Wireless external outdoor motion sensor? (Zigbee preferred)


(Nicole Cook) #1

I am very new to smartthings and so far this journey has been slightly rough for me. I have purchased a 5 pack of Arlo Pro cameras for both the outside and inside of my house. I have door/window sensors that are zigbee so also bought 3 outlets to work as receivers. On top of that I bought bosch pir sensors just to find out that they are not recommended for outdoor use. I ended up using those to control lights we often forget to shut off after leaving. I have managed to correctly set everything up but still haven’t found what I need for my Arlo’s outside. So my question, are there any zigbee outdoor pir motion sensors that I can use to set of my Arlo Pro cameras to make up for the lag? I would prefer to keep them zigbee and not go with z wave as I would then have to purchase z wave receivers and I’ve already spent far more then I intended. When commenting please explain in dumbest terms so that I understand. Thank you everyone for your help.


#2

What’s the weather like where you live? In particular, heat range from coldest in the winter to hottest in the summer? And how much rain do you get? There are devices which might work fine in Los Angeles but would die in Minnesota.


(Nicole Cook) #3

I live in Ohio, it got down to -7 F this winter and usually doesn’t go over 103 F during summers. The rain can be horrible and I have no place to put them where they’d be protected. The front porch has a roof but it tends to rain sideways here due to wind. Thank you for editing the title and for you fast response.


#4

To be honest, the Arlo pros are going to have the best motion sensor you can get for those conditions at a reasonable price. (I know the Arlos themselves cost a lot more than a typical smartthings – compatible motion sensor, but that’s part of my point: the under $40 sensors in general are not built for those kinds of conditions.)

When you say “make up for the lag,” how bad is the lag?


(Nicole Cook) #5

The lag is about 2-4 secs. I messed with the sensitivity which does help but it would kill the battery faster. My plan was to put a sensor on the side of the house that would trip my back door camera so I can get a good shot of the perp. My van has been broken in to 3 times. Without proof they won’t knock on someone’s door and accuse them. I only need 3 outdoor sensors to trip the 3 outdoor cameras. To me it would be worth spending the money if I’d get that few extra secs of footage. I’ve already lost $300+ with what was stolen from my car.


(Brian Harding) #6

@Ncook
Although they are designed for indoor use, and not recommended for outside use, as long as you keep them out of the weather, (wind and rain) the Smartthings motion sensor has worked well for me in North Carolina as they are mounted under the eaves of my house and well out of the weather. The Arlo cameras quit working at around -4 degrees I believe so the cameras will probably quit before the motion sensors do. Mine are mounted about 10 feet away from my entrance doors, so that pretty well negates the delay.

Brian


(Nicole Cook) #7

Unfortunately I have no where to put them where they’d be protected from the elements.


(Nicole Cook) #8

Would the Honeywell wireless outdoor motion sensors work? I can’t find if they are zigbee or z wave but read somewhere that they have a Honeywell thermostat (I think that’s what it was, I’ve read so mich trying to figure this out things I’ve read might have started to come together) paired with smartthings.


#9

Honeywell makes a lot of different devices using a lot of different protocols, so we would need to know the exact model, but my guess is not.

Also, I’m concerned if you think you’re going to beat a three second response time. Most of the inexpensive home automation sensors that are battery-operated are “sleepy devices” which literally sleep most of the time in order to preserve battery life. Then they wake up periodically and check to see what’s going on. Quite a few of the motion sensors are set for 5 second periods, which means they may not detect motion for the first 5 seconds. That’s OK for intrusion alerts inside the home, but it means they might very well miss the period You are trying to catch. You can dial the sensitivity up in some cases, but then you had the same issue you’re having with Arlo, you’ll run to the batteries much faster.

To get much quicker response times, you typically have to go to wired sensors, which don’t have the power preserving issue. But that may not suit your use case since you have to run powerlines to them.


(Brian Harding) #10

@JDRoberts
JD, you helped me so much when I was just starting out and I can’t express how much I appreciate it. I know this is not the OP’s solution, but I had such a problem with package deliveries, (the drivers would not knock on my door or ring the doorbell) and the mailman, (coming sometimes before lunch and sometimes late in the evening), that I placed some ST sensors under the eaves of my house out of the weather, and by golly, it works like a charm. The minute they enter the range of the sensors the cameras start recording. No more seeing their tail ends as they walk away. I actually caught a USPS driver on video throwing a package on my porch from about 10 feet away. Unfortunately, in hours and hours of searching, I cant find any truly outdoor motion sensors that work with Smartthings. But there are outdoor motion sensors available. Maybe someday someone will try some of these and write a DTH for them. Maybe the demand just isn’t that great.
Thanks again,

Brian


(Nicole Cook) #11

Aeotec Multisensor 6… not zigbee but the description says indoor and outdoor. Anyone have one of these outside in an unprotected area?


(Nicole Cook) #12

The only thing stopping me from wired products is that I’m renting. If I owned it wouldn’t be an issue.


#13

Me thinks you need to think outside of the box…

As many have pointed out, the sub-50$ detectors simply cannot handle what is being thrown at them element wise… In addition, battery life will be a huge factor the colder it gets, affecting performance, reliability & longevity. False alarms are also a huge issue outdoors.

I am making an assumption that wherever you plan on placing the camera you will also have some form of night lighting available for camera illumination; so electricity IS available…

Install outdoor rated motion flood lights.

With some exception, pretty much all the PIR motion outputs are of the dry-contact kind which you can tap into and feed to either a Z-wave or Zigbee CONTACT sensor which accepts external trips as well. (I know the old Monoprice ones did and I used them as water sensors) The contact sensors can be protected in DIY boxes from the elements, or even placed in the house (assuming the PIR flood light is mounted outside to the house and a suitable hole drilled into the house for the feed wire) The latter will also make the Z-Wave/ZigBee signal more reliable. Yes, you will have to do some tinkering!

My 2c worth.

J.


#14

There are some community members who use these outdoors, but in the user guide the manufacturer specifically recommends disabling the motion sensor feature of this device outdoors because of the false alarm issue we’ve been talking about.

But again, some community members are using them outdoors, you can try and see if it works for you.

I suggest reading the outdoor motion sensor FAQ, it discusses all of these issues in detail:


(Tony) #15

At risk of sounding like a Lowe’s ad, I chime in again to praise the rugged little Iris motion sensor. It’s very fast to respond (much faster than an Ecolink Z-Wave motion sensor I also use) and has a very quick reset time. I’m now on my second winter using Lowe’s Iris motion and contact sensors outdoors in the Northeast. They use a CR2 type battery (not a wafer style; more like a half-height AAA) and I have seen no issues caused by cold temperatures (this winter has been colder than normal; they’ve worked fine down to -13F).

Depending on their location (and I think this might have to do with radio power use due to placement more than the traffic they see) I’ve been getting 6 - 9 month battery life outdoors. I have had what I thought was a dud sensor or two that rapidly depleted batteries, but I’m thinking now that it might have been caused by a mesh issue (causing the sensor to flip flop between a couple of too-distant repeaters indoors).

They are very well constructed; not water tight but can easily be made rain resistant with a little Scotch magic tape and some GE silicone around the lens. My three Iris motion sensors were just blasted with two days of rain, snow and wind from the recent n’oreaster and were unfazed. The plastics seem to hold up well to UV; much better than the indoor/outdoor rated X10 Eagle Eye style motion detectors whose IR lenses rapidly deteriorated and cracked open when used outside (and those indoor/outdoor devices needed A LOT of tape and silicone to keep water out of their battery compartment). True, its an ‘off label’ application for the Iris, but it’s performance is stellar for a $29.99 device.

The biggest issue with these, as @JDRoberts pointed out, is placement. You may or may not have a location that is suitable; they will give unwanted triggers if they see the sun, or are pointed towards an object that reflects sun into the sensor. The three I use to monitor my front door, driveway, and deck are programmed to sound audible alerts from 8am-10pm and would drive me crazy if they constantly false triggered; for my use case that hasn’t been a problem. You’ll also need an adequately strong repeater indoors, as close as you can get to the sensor, or else use a Zigbee smart bulb in an outdoor fixture (another off-label application that works for me).


(Lighty) #16

Is this the unit you are referring to?
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Iris-Security-Motion-Detector/999925310


(zraken) #17

Nicole, I use Blink cameras outside in Pittsburgh and they work like a charm for your kind of use case. These cameras somehow are able to trigger on time and capture all motion. Probably not the answer you are looking for since you already have an expensive camera System, just sharing my 2c.


(Nicole Cook) #18

I am still within my return period as I’ve only had them for a week. I went with arlo bc it has the two way audio and 7 day cloud storage. Blink was my other option and a way cheaper one at that. I have honestly been wondering since I set up the first two in the house if I made the wrong decision.


(Tony) #19

That’s the one I have; it appears to be very similar externally to this newer model, 3326-L2:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Iris-Motion-Sensor/1000321971
I haven’t read any reports about what differences there may be.


(zraken) #20

Blink was my other option

If you are still considering Blink, here are some pros and cons:
Pros:
Cheaper, Battery lasts forever, Amazon owns it now, Free cloud storage, Works great outdoors, Timely triggers, Live view with one-way audio, Excellent IFTTT integration, Extremely reliable operation
Cons:
No native integration with ST, Amazon owns it (not sure what will happen next), Impending release of Video Doorbell, Need to use yet-another-hub, Only works with mobile apps