What to do about those upstair Neighbors and Alerts?

Hi All,

I live in a townhome with a neighbor upstairs with hardwood floors. Naturally, any big disturbances could potentially trigger vibrations that alert wall mounted motion sensors. It’s terrifying at work when you get an intrusion alert and you’re struggling to scan every inch of your camera feed to tell if it’s legit or not. Usually, I have to calm myself down and think, how is it possible someone got into the bathroom or bedroom skipping all the other rooms. I’m thinking about a few ideas to solve this although I’m hoping someone may have already solved this one.

  • Recalibrate Smarthings Offical Motion Sensors to be less sensitive
  • Setup new smart camera that also records audio on a 24 hour cycle for Secondary validation
  • Redesign rules for app triggering; possible implement rules engine that requires multiple conditions
  • Tell neighbors to settle down, my smart home is crying


1 Like

I presume you are referring to PIR (passive infrared sensors), right?

I tend to doubt that these would be triggered by the type of vibrations typical in your home.

PIR’s use a fresnel (wavy) lens to focus on an infrared radiation sensor (like a light/darkness sensor, but for heat). These sensors don’t tend to sense the sudden “appearance” of heat, but rather the motion of a hot body across the wavy fresnel lens, thus causing a “flicker” of heat on the sensor (hot, cold, hot, cold), and only that flicker is considered “motion detected”.

The fresnel lens is rather coarse. Thus, for “flicker” to be cause, motion of the heat source usually has to be … I dunno… a few inches or even feet … not the millimeters that a vibration would cause.

Or so I think!

1 Like

As @tgauchat said, the motion sensors are not triggered by vibration. (The SmartThings multi sensors are, but if you don’t set an alert based on vibration, you won’t get one).

That’s one reason the PIR sensors are so popular for lighting control: they don’t get set off by activity in the next room. :sunglasses:

1 Like

I looked at your earlier post about false positives FAQ: False positives on motion sensors. I think I may have a few dying batteries or unfortunate air circulation patterns in those areas. One of the sensors in my bedroom is facing an air purifier set to automatically adjust based on debris. However, that sensor is currently detecting motion whenever I refresh it manually.

I’m also running the dashboard activity monitor app that tracks how long since the last time the device reported activity. The motion sensor in my bathroom that tends to report false positives has not reported activity in 9 hours. The sensor also seems to have less false positives when I keep the door closed before I leave.

Strange thing is the battery life for both should be good, sensors are actually new and reporting 78% left.