SmartThings Presence Sensor Range?

Just got the presence sensor and I’m confused. The blog articles on the ST site mention a range of “50 to 100 feet” but it looks like the minimum range that can be set in the SmartThings app is 500 feet.

Here’s my concern.

I’m in a wheelchair. Once we get to my bus stop, it can take the driver anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to actually get the lift set up and me down to the sidewalk.

My house has a self locking doorlock

If the presence sensor triggers the door to unlock when the bus arrives at my stop, which is across the street and almost a block away, the door will have locked itself again by the time I get home, defeating the purpose of a presence sensor.

Nor do I want the door to remain unlocked the whole time I’m waiting at the bus stop for the bus to arrive.

So for me, there’s a huge difference in functionality between a presence sensor that activates at 100 feet and one that activates at 400 feet.

This is the blog entry that says “50 to 100 feet”:

The description in the shop says a range of “30 to 50 feet.”

So why is the range bubble in the app at a minimum of 500? Is there some parameter I missed?

The 500 feet is for your phone mobile presence geofence. The presence sensor uses a ZigBee radio to communicate with the hub. That radio is unamplified and you can expect a range of 30-100 feet depending on several factors like the construction of your home and the local RF environment. Adding powered ZigBee devices, like our SmartPower Outlet, extends the range of that network.

So if I was using a phone as my mobile presence identifier, it would trigger at a minimum of 500 feet? (That introduces the bus stop problem again.)


Correct. Part of our logic in that is due to the inaccuracies of geolocation services.

The SmartSense Presence Sensor is definitely the way to go if the minimum radius for mobile presence is an issue.


OK, I am now researching @cellblazer’s suggestion of mounting an UBI with power brick on my wheelchair to give me some voice control over Smart Things. Since the Smart Things presence sensor is zigbee, is it likely to interfere with the Ubi (or vice versa) if they’re close together?

I wouldn’t expect the Ubi to interfere with our devices in any noticeable way. I had one plugged in at my desk for awhile and didn’t notice any problems though that’s certainly anecdotal.

Out of curiosity, what door lock do you have?

My Schlages were set to auto-lock after being unlocked with the factory set interval of 30 seconds. I did not care for that interval (which not only was non-adjustable but was not open / close aware).

Using a door open / close sensor I just programmed smart things with whatever time frame I desired before the door locks again.

Would this maybe help your dilemma?

Thanks. My lock has an adjustable timeframe for the auto lock, it’s already set to the maximum I’d want it set. I want to be able to see my door for the amount of time that it’s unlocked.

I don’t believe the lights are repeaters, just end points. repeaters usually need dedicated power, a light bulb can have power shut off from it on occasion and would cause the mesh to reconfigure.

A quick search of google, showed me that hue’s hub can act as a repeater / booster for the bulbs only.

It may be possible to configure the bulbs as repeaters, but according to the limited info I found, it may only work for the bulbs and not other zigbee devices.