Let there be light!

So my son bought us a new light/fan unit for our bathroom…has bluetooth for playing music, lights dim, night light, etc. I love it but our bathroom has no windows so it is pitch black when you go in. The light switch doesn’t have a backlit glow so you have to feel around and it’s really sensitive to find the light. 90% of the time I turn on the fan. So, after literally months I decided to try to fix it. Simple cut…3 1/8 inch acrylic blocks with the last one extending over the light. On the underneath side of the elongated piece is a round 3d bling stuck to the surface. Now you just have to feel and push that extended peice and voila, light comes on! Even my husband thinks it’s cool (and that’s an accomplishment)!


That is a fantastic #practical-cuts fix to an irritating issue. I love that you used a little bling to boop the light button. And the daisies are a great addition!


Great adaptation!
I just got the bond ceiling fan hub which has saved electricity by shutting off the ceiling fans at 8am, and I can have alexa turn on fans. :slight_smile:


I’m entirely automating the new house using Home Assistant. For “going to the bathroom in the night” I have a motion sensor that detects when my feet hit the floor, turns on some low level under bed LED lights and turns on the bathroom lights at 20%. It turns them all off after a couple of minutes (or the bed ones will go back on when I go back to bed so I don’t trip & fall if I was in the bathroom for longer than that and then turn off again 2 minutes after I’m back in bed). But it only does it if it’s dark out and the room lights are off so I don’t trigger them when walking in there during the day or if we’re still up with the lights on. The motion sensor is under the bed so it doesn’t trigger when we roll over or move during our sleep. Still tweaking the sensitivity though so the cats don’t trigger it when they get up to get some kibble.

I never want to have to touch a light or fan switch again :smiley: (they still work though - just in case we have visitors who reflexively reach for light switches until they get used to them turning on & off automatically).


Almost all my lights are automated and I never touch them. Exceptions are areas of the house I don’t use often, and a reading lamp behind me that I just tell Alexa to turn on and off. They come on and off, but also dim - so my kitchen has strip lighting over the cabinets, but a bright single bulb over the sink that illuminates in the evenings, but then dims to night-light intensity when everything else goes off, so I can see to go to the bathroom thru there if needed. Same with “front hall”.

My HVAC and many other devices are automated as well. I set up my kettle, for example, to boil water for hot chocolate in the morning by just telling her to turn it on. I wait for the click then can go throw the water in the cup…

I’m up to around 23 days in hospital this year, and I can keep an eye on the home but also turn down heat during cold days that I won’t be here. Turn it back up to normal when I’m heading home again.

Of course, “Glowforge fan” does exactly what you’d expect. :+1:


I think automating the house is what really makes “smart homes” smart. Doors that open when I approach (spring loaded hinges & proximity sensors), the correct garage door opens based on which car is coming down the driveway, blinds that automatically raise & lower depending on time of day and activity (like the ones in the bathroom lower when the shower turns on or tub start to fill & raise the humidity regardless of time of day), the robot vacuums & mops the floors, alerts for when the washer or dryer are done…

I don’t do much voice control simply because I can’t always remember what I called something and for sure no visitor would be able to guess them correctly :slight_smile: Besides, it seems talking to Alexa or Google isn’t that much different or more convenient than a switch on the wall. Having things happen automatically is what’s really useful.

Still trying to find something that I can use to open the pocket doors automatically. The most reasonably cost-effective way is just too slow (90 seconds for a 36" wide door). The Star Trek effect is great but it’s got to be fast.

Turning things off automatically is a huge thing for us - as we get older I know I’ll start to forget to do that so having something take care of that automatically is a going to be a lifesaver.


What kind of bed motion sensor do you have?
I have a cheap AliExpress motion, sensing toilet light.


I also have nearly 100% of our home lighting and some other things using either wireless light bulbs or smart plugs. My system isn’t quite as sophisticated as some here, but it works like a charm. It all evolved from using remote controlled lighting because my husband has severe neuropathy and couldn’t grasp a lamp switch, but could push a button. I graduated to wireless and to smart plugs. I’m sure I’ve startled more than one person who doesn’t know all this by blurting out…'don’t touch that! when they reach for a light switch. There’s also been a few occasions when we’re visiting with people in the living room and all of a sudden some of the lights go out. Ha ha…could possibly be a not-so-subtle way of letting people know it’s time to go home. I absolutely love the automation.


I wouldn’t call mine sophisticated. When I bought my home, the thermostats were not programmable so it was just as cheap to install “connected” ones as any other, and I get the benefit of being able to control them from my phone anywhere in the world. When I used to travel frequently, I’d bump down the heat or turn up the AC, then resume “normal” operation when I landed back in Atlanta.

I very rarely have to do anything with my lights as they are all on a schedule, the exception is just the reading lamp behind me and rooms I don’t use regularly, especially at night.

The Glowforge duct fan is about 30’ away from my machine down a long hallway, for the $10 it cost me for the connected smart plug, telling Alexa to turn it on and off as I walk to the workshop is just a convenience. Same with the kettle - sure, I can just walk to the kitchen and turn it on, but then I have a couple of minutes to kill while waiting for it to boil. Ain’t nobody got time for that! :rofl:

I hinted in another thread that I am not much of a fan of “the latest technology”, but I take advantage of simple things that make my life simpler, or more cost effect (the HVAC is one very significant example - the cost of utilities being what they are today…)


Ceiling fans cost one to two cents an hour to run. They even out room temperatures and assist in making your AC and heating more efficient. I never turn mine off and keep them turning on low speed, unless I just came in and want to cool off faster.
Your mileage may vary.


Aqara. I use their new P1 version which gives more adjustment options than their original version. They’re about $20 on Amazon, often less on eBay and usually $10-15 on Prime Day.

I’ve got it attached to the underside of the bed frame (upside down, it doesn’t care).

BTW, eBay is a good source for top-shelf smart stuff. All my light switches are Lutrons which are $50+ on Amazon or Home Depot/Lowes. On eBay I usually get them four under $40. Still more than a lot of alternatives but they’re rock solid and I know they’re quality.

That’s one reason I’m using Home Assistant and Lutrons switches vs just smart bulbs or dumber switches. They stay guest friendly by allowing manual use but keep the ability for the automations to continue to work even if someone turns them off.

But guests pretty quickly get used to the lights just taking care of themselves. Of course it helps that mostly our guests are family. They’re used to my “projects” :slightly_smiling_face:

Working on room specific wall tablets to let them control stuff for the new house. Using the LCARS (Star Trek computers) display designs and Amazon Fire tablets. Waiting for Prime Day to buy some more when they go on big sale. :stuck_out_tongue:


i use the smart bulbs, but i’ve added a couple of these switches for manual use to turn on/off a couple of scenes.




I would love being able to automate a house from the ground up as you are doing. It will be SO cool!


It was funny when I did the walkthrough with the electrician before he started the wiring. The builder assumed we’d have 30 can lights and whatever # of electrical outlets are required by code.

I ended up with 60 can lights (all LEDs) and a bunch of extra outlets - in the ceilings :slight_smile: That way I can mount sensors and plug them in. Although almost everything can be battery powered now, I didn’t want to be having to climb ladders to replace batteries as we got older. While he was doing that I had him pull Cat6 cable too for hardwire connections to the router & switch. So I have all these outlets in the ceiling corners and above the windows (for powering smart shades/blinds). And I put a couple in the living room floor so I don’t have to snake extension cords to the sofa table where I know we’ll have a lamp or two. Also put them above the cabinets so I can add LED strings up there. And of course there are some in the walls about 5 1/2 ft over the floor for my tablets to be mounted. Doubled the cost of my electrical but the time to do it is when you’re building because pulling wires is way more expensive.


Since I installed this, and swapped out 3 ceiling fans to dc motor fans the electrical bill dropped 30 bucks. maybe our old fans were energy hungry.


Plus you can use POE to power smaller remote devices at the end of an Ethernet run (just remember after that to treat your Ethernet cords more like power cords than network cables, where i’ve seen people roll their office chairs over networking cables, and if POE is on, big sparks shooting out as they short it out, as most people view network cables as disposable). If the device doesn’t have direct POE support built in, there are a gajillion adapters that split the cable into power and data (and similar one for the switch side).