How to simulate sunrise using a dimmable light

We often get asked how to simulate sunrise by gradually increasing the brightness of a lamp over a longish period of time. There are a bunch of different ways of doing this, some specific to the technology, others requiring AppleScript. The first scenario here will be technology agnostic and not require AppleScript so that both Pro and Lite customers can use this technique.

Any technology, no AppleScript Scenario

This technique has the following components:

  • a schedule that, at the appropriate time in the morning, enables the following schedule and sets it to automatically disable after a certain amount of time
  • a schedule that repeats every minute, gradually brightening the light
  • optionally, a trigger that will cancel the whole shebang by setting disabling the schedule above and turning off the light

So, here's our scenario description: at 5:00am, I want my beside lamp to begin brightening gradually over 20 minutes until it reaches 100%. I also have an X10 remote control that, when i push B1 OFF, it turns the light off and cancels the simulation. OK, with that in mind, let's get started.

First, we'll create the Schedule that actually brightens the light
  1. Select Schedules from the View menu
  2. Click the New… button at the top of the Schedule List
  3. Name it Sunrise Simulation
  4. In the Time: section, click the radio button beside Every and change the minutes text field to 1
  5. Click on the Actions tab
  6. Select Device Actions→Light/Appliance Controls→Brighten by % from the Action: popup
  7. Select your lamp from the Device: popup
  8. Enter 5 into the Amount: text field
  9. Click the OK button, and then, in the Schedule list, uncheck the checkbox beside the “Sunrise Simulation” to disable it for the moment
Next, let's create the Schedule that will start the simulation at 5:00am
  1. Click the New… button at the top of the Schedule List
  2. Name it Start Sunrise Simulation
  3. In the Time: section, change the time in the first box to 5:00am
  4. Click on the Actions tab
  5. Select Server Actions→Enable/Disable/Reload Actions→Enable Schedule from the Type: popup
  6. Select Sunrise Simulation from the Enable: popup
  7. Click on the Auto-disable after checkbox and enter 0:20:00 into the time selector field
  8. Click the OK button
Finally, create the trigger so that when we see a B1 OFF, we stop everything
  1. Select Trigger Action List from the View menu
  2. Name it Stop Sunrise Simulation
  3. Select X10/RF Command Received from the Type: popup
  4. Select Off from the Received: popup
  5. Click on the Address radio in the From: section and select B and 1
  6. Click on the Actions tab
  7. Select Server Actions→Enable/Disable/Reload Actions→Disable Schedule from the Type: popup
  8. Select Sunrise Simulation from the Disable: popup
  9. Click on the Add New button at the lower left side of the window to add another action
  10. Select Device Actions→Light/Appliance Controls→Turn Off from the Type: popup
  11. Select your lamp from the Device: popup
  12. Click the OK button

That's it! Now, every morning at 5:00am, you'll get a simulated sunrise over 20 minutes, and if you hit the B1 OFF button on your X10 remote, it will stop it and turn the light back off. Obviously, there are several things you can adjust about this: the amount of time that it takes, the ramp rate, use a different remote, etc. But you get the general idea.

simulate_sunrise.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/11 18:50 (external edit)

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