Optimize Presence Sensor - Share your ideas


(Gilbert Chan) #1

Hey All,

I’m starting to migrate to presence sensors instead of mobile presence due to reliability (it’ll get there, but I need something in the meantime). How have you set up your system to increase Presence Sensor reliability?

Below is my scenario:

The presence sensors seems to reliably detect the coming and goings of family members but there seems to be a slight delay. This leads to house members opening doors before SmartThings goes back into “home” mode and triggers the security lights (and soon to be siren).

I’ve tried moving the hub to the front of the house, but this didn’t help much (actually made it difficult for my zwave sensors in the back to be out of range, so i’ll have to move it back). I also have a smartsense door sensor on the front doors that should extend range; they’re not plugged in, do they they still extend range on battery mode?

I’ve heard that the presence sensors has a 30 sec polling duration that could lead to instances where the presence gets undetected before a use takes action.

So what are your tips in getting the presence sensor to reliably tell the system that you’re home before you open the door. Keep in mind is that the objective is to install the siren and only have it go off when no one is really home.


(Chrisb) #2

I have presence sensors in both my and my wife’s car. I was using them to automatically open the garage doors when we arrive home. I ran into problems with the devices not triggering fast enough and having to wait at the garage for 10-15 seconds sometimes before it started opening.

I figured my problem was in part do to the geometry of my house and where I had my hub. Unfortunately, this was also the only place (besides the basement) where I had an ethernet line.

I was able to solve my problem with a motion sensor. The Multi-sensors do NOT act as relays. The SmartThings motions sensor, however, do… if they are plugged in. I attached one to a second story window that faces the direction I come home from. (I live on a dead end road, so I only ever drive home from one direction.) Now I’m triggering the garage 97% of the time before I’m even in the driveway.

If you have a motion sensor that you can put in a window that’s facing the front or the direction you normally arrive from, it may help.

Another thing that Support suggested to me when I was originally having issues: Zigbee and WiFi use similar frequencies. If your hub is near a wifi access point, you may be getting interference with Zigbee transmissions. There is a Wifi channel that support recommends using to minimize this. I forget which channel, but just email 'em if you think this might be a problem.

Also, support recommended putting some distance between the hub and the wifi access point if possible. I moved mine about 6 feet away and it did seem to help. Obviously the motion sensor in the window helped the best, but moving the hub did seem to have a positive effect.


(Gilbert Chan) #3

I checked in with the support team and they seem to believe it’s due to a polling issue. The presence sensor polls every 30 seconds, so likely we step into range of the house right after it polls and open the door in between polls.

I’m guessing that adding a sensor increases the range of the presence making it trigger farther from the house, thus giving it more it more time to poll. I wonder if there’s a way to change the device type handler code to make it poll more often.


(Chrisb) #4

I wonder if there’s a way to change the device type handler code to make it poll more often.

Probably a firmware update would be required for that. And part of the problem with that is more polls means more battery used.