18 months of SmarthThings usage from cell coin batteries view

Just before I go to recycle the cell coins batteries I used since I started with SmartThings, I took a picture.

Strangely, I don’t think this is following the intent of 1 year on battery requirement I read once.

This is the consumption I had over 18 months with 15 multipurpose sensors, 4 Motion sensors (I stopped using 2 of them since 6 months now) and 3 arrival sensors (I stopped using them 6 months ago too). There are of course 17 more currently installed in the sensors.

Not sure home automation is that green…

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So 46 batteries and 22 devices? All from smartthings-branded devices, so all zigbee?

That’s not good. It’s not horrible, but it’s not good. It’s about five months average life.

Did you have other zigbee devices with similar battery life? Or were these the only zigbee battery-operated devices you had?

Obviously the question is is it the devices which are burning through batteries too quickly or is it the deployment which is affecting use.

The four Most common reasons why a zigbee device would run through batteries too quickly would be

  1. You are using custom code to either poll/refresh the device more frequently than the manufacturer’s specs or You increased the reporting frequency/sensitivity through reconfiguration

  2. The devices themselves are poorly engineered

  3. You don’t have enough zigbee repeaters (mains-powered zigbee devices) around the building so each battery-operated device is having to send messages multiple times in order to get them through.

  4. lower quality batteries

The problem could be caused by any or all of these. But it’s definitely not expected performance.

I have a couple of second generation SmartThings motion sensors which have run for two years without needing new batteries, but I have heard that the newer generations had a much higher burn rate. :disappointed_relieved:

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So I have had quite the opposite experience in battery usage with my SmartThings Multisensors, Motion Sensors, and 1 Arrival Sensor. All of these devices were purchased around November 17th of 2016.

  • 2 Motion sensors (Hallway) - average motion events per day (Night Routine only) = 30x
  • 1 Motion sensor (Kitchen) - average motion events per day (24/7) = 50+x
  • 1 Multi purpose (garage door) average open close per day = 6x (don’t count the wind blowing false alerts)
  • 1 Multi purpose (door in house) average open close per day = 15x
  • 1 Multi purpose (doorbell chime accelerometer) - average per day 2x
    1 Arrival Sensor

Over the course of 1 year, I have replaced 2 batteries total. 1 was for the arrival sensor last week, it finally went dead. The other battery I replaced was one of the 4 AA batteries for my Yale Lock. It was down to 3% and only changed one of em and it went back to 60%.

Now I know the ST Multi purpose sensors are on their last legs, but will have to wait until they actually die because with the 18.22 Firmware update they all still read 100%.

Now I have heard a ton of reviews about short battery life, but I suspect how I have my devices laid out in my environment with a nice strong mesh probably has something to do with them lasting much longer in my environment, so my reviews of these ST devices is a much more positive review.

I don’t get reported false alarms (except the one device being banged with the wind), and my arrival sensor works from down the street 300 feet (when I turn the corner to my street it registers that I have arrived appropriately.

Only two complaints - The 100% battery reading has yet to be fixed for the multi sensors and if you do replace a battery (arrival sensor), replace it with the same Panasonic. Walgreens only had Energizer 2032 and the size is slightly different and will not stay mounted. I fixed this by taking a small rubber band and wrapping it around the battery and internal chip and it’s fine for now until I replace it with a Panasonic.

You could open a battery store with the amount you have in that shot. :yum:

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Two devices burn batteries for me:

  1. SmartThings arrival sensors
  2. One out of five Iris sensors just torches batteries.
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With over a hundred battery powered devices I have far more interaction with changing batteries than I would like. As a general rule, SmartThings branded devices have mediocre battery life. My system has a healthy mix of ST and Iris devices. I measure Iris battery life in years while ST devices in months.

I log every battery change and have noted battery life to be fairly consistent no matter how much Motion or contact triggers occur.

ST Arrival Sensor - 3 Months
ST Multipurpose - 6 Months, False triggers after 4.
ST Motion - 10-12 Months

Iris Keyfob - 4 Months
Iris Door/Window - 21 to 24 Months (and still going)
Iris Motion - 19 to 24 Months (and still going)

I suspect the choice of coin cell batteries over CR2 is one significant limitation resulting in reduced battery life.

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I don’t have that. I use standard DTHs. I have a smartapp querying the temperature and battery level every 3h and to my understanding that doesn’t trigger the sensors to do anything but query the DTH current values.
One thing I noted is: sensors that are away (arrival) or open (multipurpose) most of the time in the day consume much faster than those home/close.

These are ST sensors. Some like the arrival and 3 of the multipurpose were replaced by ST with newer HW (arrival _HA, multipurpose multiv4).

I have since the beginning 2 ST smartplugs. One is at one corner of the house, the other one at the other corner. The hub is in the middle of the house. I moved my network setup after having the first issues. So now the hub is really at the center of the house. There is not sensor at more than 10m, now this is a standard wood house with wood walls. I added 2 more smartplugs since the last 4 months at locations in the house. The problem is that I don’t know any tool I could use to assess the quality of my mesh.

I bought indifferently genuine Panasonic and other brand. This is true that other brand might have lower life-time versus Panasonic, but that is not like double.

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I forgot to mention that the arrival sensor devices are set to ping every 30 seconds no matter what is happening and whether the device is at home or away. So my own expectation for battery life on that type of device with typical use would be 4 to 6 months. That’s less than the sleepy devices like the sensors Which do something different if they are triggered. But I don’t know what the spec’d battery life is officially. And I do know some people have reported Defective arrival sensors which were running through batteries in a week or 10 days.

When I was using a smartthings arrival sensor I generally got four months battery life out of it each time.

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hahaha, I am considering indeed…

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This would be something I would love to see.

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I made it almost exactly one year with mine. Lottery ticket.

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Yes, I spent 1 year home. My wife with her arrival in her bag at office for let’s say 9 to 10hs a day, mine home. The difference of behavior was very very visible. So I am not sure the ping is no dynamic so that when the device is in the range of the hub, it might decrease the numbers of pings till the timeout we discussed the other day in another post.

So is there a tool or something to measure strength of mesh or a tool to see what all connected devices are routing through within the mesh at any given time? That would be something that I think everyone would love to have.

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As far as your open/close sensors, to maximize battery life you should set it so that the “normal” (non-reporting) position is whatever position the sensor is usually in. If you have a sensor intended for normally closed and you leave that door open all the time, then, yes, it’s going to be reporting all day long and that’s going to run the battery life down. If it checks to see if it needs to report every three minutes and you leave it open for 10 hours, it’s going to report 200 times a day or more, which will not be the engineered specifications.

With regard to the strength of the mesh, unfortunately smartthings does not give us any tools for this. :disappointed_relieved: you can add an additional device and then use its tools But that’s a lot more work and cost.

For zwave, it’s the same thing: you have to add an additional device and then use its mapping tools

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It might, but it doesn’t, Unless something has changed in the last year. I spent literally 4 months working with smartthings support trying to solve an arrival sensor problem and was assured many times, including by senior engineering staff, that the behavior of the arrival sensor itself did not change depending on whether it was within range of the hub or not. But maybe it’s different now.

@tpmanley

That’s interesting, but there is something I foresee here: the mesh is dynamic so if you audit it this week, nothing prevents the mesh to adjust in a different way few hours/days later and stay in this state for a while before another event causes a change. Unlike fixed IP assignment, I don’t understand there is a way to lock the mesh in a given patern. And if so, that would anyway be a problem when a mesh adjustment is needed du to a long term perturbation.

That’s not quite how zigbee works. Each zigbee end device chooses a parent based on a number of factors including signal strength and then it will always try that parent first even if other things have changed in the mesh. But the device will also identify a couple of alternate routes and then use those if the parent is not available. So the pattern is stable enough for minor changes, but can readjust over time if a long-term change is needed. But the main thing you want to identify is what parent each end device has chosen, that’s typically what tells you if a heal is necessary to update the routes.

@JohnR

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What???

A binary Sensor should only send a report when it’s State changes, regardless of the “normal” state; unless it also supports Polling and/or minimum reporting (usually battery level, temperature…).

I have a Contact Sensor (Centralite ZigBee) on a propped open door, and it isn’t eating batteries.

I have a Z-Wave sensor on a door and the LED flashes once when the door opens and once when it closes. I presume that is 2 and only 2 messages, regardless of how long the door stays open or closed.

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It varies from model to model. I know you’re familiar with the issues with people who have tried to convert flood sensors to Monitor when something is dry and find that it runs through the batteries for some models and works fine with others.

Some devices report a state change, some report on a specific state. You make a good point that this can vary, so it’s something to look into for each device. :sunglasses:

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This is why I would, if doing a new build or major renovation, seek some method of hardwiring as many sensors as possible. The upfront cost is more than offset by the battery expenditure, let alone having to constantly monitor/change those batteries.

Unfortunately, that is not my scenario today. So battery hell it is. lol

All my SmartThings Motion sensor batteries CR2450 show low in weeks. I think it is the DTH provided by ST. As my batteries still check good with my tester. ST has to work out a better method of checking battery health, as their formulae is way off.