Smart Exterior Residential Lighting

Our house has a few exterior lights. The usual porch lights (front and back) and a security floodlight and sconce light on the garage (as the garage end of the driveway becomes the “pit of eternal darkness” after dusk).

I’ve tried a few different ways of automating when these lights turn themselves on and off. I added photocells to both lights, but found that without direct sunlight the lamps would typically stay on all day. In the case of the garage I added a digital timer, but have to adjust the timing throughout the year to account for sunrise and sunset.

I recently replaced this arrangement for the front porch light with a single Wemo Wifi Light Switch which can be programmed locally according to a schedule, or which can be triggered by the associated If this then that service.

Belkin Wemo Wifi Light Switch

This has worked swimingly so far, and I plan on replacing the photocell/digital timer in the garage with just the Wemo Light switch (this also means I can switch these lights to CFLs instead of incandescents – incandescents were needed for use with the photocell devices to prevent “strobing” where ambient light approaches the on/off value).

It’s also cool because hey….WiFi light switches.


  1. Madeye says:

    Well, that’s a cool switch! It really is becoming a WiFi world, isn’t it?

    I could something like that at the cottage (i.e. rather than chasing sunset by constantly resetting the timer) but I don’t have WiFi up and running when we’re not there :-(

    BTW … thanks to the link to IFTTT – that could come in useful (I suppose ;-)

  2. Mugwug says:

    Yeah…they’re pretty disco, I think the IFTTT service may be a solution in search of a problem, but it does present some interesting possibilities. The switches seem pretty robust, and so far the programming has been local (not IFTTT) and have been reliable.

  3. Madeye says:

    Geeze … another one of those situations where, having never heard about this kind of thing before, all of a sudden you see it everywhere you look … LOL!

  4. Merle says:

    I feel more & more like a dinosaur. When I attended Navy Tech School they were still teaching vacuum tube, with only a passing nod to solid state.


  5. Madeye says:

    Never mind, Merle … vacuum tubes are coming back – with a vengeance!

  6. Merle says:

    Thanks Madeye! The “purity” of sound was always one of the big claims for tube amps.

    Sadly for me, Viet Nam damaged my hearing to the point I crank the Bass all the way up, so I cal “feel” the music.


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