ST motion sensor with horrible battery life + false positives: Anyone else?


(oscahie) #1

I have a ST motion sensor (2015) which is having 2 major issues:

  • False positives reported very often.
  • Horrible battery life: batteries are drained from 100% to dead in only 2-3 weeks.

All my other ST sensors work fine, but this one (which was purchased only a few months ago) is definitely a dud. I’ve been exchanging emails with SmartThings UK support for about a month now. I have been asked to perform several tests, including placing the sensor on a drawer for 2 weeks, which confirmed that the false positives do happen, and the battery drain is probably a side-effect of that, but unfortunately I’m still not given any solution whatsoever.

ST UK support stubbornly insists that this is a software issue and that it can be fixed remotely once the engineers figure out what the problem is. I beg to differ, given that all other movement sensors I have access to (including friend’s) with the same hardware and firmware are working fine, not to mention the fact that no-one else is reporting similar issues on the forum, so definitely not a wide-spread issue. But nope, they just refuse to exchange the sensor for another one, even though it’s still under warranty. It’s an extremely disappointing support experience, and needless to say it will condition my future purchase decisions.

Nevertheless I thought I’d ask here: Anyone else seeing this sort of issue?

(Robert cunningham) #2

No I have no issue with the motion sensor. I have three working for over a year and battery changed last week in one of them. Not good that they won’t replace the faulty sensor. Their bad.

(Alex) #3

I have same issues with 2 my motion sensors - false positives, really annoying. Sometimes they get disconnected as well and only remove/include again helps.

(oscahie) #4

Have you tried placing those sensors in a drawer, or somewhere else it couldn’t possibly detect any movement, to double-check the false positives? And do your sensors also drain the batteries as quick as mine?

(Alex) #5

Sensors started arise false positives when no one was at home, about 2 months ago(BTW, I use Smartthings hub v2 uk about 1.5 years, no false positives before). Now, I can see it, no motion in real, motion only in iOS app and triggered action(light on). Battery life is ok though. About 10 false positives per day.

(Blake M.) #6

I have been having issues with false positives with one of my motion sensors, so I have been trying multiple different things. First I tried moving the sensor, but no matter where I placed it, it would randomly go off. I have another sensor in another room so I installed it right above the other sensor. After I installed them in the same room I realized the one that wasn’t giving me any issues had actually died 2 days earlier (I have had them for over a year so no issue there - except it was still reporting over 50% battery!!). After putting a fresh battery in the “good” unit I noticed that the green status light was much brighter on the good one vs the one that kept reporting false positives. The bad device’s battery was also reporting over 50% (I feel like it was 65% but not positive). So I decided to put a fresh battery in the bad one too. The status light was now as bright at the other and so far this week we have had no false alarms. I am wondering if the sensor was on its last leg and kept disconnecting and reconnecting and causing “fake motion”.

Battery levels do not seem to accurately reflect the life of the sensor. The batteries still had some power when put on a volt meter (I don’t have them handy at the moment or I would get the actual reading), but it was not enough power to keep the sensor on. This is the 3rd ST Sensor (motion or multipurpose) that has died but there was no notification of dead battery.

If you are getting false alarms I would try a fresh battery and see if it improves, it may not but worth a shot. (so far it seems to be working for me.

(oscahie) #7

As I said, my faulty sensor burns through new batteries in about 3 weeks, so my issue has nothing to do with battery level. But yeah, it’s pretty much common knowledge that the battery level reporting is quite inaccurate. When it says 67% it’s usually about to die and time to replace the battery.

(Alex) #8

One of my motion sensors turned off, Smartthings app still shows his status as “Motion” and 67% of battery. Checked the battery, it has 1.9V, replaced one.

(Bob) #9

If you search the forum you will find numerous threads complaining of this.
I’ve given up with ST motion sensors.


Same issue. Have 8 ST motion sensors. False positives on all of them. So much so, that I gave up trying to use them as burglar alarm. 3 of them have died, stuck with “motion on”. Battery at 66%. These things don’t report accurate battery levels. Replaced batteries in them and two of them died again with stuck motion. Replaced 2 of them with Ecolink PIRZwave2 sensors and they have been working fine. They also have adjustable sensitivity levels. Going to replace the ST sensors with these.

(oscahie) #11

I’ve seen other people reporting false positives but I don’t recall finding anyone else reporting false positives AND battery life of just 2-3 weeks.

BTW customer support insists that this is a software issue and that they are investigating it blablabla. Yet they can’t seem to explain how other sensors with the same hardware and firmware work just fine. Still waiting for an under warranty exchange that they keep refusing to honor.

(might be my fake name?) #12

I have yet to have a battery go below 67%. I’ve been using SmartThings now for about two years. And when my batteries get to 67%, they usually go unresponsive until I change the battery. Also I’d like to note that when changing the battery in the 2015 smartsense motion sensor, sometimes when I pry the back off, the wrong piece (or later) comes off and then the little white reset button falls out and the next thing I know, the whole inner-workings of the sensor are exposed.

It’s an easy fix, but they could’ve been designed a little better.

(Allan Skipper) #13

I have the exact same issue as you. I have 7 motion sensors, and 2 of them registers false positives all day (even when put in a drawer. I also have the multipurpose sensor, which keeps registering ‘opened’/‘closed’ events. All these have been excluded from my SHM, and they are useless.
I have maybe 1-2 weeks left of the warranty, so I am curious if you managed to get them replaced?

(oscahie) #14

SmartThings decided not to honor the warranty because I don’t live in the UK nor have a forwarding address there. Eventually I managed to get a replacement via Amazon. I won’t ever buy any other ST sensor though, lesson learned.

(Allan Skipper) #15

You know what? I replaced all batteries. Now every sensor works flawlessly