Select Page
Motion activated LED stairs lights with voice control

Motion activated LED stairs lights with voice control

Walking up or down the stairs at night can be made to an experience by using LED lights. Being able to have different animations or LED patterns makes this even more exciting. How do you achieve such a thing?

By using motion activated LED stairs lighting integrated into Alexa and Home Assistant based on Dig-Quad LED Controller using ESP32 with HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensors and UHP-350-12 Mean Well power supply. 

This project can be completed in many ways from just buying the components or going the extra mile and buying LED channels, diffusers and 3D printing the casings for the distance sensors. 

Let’s start with the core, which is the Dig-Quad LED controller from Dr ZZs 

This controller comes with an ESP32 board already, fuses for extra protection and pre-flashed with WLED. 

You could build this yourself with an ESP32 Dev board but the ease of install and the additional protection including Youtube videos on how to install, makes this a no-brainer.


Which power supply to use will depend on the LEDs you chose e.g. 5V vs 12V vs 24V and how long and how many LED strips you want to install. There are plenty of websites and calculators out there to enable you to make the math how much WATT you need for what length and voltage. 

In my case, I went with 12V LEDs and given my length, I went with the 350W power supply. Another important aspect is the cooling method of the power supply. Having deployed various solutions like this, I can only recommend to avoid any fan based solution.

Those can be very loud and mechanical fans will fail. So the question is not if but when they will fail. This model here with the Mean Well UHP-350-12 is fanless and zero noise.

The fanless models might be a little bit more expensive but having a higher MTBF (meantime before failure) and no noise is certainly worth this price.


The type of motion sensor is important from a distance, false positive, price and reliability perspective. 

You could go overboard with mmwave doppler motion sensor like the LD2410 in which case you have to ensure the proper voltage, etc or simply go with the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor.

This sensor is extremely affordable and you can actually specify the distance parameters in the WLED UI to fine tune your detection radius. 

I did try the HC-SR501 motion sensor as well, but the detection reliability was not even close compared to the ultrasonic sensor, so I opted for the HC-SR04 module for the top and the bottom of the stairs.

The home assistant integration is extremely easy by installing the WLED integration. Once you enable this integration it will auto-discover all your WLED instances in your home.

As you can see in this screenshot, you can conduct firmware updates, control the intensity of the lights, you can define the segments, etc. 

You could go as far as having an ESPhome Bluetooth tracker mapped to your Samsung or Apple watch and create conditions to show different patterns depending on who is going up or down the stairs. 

I opted for the stairs integration natively within WLED as this integration, while being outside of home assistant, allows you to fine tune your motion sensor parameters and set the pins for the upstairs and downstairs motion sensors via the UI. 

I should point out though, that this stairs integration is NOT natively in WLED. There are some binaries out there which include that integration or you can compile your own WLED binary with Visual Studio, which is what I did. 

Again, you don’t have to go down that route. You can simply use home assistant to do the animations for you and you could use your own motion sensors based on Zigbee or Z-wave to trigger the lights. The possibilities are endless.

Within the WLED settings in the UI, you can specify if you want that device to be discoverable by Alexa or you can use home assistant and go into the device settings and click on voice assistant and you can decide there, if you want to expose this device to Alexa and/or Google. 

A very interesting question to ask is what wins if you turn on those lights via voice and then walk up or down the stairs with the motion sensors. Will they turn off based on your timer of the motion sensors or will they stay on?

I will give you a hint… if you just use home assistant you control and decide the behavior, while using the stairs integration of WLED will do its own thing. 


Unleash your full Unify Dream machine Wifi 6 Speeds

Unleash your full Unify Dream machine Wifi 6 Speeds

With Wifi 6 and Wifi 6e and the just announced Wifi 7 standards rolling out, you want to ensure that you have the latest and greatest speeds at your home. 

There are some gotchas on the path to achieve the highest performance and I will also address the most economical vs the “Unify ONLY” method.

With the release of the Wifi 6 Access Points of Ubiquity you will notice the speed requirements of 2.5Gb/E POE to ensure the optimal performance for your network.



The UDM-Pro Dream Machine is a great device but if you look closely you will find 2 x 10G SFP+ ports, 1 x 1G RJ45 WAN and 8 x 1G RJ45 ports for a total of 11 ports. 

The first scenario is using the 1G RJ45 WAN port connected to your Xfinity, ATT, etc modem/router (hopefully is pass-through mode), which leaves 2 x 10G SFP+ ports to connect to your new Wifi 6 Access Points.

You would have enough ports to direct connect them to your UDM-Pro but you don’t get POE assuming you want to connect 2 Access points for redundancy reasons.


The new U6-IW Access Point, which is an In Wall Access Point powered by POE. The Access Point has additional network ports at the bottom and you will need to power this access point with POE+, if you want to have POE out.

POE+ is not required but recommended as this access point and the U6-LR (Long Range) consume about 15W on average. 

The challenge comes with the POE+ part. You have to purchase a switch with POE+, which also support 2.5Gb/E or you use the existing 10G SFP+ ports but then you need a POE injector.

You can go with the Ubiquity POE adapters or buy no-name POE adapters, but the best path of action would also be the priciest path as Ubiquity recommends their enterprise 24 Port POE+ switch for $800 all the way to their enterprise 48 Port POE+ switch for $1,600.  


With those prices for those POE+ switches the POE injectors look suddenly much more attractive than before!

With that said, you need to be careful as not all POE injectors support the speeds you need. Some of them only support 10/100, while others support gigabit speeds which you can recognize in their part number with the G at the end.

If you go with the cheaper model like you see here on Amazon with only 10/100 saving $5, you will get a message in your Unify dashboard stating “Poor Ethernet Link Speed Try replacing your AP’s cable”. It is obviously not the cable as it is the POE injector slowing you down assuming you have the proper CAT cable for your Access Points.



The most economical way of achieving the overall goal of best performance would be a switch. In this case an unmanaged switch which supports POE+ for 2.5Gb/E ports and has a 10G SFP+ port. There are some affordable models on Amazon and I tried 3 of them.

The first one from Yanley did not work as advertised and actually died during the install and there was no mention of that model on the manufacturer website and the manual was the wrong manual. I sent that switch back for a full refund.

The second one got delayed during shipment from China, so I ended up with the Binardata switch. 

This switch comes with 8 x 2.5Gb/E ports POE+ and 1 x 10 SFP+ port. You connect this switch using a 1M SFP+ DAC cable and you connect your access points directly to the POE+ powered ports.

What nobody tells you though is that once you introduce a 3rd party switch into an ubiquity network, you will lose your ability to look at your topology map to see your Wifi clients. Given that all your Wifi clients will be connected to both or more of your access points, you will not see a single client in your topology map.

I emailed Ubiquity about that issue and their response was that 3rd party vendors incorrectly forward LLDP traffic causing this.

After emailing Binardata, they replied that this is an unmanaged switch and they don’t have a way to block LLDP forwarding. 

If you look carefully though, you will see a dip switch for VLAN support and what this dip switch does, it forces all communication from all 2.5Gb/E ports to the 10G SFP+ port blocking all communications between the 2.5Gb/E ports and this includes forwarding of all LLDP traffic. 

As a result, once you flip that dip switch your topology map will start working again and you will see your access points directly connected to your UDM-Pro and given that this is an unmanaged switch, this is totally acceptable.

Now you have a switch with 8 x 2.5Gb/E ports allowing you to connect up to 8 access points with up to 150W of total POE+ power.  


Another reason why it makes sense to use 1 of the two 10G SFP+ ports to connect to one unmanaged switch is that you most likely won’t have more than 4 x 2.5Gb/E access points in your home and given that you use the 1G port for WAN connectivity you have one more 10G SFP+ port left, which in my case talks to my Synology RS1221+ model hosting VMs, network shares, BlueIris and Home Assistant. Having one dedicated 10G ethernet connection to that device is more than appropriate. 

In summary, you can upgrade your UDM-Pro from Wifi 5 to Wifi 6 or Wifi 6e by either investing in the proper Ubiquity POE+ switch family, which will cost you at least $800 and you will get 24 POE ports while you might only need 2 or 3 of them…


You purchase this affordable unmanaged switch no-name brand on Amazon Link  for $166 (and I want to make it clear that I have zero affiliation with that company and I found them on Amazon and I purchased that device at the full price).

Use the dip switch for VLAN isolating and blocking LLDP traffic giving you the ability to scale your access points with POE+ to up to 8 at a very affordable price unlocking the full speed in your home network.

I hope you found this article helpful and you will be able to break out and join the high speed highway.

x  Powerful Protection for WordPress, from Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security
Verified by ExactMetrics