Motion/Occupancy sensor

(Benji) #1

Yes yes I know, many many threads on this :frowning:

I’m trying my best to work out which one is going to be best for me but there are so many ones available it’s difficult to know which one, so I’m hoping I can get some pointers.

My main focus is automation, not security but I want to tell one someone is coming in the front door to turn the lights on in the corridor and when someone is coming in the kitchen, to turn the lights on there.

We have a dog (40lbs) and may get another in the future, possibly bigger. I understand that ceiling mount ones can be better but I need it to be battery/solar operated. If it can have a rectangular ‘range’ that would fit the kitchen well but it’s likely going to be mounted in an area that will see (indirect) sunlight.

I currently have a Wink hub (don’t ask, it’s awful) but I am planning on transitioning to ST once v2 is released so ‘compatibility’ between the too would be desired, unless you know of one that’s significantly better that wouldn’t work with the Wink hub… Anyway, I’m guessing this restricts me to ZWave/ZigBee based sensors as I believe only the Wink Hub supports Leviton/Lutron which I’ll lose when switching to ST.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Thanks for listening and I appreciate your help.


If you only want it turn lights on (not off), that’s very easy, any ST-compatible motion sensor can do it assuming the lights are also networked.

There’s one Ecolink “pet immune” sensor on the official "works with SmartThings"list which has a sensitivity adjustment. Good at ignoring cats and small dogs. With bigger dogs, you just have to try it and see, so get it from somewhere with a good return policy.

Sunlight can always be a problem but if this is trying to catch people who want to cooperate (not burglars), you can usually mask the sunlight side and still get good results.

(Benji) #3

I forgot to mention, the bulbs are GE Link bulbs in all the relevant areas.

I’ve seen a lot of good and bad things about various sensors, the current Aeon Labs MultiSensor doesn’t seem to get favorable reviews, it will be interesting to see how the MultiSensor 6 works out.

Turning off as well would be essential, with an adjustable ‘timeout’, I wouldn’t want the lights staying on for four minutes after I’ve left the room, ideally 30 seconds at the most, I have a feeling that would require one of those ultrasonic sensors rather than just a straight PIR sensor.


Ok, I’m not the right person to talk about triggering lights off after motion inactivity, because my personal belief is that almost always goes wrong and leaves someone standing in the dark. I do “off” with intentional switches or voice control.

But there are a lot of community members who do have very complex motion dependent protocols and are happy with them. I know @bravenel has written a lot of lights and motion sensor code, hopefully he and some of the other experts will chime in.

(Benji) #5

I appreciate the input buddy!

(Bruce) #6

Standard built-in apps in ST allow you to turn on lights from motion detection, and then turn them off at a settable amount of time after motion stops (minimum of about 10 seconds, then 1 minute increments). That part is easy.

The trickier part would be dealing with the dogs. Our mini-poodle triggers motion everywhere she goes, using SmartSense Motion sensors.

(Benji) #7

Would any of the various ‘dual technology’, auto adjusting, ultrasonic, etc help with this?

(Benji) #8

So I’ve been doing some more research and it looks like it will be between the ST “SmartSense Motion Sensor” and the new Aeon Labs sensor due to come out (will need to wait to see how well it works).

I guess I can put up with falses due to pets since we only have one and she usually sleeps for most of the day, what I’m really curious about is the ‘latch time’ and the ability to turn the lights OFF. Ideally this would be as low as 30 seconds, can these sensors do that (referring to the current gen5 Aeon Labs sensor)?

I’ve seen reports that there are issues with the Gen5 sensor that latches for 4 minutes but others have not had this issue?

(Benji) #9

I forgot to ask, can the ST SmartSense MultiSensor be mounted on the ceiling? It doesn’t look like it but wanted to ask…

(Bruce) #10

Yes, if you screw the base to the ceiling.

(Benji) #11

And it’ll work just the same?

Does it have a fixed latch time or can I set it to turn OFF the lights after 30 seconds or less?

(Bruce) #12

It works the same, except of course for the area it covers. A Smart Sense Motion sensor will report motion.inactive approximately 10 seconds after motion stops. The various apps can have the lights turn off then, or in an integer number of minutes later. 30 seconds could be implemented in a custom app.

(Benji) #13

I can’t seem to find the specs for its field of view so I’m not sure how it would change.

I was concerned by the fact that the sensor itself is recessed so would cut off some of its vision, especially when mounted on the ceiling.

I just found a CNET video from CES2015 and it looks like Smart Things will not only be released the new hub but a range of new sensors, including a new multi sensor? Perhaps I should wait for those…

(Bruce) #14

These sensors have a very wide field of view, and are generally pretty sensitive. Putting it on the ceiling just broadens the area in the cone.

I didn’t want to screw in the bases for most of my motion sensors. So I usually put them very high on a wall pointing down at about a 45° angle. I use a cheap but effective contraption to mount them. This uses the 3M Command hangars and a large paper clip (which conveniently clips into the back of the Smart Sense Motion):