Home Lighting

I have a house that I use seasonally. I already have interior lights, on a timer, to present a "lived" in" appearance.
I would also like to have our front door porch light come on, but on a non-regular schedule. With all of the new, internet based options, is there a way I can , say via the net/ Iphone, purchase a system that will allow me to turn those porch lights on remotely?
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On Friday, April 22, 2016 at 10:52:29 AM UTC-5, Dave C wrote:

I have been seeing a system advertised on TV at either Lowe's or Home Depot. I couldn't tell you the name of it but you are supposed to be able to control through your Smart Phone. Check out either location to see what is offered.
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You can buy timers that can be set differently for each day of the week. Unless this property has internet service at all times and you are willing to pay for it, this kind of timer would be a much cheaper option.
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On Friday, April 22, 2016 at 11:52:29 AM UTC-4, Dave C wrote:

For an application like that, there are replacement wall switches that have timers included. I used to have one years ago that included a "random" feature. You could set it for the lights to be on from time x to time y and it would randomly add or subtract ~15 or ~30 mins from those times to make it look more random. That would seem to be better suited and certainly less expensive than an internet controller.
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On Fri, 22 Apr 2016 09:38:53 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

I have a bunch of motion detector lights and they seem to come on randomly. (wind, critters, gamma rays ??)
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On 4/22/2016 11:52 AM, Dave C wrote:

I'd start with www.smarthome.com ATT also offers a system and probably another half dozen. similar. You do need connectivity so you will have to have internet service year round.
Google smart home and you will see options.
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On 4/22/2016 8:52 AM, Dave C wrote:

Yes. But do *you* want to have to remember to do it? Or, would you, instead, prefer something else do it on your behalf?
The DIYer solution would be to use a "stupid" irrigation controller (or a weekly programmable thermostat -- anything with more than a 24 hour notion of time) and set different on/off times for each DoW. I.e., assume folks aren't observant enough to notice that the lights go on at 6 on Tuesdays, 8 on Wednesdays, 7 on Thursdays, etc. Instead, they just see "it's on at a different time than it was YESTERDAY"
The issue with this approach would be interfacing to the wiring for the *porch* light (which, almost Shirley, is via a wall switch) whereas interior lights could be PLUGGED INTO an outlet strip controlled by this "timer".
The "just buy something" solution is along the lines of the "Smart switches" and "smart lights":
<http://www.belkin.com/us/Products/home-automation/c/wemo-home-automation/
You can also probably muck with a "light sensing" fixture and trick it to not be as "repeatable" as it was designed to be (i.e., so it triggers at different light/dark levels instead of the same level, all the time)
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On Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:22:18 -0700, Don Y

You are making life WAY to complicated. Use a timer switch with a "random" setting. Something like this Intermatic unit:
The EJ351 Programmable Timer allows up to 48 ON/OFF events per day. Self learning functionality repeats first 24-hour ON/OFF pattern, and "Random" setting turns lights ON and OFF at slightly different times each day so as to not look programmed.
These things have been around for years - and they are not terribly expensive. Googling EJ351 they are $30 Canadin (that's about what, $15 US) on Amazon. and you can even buy them at Home Despot in the USA.
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On 4/22/2016 4:47 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

My point was that you DON'T need "random" behavior. All you need is behavior that doesn't appear to be "canned".
When our neighbors return to BC, their lights "appear" to go on and off at "random" times. Anyone who watches the house for more than several days would still realize there is a pattern that is repeating -- why are ONLY these few lights ever being used? And ALWAYS being used? Why are they only on at night and never "early morning" (pre dawn)?
Put a leaflet on the front door. Come back a day later and see if it is still there. And, again, another day later.
If you want to determine if a home is occupied (or not), it's usually pretty simple. Invest in good neighbors, not technology.
I know when our immediate neighbors are "away" because I don't see the skylights in the bathrooms (located in the interior of the home) "light up" -- then turn off, again -- throughout the night.
I know when my buddy is out of town cuz his pickup (that normally sits in the driveway) won't be there "overnight".
When the folks across the street are away, the "bat blinds" remain closed -- all day and night.
[Neighbors are the only ones who have the opportunity to take note of which lights turn on at which "random" times. Anyone else will simply drive by "sometime after dark" and see if the house is lit up, or not. They won't care if the lights came on and off at "random" times]
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On Friday, April 22, 2016 at 7:47:53 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That's the type product I recommended in my post.
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On Sat, 23 Apr 2016 10:20:21 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

A am not sure any of this "light" business really tricks burglars. It will usually be the kid down the street and he knows you are gone.
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On 4/23/2016 10:24 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Living in a community with lots of "seasonal" visitors (second and third homes), it's common for many homes to be unoccupied for months at a time. And, for those with year-round residents (often retirees), to see many homes empty for a week or more as they head off on a vacation, weekend trip, etc.
The regular assortment of "workers" filtering through the neighborhoods (landscapers, pool servicers, tradesmen, soliciters, etc.) means there is usually a fair amount of "background (car & foot) traffic" to make the presence of a "strange" car in front of a house not noteworthy. Neighbors who aren't aware (or don't care) of who's out of town can easily accept this as "normal".
My dentist had a floor safe removed from the slab in his home office and transported across the golf-course fairways behind his home in a wheelbarrow while he was in Italy. None of his (very affluent) neighbors thought anything odd out of seeing a "groundskeeper" with a heavy wheelbarrow walking by their homes.
OTOH, if the insurance company sends someone around to take photos of our property, I'll get a note from a neighbor complete with the plate number and time! "Don, just FYI..."
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As my son occasionally stays at that house. we chose to have the Internet remain active year to remain active year round. I also monitor our net connected thermostat, especially when the temps are unusually low. Thus any internet connected "turn on/off" the porch light option would be ideal. Note that porch light is now controlled by a standard manual wall switch.
I should have been clearer, with my initial post. Thanks for all of the info.
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