Best mmWave Sensor to Use with ST? (human presence sensor/occupancy sensor)

We’re starting to see quite a few questions about MMwave sensors and there are now several that can be used with smartthings.

First, what they are

These are NOT “presence sensors.” Presence sensors tell you when a specific device has crossed a Geo boundary. (These are also sometimes called “arrival sensors.”) so “Michael just got home.” “Linda just left home.” They are typically WiFi, Bluetooth, or Zigbee. Your smart phone can act as a presence sensor. They are marked as arriving or leaving, because their signal can no longer be received by a device that they are supposed to check in with, or because they have GPS capability and can be located on a map.

In contrast, occupancy sensors don’t tell you who is in a room: they just tell you that some human is in the room. So they are also called “human presence sensors.” A person is in the room, but we don’t know whether it is Michael or Linda. Most of them can also recognize that there is more than one person in the room.

The ones that are available for home automation systems in 2023 almost all use “MMwave” technology, which is similar to radar on a very small scale.

Motion sensors, which use passive infrared technology, typically track changes in heat across the sensor lens. So they’re good at catching big movements like a person walking into a room. But they aren’t good at smaller movements, or even recognizing that a person is sitting on the couch.

MMWave sensors are great at fine movements and very fine movements like a person breathing. They capture a huge amount of data in a room. Many of them can divide a room into 20 or 30 zones and report separately on each zone.

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Of course, since they are doing so much both in collecting data and evaluating it, at the time of this posting all the ones available for Home Automation systems need to be mains powered, not battery powered.

In commercial applications, these are popular for parking garages so they can tell exactly which spots are occupied. Some of them can go even further and tell if there is a person inside a car.

But for home use, they are typically used as an improvement over PIR motion sensors. They can tell when there are multiple people in the room. They can tell if someone is sleeping in the bed versus the room being empty. Stuff like that. Some of them can tell the difference between a person walking into the room and a person walking out of it, although I don’t think that feature is currently available with smartthings.

Also, MM wave sensors can detect through clear glass (but maybe not through fancy hi tech glass or UVB blocking glass or colored glass), which PIR sensors cannot. So another popular use case for these in Home Automation is to detect whether someone is in the shower stall in order to keep the bathroom lights on.

Costs have come way down in 2023. You can definitely find one for under $150, and you may be able to find one for around $85 if it’s on sale. Or even less if you look at the Tuya models. (Sonoff offers a single zone, non adjustable model for under $20, which is using mmWave technology but without the advanced intelligence of the other brands.)

The following is a good general discussion thread on the technology:

Mmwave sensor question

HOW DO THEY APPEAR IN SMARTTHINGS?

at the time of this posting, all of the available models just expose each zone as a motion sensor and then you can write routines based on there being motion or not in a zone. So one mmWave device might show up as 20 different motion sensors in one room. But to use a lot of the more advanced features, you generally have to use the Device’s own app, and that creates some integration challenges.

FEATURES

New ones are being introduced all the time. The ones that work with smartthings will be either zigbee or Wi-Fi. Zigbee ones will have to be either connected to their own hub and then brought into smartthings through a cloud to cloud integration, or connected to a smartthings hub (in which case you probably get fewer features or require custom code).

Some also have temperature and light sensors, but these are not always exposed to smartthings.

So you’re going to have a lot of research to do on individual models to see how and if they work with smartthings. Also, you need to check specific model numbers. For example, the aqara FP1 is a Zigbee Device, and the aqara FP2 is a Wi-Fi device.

Setup Takes Time

Setting up one of these is typically like creating the map for a robot vacuum or setting the activity zones for a security camera. Expect to take some time with the device’s own app to get everything set up the way you want. And it may take some trial and error to set the zones correctly. It can also be tricky if you have clear glass windows and you don’t want the sensor to detect activity outside. So getting everything set up the first time is a lot more work than it would be for a PIR motion sensor, but then these are much more complex devices. :gear::gear::gear:

(Again the Sonoff is an exception: since it only has one zone and there are no settings you can change, there’s no special setup required.)

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My next post will list some specific models that currently work with smartthings. Expect to see more and more of these.

As to which is “best“ as with most sensors, there are a lot of different factors, including how much you want to spend, what specific features you need, whether you have a smartthings/Aeotec hub, etc.

If you are currently using one of these with smartthings, please feel free to add a review post to help others in the community. You can also link to your existing discussion threads, there are quite a few, although they are going out of date pretty quickly, because of all the new models being introduced. :thinking:

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  1. Aqara FP1. Zigbee.

If connected directly to a smartthings hub, you can just use the stock driver or you can use a custom edge driver from @Mariano_Colmenarejo . The custom driver exposes a few more features like the temperature sensor and “left to right.” But if you don’t want to fool with custom code, just add it and it should be found by the stock edge driver.

Remember, I said things are changing very quickly in this device class? Although this device was only released two years ago and made a big splash then, most people believe the FP2 is a big improvement, and the FP1 is becoming very difficult to find for sale except on some of the Chinese online market places which aqara does not consider approved vendors. (Meaning they may not honor the warranty and the device may be counterfeit.)

Some community members have reported a very high failure rate with these, with the devices, dying after three or four months, but others are happy with theirs.

  1. Aqara FP2. WiFi.

Second generation, and it shows. It’s Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to have a hub. Divide a room into up to 30 zones. Multiple blog reviews really like this one, in particular, it has a low rate of false positives compared to some of the other brands. A small but pleasant feature is that it has a swivel base so it’s easy to angle it. List price is about $85, but it’s sometimes on sale for about $10 less.

Both smartthings and aqara have announced that there will be a future improved integration for this device, but that hasn’t been delivered yet. Still, people seem quite happy with it. But you will only get the Zones proxied as motion sensors, not even the light sensor comes through the integration at the time of this posting. If you’re looking for someone to solve the problem of “my motion sensor thinks I left the room when I’m still sitting on the couch“ this should be a good candidate.

The two companies together announced an integration coming in first quarter 2024. Meanwhile, you would need to use Ifttt, Alexa routines, Google routines, or Home Assistant for integration, any of which will bring in each zone as a motion sensor.

https://www.amazon.com/Aqara-Positioning-Multi-Person-Detection-Assistant/dp/B0BXWZMQJ3/

  1. EP1. WiFi.

This looks like a DIY instructable project: sold without a case, lots of advanced engineering features, no safety certifications. Lists at $75. You can buy a case for it for an extra $9.

The company is committed at the time of this post, to providing smartthings integration, and they have published an edge driver for this model. They are working on an edge driver for their newer model, the EP lite, but it hasn’t been released yet.

This is a Wi-Fi device, but intended to be cloudless, which is why there’s an edge Driver. (Note that if you are using the edge Driver, you do have to have a smart things/Aeotec hub because that’s where the edge driver runs.)

It’s been very popular in the community, but there have been glitches from time to time. See the discussion thread:

[Edge Driver] A Breakthrough In Human Presence Detection

  1. Tuya (sold under many different brand names, and several different models.) they make both zigbee and Wi-Fi models, so make sure you know what you have before you start looking at integrations.

Many of the Zigbee models can be used with the following custom edge driver, although you may not get temperature/light values, and you may have to request that the author add your specific model’s fingerprint.

[ST Edge] Personal Tuya Devices - Generic EF00 Device

Some specific model notes:

4a) PS-HPS Black Radar Human Presence Sensor. Zigbee. not recommended

This model was one of tuya’s first efforts, and it is extremely “chatty,“ sending lots and lots of different messages that can clog up your Zigbee net work.

4b) ZY-M10x. WiFi.

A second generation device, this one seems more reliable. I’m not sure how the integration works, though, you’ll have to do some research on that. If someone knows, please post. I know people are using it, I just don’t know the details of the integration.

About half the price of the aqara Fp2, but more cheaply built with fewer advanced features.

https://www.amazon.com/Presence-Millimeter-Detection-Requires-Presence¡­/dp/B0CGXF17YM/

4c) Tuya YXBRB58x. Zigbee.

Their second generation, with a lot of improvements over the original “radar“ HPS design, including being less chatty.

https://www.amazon.com/Presence-Required-Detector-Security-Automatical/dp/B0BYDCY4YN
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Some people have reported that they could never get it to connect with a smartthings hub.

I know @Buds_Smart_Home was looking at it, but I don’t know if he ever got an integration working. :thinking:

4d) Tuya B0CFHJRFHJ. WiFi.

Third generation, people seem to like this. Again, just shows as a motion sensor for each zone. When reading Amazon reviews, check to see if the “color“ is listed as Wi-Fi or zigbee.

https://www.amazon.com/Presence-Millimeter-Detector-Occupancy-Presence¡­/dp/B0CFHJRFHJ?th=1

4e) Tuya B0CFHL81P8. Zigbee version of 4d. Works with the custom edge Driver mentioned above.

https://www.amazon.com/Presence-Millimeter-Detector-Occupancy-Presence¡­/dp/B0CFHL81P8?th=1

  1. Sonoff SNZB-06P. Zigbee.

Can be used either by connecting to a Sonoff zigbee Hub and then bringing it in through the eWeLink cloud to cloud linked services integration, or by connecting directly to a smartthings/Aeotec hub. In either case, this is a very basic detected/not detected device with only one zone. Only a few community members have reported on it so far. One common complaint is that it takes a very long time to clear, so it’s good at knowing when someone comes in the room, but it might think they are still in the room 30 minutes after they left. On the other hand, it is very inexpensive, about $15, so if you don’t need lots of advanced features, this could be a good candidate.

@Declankh has shared a link to step-by-step instructions for adding it to Smartthings:

Manufacturer site:

Details page:

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Personally, I am intending to try the Aqara FP2, but I’m waiting for the price to go a little lower. And ideally, I’d like to get more features through the new integration once it comes out. But I think it’s more of a polished “plug and play“ device, and so far all of the others look like they would require quite a bit of time and some effort to get set up. Since I have to pay someone else to do any of that, the fact that they are lower priced to begin with doesn’t really help me. So other people may make other decisions. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

update: I was able to get an FP2 on sale for about $80 and have been using it for about four months now. We like it a lot. We mostly use it with Apple home and Alexa routines, but do bring it into SmartThings via using a Tapo Matter plug as a proxy between Apple Home and ST, which keeps everything local. (The FP2 itself does not have matter support yet.) so not a solution for everyone, but we like it.)

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@JDRoberts this is a great initiative!
Can’t wait to read the results.

I am working on an edge driver for the new Everything Presence Lite. So you may like to add it to your list.

Also I watched this video last night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?si=YuHVYZwNctXcp3VY&v=Kt1FpRM8R18&feature=youtu.be
i know its for Home Assistant but its a great list of presence/occupancy sensors.

Many Thanks Tim

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@JDRoberts does the Aqara FP2 currently work with Smartthings?

Hmmmm…

It’s officially announced for integration in 1st quarter 2024. That would not require any custom code and will possibly be done through matter.

Currently you can get partial integration through IFTTT, Alexa routines, or Google routines. Or Home Assistant. It shows up as one motion sensor per zone.

I know some people here are running the FP2 through home assistant. Not worth the effort, I think, unless you already have home assistant integrated to smartthings, but it seems to be working pretty well that way. I think @jlv did this, but it’s possible that was a home assistant to hubitat integration. :thinking:

The Fp2 also has native integration to Apple HomeKit, so again, if you are already running both systems, you might have some options for proxy indicators. :man_shrugging:t2:

So… no native integration yet, although they made a big fuss about it coming soon with representatives from both companies on stage at the recent developer event.

Several ways of getting use out of it through a third-party integration, so different things will work for different people.

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Hi.

Excellent post.
I have an FP2 and if the integration of Smartthings works like in the aqara App I think is an excellent sensor. Works perfect. I try with IFTTT in free mode and works fine but o want to do the directly integration in ST, for then I need to wait :wink:. Other way any one try the Tuya sensor ZY M10x? Works fine with any edge driver?

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Correct. FP2 to HA (via it’s local HomeKit emulation). Then HA to Hubitat. All operating locally on my LAN, with nothing escaping to (or requiring) the Internet. So far rock solid reliability.

For a while I had my FP2s blocked from the Internet, which disables use of the Aqara app. The app is required to set up the device, especially to configure detection zones. I unblocked them to do the last firmware update, but I haven’t put the block back in place (yet). But you don’t need to let it have that access to use the FP2 locally via HomeKit (and thus HA, and thus Hubitat).

Here it is detecting me as I’m typing this (screenshot of the Aqara app):

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Just ordered a SONOFF SNZB-06P, was on offer so thought it’d be worth a try. Will see how well it works with smartthings and will report back.

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Mine is currently mounted on my fridge working simply as a motion detector. It takes between 3 and 8 minutes for motion to clear. There is no way to shorten this time. So in my opinion its not much use. I have 5 of the new IKEA motion sensors arriving tomorrow which I hope will be better.

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I have the much more expensive Aqara FP2 working in Apple Home, the Alexa app, And the aqara app, But not yet in SmartThings, except via Alexa routines.

I’m very happy with it. So far it only shows up as a motion sensor for each zone in the other platforms, but that works just fine. It clears very quickly, it’s very reliable, it’s local, and it recognizes when someone is just sitting still so it doesn’t turn the lights off too early.

Both Companies have announced that they are working together on an integration for this device with SmartThings, so I am eagerly awaiting that. :sunglasses:

https://www.amazon.com/Aqara-Positioning-Multi-Person-Detection-Assistant/dp/B0BXWZMQJ3/

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I put up the sonoff snzb-06p device. The supplied usb-c cable is too short given it’s purpose and recommended high position. To put it high on my wall I had to use a usb-c extension cable, the lead didn’t even come down to the floor. This has been my only annoyance with it. Installation was easy after following the sonoff guide and installing the edge drivers. It took 4 minutes to clear after the room was empty (didn’t pick up my sleeping cat). This will be accurate enough for me as I use a variety of devices to determine if a room is occupied and whether or not the heating/lighting should come on and stay on in that room.
I’ll update if my opinion changes but can recommend it if you’re not looking to only rely on this one device to determine occupancy.
I’m still interested in the aqara fp2, but can wait until it’s fully smartthings compatible before I buy one.

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Hello community!
I’m looking for an occupancy sensor to control lighting in a small room. I would like to get rid of additional sensors, such as motion sensors, so both the speed of response to human presence detection and the speed of presence reset are important to me. I recently bought a Sonoff SNZB-06B, but it disappointed me. With few exceptions, it detected presence well and turned on the lights with minimal delay. But he often froze in a state of presence and did not turn off the light for a long time. Now I’m thinking about what can replace sonoff and I’m looking at Aqara FP1. Can anyone tell me their experience with this sensor on the current firmware version? How quickly does it detect presence and how quickly does it reset?

I am using ZY-M100 and it has been working perfectly for the past 6 months. Lot cheaper than FP1 and does it’s job very well. If budget is not an issue, then get FP1 as I believe it offers slightly more functionality than the one I have.

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I believe @JDRoberts uses the Aqara and can provide some perspective.

I use the aqara fp2, a WiFi device, not the aqara fp1. I really like it, but I primarily use it via HomeKit and Alexa routines. Right now there’s no direct integration with SmartThings, although both companies have said there will be in the future, and it doesn’t yet work with matter. So Alexa routines or IFTTT are about the only way to bring it into SmartThings right now unless you’re also using Home assistant.

So via SmartThings, the integration is cloud to cloud unless you use a matter device as a proxy.

The fp1, which uses Zigbee, does have a direct integration with SmartThings, so hopefully someone using that model will comment.

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In my case, FP1 will cost about $5 more. But given the small size of the room where I’m going to use it, additional functions are not as important as reliability and speed. Does the ZY-M100 sensor you are using quickly detect and reset presence?

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Yes, it’s dam fast in detection. I purchased a wall mount as per this link https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004724635825.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.30.16f418021sc0ch

and you can use Wesley’s driver to quickly pair and make it available in ST routines.

Do not adjust positions once fixed as it’s a bit crazy till it tunes itself to adapt to this new position. Also, if you don’t detect presence as part of moving positions, then you need move your hand close to the device and away for a few seconds till it detects presence and from then on, the device will start working fine.

Specify a long value for reset presence to avoid false negatives. I have specified 350 which is 35 seconds and both detect and reset presence can be specified in settings.

If you are purchasing a wall mount, then you need a micro usb to usb cable as this needs constant power source so plan for this too.

Check this link for detailed comparison of ZY-M100, FP1 and PS-HPS Best mmWave Human Presence Sensor - SmartHomeScene

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@fck-r, Forgot to mention, this also has an illuminance sensor built in but I wouldn’t rely too heavily on this.