I currently have wired window sensors in my house from the original wired security system. Those are currently monitored with my Konnected board.
I am about to do a whole house window replacement and rather than try to re-use or re-install the 20 year old wired contact sensors, I figured I might just do them all as wireless.
I currently have a V2 ST hub, ST Station, Apple Homepod Mini (Homekit hub/Thread Border Router). Smartthings is my primary home automation system. Located in the US.
In 2024, with zwave, zigbee, and matter contact sensors, which are going to be my most reliable, cost effective, best battery life options these with the hubs I have already and allow them to be used in routines in Smartthings?
The only contact sensors I have in my setup currently are Ecolink zwave contact sensors for a few doors and windows that had broken sensors in the old wired setup and aside from one out in my shed, battery life has been OK with the few I have, but with adding approximately 20 more, I want to make sure I’m choosing smartly based on current availability and current information.
Here’s a review from a couple years ago. These Aqara sensors can be a bit tricky to pair, but once connected work well. You may also need specific mains-powered Zigbee repeaters if they will be too far from your hub.
Another video from a couple years ago, covering several different sensor types.
NOTE: Both of these reference SmartThings before Edge drivers. I haven’t tried them with an Edge driver, so can’t comment on how well they do or don’t work.
They use standard Zigbee 3.0, and can be used directly with any Zigbee 3.0 hub, including SmartThings/Aeotec. Search the forum: you’ll find many people using them.
That said, the Zigbee 3.0 standard does allow for some slight variations which can throw things off, and there can also be individual model issues.
Another very recent option with Aqara is to connect them to one of the aqara hubs which is also a “Matter bridge.“ You then bring the Aqara Hub into smartthings via matter and it will bring the contact sensors along with it.
This obviously increases the price. how much per sensor depends on how many sensors you are going to get, since one aqara hub can support more than 50. The M2 hub for example, lists at $59, and is often on sale for a bit less. But it also may be more reliable and easier to pair. I use this option myself, and am pleased with it. (Doing it this way also allows you to use the sensors in both Apple home and smartthings at the same time, if that’s of any interest.) The Matter Bridge connection is local, just like using a Zigbee direct connection, so you don’t lose anything that way.
So… you don’t need an Aqara Hub if you want to just connect the sensors directly to a smartthings/Aeotec hub via Zigbee, but they can be fiddly to pair, and some community members have found difficulty getting them to stay online. Lots of forum threads about both issues.
You do need an aqara hub like the M2 which acts as a “matter bridge“ if you want to bring them in via matter, but this method may be easier to pair and more reliable.
Choice is good.
If you haven’t used matter with smartthings before, check the following community faq:
My Homekit setup is currently only to integrate iphone presence utilizing a Meross power strip as you have recommended in other threads and it has worked a dream since setting it up that way, even though the ST iphone presence worked 90-95% for us for quite a while.
I’m struggling to see the benefit of bringing in other devices to homekit at this time as all my automations that would use those sensors are done in ST with Smartthings being my primary home automation system complete with Sharptools dashboards and such. If there is something I am missing, I’d love to hear some discussion on why I should consider having these sensors visible to both ST and Homekit.I may just not be understanding something.
I suppose getting the Aqara hub would give me some flexibility in the future to easily transition from ST should I ever decide to go that direction and being able to utilize all the devices integrated to it.
People who would find this valuable are probably already aware of it. I suspect the biggest group is people who have Apple Watches and like to get Homekit notifications and initiate HomeKit routines there. In my own case, as I’ve mentioned before, I moved all of my mission critical automations to HomeKit sometime ago, both because it was more reliable for me, and because it mostly eliminates the problem of “worked for months/years, now it doesn’t” undocumented feature change, which is an all too frequent issue for me with SmartThings. Choice is good.
I think more significant is that there just don’t seem to be the same kind of dropoff issues when you come in through matter with these specific models. But again, you can find lots of forum threads discussing the dropoff problem if you’re interested.
(One more “for what it’s worth” benefit of using both Homekit and smartthings is that there are two aqara cameras which are also matter bridges, so although you can’t bring the camera features into smartthings they do work well with HomeKit, so these are nice little cameras to get video alerts from. But if you aren’t using HomeKit, the cameras are probably too expensive to buy only for the Matter bridge feature.)
Many of the older Aqara sensors use Zigbee 1.2 or 1.3, and these are the ones that seem to have the most trouble connecting to non-Aqara hubs and require specific devices that can be used as routers. Their Zigbee contact sensors fall into this category.
Some of their newer sensors use Zigbee 3.0, and work better with other non-Aqara systems. Aqara’s web site seems to identify these devices as being Zigbee 3.0.
You could just buy new wired sensors and use with your existing wires. I did that years ago when I replaced the windows on my house leaving my wired sensors in place. I hate purchasing and changing batteries so win win for me. I purchased ones that have a very small magnet that goes under the window and out of sight.
Please make sure you discuss these wired or even wireless sensors with your window company because screwing/drilling into certain parts of the window can void the warranty. This would apply to blinds and shades too. My manufacturer Pella was much more lenient than a friend of mines company. Make sure you know exactly where you can install things.
That is something I am contemplating but the couple that I have already replaced had very little slack in the wire on the window side making connections a pain and then there’s warranty concerns. Replacing with wireless would also bring me closer to not needing my CTC integration with my Konnected board taking one more 3rd party out of the picture and having more local routines/automations.
I love this stuff. It’s adhesive rubber. Waterproof, great temperature range, easy to work with.
It comes out of the package about the consistency of playdough. Then over 24 hours it dries to the consistency of rubber. Adheres to itself, rough surfaces like brick, smooth surfaces like tile and glass—pretty much anything except oily plastics like Teflon.
Available from Amazon in a lot of countries, including the US and the UK. Each individual packet contains a blob about the size of two US quarters stacked on top of each other. holds at least 5 pounds, I can’t remember the exact specifications. Comes in lots of colors, including black, white, gray, yellow, pink, brown…. and easily removable without damaging either the window or the sensor.
(Not reusable, though, so some people will Sugru a Lego brick to each surface, then connect the bricks to each other to attach the item, so they don’t have to use more Sugru each time they take it down.)
Check the gallery on the manufacturer site for lots of cool ideas, such as using tennis balls stuck to the wall as hangers for hats.
Talking with the installer, they said that during installation of the new windows they typically place the existing wires between the window ledge and the window frame for use of surface mounted wired contact sensors. Those are very inexpensive. However, the thought of having all my contact sensor no longer need the Konnected C2C integration is appealing, though more expensive. Konnected has said they are working on an Edge driver for local integration, but not sure on the timeline for that.