System Modes


Senior Member
I know some of this is scatterered around in other threads but I wanted to try to get thoughts organized in one thread. I am interested in hearing about the different 'modes' you have created for your system and what you do in each mode. This may vary quite a bit but I think there will be a lot of common ground. For example, I am looking for 'I have a Wake mode, Day mode, Evening and Sleep mode'. In Wake mode I do yada yada with lights, motions, etc. This would apply whether you are using a panel, just software or a combo. Also interested to see how modes are invoked - by an event, time of day, manual button press?

I am creating modes for my system and have a lot of ideas but it would be great to have all your ideas in one spot, big or small. Many of you know what works well, and what doesn't. So, what do you all have?
2 modes: house awake, house asleep

Once sleep mode has been activated, it shuts the TTS off, phone, dims the lights, and lights will automatically follow you if you wander around at night. Until recently, it also used to turn of all the home theater equipment, and turn the tv on in the bedroom, but my TV in the bedroom has some problems, so I disabled this.

When the house wakes up (based on motion after a certain time), it turns on audio, phone, resets some lights, and announces the weather forecast, plus some important events.
I use two modes as well. Occupied and Unoccupied. DooMotion sets this based on a user selectable set of motion sensors and elapsed time. This way all my events can trigger on the fact that the house is occupied or not.
also two modes: awake, asleep. Both modes are modified by a global flag "its dark outside"

its dark outside activates the automatic light sensors. This flag is toggled by an outside light sensor and triggers on very cloudy conditions as well as typical nighttime conditions. It can also be manually toggled by operating the main living room lightswitch. I've also programmed in some "de-bounce" logic to insure that the minimum sensor based state change frequency is no less than 1 hour.

Asleep/awake are set by activating my master bedroom bedside controller when we go to bed and changes the way the lighting sensors operate if its dark outside. In this mode, all bedroom sensors are deactivated and the bathroom, kitchen and living area sensors turn on softer, dimmed lighting. Asleep also transfers the primary thermostat to the master bedroom and deactivates my HVAC inline duct fans resulting in increased heating/cooling efficiency in the bedroom areas of the house. This saves energy since the HVAC doesn't have to work as hard to maintain temperatures. Activating the bedside controller also turns off all lighting and closes the garage door if it was left open.

The library, sewing room and office lighting is always sensor activated because these rooms are in the basement, but its dark outside lowers their default illumination levels.

I'm pretty happy with this setup.
2 plus modes with variations.

Day, Night (or dark day), Awake, Sleeping, Party (Inside or Outside), Away, Vacation. The day/night modes are pretty much isolated from the alarm system status, so they will always change at the appropriate time. Since the lighting is a combination of scene lighting and occupancy lighting, it doesn't care if the alarm is in "Away" mode since the lights won't turn on unless there is movement. When movement is detected, the lights come on in the room/hallway/etc, duration varying on each specific location. There are also specific scenes setup for some rooms. The Kitchen has Normal, Cook, Clean, and Read (for late night snacks :D ). Each Bedroom has Normal, Sleep, Read, TV, Nap, and Romantic (Master Suite only and don't even think of asking :( ). The Great Room has Normal, TV, and Read, and the Office has Normal, and Computer. All the remaining rooms/hallways are basic "dark" & "Movement" = lights on.

When every bedroom goes into Sleep mode (all lights off, ignore the motion detectors), the entire house goes into Sleeping mode (all lights to 25%, and changes to some of the lighting patterns when movement is detected). If I ever get my HS<->HAI connection working reliably again, I want to do a major rewrite to make the system more granular, ie every room would have an individual light/don't light/intensity level setting.

The Party mode is pretty much a specific set of lights always on at various intensities. Inside and Outside (or more accurately, Cool Weather and Warm Weather), change wether the main focus will be the Great Room (more inside lighting and limited outside lighting) or the Deck (more outside and yard lighting, limited inside lighting).

Away and Vacation are basically different combinations of HVAC setbacks and appliances turned off.
I use a couple of non-standard modes too.

Debug - Every event is announced via TTS, so I can see if sensors that do not generate audible notifications are working.

Demo - I like to show off my house, so in demo mode the house will announces features and points of interest in different rooms and many silent events trigger entertaining and informative TTS.

Lock-Down - The house will cut power and access to computers and rooms as it guides me to my panic room. All AB8SS events are redirected to the panic room speaker, etc.

Guest - We I am expecting someone, this mode makes main room, front door and guest bathrooms more accessable and friendly, but tightens security on my bedrooms, computer lab and keeps the guests were they should be.

In addition I have standard HOME, AWAY, and SLEEP.

= Normal
= Away - sets lights if dark out, adjusts HVAC, ensures TVs/stereos off, garage doors closed. If main garage door opens, automatically turns up HVAC (so it's already running by time we get in the house).
= Vacation - Away with additional security like random lights in rooms, less ceiling fan action, sets back HVAC temperature further
= Goodnight - adjusts HVAC, lights, ensures security on. If someone gets up in the night (can't sleep, early meeting, etc), it resets house 15 minutes later to ensure lights/heating/security set. House can auto set itself into goodnight based on motion/TV/stereo status after 11:30.
= Friends - same as normal except dimly lights halls, stairs, bathrooms (and resets lighting in case someone turns off a light), adjusts HVAC, turns on outside lights if dark out
= Babysitter - lights house like friends mode, automatically switches any TVs turned on to satellite (not TiVo)
To me, having a "mode" simply means that one group of particular circumstances is of enough importance to several routines that it becomes convenient to have a flag that can be checked to see if the house is in that flag's mode, rather then checking for these circumstances in every routine. For example, if I leave the house and arm the alarm system, the "lived in" routine will need to run IF we're away AND it is dark outside, etc. In that case, these routines just need to check if we're in the "away mode" and "dark outside" mode instead of testing the time of day range and polling the alarm system to see if its armed. Similarly, if the temperature-based electricity rate is currently high, then I have a "high rate" flag set which is checked by the routines that turn off the outside lights, control power to the water heater, etc.

Thus the modes come about by themselves during programming when you notice that the same information is useful in several places. This is similar to when you're programming (in a computer language) and notice that the same routine is being needed in several places; so you create a subroutine instead.
I have to agree with Guy. I have several 'modes' that generally come in pairs:
Awake - on/off
Daylight - on/off
Sign of Life - True/False

Each of the A/V components have a similar state and in each case they are just a simple single place to check a flag. Makes programming easier.

Hi rmorten! Welcome to CocoonTech!

I agree with Guy and rmorter (sorta). The lighting routines are mostly autonomous, based on the ambient light level, but then they are influenced by the occupancy state in the house. I guess it would be better to say that there are no "exclusive" modes, just various combinations of circumstances.
I use several modes as well - the modes are on or off and serve as conditions for events in HS.

The modes are defined as devices, and all the modes being off creates a "normal" mode. So I have the following four modes defined by devices in HS:


Each can be on or off, with the device string of each set to "'mode name' on" if on, and "off" if off (while carrying the equivelant on/off value). If all 4 modes are off, then the house is in "normal" mode. So I have a total of 5 modes.

Here are what each of the modes do:

Security: Makes the home look "lived in" also activaets HomeSeer's internal security mode to vary the time of events that have the "security" box checked. Turns off all TTS speakers (via AB8SS). When this mode is enabled, defined security devices will cause the alarm to trigger, and HS to send me an email and call me. If the garage door is left open for too lonf aget this mode is on, I am emailed as well (and I can close the door remotely after confirming via webcam that I won't squish anyone/thing). This mode is triggered by arming the security system.

Vacation: Like Security mode but without the alarm features. Should probable be called "house sitter" mode instead. We use this when we're away from home and have people coming in regularly to check on the house and take care of the pets. Triggered manually from within HomeSeer so it won't accidently be set by someone (though I may make a password protected ML scene/overlay for it).

Holiday: Turns weekdays into weekends - This does two major things: 1. It keeps the "artificial sunrise" from coming on in my son's room, ensuring (or aiding in) him sleeping past 530am, and 2: It prevents the thermostat from going into "away mode" which are the energey saving modes we use while at work. Triggered manually by a MainLobby buttons

Guest: Makes the house more guest-friendly. The thermostat does not go into "away" mode, since our guests may be there while we're at work, and it also supresses a lot of TTS, particullarly in the guest room, so they won't be bugged. I created this in addition to Holiday mode mostly becuase of my desire to supress TTS for guest. Triggered manually by a MainLobby buttons

Normal mode: Everything is normal. Events and scripts are conditioned to look for the other 4 devices to be off.

All of the modes are controlled by events only, and an event that turns one of them on, always turns the other 3 off, so the house can never be in more than 1 mode at a time.

My next project is to use the IsHoliday script to automate the triggering of holiday mode since I sometimes forget to push the button the night before a holiday.
My setup is real similar to John's... HomeSeer keeps track of what I call "status", and depending on the status and other variables of the home, events are handled differently.

Doing this from memory, but here are a few of the status devices it tracks:

Raining/Not Raining
Who's speaking (Current VR Profile)
What room speaking from(Mic gate status)
Holiday (true/false)
Vacation (true/false)

With RFID, Home/Away is actually supplimented with who is home (or just departed, or just arrived). This allows TTS greetings/announcements and lighting, music, and temp to be automatically adjusted depending on who is home. If we're both home, or if my girlfriend is home alone, HS adjusts to her preferences. If I'm home and she's not (or leaves), HS adjusts to my preferences and upon her return will set things back automatically.

We also use scenes which can be triggered by VR, MainLobby on 10" Airpanel, Keypad, or by lightswitch. We use these daily (maybe we're too much creatures of habit?) Here are some of our most used scenes:

Clean-Up (kitchen)
TV Time
Spa Time
Party Time
Leave/Arrive (fully automated using RFID)

A virtual device keeps track of the current "scene" which allows the scenes to be toggled from a 2-way light switch. For example, we'll usually initiate the cooking scene from ML or by using VR. When it's time to eat, this can be done again using ML or VR, but just the act of turning the kitchen ceiling lights off from the switch will change the scene to "dining". This adjusts the lighting in the kitchen (and rest of the house), changes the music to easy listening and sets it for a lower volume and also mutes incoming calls.

Once we're done eating turning the ceiling lights back on in the kitchen using the 2-way light switch triggers the "clean-up" scene. This brings the lights back up as well as the volume of the music. Once the dishes are done, turing the kitchen ceiling lights back off again triggers "TV time" which shuts down the music, adjusts lights, and turns on the TV.

My girlfriend thought it was silly to walk over to the Airpanel to change each scene (even though it's only a few feet away), but turning the kitchen ceiling lights on or off is something that was natural and she did anyways. Having the scenes toggle like this doesn't allow for much flexibility, but was a big hit with her. If you stray from the routine, it's as easy as a VR command or button press on ML to get things where you want them.

I'd really like to get some things in place based on guests like John has. I have a RFID keyfob that I'd like to issue guests when they visit. This way HS would know when we have guests, and even know if they are in the house or not and can act accordingly. I've got lots of ideas based around this, just haven't implemented it yet!

pkoslow said:
I'd really like to get some things in place based on guests like John has. I have a RFID keyfob that I'd like to issue guests when they visit. This way HS would know when we have guests, and even know if they are in the house or not and can act accordingly. I've got lots of ideas based around this, just haven't implemented it yet!
Paul, you'll have to get an aibo or robosapien to chase your guests down if they try to leave with your keyfob!