Iris contact sensor random disconnection and having to reset


(MR) #1

Hi I am having a couple of issues with my Iris contact sensors 2nd gen. I have had them for about 2 years, and over time they have randomly either lose connection for a while until they come back OR they stay disconnected to the point that i have to reset them and repair them again to everything (very annoying). Most recently my front door kept losing connection for days to the point that I got frustrated and removed the battery several times rather than resetting it. Then at one point when i readded the battery the lights on the sensor turned to red, blue, and green. Therefore i decided to order a new battery since i had already noticed that by being disconnected for so long the sensor had drain a lot of the battery (the few times it did connect to smartthings it reported a lower battery about 33%).

Today i got a new battery and added the battery only to find the same colors. This has already been a few weeks almost 2 months since i have last used it. I decided to go and reset the whole sensor and readd it to my smartthings hub.

Now I have a live a 3 story condo and my smartthings lives on the third floor and this sensor was in my front door at the very bottom. Therefore, i don’t know if this is a distance issue with zigbee or what but smartthings wouldn’t find the sensor. I really don’t want to bring this all the way up to my hub as i then have to remove it from where it is placed and then paste it again where it was, but i wanted to see if people around the community have faced this same issues with the Iris sensors. How many folks out here actually use this sensor or have they had better experiences with other contact sensors.

I use this sensor as an alarm as i only have 2 main entrances to my condo the front door and the garage door so i would really like to get this up and running. I don’t know too much but i’m curious if i switched to a Z Wave Plus sensor if this would work better as I know Z wave plus has bridging capabilities and i have Z wave Plus light switches by GE that would help bounce the signal to it down to the bottom.

Let me know if you have had issues with this device or what kind of contact sensors you use!


(Tony) #2

Pretty sure that the flashing colors is a result of replacing the battery while the contact sensor is reporting ‘closed’. If you replace the battery with the sensor in the ‘open’ state it will act normally again. There is nothing wrong with the sensor.

They will all do this (at least mine do) and I think it is intended as a installation setup aid-- to tell you without having to look at your tablet where the magnet will trigger the sensor when you are deciding where to mount it.

Also it is likely that the disconnection is being caused by the sensor being marginally out of range. You probably would benefit from having a zigbee repeater; a Lowe’s Iris Smart plug will do a good job. It should pair in place through the Iris plug but it may take a few tries (also it may take a while so be patient).

A smart bulb will might also do the trick but they aren’t the best choice since their radios aren’t that great and they are reported to have other issues in busy Zigbee networks when used as repeaters. That said, I have a half dozen of them working fine; because their radios are so poor they don’t typically wind up being chosen as parents by end devices if there are other better repeaters (like the Iris plugs) that provide stronger signals during the pairing process. I do rely on a Zigbee bulb in an outdoor fixture to repeat for a sensor I use in my mailbox; it works just fine in that application. Since the bulb would be a lot cheaper than the Iris plug, you might want to try it first.


(MR) #3

So you suggest that i get a zigbee device to help with the repeating of the signal OR to just bring it closer to pair it again and just stick to the sensor? OK cool, so do you use exclusively Iris contact sensors?


(Tony) #4

If you have your hub 2 floors up from the device, the random dropoffs are likely from the attenuation of the signal through 2 floors of your condo (building materials and furnishings). Put a repeater midway between the hub and farthest device. There’s a lot (relatively speaking) of data transfer between the hub and device during pairing; thats why it is difficult to pair in place when you have marginal signal strength. So if you move it close to the hub just for pairing, it will pair easier but then might drop off again unless you have a repeater in between.

I use a couple of Z-Wave contact sensors (bulky and don’t report temperature; but big battery means they last forever), a few Zigbee Visionics (cheap and compact, report temperature and seem to work well; jury still out on battery life since they use a coin cell type) and the rest the Zigbee Iris. I have one in my freezer (where I got almost 2 years of battery life with it sitting near 0 degrees) and one in my mailbox (where it gets down to -13F and into the 100’s; it gets near year-long battery life in that application as well). I even use one in my attic where it just hit 130F; I’m not using it within its spec range, obviously. If it fails I won’t scream for a warranty replacement. I like the Iris pretty much overall.