SmartThings Motion Sensors

Hi there,

I’m fairly new to SmartThings. All my lights in my house are Hue Color lights (yes, it cost me a pretty penny… I got sucked in hard after seeing what it can do), with the exception of my two bathrooms, which use three GE Link bulbs in each.

I bought a SmartThings hub specifically so I could automate my garage door with MyQ. I got that working perfectly. But then I decided to buy some motion sensors to automate the bathroom lights dependent on motion.

I have the rules set up in Rule Machine and they work wonderfully. The only problem is I think the motion sensors are too quick to judge inactive motion. I could sit on the toilet and do my business and the lights would turn off.

I even adjusted the timer to include a one-minute delay, but I still feel the sensor is too quick to the draw, and increasing the delay defeats the whole point of automating the lights to save energy.

Does anyone know of a solution on how to fix the sensitivity of the motion sensor to prevent this from happening?

Thanks for any help!

In the rule right? You’re talking about the cancellable off timer?

Depending on location, 5-10 minute delays are pretty common…

running your Upgraded LED light bulbs for an extra 3 or 4 minutes at a time isn’t going to break the bank…

Different motion sensors have different configurable options, and different device handlers might have different options. What model / DTH are you using?

Okay, so the LEDs aren’t going to be a huge energy hog, but at night when all my other lights are dimmed for a scene, and someone uses the bathroom/walks out, I don’t want the bright bathroom light to shine for five minutes before it shuts off.

I’m using the official Samsung SmartThings motion sensors.

I have changed length of lights on triggered by motion in relation to mode: night, home, away, etc. modes are your friend for scheduling stuff like this.

Well there are a number of ways to combat this, you could try to set it up so that a motion sensor on the hallway checks to see if there was motion inactive for a minute in the bathroom when it trips and if so then turn off the light.

You could add a button to turn it off ( know not automatic )

You could increase it only to two minutes, and see if that works

And you would be looking to Increase sensitivity? It doesn’t look like the stock motion sensor has the capability to be altered:

Add a door sensor and setup rule machine to keep lights on while door is closed.


I thought about mentioning that, but wasn’t sure if there was a door if the light still bothered him outside of the bathroom. I have lights set up similar to this way on closets where the light turns on when the door is opened and off when it closes, or in other locations as a check for false alarms.

'Tis the nature of the motion sensors in this use. The solution is a longer delay before turning off. For bathroom uses like this, you will need 3 to 5 minutes to catch the small amount of motion. Don’t worry, having the lights on for 3 minutes when you don’t need them is still huge energy savings compared to them just being left on.

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That’s a great idea… I will look into this!

I am getting the notion that the stock motion sensors aren’t that great in terms of the functionality that it can offer. Anyone have a any good recommendations as to some other recommended brands?

Thanks again for everyone’s input… it’s greatly appreciated!

This isn’t quite right. The “stock motion sensors” are just simple motion detectors; there really aren’t any features that would improve your use case. There is no magic here, there is either detectable motion or there isn’t. I have a motion sensor right in front of me, under my monitor, set for 2 minutes. It will still turn the lights off if I don’t move at all.

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For bathrooms and closets I went with the classic motion light switches that can be had for less than $15. Did not make sense to spend over $50 for a simple, “if someone is in the room turn on lights” rule for small rooms. I don’t have any other rules associated to these rooms.

A big issue with ST with motion triggered lights, is that they don’t always come on right away if they turn off. There is like a 20 second delay before it will accept motion again. I don’t get that with my dumber, but still smarter than a normal light switch solution.

This is a bug in an app. They can turn on immediately. If I walk into my office just as the lights start to dim down, they dim right back up before even reaching off.

If this isn’t true for you, then you are using the wrong app. ST had bugs around this for the longest time, I don’t know if they were fixed or not. Rule Machine will turn them back on instantly.

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Unless I missed something, no one asked you where you have the sensor located? Is it in a location where its coverage area includes the toilet?

I also second the idea of using the routines to manage the situation. You can both have longer or shorter durations for the lights during different routines, as well as adjust the dimming during each routine. Do you want the bathroom lights on brighter in the AM for grooming/makeup, whereas it can be lower the rest of the day (unless of course you need lighting for reading :wink:).

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I use Rule Machine for most my lighting rules, but went to Smart Lighting for local processing for motion events. I was getting delays in trigger events of a few seconds, which was annoying. Most likely this was during a period when ST was acting up and I got on a kick for local processing. I should look at going back to rule machine, I liked that I could have a turn off delay shorter than a minute.

Still stand by my decision for the switches in bathrooms. They just work.

Another option is to have a trigger with a door sensor. For example turn on lights when motion, turn off lights after the door opens (with a delay of maybe 30 seconds)


I know some other people have already suggested a contact sensor, but then you end up having to close the door in darkness before the light turns on and the light won’t turn on if you just want to wash your hands and don’t need to shut the door.

You could use both a motion sensor and contact sensor. Setup a rule that turns the lights on and off based on motion, but doesn’t turn them off while the door is closed and then immediately turns them off when the door is re-opened.

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