Motion sensors driving me mad!

Ok, so I am losing my patience with ST and the sensors! I have owned ST for just under a year now and have three multi sensors and five motion sensors. In that time I have had all of the multi sensors go offline or stop responding for various reasons but I can normally get them back with some resets. Pain but I was living with it.

However, in the last couple of weeks the motion sensors have been driving me crazy. Out of five I think I now have one working reliably. The other either have completely stopped working or randomly stop responding, then work, then stop again! This is becoming very frustrating and I am losing my will to live with Smartthings. Shame as I am just starting to play with Core to replace other lighting apps and it seems to do everything I need. Whilst testing though I can’t get a reliable motion sensor to trigger!!

Is this a common problem since the update or around this time?

Yes, this was added to the first bug reports page in the community created wiki about two days ago.

If you had problems even before the latest updates, how does your mesh look? Do you have a few pocket sockets to act as repeaters? These Lowes IRIS smart plugs may be a great option to look into. They do go on sale every now and then. Check the Deals forum.

Ok so it’s a known issue then?

I did a hub power down yesterday for more than 15 minutes as I was having problems getting one motion sensor back online, it was reporting back temp but not motion. Since the power cycle all bar one motion sensors are playing up, including the original problem sensor. So I have managed to get into a worse state by doing the hub power cycle!

Not sure how to report or view my mesh? I live in a single story property and my Hub and Sensors are fairly close. I do have one Smartthings plug which I believe acts as a repeater but not sure how to check what sensor is connected to what repeater or hub directly.

I do have quite a lot of devices wireless in the property, 20 odd Hue lights, Sonos speakers etc. so not sure if this is causing an issue generally with the available channels? Again, don’t know how to check that?

Unfortunately there’s no easy way to map out your mesh within SmartThings. There is some discussion here:

I live in a similar single story home and I have at least one or two pocket outlets per room along with a few smart switches. One reason I have so many is because I run both Z-wave and ZigBee devices throughout the house. In this way, I’m pretty certain that I have a fairly strong mesh.

If you are running mostly ZigBee then they will be using the crowded 2.4ghz frequency so there is possible WiFi interference. Make sure your hub is at least 6 feet away from your router. There are also tools that can check what channel your WiFi is using so it might help to move your WiFi channel. And to make things a bit more complicated, sometimes neighbor WiFi signals may overlap as well.

If your Hue lights are connected through a Hue hub, then they will only repeat amongst themselves. In anycase, light bulbs as repeaters have not always been that reliable or trustworthy.

Yes, I know how frustrating things can get when they don’t work right. Hopefully you’ll be able to track down your problems and get thing running smoothly (although with ST, there always seems to be hiccups along the way, part of that whole cloud architecture that can be flakey sometimes.).

You are probably doomed…Just save yourself the grief and bite the bullet. Go all zwave!

I too have at least one zigbee repeater in every room but that didn’t help solve the motion sensor problems. I still get stuck zigbee sensors on regular basis…

Do you have insecure rejoin enabled?


Yes I do still have this enabled. I assume this should make it most compatible with devices able to re-join?

I’m starting to move connected devices around to see if this helps. All of my Sonos speakers are now Ethernet connected, I tried to move my Echo/Dots’s to 5Ghz wifi but it does look like they can do that, I’ll try again later. I’ll also try moving my Nest products over to 5Ghz to clear up the 2.4 band. Fortunately my neighbours are not close enough to create any interference but I do have a lot of devices myself.

Anyone know if the Philips Hue motion sensors are Zigbee also? I was thinking about giving them a try as most of my motion sensor logic is used to trigger lights and I’m also suffering from the slow activation issue from ST now.

If you have 1st gen of dots, they only use 2.4. The 2nd gen dots can connect to the 5 ghtz band.

As for Hue, they are zigbee. And you cou can find on the Hue app on what channel. Then check this thread…

So I now have two sensors that are refusing to work as motion sensors. I have tried resetting them by removing the battery. I have also tried by putting the hub into pairing mode, removing the battery and then replacing whilst holding the button. All they seem to do is report temp back to the hub but nothing on motion :frowning:

Am I resetting correctly? Any other suggestions?

Ordered a Philips Hue motion sensor to see if they are more stable than the ST ones.

Quick update. Philips Hue sensor in and working well. Detects motion and turns lights on much quicker than ST is currently doing with Hue lights :frowning: Easy to setup with good options for tuning within the App.

Seems like a much better designed product with included illuminance sensor for less money than the ST sensors!

Will try the DH next so I can integrate it into the ST world and start using it for other triggers.

Really fed up that I have two bricked ST sensors which are now completely useless :frowning: If this Philips one continues to function I may replace the rest of my ST sensors with these. Seems to be a common theme with ST, all the sensors are junk that need a lot of maintenance!!!

My motion sensor issue was about battery. Specifically, it was still reporting battery around 60% when in fact the stock battery had died back in summer (I was out living a life, so I didn’t notice lol).

So then I replaced the battery a few weeks ago, only to find the device would not work. It took ST’s reply to my inquiry for me to realize that they don’t work with the Energizer battery (who would ever look for such a thing in documentation?), and get a battery that works. It then took two tries to reset it according to the prescribed method, but it’s on the network and working properly.

Dunno if that helps.

I found the same. I have two ST motion sensors and a Hue motion sensor. The hue motion sensor reacts way faster and I like how you can alter the sensitivity of it as well as the luminescence at which it activates. Pity they only work with hue bulbs though!

I talked to tech support about a Smartthings motion sensor falsely reporting in the middle of the night and the battery reporting issue. They totally avoided helping me. I’m sure it’s a known issue that they are terrible. They gave me every reason why it could be falsely reporting. It would turn lights on in the middle of the night. It is now used only to report temp! How about a 40$ thermometer!

I haven’t had a false reporting issue yet, perhaps to come!

Also worked out the battery thing and I have bought some Panasonic batteries specifically for this job! Mine were reporting 85% but I changed anyway but no improvement.

Will try removing the second one which is completely failing to work and see if I can get it back again. the other one I removed and re-introduced and now it only works for temperature!! :frowning:

On the Philips Hue sensors, there is a Device Handler that has been created so should be able to use it for more than just Hue lights I’m assuming. Haven’t looked into it further yet but on my list to do.

I have 5 of the SmartThings first gen multi sensors (big motion sensing lens in the middle) in my system - 3 are in the house, 2 are used for outside motion detection - all 5 have worked flawlessly since I purchased them.

I also have 4 of the SmartThings second gen (small motion sensing lens in the corner) in my system - all 4 are in the house. The Living Room sensor started doing this false reporting of motion in early December - while I was traveling for work so SHM was set for away, so I got an ALARM at 3am. I watched the recent activity for a few days after that and noticed it was constantly reporting motion - so night time lights were on all night long. I replaced that sensor with another ST gen 2 - no problems since. Now, one of the other ST gen 2s (for the Kitchen) is doing the same thing - and again keeping lights on all night long.

What is odd about the Kitchen sensor is that it only reports constant motion when the system goes into NIGHT mode. During the Morning, Day and Evening modes it’s fine and works as expected. As soon as things settle down, and the system switches to NIGHT, it starts reporting constant motion.

There is obviously a bug here somewhere - and I can’t wait months for the ST Team to figure it out, nor do I want to spend another $160 to replace these sensors with another option (HUE, or Aeon Labs Zwave). So it looks like for the time being, I’ll just pull all of these gen2 motion sensors out of all automation. Completely frustrated!

I know how frustrating it can be when things don’t work as they should, especially when they were working just fine for months.

Have you tried some of these diagnostic steps? You may or may not have to do all the steps. Sometimes just doing step 1 is enough

  1. Take the battery out and back in
  2. Reset the device
  3. Replace the battery
  4. Re pair the device within a foot of the hub
  5. Reboot the hub
  6. Cold start the hub by taking the batteries out of the hub if you have version 2 and leave it off for 15-20 minutes

FYI Smartthings 1st gen motion sensor looks like this. It can actually be USB powered which is a nice option.

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