Looking for suggestions for a temperature sensor that can be powered by a 110v outlet. I have beehives outside and want to check their temperatures over the winter without having to open them up to replace a multi-purpose sensor battery.
First, we need to ask a couple of questions since the device selection does vary:
what country are you in?
do you have a SmartThings/Aeotec hub and if so, which model?
how weatherproof does it need to be and how Dusty is the area?
how far away are the beehives from the hub and/or Wi-Fi router and/or monitoring station?
how integrated does this need to be into the rest of your Samsung smartthings ™ platform? For example, do you want to turn on a light or another home automation device if a certain temperature is reached? Do you want to get a notification? Or do you just need to be able to open the app to check for yourself?
are you using any other agritech/smart hive devices that you want to integrate with? Or would you want to be able to in the future?
what’s your budget per sensor?
Many thanks for your great questions!
- I’m in the USA (Vermont… -23F / -28C this morning, with winds gusting at 45mph!)
- I have a Smartthings hubs (v2.3.13-9)
- The sensor will be in the hive but away from the bees and propolis, etc. No need for waterproofing. Minor dust if any.
- The hives will be directly behind my garage where there is decent wind blocking; about 30’ from a wifi access point and 50’ from the hub. I can easily “see” Smartthings outlets on the inner wall of the garage, which is about 12" from where a new outdoor outlet will go.
- Yes, there’ll be integration. The sensor will trigger one outlet connected to a 12v power supply for a heating pad if the temps are < 40F. If the temps drop < 20F a second outlet would start up a second heating pad.
- No other devices other than the outlets in (5)
My main goal is to avoid using any of the battery powered thermometer like the multi purpose sensors Thad that I have as battery changes would be very tough mid-winter.
This is my basic plan as it allows two heating levels for severe cold and avoids complex thermometer controllers in the hive, making this more scalable. Always interested in better ideas
Thank you again!
Thanks for the answers!
You will have two choices, either a sensor designed to plug-in or a sensor which is usually battery powered, but can also be run off of a 5 V plug in charger similar to a phone charger.
So now the question is, which one has the best integration with smartthings right now in this ever-changing world of transition to the new architecture.
Garages are always tricky Architecture: lots of cement, lots of metal, they can be hard to get signal through.
It sounds like the distance might be just a little far for reliable Zigbee, depending on how easy it is to get signal in and out of the garage.
Zwave plus has longer range, but signal is more likely to be defracted by humidity, so they’re actually less common for outdoor sensors.
I think in this setup, I would consider a Wi-Fi sensor. That way you don’t have to worry about bouncing signal through any other devices and you’ll get the best range. And since you’re going to plug it in anyway, you don’t have to worry about battery life.
My first candidate would probably be the Shelly H&T plus. This can be plugged in to a 5v phone charger block. You have a choice of twoIntegrations, with the easier one just being cloud to cloud where there is an official integration. There’s also an edge driver that can run locally, but it’s technically more complicated to set up.
Check with the company before purchase to make sure that it’s included in the official integration if you want to use that one.
There’s also an Aeotec zwave multisensor. They have several models which can use the same kind of plug-in option, and most already have an edge driver.
So you’ll need to look at each model to see which one has the best match to your desired features and budget, but you should have at least a couple of choices there.
Excellent! I’ll try the Shelly’s as they seem very straightforward. It doesn’t look like I need a Shelly Hub for them; they can be setup with the Shelly app and that’s then linked to Smartthings, yes?
That’s correct, the Shelly devices are Wi-Fi and you don’t need their hub (actually, I don’t think they even sell a hub, do they?) or a smartthings/Aeotec hub to use them with a smartthings account.
The official integration is cloud to cloud. The Shelly sensor talks to the Shelly cloud, the Shelly cloud talks to the smartthings cloud, and the smartthings cloud talks to the smartthings app. It’s the same way an echo or google home integration works with smartthings.
They have two versions of their temperature sensor, but only the one with the display screen can run off of USB power.
Thank you again! I’ve been using Smartthings for years now and am glad that the cloud>cloud>app connections are working well. I originally wrestled like crazy to get my Honeywell thermostats to connect. When I looked at the app recently I noticed all my thermostats were offline again (I’ve been using the Resideo app so I didn’t really notice). I reinstalled the thermostats and it just used the link services option, which worked like a charm.
As a separate note I’m surprised that there aren’t more sensors that are powered off 110v or 5v to avoid having to change batteries. I must have 15 sensors and it’s always a battle to keep batteries updated. Do you know why that is?
Such great help, JD!
There are quite a few, particularly for agricultural and commercial use, but they tend to be more expensive than the battery powered zigbee ones, so they just aren’t as popular with ST customers. For example, MONNIT has a full line of plug in WiFi sensors, but they tend to run about $175 each and integration with ST is complicated. They also offer POE (power over ethernet) models.
There are lots of brands with models in this device class, but smartthings customers are typically looking for sensors in the under $25 price range, and there aren’t too many of those that plug-in.
Sonoff has a hardwired WiFi relay that can handle both temperature and humidity and is quite inexpensive, but You do need to wire inline, you’ll probably want added probe sensors for better accuracy, and I’m not sure what smartthings integration is available for the new architecture. We have definitely had community members using them in the past, but that was with groovy, and sometimes required flashing the firmware.
The Shelly is pretty much plug and play, and I like having a display on it.
There are also several thermostatically controlled Wi-Fi plugs that work with the Smart Life app and could be candidates for some people. But these are typically around $40 and again, no display. And only partial integration with smartthings. So they exist, but I don’t think they would be too many peoples first choice if all you wanted was the sensor capabilities. Nice for controlling convective wall panel heaters, which is how I use one. There’s a little probe sensor that sticks out of the bottom to check the air temperature and it seems to work pretty well. Oh, and most of them are only temperature, no humidity readings.
So there are some choices, just not too many in the price range that smartthings customers are usually thinking of except the Shelly and Sonoff.