SmartThings Motion Sensor went through its first set of batteries already

It is used in a bathroom in a house where only two people live, and work away from home full time. That is alarmingly fast IMO. Most annoying part is it wasn’t obvious the batteries were dead, apps that depended on it just started acting crazy.

That a drag … I think that’s what happened to one of my multis recently. I would think it would be possible for a battery operated SmartThing to have an inner-ability to monitor & report back if polled (or for the “Platform” to be able to monitor & periodically inquire about current battery level) & to be able to send out an alert when battery level has dropped to “x” percent of full charge (20%?) so we can anticipate needing to change batteries soon (or order those not-always-available-at-your-local-drug-store AAAA batteries).

They are working on that. Many of their devices report battery level to the IDE log, so the functionality is there. The motion sensor however doesn’t seem to report its battery status yet.


You may have a damaged motion sensor, because that is unheard of.

Could be. I’ve had to battery reset it a couple times in the past because it would freeze up. Then recently it would keep reporting no motion over and over which would reset app timers.

aren’t our Things supposed to send us alerts on low battery?

@Daniel, not yet. That is a future feature they are working on. The Kickstarter campaign said you could even set it up to autoship you batteries when a device got low. Interesting idea if they are competitive in pricing.

I’ve had the same problem with my motion sensor. It didn’t even dawn on me that the batteries might already be going bad. It seems to be very intermittent, sometimes it works, a lot of times it doesn’t. It’s been very frustrating. The Aeon motion sensors that I bought don’t seem to have this problem at all.

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My motion sensor is also reporting motion when there is none. I’m going to put it in a closed room or somewhere to test it. Maybe the battery is going dead?

I measured the voltage a few days in, mine is still showing it has MORE capacity than rated. So this certainly isn’t some
universal problem.

Keep in mind the app sometimes doesn’t refresh the status of the motion tile. Sometimes you’ll kill the app, open it up and find it forcefully updated to show no motion.

Mine actually isn’t reporting motion when there isn’t any. It’s reporting that there isn’t any motion over and over straight to the IDE log. When it does that timer apps seem to reset their count down after the last time it reports there isn’t motion. Then sometimes it wouldn’t detect motion at all, it was just really internment.

I’m not even sure how it’s supposed to work. It didn’t pair when I initially pulled the tag.

After I opened it up and pulled the batteries and put them back in, it paired!

Then it detected motion!

… once. Now it’s done nothing for the past few weeks except sit on the table. I’ve left it plugged into USB a few times, which doesn’t seem to change the fact that it does nothing.

I need to get a thinner screwdriver so I can easily open the case, and another set of batteries (just ran out). Once I do, I’ll report back. Does anyone know if the USB port is supposed to be for power, or just for somehow modifying the unit? IIRC there were no instructions at all with the motion sensor.

I had a multi that was devouring batteries. They were quick to replace it with no troubles at all. Cost me a set of batteries to find that out - but that’s no biggie!

(The multi went from full to dead in about 3 weeks.)


I am still at 100% after a couple weeks of using it… I am on USB power though :slight_smile: Seriously, I notice it will be a minute or longer for the motion to report the motion has stopped. Its definitively not like on the video Alex did when you wave your hand and it shows then goes away.

@sirtaran – Yeah, they’ve dialed around the interval at which the SmartSense Motion reports inactivity and landed on 1 minute as a balance between utility and battery life. I know that there have been some conversations internally about making that a per-device configurable setting, but I’m not sure where that’s landed.

@Lucas yeah one minute is the timeout interval, but I’m referring to it making multiple reports that the timeout has expired.

@Reid, the USB port for power. Mine came with a power adapter, but any micro USB phone charger should work too.

@reidconti-net – All of the documentation for SmartThings devices is available on our support site at - the SmartSense Motion documentation is at


Would it be possible to adjust the interval based on the power source? I can see down the road how wanting the interval lower when battery life is not a concern… usb powered things.

@sirtaran – I mentioned it to our hardware engineering team, and it’s certainly possible. I don’t know where it will end up on the overall priority list at the moment though.

Resurrecting this thread, unfortunately. Have had a MotionSense installed less than a week, and my battery reads -11%, after having gone down (rather quickly) from 100%. Thoughts?