Manual Operation of Devices with Rules

We are building a new home and I plan to install a number of smart devices (switches, motion sensors, thermostats, floor warmers, motion sensors, and outlets) throughout the house. We currently live in a home built in the early 90's without any home automation capabilities. To date, our only experience is with Nest cameras, smart plugs, and Sengled bulbs. My plan is to keep all devices in a manual mode until I better understand our new living patterns. I would gradually add devices with rules as the living patterns become a bit more predictable. My questions are:

  1. When devices are being operated by rules, can someone intervene and operate a device manually, e.g. turn on a light, without changing or messing with the rule settings?

  2. What happens to the rule operation following a manual intervention?

  3. Do rules go through a cycle such that they get reset to be operational after some period of time?

  4. Is there a way to make a rule restart after manual intervention occurs?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice/recommendations.

So in general, it all depends upon how you set it up. You can use something like Motion Lighting app, and in the settings there are ways to utilize buttons or switches to pause the app. Similarly, in Rule Machine you can do wait or delay. Neither of these change a rule, they (generically speaking) just pause them.

Some use a separate physical button to pause/resume things. Others use double taps of switches. Maybe pressing a different light switch. Or you could use a countdown timer to pause the app for 15 minutes or something like that. Or by presence, or times of day. Or just about anything you can think of.

In all cases, you can (and probably will want to) utilize virtual buttons to help with the logic. You might create this device and set it on and off with any of the conditions like I mentioned above. Or you could use this virtual device on a dashboard to override the automations.

So I think it is up to you if you want to do overrides, and how you want to accomplish them.

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Adding to @neonturbo...

  1. Yes. Many automations consider the possibility of manual intervention or override.

  2. The behavior of what happens if the switch is manually activated should also be considered in you rule definitions. You decide what happens.

  3. Again... you decide. Manual intervention may cancel the rule, or put it in standby, or wait a preset delay, or other things to occur.

  4. Yes, of course. You decide what happens if, and when, your device is activated by a manual switch or button.

Of course, in most cases the “manual switch or button” needs to communicate also its state and activation. In other cases, when this is not possible, a connected sensor may tell you if the device was activated manually. (I.e. a luminance sensor to know when the light was manually turned on.)

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Thanks for the comments ... Is there a GOTO option in the rule setting process where a test can be run and a GOTO command directs the rest of the rule logic to a different set of actions?

Kind of. You can create a rule with no trigger but only actions, and run the actions of this rule through another rule.

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Depending upon what it is you are trying to do exactly, the above is correct, OR you might do a bunch off IF-THEN and ELSE-IF statements.

If door is open then do X.
If door is closed, do Y.
Else if window is open do Z.

(Just a quick example, not meant to really be used exactly like that in a rule)

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You can even create a Virtual Button.

If X then do A
Else if Y then press Virtual Button
End if

You would then define a new rule triggered by the pressing of Virtual Button.


To explain this XKCD comic, it references this famous article:


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