[RELEASE] Nexia Doorbell Sensor (DB100Z) Device Handler

dth_doorbell
project_doorbell

#1

This is an initial Nexia Doorbell Sensor Device Handler release. I’ve added code to handle an occasional missed message condition reported with the earlier beta version. I’m sure there will be some oddities when used with different doorbell types, so please let me know of any issues. Any and all suggestions and updates welcome.

Nexia Doorbell Sensor (DB100Z) Device Handler

So far, I’ve been pleased with the device. It may be the simplest means yet to receive doorbell notifications on the SmartThings Hub. For anyone interested, I also put together a full review with several images of the device here.


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(Craiginpa) #2

Thank you so much, Darwin. I bought one a couple months ago and was just waiting for there to be a handler to get it to work with my SmartThings hub. Seems to work pretty well overall. I really like how small and simple the sensor is, and I look forward to seeing how reliable it proves to be.

A couple of times I’ve seen it (the total sensor->zwave network->ST hub->internet->app system) miss a quick single-press of the doorbell button, but catch it on the second press; those were after it had been idle for a while and didn’t miss single-presses again when tried again within 10-20 minutes. I don’t know if that could’ve been due to the sensor or ST hub or just random internet imperfections (since the ST hub and app are internet-dependent). Is anyone else experiencing any missed doorbell presses (where the doorbell chime did ring but the app wasn’t triggered)?

Apart from missing a couple single-presses, the only drawback seems to be that it only works on a single (“front”) doorbell button and is unable to signal the other (“rear”) which the chime signals with a ding (rather than ding-dong). I can’t simply wire it to both at the same time since that would result in the rear & front wires being shorted so the doorbell would always ring a full ding-dong. So it seems like if I want my chime to continue to distinguish the two doorbell buttons I’ll have to buy a 2nd DB100z if I want to know if my garage doorbell button is pressed. That’s okay esthetically since they are so small and neat, and I have plenty of voltage to trigger a 2nd sensor, but I’m not sure another $45 is worth the cost for not-quite-perfect reliability.

The sensor wouldn’t work until I upgraded my 10v doorbell transformer with one that puts out a today’s-standard 16 volts (a 30VA NuTone able to drive up to 3 doorbell chimes). After doing that it just took several button-presses to get the doorbell press to start showing up in my ST app pretty consistently. I sure hope it’ll be reliable and not miss button-presses.

Thanks again,

Craig


#3

Well that’s not good, but thanks for the follow up @craiginpa. I know there was an issue reported earlier with missed presses, but I put in code to also allow triggering a notification when the voltage was removed in the case of a missed press and I hadn’t been able to recreate any issues since. In my albeit limited testing, I didn’t see a case where the device missed both a voltage on and off. I’ll throw some more debug in tonight and try some presses after it has been idle for awhile and also try some short press flick tests.


(Craiginpa) #4

I’m sure impressed that you’d dig into that further. I just assumed it was something in the hardware or Zwave network or the back & forth to ST servers, rather than something a handler code could overcome. FWIW, it was a pretty clear miss when it had sat for maybe 40 minutes and then I did a very quick press like I imagined a delivery man dropping a package at my door and tagging the button (fast & carelessly) as he ran back to his truck without hesitating. My door chime registered it (both ding & dong) but not the ST app.

Thanks!

Craig


#5

Well, that was frustrating. In my tests last night, I was seeing major issues getting notification from the doorbell sensor. I even went back to a stock Z-Wave sensor for testing - and a good portion of the time, I was seeing missed presses, releases, and sometimes both. I was also getting issues pairing with the fingerprint on the DH - often it would choose the default sensor.

After awhile, things just seemed to settle down and basic presses were working just fine. I can’t say that I ever tested very short button presses before, but with the debug log in place, I did find that very light flicks of the doorbell button did not trigger any kind of notification, even though the doorbell itself would chime. If I pressed the button in what I would consider a somewhat normal manner until it bottomed out, it worked OK. I didn’t try measuring the doorbell contacts with a multimeter, but I’m wondering if the quick presses just aren’t triggering the required 14VAC for the sensor. I imagine the behavior would vary with different buttons, bells, and transformers. I also tried waiting an hour between presses and that worked fine for me - as long as I did a full button press.

I wish there was a way to set the required trigger voltage for this thing either physically on the device or via config parameters, but the very limited documentation I can find doesn’t show any options here.

Anyway, I can possibly understand the issue with the short presses, although I’m not happy about it. If the bell rings, the device should trigger. The general reliability issue on ‘normal’ presses is very bothersome. I was also seeing an odd issue with the new HomeSeer Z-Wave on/off switches last night, so maybe there’s a more of a systemic issue happening there. Suffice is to say I’m a little less pleased with the device and/or its integration this morning.


(Craiginpa) #6

Thank you for also doing all that testing. It does seem like it might be a sensor hardware/firmware issue and out of our control. Like you, it seems seems okay enough most of the time after it gets going but sometimes it seems to need an extra press and quick flicks are more often missed despite sounding my chime.

FWIW, I have mine powered by a 16V 30a transformer which should be plenty for 2 doorbells, one chime, & a doorbell sensor on each doorbell. (Yes, I bought ax 2nd one for the garage bell. I wanted to hold out, but decided I needed something for the garage button when UPS dropped a package there. Not happy about the missed presses, but there isn’t an easy-to-install alternative yet as far as I know)

Best regards,

Craig


(Lee Florack) #7

@Darwin
I’ve bought the Nexia Doorbell Sensor and installed it this morning along with your Nexia Doorbell Sensor Device Handler. The handler installed fine, hardware installation and pairing went well too. When the doorbell is pushed, it registers fine too. However, the problem I’m having is that the sensor keeps saying (seemingly randomly) that it’s getting button pushes even when it’s not. Frequency varies but it’s as frequent as every minute to about 3-4 minutes apart. I even tried hooking up the sensor directly to the transformer as well as the doorbell chime (different times of course). Same issue. Oh, BTW, I checked and my chime/transformer is 16v.

Any ideas? Current fluctuations?


#8

The handler is expecting there to only be voltage when the doorbell button is pressed, and based on my testing, the DB100Z will send a notification event 1 roughly every 4 minutes if constant (>~14) voltage is being applied. It sounds to me like maybe your device has constant voltage being applied the doorbell is not being pressed? I am certainly not a doorbell hardware expert, but is there something unique about your set-up? Does your doorbell button draw current to power a light or other capability?


(Lee Florack) #9

There are four small incandescent bulbs inside of the doorbell chime housing. The housing is translucent so that it glows all of the time. The doorbell itself (outside) is also lit so you can see it at night. I’ll bet at least the four small bulbs are the issue. I could disconnect the bulbs to test the theory. Is this possibly addressable in the handler?


#10

Possibly. I may be able to add a preference option to only trigger a notification when voltage is removed vs when voltage toggles. I originally implemented the handler to trigger notification anytime the voltage notification toggled (regardless of voltage applied or removed) to get around the missed message issues with the device. Does the doorbell notification appear to work reliably when the button is pressed?


(Lee Florack) #11

I appreciate you looking into this. If you could find a solution, that’d be excellent! Yes, the actual button pushes seem to work fine.


#12

Well, congratulations on winning the unique doorbell lottery! I’m not sure how many people are using the handler, but I would guess it’s in the hundreds now, and this is the first I’ve heard of this issue. It’s also the most interesting problem I’ve heard this week, so that may move it up to the top of my handler dev priority list. It still may take a few days for me to find some time to look at it, but I’ll let you know when there is something to try


(Lee Florack) #13

Thank you very much! Hope you can be successful.


(Lee Florack) #14

As a follow-up, I removed the four bulbs that are in the door chime housing to see if they are the only culprit. No change with the every four minute notifications. The only draw that I’m aware of other than the four internal lights is the outside doorbell button.

Also, here’s the NuTone door chime I have:
http://www.nutone.com/products/product/3881521f-87e7-4ef6-88b8-713cb0f56edd

Or here from Amazon


#15

@lflorack, I’m assuming based on the symptoms you are describing that your lighted button is triggering the doorbell by push-to-break vs. push to make. I’m not sure this is a good assumption, but I added a push-to-break button preference option to the handler. One issue here is that this will also result in a doorbell notification if power is lost to the doorbell transformer from a power outage. Assuming the preference option works, I’m not sure what can be done about the power outage issue…

The updated version is still at the original location: Nexia Doorbell Sensor (DB100Z) Device Handler

Will be interesting to see how that works for you.


(Lee Florack) #16

Thank you for your effort. I downloaded and installed/published the new handler version and then selected the new option. This stopped the every 4 minute notifications, but now a doorbell push no longer creates a notification either. Again, thank you for your effort.


#17

That’s interesting. I would still expect a notification as long as the voltage toggled. Would you be able to remove and re-add the device, and then PM me the live logging output of a doorbell press?


(Luke Olson) #18

Just got the Nexia today. Installed with the handler above. Added the smartapp “Notify me when…” under Safety and Security pointing to the Sensor as a “switch turned on” as the trigger.

Works perfectly.

Only thing that would be nice if the device itself had battery reporting.

Edit: Battery status updated at some point. Now I’m perfect


(Lee Florack) #19

(Sorry for the delay) I can do that, but unfortunately, life has taken over for a few days and I’ve not been able to get to it. It will likely be a few more days before I can test it out. I’ll certainly let you know.


(Scott) #20

Will this sensor work with this wireless door bell?