General question about improving device battery life


I’ve a number of devices which have a battery that last forever: Ecolink contact sensors and motion sensors for example.

Most of my other devices have devices that usually last for about 10 months or less: Smartthings multi-sensors, Visonic door/window sensors.

It seems the Z-wave sensors do better than the Zigbee, but that may just be coincidence.

I’ve often wondered if something could be done with the device handlers to improve battery life, or if there were device handlers available that looked to do this specifically.

Especially because I use most of the zigbee sensors for one thing, and one thing only. For example, the Visonic door/window sensors are used for temperature measurement only. I have one Smartthings multi that is used for vibration only. I wasn’t sure if the complexity of putting multiple functions in one sensor, plus battery reporting, etc. had impact on battery life.

Anyone have any success doing something different to extend battery life? I have a collection of 2045 and 2032 batteries and it feels like I’m running around changing a few each month.


it all depends on things like how often the device checks in, how often it is triggered, battery type/brand, surrounding temperature. there are so many factors that play into it.

one device i have, st motion sensor v3 (magnetic ball) does not like high traffic areas and will chew thru batteries in a week. great for inside back of mail box though!

the visonic contact sensors are great and they can sit on very low batteries for months. I even have 1 in the fridge and 1 in the freezer.

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There’s nothing that can be done from the software side Unless a specific device can be configured to report less often. As @awestun mentioned, One critical factor is simply how often the device Has to report. Motion sensors in high traffic areas will use up their batteries much more quickly than ones in quiet areas.

The second issue is how hard does the device have to work to get its message to the hub. So how many mains powered devices do you have and where are they located relative to the sensors?

Normally Zigbee devices have better power management than zwave, But Zigbee repeats only for Zigbee and zwave repeats only for zwave, so if you don’t have enough Zigbee repeaters, your zigbee devices might have to send the same message two or three times to get it through, which then uses up batteries two or three times as quickly.

ReAd post 11 in the following thread, then go up to the top of that thread and read the whole thing. It will explain the details of this issue. (The topic title is a clickable link.)

If you do need to add Zigbee repeaters, the IKEA Tradfri pocketsockets are less than $10 when bought directly from IKEA and work very well for this purpose. :sunglasses:


Good info (did a quick read)! Come to think of it, I don’t believe I have any zigbee repeaters in my system at all, but I do have a couple of zwave. I will have to look in to that.

Is there a way to “see” the health of the mesh? A utility or other indicator that could be utilized? If it’s in the read, just say so and I will seek it out.


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It’s possible to look at individual devices in the IDE for their RSSI values, but smartthings has very limited utilities in this regard. And they aren’t voice friendly, so I don’t typically use them myself. Hopefully someone else will come by who can explain those details.

Yes, there is some info, but this has always been Greek to me. As I looked - I noted at least one zigbee repeater does exist in my system! :slight_smile:

I have one in my home office where I’m now working in everyday since March and I haven’t changed the battery in months. This thing lasts a long time.

the you arent in there almost constantly moving around.

I caution people on using the current numbers as I feel there have been changes that don’t reflect true battery levels. :frowning:
In the past years all my ST motion sensors died at 67% battery but lasted almost a year. In 2020 I have repeatedly changed batteries (3 times) on 5 devices and they all go from 100% to 33% within a month. They seem to stop sometime after 33%, operating for several months and not a year. I have one that I changed a month or so ago and it now reports 1%!
I have changed battery suppliers but I wasn’t using Chinese batteries in the first place. I went from Sony to Panasonic due to the contact issues of the non-conforming Sony case.

What’s your definition of constantly? From 8am this morning so approx 8.5 hrs I have almost 100 motion events (just counting active) and about the same temperature reports.