Waterproofing a SmartSense Motion Detector


(Scott Windmiller) #1

Any ideas how I can waterproof one of the SmartSense Motion Detectors (actually a PEQ from BB)? I want to put it outside on the deck to notify me when the dogs are ready to come in. I tried to place it in a location where it would not get wet but the prime spot would be right in front of the door. I have a door sensor outside but I wrapped it in plastic wrap, I don’t know if I can do the same thing or not.

Any ideas?
Scott


PEQ at Best Buy
(Ernie) #2

I’m not sure that is the best sensor to use outside and it has nothing to do with waterproofing. Those sensors are very sensitive and have no adjustments. I had an original ST motion sensor under a covered porch and it was triggering almost constantly. A PEQ sensor had some issues in a room with a skylight until I found a good spot for it. You might want to try a sensor that can be adjusted.


(Scott Windmiller) #3

I had bought 3 of these when they were on sale so I figured I would test this out with one of them for now. I have it setup to only alert me when a virtual switch is on. So basically I let them out then flip the virtual switch on which activates the notification on motion. On motion it sends me a text then turns the switch off, so it’s only active for a small amount of time. I tested it tonight and it seems to work so far.
I just didn’t know if there was a way I could protect it from the elements. The good news is I only paid $20 for it :smile:


#4

Depends where you live. Temperatures below freezing or above 105 tend to kill battery operated devices. Humidity above 85% for prolonged periods, especially with high temperatures, is a separate problem.

What are the operating specs? If you’re in Los Angeles, a plastic box open on the side you want to detect from May be all you need. If you’re in Minnesota, go with one engineered for the climate.


(Scott Windmiller) #5

I’m in Maryland so freezing in the winter and can get up to 90+ in the summer…lol. Right now we are between 70-85. The rain is what I was mainly concerned about.
Thanks for your reply
Scott


#6

The short answer then is don’t wrap it in tape or bubble wrap as this may cause overheating. Better to put it in a plastic electrical box that gives it some room to breathe.


(Scott Windmiller) #7

I didn’t think about that , one of those clear plastic boxes I have on my outside outlets.
Thanks


#8

Exactly! That’s their intended purpose: keeping electrical equipment dry. As long as it’s plastic and not metal, you should still get signal through.

The tricky bit is the actual motion detection. PIRs can’t read through glass. Plastic may work, you just have to test it, but may well not.


(Scott Windmiller) #9

I’ll pick one up tomorrow. It may cause the motion to be less sensitive which would not be the worst thing.


(Asher) #10

Check out this RC video. They use a spray product that looks promising.


#11

Aaaaaaaaaaagh… :scream:

“If it’s on the Internet, it must be true, right?”

This kid is like that grizzly bear guy who eventually got eaten. He’s trying things, and because he hasn’t died yet he makes a YouTube video and tells other people to do it.

CorrosionX is an excellent lubricant for metal parts in use on boats, fishing reels, even some marine batteries. But it doesn’t mean you can immerse an electrical motor not intended for underwater use and not get shocked.

And it’s not a seal, it’s a lubricant. A nonconducting lubricant. Which means:

A) it’s quite likely to warp plastic/nylon parts, which may absorb it unevenly
B) it not uncommonly interferes with an electrical connections in the places where you would want an electrical connection. (Google CorrosionX servo)

So good product when used as intended, not likely to help with the original question.

As for the video…listen to the second guy, who keeps saying, “Don’t try this at home.”

Just sayin’…


Dusk-to-Dawn Light Control with Lux control and Motion Dimming - RC2
(Ray) #12

I cover up the sensor and battery terminals and spray the circuit board with this spray on my ST motion sensor for my backyard. After over a year outside. It’s still in perfect condition except a little discolouration on the outside because of the UV. It’s an older model sensor and I use usb power on the so not sure how long the battery would last. Picking up a bunch of PeQ motions in a couple of days and will probably do the same thing except with battery.


#13

That makes sense. Totally different product from CorrosionX (the one in the video). CorrosionX is a penetrating lubricant.

The second one, CRC Urethane Seal Coat, is a sealant designed for circuit boards:

Dries quickly to a hard, durable, flexible and non-conductive film

Which is exactly what CorrosionX doesn’t do. :wink:


(Scott Windmiller) #14

Well I picked up the box which was slightly too small but would still work, but before I tried a bigger box I tested it. It does not work at all thru the plastic no matter how clear.
So I am going to try @Navat604’s idea. Either of you know if I can pickup this spray locally anywhere (Home Depot, Lowes etc…)? I tried searching but could not find anything, maybe a different brand or something.

Thanks,
Scott


#15

That’s why I suggested having the box open on the side you want to detect from.


(Scott Windmiller) #16

Yeah I read that but was trying to keep rain from getting into the box, wouldn’t that be the case?


#17

Depends on the wind. But yeah, it’s just sheltering, not full weatherproofing.

Go for an electronics sealant if you prefer. (Remember what you want is a “sealant” specifically made for circuit boards and other electronics. Not a “lubricant” made for motors that have moving metal parts.)

You won’t usually find those at home depot. Find a local electronics supply house (the kind that sells to electricians) OR a hobbyist shop for makers OR a hobbyist shop for remote control aircraft.

These are often very small storefronts but have 20,000 small parts in stock. Fun! :blush:


(Gilbert Chan) #18

Before you start modifying the sensor, take a look at the Aeon Labs Multi-Sensor. It’s adjustable and is waterproof.


(Scott Windmiller) #19

Yeah, normally I would but I had bought 3 of the Best Buy sale PEQ’s for cheap and was just looking for a use for them. Thanks for the info though.


(Brad) #20

I actually had a bad experience with Aeon Labs Multi-Sensor. Water seemed to get in the unit and it broke. I returned with a restocking fee, but at least I got some money back. It was inconsistent and the sensitivity was all over the place, so I was constently adjusting it. My experience could not have been worse with that device. Others have mentioned the same. Just a warning…

I actually ended up getting the SmartThings Motion Sensor and attached it under some flower boxes (so it is covered nicely above it from the elements). Its made it through rain, snow, wind, and all the crap that comes with Chicago weather. Its already lasted longer than my Aeon Labs Mult-Sensor and has worked really well…

jkrischt