DIY Outdoor Smart Home LED strips
Inspired by Ben’s awesome video on LED lights on his house, I decided to something similar. My approach is more off the shelf than his and I give up the ability to individually address each LED but in my implementation, that was ok since I just wanted to accent the house ridgelines.
Parts list for this weekend project are as follows:
They use standard IP so if your WIFI coverage reaches outdoor places, controlling these LED strips is pretty easy. I have the good fortune of having AC outlets in my eaves so this, plus the WIFI, made the installation super easy. The only real challenge I had was making sure the controller was sort of waterproof. Under the eaves gave it pretty good coverage already so adding them into a standard AC box was the perfect solution to protect them from the elements.
A little double-sided tape to keep the controller in place was all I needed. From there, one opening was used for the Power and the other for the LED strips themselves.
The diffusers were a luxury item. Since the LED strips themselves are waterproof already, the diffusers weren’t needed for protection but they really change the way the light is bounced off the house. Since the LEDs are made up of RGB lights, using a diffuser gives it a much softer light on the house. You can see the difference pretty dramatically when making the lights white or yellow. I feel like the diffusers also made it MUCH easier to attach to the house. They are rigid and much easier to nail into the house. For my install, I used the wood edging under the eaves to point the LEDs AT the house so you would see the soft reflective light from the street. I think the effect came out great personally.
In addition to LED lights, I also added in 3 HUE lights to my outdoor sconces. The scones were set up with 3 candelabra type lights so I need to purchase adapters to put the standard Hue E27 lights in there. Since I was replacing 3 higher wattage bulbs with a single lower wattage bulb (per sconce), I felt good about this swap. They have been working this way for about a year without issue.
The final set up allows me to pretty easily change the look of the house using just 7 addressable light elements (4 HUE bulbs – 1 foyer, 3 Sconces & 3 LED strips).
I have written a pretty easy YAML script to change the colors of the house for all of the major holidays and a few of the lesser known ones. All of this happens automatically based on the script so you can add in your own favorites.
The script Monthly Colors changes the smart home’s look depending on the day. Holiday colors or a standard Gold/Yellow for all of the other days.
Since these are all addressable, we also have some automations that for instance, turn ALL the lights to a bright white when certain events happen. Examples include movement in front of the house at night or any of the garage doors opening. For movement, I am currently using my SkyBell HD to detect the movement and for Garage door detection, we have Garadget.
I feel like this easy weekend project gave the house a pretty cool look and lots of flexibility to change it when we want to. Adding in some smarts (Sunset/Sunrise detection) and replacing out all those hungry incandescent lights also had a pretty good side effect on my electric bill.
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If you end up doing this project, be sure to post some pictures to me on Twitter. I would love to see them!