How Can A Dumb Floodlight Assist Smart Home Security?

You’re sitting on your sofa, watching Arnold figure out what Willis is talking about.  Meanwhile, in your back yard, your floodlights turn on because someone is sneaking around back there. Do you even know?

Today, I turned a $15 floodlight into a smart home security device using the Shelly 1 UL to send me notifications if somebody is walking around in my back yard.

Home security works best when you have multiple alerts and deterrents working together to provide a layered defense of your home and property. The great thing about floodlights is that they’re already installed on most houses – and, if they’re not, the cost is so low that nobody thinks twice about adding one.

I happened to have an unused floodlight, still in the box, so I grabbed a Shelly 1 UL from for under $20.

First, I popped the cover to find the light sensor – most floodlights won’t work during the day. This specific light uses a mini photocell.

I covered it with a piece of electrical tape so that it always thinks it is night time.

Next, I tested it with an appliance cord I cut the end off of.

Once I verified that it works as expected, I disconnected it and cut the joints off the wires in the back, allowing me to connect the Shelly 1. The PIR acts like just another switch (though it uses neutral).

I kept the original connections going to the PIR (now through a Wago style connector to split the lines appropriately). I connected the outgoing red wire from the PIR to the SW terminal on the Shelly 1.

Because the light has stranded wire, I used stranded wire for my own connections and crimped ferrules on the ends of anything going to a terminal on the Shelly 1.

When I finished wiring the lamp, I put it back on the test box to connect to the Shelly 1 and verify that the relay functions properly with the PIR as an input. Afterwards, I provisioned the Shelly and updated its firmware. Since this is a floodlight, be sure to set the “Auto Off” option under “Timer.” You want the floodlight to turn off after motion has stopped. I set mine for 60 seconds.

When setup is complete and the Shelly 1 is added to your Shelly app, getting notifications is simple. In the Shelly app, go to the Room where you added the flood light. Tap Scenes. If you don’t have a Scene already, tap the Add Scene button. Otherwise, tap the menu bar in the top right corner of the app and select “Add Scene.”

Enter a name for the scene, select the room you want to save it in (normally the room where you set up the device), select a picture, and tap next.

Tap “When,” select the room with your device, then your device. Under “State Change,” select “When the Shelly Relay is turned on,” under Condition Type, select “One time,” and then tap ADD.

Under “DO,” tap “Add Action.” Select “Notify.” Select “Phone Notification” and then enter the custom message you want when the floodlight is triggered. Tap “Add.”

Under “Active Time,” select the hours that you want the scene to run. For example, I set 7 pm to 7 am. Tap “Set Active Time” to save.

Tap “Save Scene” and you’re ready.

Notifications in Shelly can also go to email or to the event log. Along with notifications on your mobile device (or multiple mobile devices all at once), they’re a power option in your smart home toolbox.

Total time to install? 14 minutes, including Scene setup. is the website for our Facebook community, The Smarter Home Club – which is an umbrella for all kinds of smart home technologies – home automation, security, custom electronics, weather stations, alternative energy, you name it. DIY focused.

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