Motion Sensing Lights with Home Assistant

I’ve already setup some fairy lights on the stairs which come on just before sundown and stay on until bedtime, but I started wondering, can I use them as night lights on the stairs for when I don’t want to turn on the main overheads, and can I do that all with motion sensors. For this project, I’d like to take my lights from here and add motion sensors so they turn on for some time period after being triggered and act as automated stairway night lights.

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New LightBurn Features (aka I probably didn’t read the release notes months ago)

I can’t believe I missed this option being added to LightBurn. In the device settings, there is now an option to enable is the laser on when framing option. This turns on the laser with a low power setting when running the frame to make it obvious where you will be cutting/engraving. This replaces holding shift when hitting the frame button from older releases. This small quality of life improvement is much appreciated here.

Device Settings with Framing Options

Novelkeys Novelty Big Switch Macro Pad

After putting together the EspDeck 9 key pad, and talking to the wife of other places we could make things better, the bedroom fan and lights came up. I mentioned that we could use smart switches for them and make a small 2 key control for our night stands, which she was super excited about, and then I showed her the NovelKeys big switches and it was sold, we were going to have some hilarious macro pads to control our bedroom lights.

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Automated Pantry Light

I have a light in my pantry that isn’t super obvious when its on if the door is closed, and I may leave the light on from time to time by accident. The light switch is also partially buried in things hanging from the wall, so why not automate it to make things a bit easier, that is what smart homes are for. My idea is to use a smart door sensor and light switch to automate it and keep things from being left on.


  • Turn on the pantry lights while the door is open
  • Close the pantry lights when the door is closed
  • Allow lights to be turned on with the door closed
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WLED Notice of Laser Cutter Use

I have a laser cutter in my office that I use from time to time. I close the door when its running because you need safety glasses on while its running, but since I use my office for other things, the door closed doesn’t necessarily mean safety glasses are needed. To make this simpler, I decided to try and make some automations to notify when the laser is running. I want to use a WLED strip around the door and light it different colors based on laser operating status (and other statuses in the future).


  • Set the WLED strip to red when the laser starts cutting
  • Set the WLED strip to the previous settings (or turn it off) when the laser stops cutting
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Desktop Workstation 2

Its that time to build a new workstation. My current workstation was built in 2013 and while it has been upgraded with additional RAM, SSD storage, and a newer GPU, is still the same CPU and motherboard (that motherboard which now has a dead audio output and a dead NIC). The CPU is starting to show its age with games and processes using more and more of it, and since GPU prices are insane, I’ll be holding off on that upgrade till later.

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MDNS Across Unifi VLANs

I started working on some hardware projects related to home assistant using the ESP8266. in working on these I learned that the ESP devices use mDNS to advertise their hostnames for communicating with them. My devices however are on a separate VLAN that’s unable to communicate with the internet, and that VLAN was also blocking the mDNS updates from making it through to home assistant, keeping it from being able to know the hostnames. I could use static IPs for this, however I want to avoid locking all my little smart devices to static IPs.

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