Light Schedules

I am noticing light schedules are turning on 45 minutes to an hour sometimes after their stated time in my schedule. The lights in question have the away from home setting turned on. Is this the culprit? I thought it was only supposed to use that setting when it is armed away.

You’re right. The Away from Home Option “Make times approximate (give/take 30 min.)” should only apply when the system thinks you’re away from home based on whether you’re armed in away mode or perhaps based on geo-fences. Even if that were the problem it should only vary by 30 minutes or less, not 45 minutes to an hour.

We’ve seen several problems recently where the automation rules in the control panel got into a bad state somehow and stopped working reliably. We’ve seen it happen more often on accounts with a lot of rules or where the customer was changing rules rapidly, saving one then another, etc… That’s no excuse though. The work around so far has been to reinitialize the rules in the control panel which seems to fix the problem. I just sent a command to do that to your control panel and it looks like it went through successfully. Let me know if the problem occurs again, preferably as soon as you notice it, and we’ll go from there.

I am working on escalating this overall issue so make sure it gets addressed by the higher ups as we’ve seen it several times recently.

Thanks Ryan, that has fixed the issue. I will let you know if this arises again.

Ryan, I wanted to get some info on this. Where is the “Away from home option”? Is this only for panel controlled rules rather than Alarm.com controlled rules? I see in the ADC rule settings that I can set an option for “Make times approximate (give/take 30 min.)” that you mention, but it doesn’t say whether it always uses that or only when “armed away”. I would really love the option of having certain rules ever only run when “armed away”.

I have a few light fixtures that are now controlled by the panel, some of them are more to make the house appear occupied when it isn’t and less for convenience. Currently I have schedules for those lights leveraging the “give/take 30 minutes” option…but I would prefer to just be able to tell the rule to ever only be enabled when armed away. This would allow me to create some more complex sets of rules to really make the house appear occupied.

Would be great if the system allowed more variability, so working with groups of lights and turning 1 of the lights out of the group on/off rather than all of them…so that it appears more like someone is walking from room to room on occasion, etc.

The “Away from home option” “Make times approximate (give/take 30 min.)” only applies when the system thinks you are away from home, which is when the system is “armed away”. This also could apply if you’re using Geo-fences and all of your phones are outside of the home Geo-fence but I don’t think Alarm.com is currently using Geo-fences for this particular option. They might in the future though. Either way, it doesn’t apply when you’re at home.

Not today… maybe in a future enhancement.

Ryan, part of my question is that i think I am not finding the setting in ADC to set the rules based on “away from home option”. I only see the checkbox to enable the variability, nothing that mentions relating that to “away” status. Perhaps it is implied in the setting?

Hmmm. I just did some testing on this and it looks like I understood it wrong! That setting applies all the time, not just when the system is armed away. I had assumed that the heading “Away from Home option” meant that it only applies when you’re away from home. Apparently it just means “make it appear as though I’m away from home” by randomizing the lights. That’s different than how the “away from home thermostat override” setting behaves with alarm.com thermostats.

Alarm.com away from home option

Sorry for the misinformation. I think it SHOULD work the way I assumed it work. I’ll put in a request for that as an enhancement. For now, I don’t see any way to automatically randomize the lights when you’re armed away but not otherwise. If you’re going on vacation you can check that setting before you leave and uncheck it when you return but there’s not much you can do about it on a day to day basis.

Hi Ryan - now that I have a Z-Wave light working I’ve started tinkering with rules. This is the first one I tried to set up, and seems the most obvious - “when I am away from home, turn the lights on and off to simulate occupation”. I cannot believe that ADC does not have what I consider to be this basic functionality.

Anyway, please add me to the enhancement request to use “Armed Away” and “Armed Stay” as variables for the (non-thermostat) automation schedules. Geo fencing for schedules would be nice too but armed status is most important.

This can always be simulated with scheduled lighting and making the time approximate to the hour by choosing that feature.

For example, you can create a “Vacation” schedule with a few different times when lights should turn on, then vary that by selecting the approximation. The schedules can be simply turned on and off without editing them once created.

Also, arm/disarm and Geofence can be used to automate lighting. These are found when “Adding a New Rule,” not under the Schedule option. They allow on/off functionality, but not the randomization you suggested.

I am always happy to take feature requests to ADC. The more they offer the better it is for everyone.

Thanks Jason - I have done as you suggested and created a “Vacation” schedule which should meet the short term need provided I turn it on and off before and after being gone. I would still like to take the feature request to ADC to have armed status as a variable for scheduled automation.

Absolutely. As long as it is a state change the panel can see I do not see a reason why it couldn’t be implemented.

New features are in constant development, literally, so always let us know if there is something you feel is missing.

I believe the Geofence option for lighting rules is a fairly recent addition itself.

Hi Jason, I wanted to see if having armed state as a condition for automation rules has gotten any traction. I would still like for my lights to turn on and off automatically when we’re not home (without having to remember to enable/disable extra rules)

It has been a good while since I have spoken to ADC about this specific feature. I’ll follow up and see if there has been any planned implementation. As of yet this conditional is not available for scheduled automation.

The away from home option for schedules is more designed to make the property appear occupied, rather than limit activation. To be honest I’d like to see this myself.

I was looking for a conditional AND statement type of rule.

For example, I’d like to turn on light X if the front door is opened AND the alarm is armed. Is that something that is possible?

Currently, the light will turn on when I open the door, but any time my front door opens, the light goes on… kind of annoying.

For example, I’d like to turn on light X if the front door is opened AND the alarm is armed. Is that something that is possible?

Ah, so essentially you are looking for a trigger based on an entry delay countdown?

I’m not sure.

Last time I had the rule set, the light would go on every time I opened the front door, which was annoying. I only really want it to go on when it’s armed away & the front door opens.

The geo-fence option doesnt work for me, as I’m in a quasi-urban area, where I will often times be working within the minimum radius of the geo fence.

I’m not sure.

Last time I had the rule set, the light would go on every time I opened the front door, which was annoying. I only really want it to go on when it’s armed away & the front door opens.

Ok, to clarify:

The only situations which could possibly result from a sensor opening when the system is armed are:

  1. Alarm occurs.
  2. Entry Delay Countdown starts, followed by alarm if no disarm.

So, if you want the light to only turn on when a sensor opens and the Alarm is armed, if that sensor is a perimeter sensor, just use the “Alarm” event. It would perform the exact same way.

Now, you reference Front Door, which I would presume has an Entry Delay. There is no rule to turn on a light based on entry delay, but there is a fairly easy way to fudge this if you have a 2GIG panel.

The 2GIG panel Open collector output can be programmed to follow the entry exit delay. That can be turned into a hardwired sensor in the panel with a jumper, allowing you to set up sensor activity rules based on that sensor.

This won’t help in other panels, but I would be happy to suggest Entry Delay as a conditional trigger as a feature request.

I’m running a qolsys on 1.6.1. SHould have mentioned thatbefore

On Qolsys I do not know of a good work-around. As above, I would be happy to submit a feature request though. I would like to see Entry Delay as a rule trigger as well. We’ll submit a request today.