FAQ: Do you know of an outdoor motion sensor?

I’ve been playing with a Fibaro motion sensor indoors since last night. The motion timeout and sensitivity is configurable within the device type code so it is already much better better than ST, MonoPrice, Aeon sensors that I have. So far I like it best. You can keep tweaking motion sensitivity to the right value to minimize outdoor false alarms. Indoors, sensitivity set to 15 is just enough to not pickup cats yet still pick up people at a reasonable distance.

The worst thing about the Fibaro motion sensor is the LED light that flashes when it detects activity. You can easily change parameter 80 to “0” to get rid of the LED annoyance and save battery. IMHO sensors should be as invisible as possible. In this regard, Fibaro did well by making this sensor the smallest I have seen.

The outer casing looks like it might survive outside if kept out of direct moisture. Like under a roof overhang.

It is under warranty and I would suggest replacing it. You do this through the company you purchased it form. If they give you a hard time contact aeon and they will contact the company to get it done. I had to go this route once.

Is the Fibaro sensor okay outdoors in rain? Or just covered locations? My aeon one is mounted in a tree in front of my house and gets rained on from time to time. I dislike the battery life on the Aeon one and would like to replace it.

Looks like the Aeon is rated for outdoor use, the Fibaro is not. In addition to not being waterproof, it’s only temperature rated down to 32 degrees F. and only up to 104 degrees F. Some people still use them, but I don’t know how long they’ll last.

With regard to battery life, the first thing is to look at how often the device is awake. So look at the activity logs. Is there any polling/refresh going on? (Nothing kills battery life faster than excessive polling. )

Second, how much activity from the sensor itself? Sometimes reducing sensitivity even 15% can extend battery life significantly.

I use a Fibaro outside (sheltered) which has survived subzero temperatures for weeks at a stretch. I use it only for temperature and illiminance and NOT for motion as most of the sensors outdoors is bound to give you unwanted and/or false alerts due to cars passing, environmental conditions etc. Some guys have had luck with these outdoors for motion using proper placement and adjusting the sensitivity. Aeons compared to Fibaro’s are simply horrid.

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I have several MonoPrice motion sensors outdoors and they have survived the pretty intense winter here in Syracuse without a problem. Only issue was they gave up reporting the temp when it went below around -15. They are under porch roofs but no other weather protection other than that.

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I have tried Aeon motion sensor for outdoor but it still gives false alarms even though I have kept it away from anything such as tree or flowers. It may be triggered by temperature changes. Does anyone have any recommendation for a reliable outdoor motion sensor?

There have been lots of discussions about outdoor motion sensors, and they all pretty much come back to the fact that outdoor motion sensing is a crapshoot. Some people have tried laser trip sensors or pressure mats with better success.

Same here on my Aeon - it is not recommended for outdoor motion

I may have posted this before, but my Fibaro “eyeball” works awesome. It’s $60, but is so configurable that I was able to set it up in a way that it works perfectly. It takes quite a bit of wind to get it to false trigger (over 20mph about)

Go Control and Ecolink work good outside. Just build little covers out of tin or maybe something to look like a wooden birdhouse to keep the rain off them. You can also smear a little silicone around the seam where it snaps together and the lense for extra insurance. the silicone will peel right off at battery change time.

I have read a lot of bad reviews on the aeon lab models.

This is a very good question, and one often discussed in the forums.

First, to be fair to Aeotec, the latest generation of the multi sensor in the instruction manual says to disable the motion sensor if you want to use it outdoors. It can be used outdoors as a light sensor or temperature sensor but you will get too many false alerts if you try to use motion. So the manufacturer not only knows it, they tell customers that it’s not intended for outdoor use as a motion sensor.

The reason applies to all PIR motion sensors. These devices don’t actually measure motion, they measure very small changes in heat as it moves across the sensor. For this reason, they are very easily triggered even by a cloud moving across the sun.

Depending on the specific use case, there are other technologies that can be used or you can set up a zone with multiple motion sensors although outdoors you can still get false alarms on multiples from a warm breeze.


Thanks for the reply, I really only want an outdoor sensor capable of withstanding weather that will turn eve lights and maybe porch lights on at night when someone walks up.

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Most motion sensors use rapid changes in temperature to detect motion, so false positives outside would be high.

I have been thinking about doing this with my ring door bell with IFTT integration.

I really don’t understand security lights do great unless a tree branch waves in front of them

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For the porch light issue, if you’re ok with it not integrating with SmartThings I’ve been really happy with the Kuna light, which combines a motion sensor, wifi camera, two way audio intercom, and porch light all in one. You can put the light on a schedule or have it come on when motion is detected. We’ve had ours since last summer and really like it.

More discussion of video doorbells and the Kuna:

I was probably going to go with the skybell but I wanted to incorporate the garage door eve lights with motion detection, and maybe some walkway lights. I also wanted to use a motion detector to trigger an alert that the mailman had dropped the mail. I have doorstep delivery and a letterbox so a door sensor would not be the best option for that.

Makes sense. The motion detection is just very tricky outdoors with the inexpensive sensors that are compatible with SmartThings.

On the other hand, if you have a mailbox, an acceleration sensor inside the mailbox can work very well and lots of community members have done that. :sunglasses:

BTW, I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but at our house we also use the nonnetworked motion sensor Mr. beams for outdoor pathway lights, and they work great.

I will look into the mr beams. My mailbox/letterbox is literally the size of a couple of small boxes of envelopes and the mailman stuffs oversized boxes in there. I also figured the device would have trouble reaching out of a closed metal box. I guess it might do fine if it were open but in that case you would see the package. I figure the mailman would damage the sensor too.