Can motion sensors be scheduled to be armed/disarmed frequently

I want to do a setup where 40-45 motions sensors spread across a large area need to be armed/disarmed every 3-5 minutes.

The area is a building with around 10000 sq yd on 4 floors. I could use repeaters if needed.

Is this beyond the capability of a SmartThings hub(or 2) and multiple SmartSense Motion Sensors?

I think it depends on what you mean by arming/disarming your motion detectors. IDK of any zwave or zigbee motion detectors that support being armed/disarmed, but i doubt that it would be a big deal any way. On the physical side due to distance and the hops necessary to cover the space zigbee is the only way to go (max zwave hops = 4 max zigbee hops = 20). Also SmartSense Motion Sensors are also zigbee repeaters… when they are plugged in to USB power. On the software side you can create a smartapp to only show/notify you about the motion sensors that require action. No arming/disarming necessary just filter out the unnecessary motion data.

I would recommend starting small like a single floor (2nd floor), and once you got that working expand up and down from there.


Vera controllers let you arm/disarm sensors and set rules based upon their status of being armed or disarmed.

Yeah, this is partly a terminology issue. Vera uses the term Arm/Bypass.

When a device is in Bypass state in their setup, they say the controller won’t get signals from that device, but technically the signals are ignored by the controller. Same end result.

You can get to a similar result in SmartThings, but you manage it at the condition level rather than the device level. You decide when you do want the controller to act on a motion report.

So it really all comes back to @sidjohn1 's original point that it will depend on just what is meant by “arm/disarm” in this particular use case.

SmartThings and/or SmartDevice Type developers, could also add an “enabled/disabled” virtual Attribute and Command to every SmartDevice Type.

If disabled the Attributes should return some reasonable default value and not respond to any “actuator” Commands.

Easy enough to do this as a proof of concept with minor modifications to any existing SDT.

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I don’t think it’s really a terminology issue. I chose ST over Vera but Vera does have a few features that ST could learn from - and become smarter. I could set up alarm rules like I have in ST but with Vera, if I’m going to be doing something out of the ordinary, I can go in and easily disarm one of the motion sensors and take it out of play and not set off the alarm. Then I can reset that sensor when I’m done. With ST, I have to preplan these events and make a new scenario for it. Being able to arm and disarm on the fly comes in handy because you don’t have to set up scenarios for these events.

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I agree that’s a useful feature.

Sorry if I wasn’t clear, I was referring to the technical issue of whether you can actually “arm” a zwave motion sensor. As @sidjohn1 said, technically you aren’t arming and disarming the sensor itself. But as Vera does, you can tell the controller to ignore the motion sensor events when the “bypass” flag is set. So a similar end result as a device which can be actually disarmed with a code.

Zigbee offers a whole different set of options, depending on the profile.


The bad thing is that SmartThings is very slow at even considering feature requests like the one I made, let alone implementation. It’s understandable given the complexity of the system and company, so nearly everything is a low priority next to anything else.

The good thing is that the we can freely implement the feature I proposed on a case by case basis and your requirement is essentially fulfilled!

EDIT: Except for the scale of your location… That is concerning at this time.

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If you are just experimenting then it could be done easily.

If you are running a business that depends on this function, then I think the real-world <99% reliability will be unacceptable. Actions at some peak times in morning/sunrise and early evening/sunset, are lagged and sometimes lost.


Not to mention that you’re going to be changing batteries pretty much constantly…if you use the Aeon outdoor motion sensor, that’s 4xAAA each, probably monthly. I can’t imagine having to check/replace/reconnect for 45 of those on a continuing basis - it’s hard enough with just 6 at my house!

Unless (of course) you can get power out to each one of those motion sensors. Then you only have to worry about 45 little USB wall warts :slight_smile: