Advice on modes

I’ve been considering redoing the rules and have been exploring a different viewpoint than what I currently have. I’ve read some things but haven’t seen specific examples ( very possibly from my less than stellar search skills).

I was considering factoring in multiple modes. May be a morning, afternoon, evening, night, away, etc. Currently I only have home and away modes. I have based most of my rules off of events during certain time of day, sunrise/sunset, or specific times. I’m assuming with modes, I could base dimmer brightness off of the mode (if afternoon, set dimmer to 85/if evening, set dimmer to 70, etc.).

Is a workflow like this easier than basing each rule off a similar time? Or is it just another one of the many ways to accomplish the same thing? In thinking through it, I could see where some of it would be a little easier with the multi mode set up. I could also see where programming for each mode rather than a certain time could end up being more work.

I have settled into using 4 modes:

  1. Morning - a pre-dawn time shortly before we typically wake for work.
  2. Day - a post-dawn time when outdoor lights are not required and indoor lights may or may not be required.
  3. Evening - around dusk. I based this on outdoor illuminance when I lived in AZ, though that is tricky in cloudy Pittsburgh.
  4. Sleepy - after we typically go to bed.

A common automation for me may take action based on motion + mode. If motion is active in the living room, then set the lamp dimmer based on mode. If it has been inactive for a certain time, then dim or turn off. Probably half of my rules are this flavor.

Each scheme will have pros and cons. Pick one that most closely fits your thinking and feels eloquent. You will still find exceptions that may require work-arounds.


Four modes here: DAWN (sunrise), DAY (sunrise +30), DUSK (sunset -30), NIGHT (sunset).

Other "conditions" (AWAY, HOLIDAY, VACATION, WALK) are indicated with virtual switches. AWAY is triggered by presence sensors; the others are manually toggled.

Mostly, the modes control lighting, including outdoor lights and light strips on stairways. The only hard-coded time-based apps are those cycling outdoor holiday lights, those turning on some particular accent lights for Happy Hour. :grin:

1 Like

I use:

Predawn (before sunrise but after I'm likely up)
Day (sunrise+15 to sunset-30)
Cloudy (like day but with clouds)
Evening (sunset-30 to midnight or whenever we go to bed)
Night (the earlier of midnight or bedtime)*

I do not use away.

And yes you can use modes in most apps to either change behavior altogether or change settings. For instance I have some lights that do not come on during the day at all, but on a cloudy day they come on with motion. And some that come on all the time on a cloudy day to try to make things a little cheerier. And I disable a lot of motion detectors at night so the cats don't turn on the basement lights when they get the 2am zoomies. I have a bunch of other automations tied to modes too. For instance, when mode changes to night, lock all the doors and arm the alarm system if it is not already set.

*Either Alexa hears "goodnight" or both sides of the bed report occupied for at least 5 minutes

1 Like

I have a few modes
Wife gone to bed
Someone up during night

My wife always goes to bed before me to I have different rules that use mode as a required expression. Some rules turn camera on / lock arm / disarm / change lights etc.

Modes are very powerful. I use the same mode in multiple rules

1 Like

I have similar modes to others here, Day, Evening, Relax and Night. I use them over time-based lighting. I couldn't believe it when I started using my Hue setup (before purchasing a HE hub) that the Hue bridge didn't support a concept of modes.

That leads on to my point. For me, I don't always go to bed or get up at the same time, so I like to have some manual control about when I transition from Evening to Night or from Night to Day. So modes and then various methods to transition between them is a great setup for me. I can use a physical button to move between modes, presence to move to Away, voice control if I want and time(sunset)-based transition for Day to Evening.

For cloudy days, how do you determine that? Is it manual or do you have a illumination sensor to determine it's darker than a normal day?

Yes, that's exactly what I do. It's not 100% but it works. I use a variable threshold so I can tweak it via a dashboard.

1 Like

I relatively new to this depth of home automation. I'm learning as I go and catching on pretty quickly (I think/hope). All of my devices are zigbee (outlets, humidity, motion). Would you recommend a lux sensor? I know NOTHING about them other than their intended operation. :smiling_face:

Hmmm... lux is one of those things that lots of sensors have as an "extra" feature. I use Aeotec trisensors and multisensors, which report lux. The one I use in my rule is actually a Sensative strips sensor that reports humidity, temperature, and lux. But both the Aeotec and Sensative sensors are zwave...

yes, the outdoor Philips Hue Zigbee, placed outside...
I use Lux to set all the dimmer levels for our lighting


ok, I'm down the rabbit hole and have redone things based on modes. One thing I'm unclear of (which could probably be very simple) is how to switch back to a home mode. I have Away, Morning, Day, Evening, and Night. I use away mode to turn on inside cameras and turn off all lights when we're not here. Before, I had a basic rule to say if someone arrived, switch to home mode (turns off inside cameras and turns on a few lights).

The part I'm not clear on... We come and go at different times. How would I tell the hub to switch to the appropriate mode when we get home. Rule Machine? If a certain time, switch mode to xxxxx? I want it to go back to whatever mode it would have been in had we not left. (hopefully that makes sense).

mode manager

I haven't used it myself, but I was sure there was an option somewhere in mode manager that allowed you to resume the mode you were in when you went Away..... I use RM rules primarily myself, using Sunset / Sunrise:

resuming the mode you were in sounds like exactly what I'm looking for!! Or resuming what mode you would have been in. I don't see that option anywhere, but I'm sure I'm overlooking it. I'll try to figure something out with rule machine. My hesitation is that the times adjust based on the time of year.

I think what I was remembering is the setting you are already using for ignore time changes when in Away or Cleaning. I think the idea is that it should put you in the right mode when you return home, it just won't put the house in "home" mode at the desired time if you are Away or the cleaners are in.

Download the Hubitat app