Coupling presence sensor to mobile presence


(DawgOnKing) #1

I’m asking because my wife and I have presence sensors on keychains. I’d like the garage door to open for her when she pulls in driveway but her presence sensor doesn’t detect her arrival until she’s in the garage. Can I enable her mobile presence (with a larger geofence) to detect her arrival at home before her ST presence sensor?

Any other advantages to coupling the two sensors together?


(Steve S) #2

Sure you can set the phone with a larger geofence. But I have a larger question… wouldn’t this type of thing (garage door automatically opening on presence detection) happen anytime your wife came home whether or not she was in her car? Walking, dropped off by a friend, in your car, etc? What you really want to do put the presence sensor in her car - then it wold be detecting her CAR’s presence. However…

The key fobs only get polled every 30s or so - that’s why it takes some time to realize she’s there. No good way around this, AFAIK. I would love a z-wave RFID reader.


(DawgOnKing) #3

Thanks Steve.

She always leaves her keys in the car so it’s about the same as what you’ve suggested. If she leaves for a walk or rides with someone else, her car stays in the garage and her keys stay in the ignition. Just habit I guess.

I completely agree, an RFID would be an awesome addition!

Thanks again!


(Chrisb) #4

I had/have this problem too. My problem was complicated by the location of my hub, which was near the back of my house. This meant that it didn’t always see the sensor until I was close to the garage.

I worked around this a little bit by putting a SmartThings motion sensor in a window on the side of my house. Because the motion sensor is a repeater (when plugged in) this helped to extend the range that the presence sensors could be seen at. It isn’t perfect… like Steve said they don’t poll very often to save battery life… but it does help.

Also, I think what Steve is saying is that if you use your phone for mobile presence to open the garage door, then it’s opening any time the phone comes and goes. So those walks or times someone else drives will trigger a garage open when she comes home with her phone, even if she didn’t drive.


(Chrisb) #5

After thinking about this some more… here’s a possible way to make this work so that it only opens the garage when she comes home in her car. It would involve writing a custom program though… not sure if you know how to code or not. But the concept would be this:

Setup your phone with the geofence thing, making sure that it’s far enough out that it will trigger before your presence sensor gets in range of the Hub. Now leave the presence sensor in the car… not on the keys (which she might take with her to unlock the house even if she isn’t drive), but in the car itself. Now you essentially have a presence detector for her and a separate one for her car.

Now, you’re program will be written so that it looks for both her phone and the car. The trigger will be when her phone comes into the geofence range. When the program sees this it will check the status of her car presence. If the car ISN’T home, then and only will it open the garage.

If she leaves for a walk and the car is still there when she comes back into geofence range the program will see it, check the car and see that it’s already there and not open the garage.

There are two obvious possible hiccups here:

  1. If the geofence doesn’t get triggered fast enough or there’s a lag in the SmartApp running it’s possible that the car gets in range of the hub before the app fires and so the door doesn’t open. (Presumable you could have the program poll the status of the presence tag every 15 minutes and use that rather than current status of the car to minimize this possibility.)

  2. If someone else has her car (for example, you drove it that day) and she comes home from her walk the program will think she’s coming home with the car and open the door.


(DawgOnKing) #6

chrisb, awesome response.

I write code so no issues there. I look forward to working on this tomorrow when I return home from a trip. I will let you know how it progresses. I haven’t been home to test phone presence yet either. I actually haven’t even set it up, so I’ve got some fun testing to do…


(DawgOnKing) #7

Just to follow up - I purchased two additional presence sensors so now the possibilities are endless. :wink:

It’s overkill, but until my kids can don their own presence sensors, we will utilize them by keeping one on each set of keys and one in each vehicle. For testing purposes, I’ve got all the ammo I need. I’ll also have a multi on the door next week so I’ll be able to write all code to include IF/ELSE door OPEN/CLOSE.

As for geofence, still haven’t messed with it but will tomorrow.


(Scott Chapman) #8

Yea, I’ve been trying to come up with the right setup to also be able to automatically open my garage door when I arrive. I’ve been trying the android phone app, and life360 for presence detection. Neither seem to be particularly reliable.

I’ve also “rolled my own” when I created a virtual presence detector and am using my phone to monitor when it see’s my home wifi and open/close based on that. Surprisingly that is not all that reliable either.

One last thing I am going to test is whether or not being on my home network is important. I suspect that if my phone is not on the same network as my ST hub then it is going through their cloud before to my device. I suspect that is not as reliable as going through my own home network. SO, going to give that a try and see what happens.

Haven’t seen any other z-wave presence detectors available that are more flexible. Seems like that would be ideal…