Light bulb sensor question - AVS Forum
Home Automation > Light bulb sensor question
crossoft's Avatar crossoft 09:25 AM 01-24-2013
I'm looking for a way to know whether certain lights are on. These are ones that can not be controlled by Lutron, for various reasons (old buildings, outdoor lights on dusk/dawn sensors). The ideal (and maybe only) solution that I can think of is a light bulb socket coupler that transmits when it has current. In a scenario like that, I could work on how to make it talk to my Crestron system.

Is anyone familiar with anything like this...or another retrofit-style to detect whether a specific bulb is on?


mbarland's Avatar mbarland 06:06 PM 01-24-2013
I don't know if they integrate with Crestron, but Insteon has sense-based modules that could be wired in and communicate the status of a 120v load. Something like the or
ChrisCicc's Avatar ChrisCicc 06:20 PM 01-24-2013
mbarland's idea is the only thing I can think of, and it's a brand new capability. It's functionally equivalent to your socket coupler idea.
crossoft's Avatar crossoft 08:10 PM 01-24-2013
Thanks to you both, this has a lot of potential. I'll report back if I have any level of success with this.
az1324's Avatar az1324 08:57 PM 01-24-2013
Any other current sensor or light sensor (if it wouldn't be affected by sunlight) could work too. Seems like you should be able to integrate your outdoor lights with either a timeclock or additional light sensor (outdoor).
crossoft's Avatar crossoft 09:01 PM 01-24-2013
Thanks az1324. My goal is the other way around; less about when I turn them on, and more about knowing when they turn on.

Another use case I'm tinkering with is knowing when the garage door opener light turns on. This indicates when the garage doors are opened and also when someone switches them on manually. Detecting current at the bulb would help me capture that event for logging and other automation purposes.

az1324's Avatar az1324 11:18 PM 01-24-2013
Well if you turn them on then you know when they turn on. Plus then you can override them at will. It seems much more useful to have a daylight sensor as an input to your system and use it to trigger groups of lights or other things as you want.

How do you know the difference between when the garage opens and when someone just turns the light on? Not to mention open vs close. Why not just use an open/close sensor?
stefuel's Avatar stefuel 03:12 AM 01-25-2013
Do you really have to do it by the bulb? How many bulbs do you need to monitor? Can't you do it by the circuit and just use one sensor for each circuit?
For your garage lights (inside the door opener) install a cadnium sulfied cell and run it through a versiport. That will show open line in the total absence of light up to about 30 ohms from a regular light bulb. To much work for my taste.
SAM64's Avatar SAM64 07:44 AM 01-28-2013
Use 'one-wire' current sensors. Monitor voltage and load current and you'll know when a bulb has burnt out as well.
controlguy's Avatar controlguy 12:40 AM 02-02-2013
I had a similar application - the wall switch next to my front door only controlled an outlet, so I gutted an X10 appliance module, replaced the guts with a 110V coil voltage relay, and used the contact closure outs on the relay to tell my AMX system to turn on the overhead light.

I do know of a few commercially available product that might help. Most of these are designed to detect device power - sensing the "on" state of devices with toggling power commands. So they are all plug based.

Crestron current sensor
AMX current sensor
Xantech current sensor

mbarland's INSTEON solution is handy since you wouldn't need to run additional wires, but that might take additional hardware. I also know X10 has a device that senses a contact closure or 12V input and sends an X10 pulse.

A long time ago, Crestron used to make a light sensor that could be glued over the power light of a device and, if the power light was on, sent a trigger to the Crestron. Slick little device, but sadly, they didn't make them for long. Crestron CNLEDS.
Mobile  Desktop