Getting some stair lighting was a real challenge. I was looking for some stair lights for our double story house. As there was no easy way to install conventional lights and wanting it to look good I started to do some research on how it is done.
I wanted to stay in the 12 v circuit and use strip lighting, with motion detectors to trigger the light strip.
The 3 main parts that you will require are:
- Weatherproof led strip lights. I bought mine in white color in 5-meter rolls. From Amazon
- Led stair light controller from Bagram STX-1792
- Motion detector from eBay tdl5001 but you can use any motion detector in a 12v circuit that suits your décor.
You first want to test your LED strip lighting to make sure it all glows well without any dead LEDs.
This is easily done by hooking up to 12v directly onto your LED strip. You will then need to cut your led strip to size. You can only cut in designated spots on your strip lighting, this is often marked and usually comprises 3 LED in a row.
Led strip lighting should come with 3m double-sided tape to enable the LEDs to be stuck down. Sometimes a really cheap tape will be supplied so I have used silicone to glue the strip in place.
If you are doing the step lighting for your stairs you can stick the LED strips to each step on the lip if there is one. If there is no lip on your steps you may have to have a look at other options.
Video of stair lighting patterns.
Thanks to Bagram Polska
Routing Hand Rails:
For the handrails, I took them off and cut out an 8mm wide 4mm deep slot with a wood router the whole length of the handrail, and stuck the LED strip into it for a more flush seamless job. Some LED strip lighting will have the sticky tape on the end to stick them down. If yours doesn’t you can use some silicone glue.
You may have to measure your light strip to get its dimensions.
The motion detector is an infra red type motion detector, (tdl 5001) I needed 2 of them to trigger the stair lights from someone walking at either end of the stairs up or down at night.
These need to be wired up to the inputs of the controller. PDF of the wiring diagram can be found here.
Please note that all inputs to the controller are negative – and all strip lighting will have common positives +. You may need to play with the delay on the motion detectors to determine how long your stair lighting will remain on.
There are cheaper stair controllers on the market. Most of them don’t have the current output required to drive a long strip on led lighting or require an extra module to drive led strips.
This controller can output a max of 5 amps and control 20 steps or 18 step and 2 handrails. Remember to get a 12-volt power supply amp rating that is rated for the amount of led lights you have.
Sensky BS010l Dc12v to 24v Mini Pir Motion Sensor Switch
The Sensky is an updated version to the 5001. Simple plug and play connections will make your installs very easy.
- Operating voltage: DC5V-25V Load current ≤3A
- Detecting range：4M-7M (10cm-7M adjustable) 110 degrees cone angle
- Delay time: default setting : 5-25s (2~280 Seconds adjustable)
- Light Sensor: 20lux (10Lux ~300Lux adjustable)
- Size：48*25*14 mm
Philips Hue Lightstrip and Motion Detectors
There is another way to get some different effects and colors, and that is by using Philips Hue Lightstrip and a motion detector. This can be a slightly more expensive option depending on what you need to buy. If you already have the Philips Hue ecosystem like the Philips 464495 Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit 3rd Gen, then your cost will be very minimal and cheap.
To really show off your Philips Hue get a Google Home to voice control your lights read up about it here
Smart Philips Hue Stair Lights Items
So you will need the following items to illuminate your stairs.
- 1 or 2 (1st Gen) Philips Hue Lightstrips Gen1, becoming obsolete. If you want richer colors and more length try the Gen 2 Philips Hue Striplights. Its nearly double the price as its a new product, but the 1st Gen works fine.
- Philips Hue Bridge 2.0, best to get the hub in a kit as its cheaper.
- Philips Hue Motion Detector
To install the Philips Hue Lightstrip system, all you need to do is attach the strip lights to the underside of handrails, or stair ledges and plug into a power outlet. Then use the Philips Hue App for Apple IOS or Android, and add in the LightStrip and motion detector.
Once this has been done, as soon as someone walks past the motion detector the programmed color and brightness will happen. MAGIC!
Aftermarket Light strips for use with Philips Hue
Lots of people have been having success with using cheaper lights strips, and the Wireless electronic ballast FLS-PP lp with Power PWM interface for RGBW and RGB lights (12/24V LED/LED stripes).
- Suitable for 12 and 24V RGB and RGBW luminaries (but controlled on different channels) with a maximum output current of 6A (max. 72W@12V and 144W@24V)
- Supports all features like on/off, dimming, color tone adjustment, adjustable white, grouping lighting, saving, and using predefined scenes. All that Hue offers.
It is a ZigBee certified product and can connect to your Hue 2.0 Base Station. Some earlier models had firmware issues but it has been rectified now.
Philips Hue is expensive to start off with, but build up slowly and keep an eye on Amazon sometimes their globes go on sale. You could always buy the Philips Hue Kit and sell off the Hue Hub 2 base station. Many people by these to upgrade from the old Hue 1.0 base station.
Philips Hue Lightstrip Hack Mod
- Start with the Philip Hue Version 1 Light Strip and remove the led strip light using a soldering iron.
- Buy some small 4 amp per channel Led Hitlights Amplifiers RGB they are only a few dollars each.
- Get yourself 5m of 5050 SUPERNIGHT 16.4 Flexible RGBW Outdoor Strip LEDs, and plug them into the amplifier.
- Wire in the amplifier into a 12v power supply. Make sure of its amp and power rating is above 3 amps. Wire the amp into the Philips Hue control board.
Depending on the type and quality of the RGB amplifier you may have difficulties dimming the Led Light Strips. Color changing will be fine. The clip below is using the larger amplifier but its all the same. Higher quality RGB PWM can be more expensive.
Philips Hue LightStrip with custom strip and amplifier:
If you like to see this Philips Hue stair lighting system in operation, check out the video.