Backyard monitoring?

I have been playing with ST for couple of months and am still discovering more options and ways to do things but recently i wanted to start monitoring the backyard acitivity and was wondering what are the best options for motion activated floodlight for the backyard ?
I am thinking of separate motion detector plus a flood light but not sure that’s the best setup or what is the best components for this setup.
My prefrence is to keep the electric work as low as possible !
N.B : Am in texas so weather is more in the hot zone
Thanks a lot

Most of the motion sensors available that integrate with smart things do not do well outdoors. This is because they are actually heat sensors that respond to a very small change in heat moving across the sensor. When they are outdoors just a cloud going across the sun or a warm breeze can create enough of a variance that the sensor will report. (In fact, several multisensor manufacturers, including Aeon, recommend disabling the motion sensor reporting if you’re going to use the device outdoors for light and temperature measurement.)

There are a couple of different things you can try for this. In particular Mike Maxwell has a nice smart app which looks at multiple sensors in the zone in order to reduce the number of false alerts.


A lot depends on the specific use case. To be honest, the easiest, least expensive way just to have lights come on when motion is detected outdoors is to use one of the good quality nonnetworked motion lights. I personally like the Mr. beams brand a lot. Very well engineered, excellent value, easy to buy from Amazon, several different form factors. We use these for path lights at our house.

If you want to combine that with some kind of smart things notification, the easiest thing is to use one of the outdoor multisensors which includes a lux sensor. The nonnetworked light’s own motion sensor will cause it to come on, and then that bright light will cause the lux sensor to report to Smart-things.

I know this is the reverse set up of what many people think of it first, but it’s very reliable and quite inexpensive without requiring any additional wiring as all the devices are battery powered. You set up as many nonnetworked motion lights as you need, and just position one lux sensor in each zone.

There are a number of threads in the forums discussing possible outdoor motion sensors that do integrate directly with smartthings, but they almost all come to the same conclusion, which is just this is not very easy to do without setting up a lot of relatively expensive motion sensors so you can do zone reporting.

From a security standpoint, the self-contained nonnetworked motion lights will also work even if your Internet is down, or SmartThings is down, or your power is off. So for something like evacuating during a fire or another natural disaster, something like the Mr. Beams will work even if nothing else does. So that’s another point to consider. :sunglasses:

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I have had great luck with the Fibaro “eye” outside sensor under an eave. Battery life great, not too many false on’s (very windy days do set it off though). I plan to do more of them with my outdoor lights. I also use Zone Motion Manager for a different application and it is awesome.

2 Likes I have had very good luck with these. With the setting on large dog. On Windy days it does go off sometimes but other than that it rarely ever does. And I have caught someone in my backyard with it before and then went back and looked at the recording of my CCTV. And the temperatures can range here from -10 to 110

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I get almost no false positives using an Aeotec Gen5 MultiSensor.

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Thanks a lot for the details response , i ve learnt a lot for all the above and i like Mr beams solution the only problem with it is i cant control when it will be triggered , i mean at what time like for example if we are sitting in the back yard then it will detect us and i cannot change the mode or any thing around that to fix it because with lux sensor i will be able to take actions after it is already ON , unless am missing something .

Also i liked the idea to use them for path lights , how this setup work? as you move forward on the pathway one after the other turns on ? (that would be cool feature to have)

Last what about lux sensors ? any recommended ones ?

Again thanks a lot for the help you are giving to this community .

I’m glad to hear it, but that is unusual. Check your user guide for the device: the manufacturer actually recommends disabling the motion detection for outdoor use for most of their models. Still, if you get just the right placement, it can work. :sunglasses:

As i understand the Fibaro is just the motion detection sensor , do you have that integrated with any floodlights ?
thanks , i will take a look on the fibaro .

This one is marked indoor , wondering how good it is for outdoor but for this price i am ok to give it a shot .
Since you mentioned CCTV , any recommendation for outdoor camera that fits this setup ? something very similar to the scenario you mentioned above.

Some of the more expensive ones have a remote with an on off switch that you can use. Again, I like the Mr. beams features. But these models are more expensive than the ones without the remotes.

But in general, yes, you’re right – – with that kind of set up, the light always comes on when motion is detected. That can be good or bad depending on the use case.

Also i liked the idea to use them for path lights , how this setup work? as you move forward on the pathway one after the other turns on ? (that would be cool feature to have)

It just depends how you place them. Mr. beams makes A model that comes with ground stakes where each light covers about 6 feet. Those are the ones that were using along the path.

Last what about lux sensors ? any recommended ones ?

The Aeon multisensor has a Lux reading. I think that the Fibaro does as well. The Aeon is rated for outdoor use, but a lot of people use the Fibaro in a sheltered location with success.

1 Like this is the CCTV system I bought. Mine came with a hard drive so it was $160

I display it on a 9 inch in wall flush mount monitor that I have and also on our big TV if needed. It has a 500 gigabyte hard drive which will record 24 hours a day which ends up being 15 days of recording. The motion sensor will notify me if there’s any movement at night in which I’ll go back and look up recording. And the motion sensor will also turn on the lights outside. But the nighttime infrared does work pretty well on those cameras. I would recommend not using the built-in motion sensing that CCTVs have. It just doesn’t work very well.

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Oh I forgot to mention motion sensor outside has been through one Summer and One winter. It is pretty exposed to. I’m sure it gets pretty wet at times. It is on the North side so it never gets direct sunlight. And I have had no issues with it. I haven’t even changed the battery in it yet. And like I said before it gets very cold here and very hot.