Question about Motion Lights for Stairs from Basement to Main Floor

Hi, I saw somewhere little lights, which can be used for Hallways or Basements, and I forgot which brand they are.

I have steps (13 - I fell down them multiple times :slight_smile: ), to the basement. I want to use Motion Sensitive Lights. And I have a light at the tops of the steps.

So I have a few options I think I can use:

  1. Get a Aeotec Motion Detector, and put it up in the corner at the ceiling, pointing down to the steps, which turns on the Light Bulb which is in the light fixture at the top of the steps (not preferable).

  2. Or I have seen somewhere little Lights (either Zigbee or Z-Wave), which I can tape/command-tape on the wall next to the steps, and then use a motion detector, which has a rule to turn those on/off. But I don't know on which website I saw them.

I have used in the past these battery-operated lights, but first, their adhesive is not holding up, and then with the batteries, they don't last long.

Which option would work best?

Thank you

All jokes aside... I think a "blunt" approach may be best, if not just to guard against an unlikely recurrence of your past tumbles. Any sensor that can detect someone attempting the treacherous descent as early as possible would be the best approach in my eyes. I'm sure I am overstating the risk for some level of comic affect as you did in your OP, but in reality if that is what can happen, best to avoid that and, in the process, avoid smaller issues that people may experience. Best to turn the lights on more than you need than not at all.

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I mounted a couple of LED strip lights along the outside of the stair risers and then used a couple of motion sensors to turn them on/off when ever some gets within range or the door at the top of the stairs opens.

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Which LED Light Strips and motion sensors do you use? I am new to the Home Automation Arena, so still learning what products are good.

Do you just have a HE hub, or any other (particularly Zigbee) hubs? E.g. do you have a Hue bridge, Alexa stuff, etc...

Right now, I have the HE Hub (C-7), and an Alexa Echo Show, and I ordered a Philip Hue Starter Kit, which includes the Bridge as well.
So I will have 3, I assume?

TBH I was asking that more for the benefit of others to understand yout ecosystem.... And so it's good you provided that detail. I'm a Hue shop so would lean towards their products... but that said, I feel that with lightstrips I would suggest keeping an open mind and investigating this in more detail. There can be advantages to understanding the use of diffusers and the space you may need to accommodate these and the lightstrip. I'll bow out of the conversation given my lack of experience and hope others will pick up the slack.... But will chime back in where I can....

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Thank you for your help, and answer. I am still learning a lot about these things. I am renting, so I can't make too many changes.
However, I want to use the Smart Home Automation also to save on Electricity and Energy Usage. Right now, where I live, they went to the Time of Day Rates, so I really am monitoring my energy usage.

I work from home, so that is where I also need to watch what I use between 3pm and 7pm, when the Rate is higher.

So the more I can automate, the better it will be on the environment as well.

Is there a door at the top of the steps? Maybe a contact sensor would do the trick?

Another thought, I know it's not really home automation anymore at this point, and less fun, but what about a battery powered, motion sensing light?

Something along these lines:

Or this:

I thought about this at times myself... albeit the circumstances can be different for everyone... But sometimes the cure can be more expensive than the ill... if you know what I mean. I did some crude sums at one point about introducing a $30 energy monitoring plug to control usage for possibly a reasonable number of low-energy devices, but the pay-off was long, if not worth it at all.... That said, if you are looking to use existing more widely used infrastructure like the HE hub, then the pay-off calc is likely a more complicated one, but more in favour of your plan, given it is already a sunk cost satisfying other needs. Now I'm rambling... :slight_smile:

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There is no door at either the top or bottom. We did use the battery powered ones.
Issue is that the adhesive is not strong and also batteries don't last long.

One side of the steps has like tile, which looks like rock, and the other side is wood paneling.

We are renting so don't really want to change things

The steps are covered with carpet. Not sure if the wood underneath is smooth, if I would want to remove the carpet and put lights on the steps themselves.

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I like the rechargeable ones for sure

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I have a Hue sensor sitting loose at the top of my stairs to detect entering the stairs, it works well and the battery life for Hue accessories is ridiculously long... And I have recently started replacing the 3-4 year old (original) batteries with rechargeables....

You have a couple of big constraints there: renting and no door.

I can't imagine the carpeting on the stairs helps with traction either.
Maybe put some kind of plastic traction mats on the risers? Something that could be removed. Or talk to your landlord: probably in his best interest you don't fall on his slippery stairs.

I have a door up top with an Ecolink z-wave contact sensor. When the door opens the basement lights up like a Christmas tree. And, when it closes, it's dark as a crypt, lol.

If there's a smooth surface, 3m command strips work well. Get the biggest ones that'll fit what your mounting. We've got some pretty heavy things hanging on them.

Dumb question, but are there any overhead lights? You can get screw in bulbs that have a motion sensor built into them. Again, they're not smart so there's that. I have these in our closets and panty which just have pull string fixtures in them.

There is only am overhead at the top.

On the bottom is a tube light, which is controlled by a pull string. I might put that on a smart plug maybe. Not sure if I want to do that.
Or I might just add a fixture at the bottom, but I need to pull wires then. That might come later

I did look at those bulbs. Not good reviews on home depot. Or Amazon. Either they are too sensitive. They go off even when you walk above them.

Or I saw one of those which you screw into the fixture, but the reviews say the sensor breaks after 2 days. Or the wiring is incorrect.

They are like 40 dollars, and to exchange them after 30 days is not worth it for me

If you use bulbs which are less sensitive then the ones I found, I Would love to know about them.

I want one too for the outside front and back porch lights.

For that, I can either replace the whole fixture for 60 dollars, or just replace the bulb

I used the Inovelli LEDs (discontinued), but any good Zwave or Zigbee light strip should work for you; same for the motion/contact sensors.

These are the ones I have. They are pretty sensitive, but I've never notice them on when they shouldn't be.

Caught any raccoons yet? :wink:


Since there's no doors, you might be able to plug in an LED light strip into a wall plug near the top or bottom of the stairs, and then run the wire along the floor board until you reach the stairs.

In that case you can use a cheap/dumb LED strip that you stick to the wall down low next to the stairs using its own sticky option, or w/3M sticky strips. Then you control it w/a smart plug (Centralite, Third Reality, Sengled, Innr) and motion sensor(s) (Centralite, Third Reality, etc.).

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I added LED's under the bottom front lip of my hardware steps. I too was looking for a way to turn them on and off. It turns out the power required for the LED's is so low I ended up leaving them on 24/7. With the adapter loss the power was ~ 1/2 watt. I think I am running about a 1% dutycycle.

Else just turn them on at sunset and off at sunrise. Then you don't have to worry about missed motion.

Note to get them dim you will have to PWM them. I use a Zooz RGB controller, using one channel for my white lights (no red or green or blue on our stairs). They have been there for 5 years.