my bathroom door to enable the following logic: "If motion is detected after the door is closed, Never turn the light off. Once the door is opened, enable turning the light off after 30 seconds with no motion". Also play music while the bathroom is occupied.

The turn-around time to get the light on is like 2 seconds, which is a life time when standing in a VERY dark bathroom.

I use Insteon dimmers (via X10) and hard-wired motion and magnetic sensors. I know switching to Insteon commands will help, instead of X10, but what I am really looking for is a Occupancy light switch that has some kind of logic, or X10 control that will be fast and reliable, but I can influence it's Auto-Off behavior via X10 or relays, etc..

How does anyone else automate their bathrooms? Anyone use a custom solution and is it fast enough?

Thanks,
Vaughn
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
What if you used a levtiton motion sensor switch in parallel with an Insteon relay switch? Light goes on as soon as the motion switch activates... stays on as long as the door magnets tell the Insteon switch to stay active... Only goes off when both are clear.
 

Rupp

Senior Member
I use the KISS principal in my bathroom and it has worked perfectly. The key (at least for me is to not get to granular with the timing.). I use an X10 motion sensor that turns on my bathroom light. I then turn it off 20 minutes later if no motion is sensed. I use DooMotion and HomeSeer to handle the off and on logic and it works perfectly.
 

ericvic

Active Member
The turn-around time to get the light on is like 2 seconds, which is a life time when standing in a VERY dark bathroom.
If you are using a CM11A then that is your problem. They are very very slow. You can either switch to a ControlLinc 2414 and use native Insteon or almost any other X10 interface will be faster than the CM11A.

Eric
 

ver0776

Active Member
Rupp,
(BTW I have have a lot of Rupp geneology, maybe HA is in our bloodline, are you from the Volga area??)

I like simple too, but I also think it is 2006 and getting a light to turn off without waiting 20 minutes should not be that big of a deal. I read about this ambient music project this one guy had with his bathroom and how he had 20 years invested in it and still working on it. Laugh, it really should not be that hard to confirm occupancy and control a light.

Motion detectors are just not good enough, I'm even beginning to hate them. They need to be combined with magnetic contacts, pressure sensors or laser trip wires, etc to confirm presence. All of which I have done, but it is too slow. Motion detectors are not fast enought with the first contact and the X10 responds way too slow. Question: Is there any quality in motion sensors that would indicate a good time to recognize and transmit a sensor reading? I would buy nicer sensors if I knew it would make a difference.

I am using a CM15A (I do not use the anteanne on the CM15a =)
as a controller and know that is the biggest part of the problem. I also have the Insteon and Smarthome controllers, but waiting on source code for the new ActiveX Insteon controller and the original Smarthome one noes not even have an ActiveX interface that I know of so I boxxed it.

So I should have a proper solution in the next month or so, I imagine. My point is how hard is it to add basic X10 to one of the existing Occupancy Switches out there. I would use them all over the place. The switches do what you are doing with HomeSeer and DooMotion without ANY home automation. They all have 20 minute off functions. If just we could override those features when we had additional logic.

And forgive me, I am gonna be one of those posters that never has an easy setup because I am writing EVERYTHING except the Controller interfaces from scratch. I use Phidget interface boards for analog and digital i/o, no central controller. So lots of my issues are software, but I try to deal with all that on my own.

My lower bathroom is the central to demonstrating my home automation. It is small and attached right to my lower living room, so all company uses it, and there are privacy issues with noise... If the lights came on and off fast and there was music while occupied, my bathroom would sell the house... =)

Someone has to have a nice creative bathroom setup.
 

elcano

Active Member
Consider that you can add a motion detector (or door switch, as applies) outside of the bathroom, in addition the motion detector and/or swtich in the bathroom door. In that way you can detect the direction in which the people is moving. Since typically a bathroom is used by a single person, you can set a flag for "occupation" if the detectors are triggered in a specific order (going in vs. going out).
 

ver0776

Active Member
I tried motion detectors outside the bathroom and it looked like it had promise, but at the time I was using X10 and outside of the bathroom is my livingroom and there is always so much motion that the motion detects would flood the network and the Bathroom Light ON command would never get through. I am using hard wired sensors now, so if Insteon does not solve the issues, I will experiment with even more sensors again =(

If you guys look at:

http://65.27.13.27:8091/

My bathroom is the small dark room using C2, M3, and E10. M3 and E10 are actually hardwired now and cause no X10 traffic.

M3 fires, event is written to my HA tables, event is read and C2 ON is fired. Time 2 - 3 seconds! With the CM15a I have to put 500ms delays all over the place or it will say it sent the signal and won't.

Again, I am sure sending Insteon commands to the light switch would solve the problem, but coding for Insteon seems so unstable now. I am being lazy and waiting for some ActiveX sample code for Insteon.

My problems aside, Does anyone have music of advanced lighting logic in their bathrooms?

Vaughn
 

ver0776

Active Member
Ok, I did a little more research, and what I found is a PIR/Ultrasonic Motion sensor should be used for a bathroom.

It eliminates false positives by requiring both sensors to register to turn the light on, but EITHER sensor will keep the light on. So when you are squatting on the bowl for a while, it may not see you moving, but it will hear your grunts and keep the light on =) (looks like they average $65-$100)

Not sure about differences between the ultasonic and the Radar ones.

Still on the trail of a real occupancy sensor..

Vaughn
 

Rupp

Senior Member
ver0776 said:
OK, I did a little more research, and what I found is a PIR/Ultrasonic Motion sensor should be used for a bathroom.

It eliminates false positives by requiring both sensors to register to turn the light on, but EITHER sensor will keep the light on. So when you are squatting on the bowl for a while, it may not see you moving, but it will hear your grunts and keep the light on =) (looks like they average $65-$100)

Not sure about differences between the ultasonic and the Radar ones.

Still on the trail of a real occupancy sensor..

Vaughn
Was the intent to save money by having the light automated? If so I think that intent may have been lost. :) If you need instant light on then why not simply connect the door contacts to a gamepad attached to the pc and using the associated gamepad plugin for HS. This is as fast a notification that one could get without local control.
 

ver0776

Active Member
Brilliant. I have not read about any sensor hacks like that.

As I play with my $20 PIR more I am seeing the red light on it take a second or two sometimes to come on. I think no matter what I do on the backend HA, I might need a higher quality faster responding motion sensor still.

I got some pressure mats in from Phidgets.com the other day, but I hate to put anything on a bathroom floor (yuk).

ETA on Insteon v1.6 controller and my W800RF to replace my V572 is today or tomorrow, so I will find out this weekend if I can actually make my bathroom functional.

Thanks for the direct-to-computer suggestion, Rupp.

Vaughn Rupp (Had to throw my last name out there :)
 

ver0776

Active Member
BTW, a friend who worked at Radioshack showed me X10 lights when I was a teen. My goals are to make something better than what he had 20 years ago =)

I have no goals such as cost savings. I just want to overcome long standing hurdles and make better, more impressive automation systems while learning the industry.

I love the WOW factor. Everyone has seen the Clapper, they need more (hehe) I want constant amazement (by non-HA people at least =) when they are in my show house. A bathroom that is responsive, fast and does not turn the lights out on them is a must in such a house.

I guess Kansas people are hicks. My old Home Depot occupancy switch really impressed company. Until it shut off on them, or they kept asking when it was going to turn off after they left the bathroom.

Vaughn
 

kwilcox

Active Member
Great subject! My bathroom works just fine with X10 using switchlinc switches, hawkeye motion sensors and my w800rf connected to HCA. The key for me was the number of hawkeye sensors used to maintain reliability. Our main bathroom has 3. one on the wall immediately to the right of the door mounted at eye level, one low mounted sensor near the "throne" and one in the shower. Lighting is on a 2.5 minute inactivity delay and on time is somewhere between .5 and one second which is typical for X10 switches in my system. The low mounted toilet sensor allows my three year old to use the bathroom herself in the middle of the night. The shower sensor also activates the exhaust fan so the mirrors never fog up.

Controller logic is pretty trivial: any of the three sensors activate the light if it's off and any sensor trip while the light is on resets the 2.5 minute timeout.

WAF has been high on this especially after returning from vacation in VT where no such bathroom automation exists at my brother's house....
 

ver0776

Active Member
My bathroom is finally up to par. I fixed two things, first was I compared the initial firing times on 3 different hard-wired motion sensors I had and picked the fastest one. Second, even after I added Insteon Controller support, I was just using it to transmit X10 signals, now it is fully converted to Insteon and controlling the bathroom light with Insteon addresses. Each of these shaved about 1 second off of my 2.5-3 second response time I was complaining about.

The door sensor works great with the system and ensures that the light will not turn off on you while you are in there with the door closed. This allows me to make the turn off time about 20 seconds, although I use custom motion detection code that adds extra time depending on the amount of motion and duration of it.

I will be taking earlier advice (Kwilcox =) and adding a 2nd motion detector for when the door is left open and someone maybe spending some time sitting still in there... Then I have to get the music tied in again =)

Vaughn
 
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