How To: Simulate Being Home When on Vacation | SmartThings

How To: Simulate Being Home When on Vacation | SmartThings

Summary (TLDR)

Imagine being on vacation and able to simulate being home. This is extremely helpful from a security standpoint and can give you the peace of mind that your house looks occupied while you're away. In this article, we'll work on setting this up using a SmartApp called, "Vacation Light Director". The app has the ability to select various lights to turn on and off randomly, when you're away during certain times and days. 

Authors/Contributors: tslagle13, imnotbob, evanwon

Installing the SmartApps

There are a couple of pre-requisites required prior to setting this up. Since this is not a built in SmartThings app, you will have to create one. The good news is that it's already done for you and all you'll need to do is install it.
  1. Open up IDE and login using your SmartThings credentials:
  2. Click on, "My SmartApps" and then, "+ New SmartApp"
  3. Next, click on, "From Code"
  4. Now we'll install the SmartApp, in which the raw code can be found here: Vacation Lighting Director (copy all this code)
  5. Go back to IDE and in the, "From Code" part, paste the code from GitHub (located in the link above) and click, "Create" and then, "Save" and, "Publish"
  6. You should now see it show up in your, "My SmartApps" section:

Now let's setup the Vacation Lighting Director from within SmartThings.

Setting Up Vacation Lighting Director in the SmartThings App

Again, please make sure you have the SmartApp installed correctly as referenced in the above section. In this case, we'll set up the vacation setting to run when the mode is set to, "Away" (7 Days a Week) and your Presence Sensor (aka your phone) is away between the hours of sunset to sunrise. You can go one step further and add a separate, "Mode" called, "Vacation" that you can set -- but for the sake of simplicity, we're going to use the pre-built, "Away" mode.
  1. Start by opening up the SmartThings App and click on the three lines at the top left of the screen
  2. Select, "SmartApps"
  3. Press the, (+) sign and scroll down where it says, "Custom" and select, "Vacation Lighting Director"
  4. Click on, "Setup" and follow the inputs below (remember the values below are based on the scenario we're running -- you can fully customize them yourself to meet your needs)
  5. Simulator Triggers:
    1. Modes = Away
    2. Times = Sunset to Sunrise
  6. Light switches to cycle on/off: select the switches/lights that you want to turn on/off randomly
  7. How often to cycle the lights: select the timeframe you'd like between the lights cycling on and off in minutes
  8. Number of active lights at any given time: select the number of lights you want on during the timeframe
    1. Ex: if you've selected 10 switches/lights to cycle, and 2 active lights at any given time, the remaining 8 lights will be off and the app will cycle through 2 random lights out of the 10
  9. Lights to be on during active times: N/A (if you want to have lights on all the time during vacation mode, select them here)
  10. Click, "Next" and then click, "Settings" and fill out the options with the values below
  11. Delay to start simulator: Leave blank unless you want to have a delay after ST detects the mode is Away and your presence sensor is away
  12. If these people are home do not change light status: Select your household members who have presence sensors
  13. Only on certain days of the week: Select all 7 days
  14. Click, "Next" and Name your Routine
  15. Click, "Done"
You're all set! We suggest testing this out prior to leaving on vacation.