Wiring suggestion

I am in the process of building a house (to be completed towards the end of May), and am currently working with our builder and subs for things like electrical layouts (both high and low voltage), etc…

I would like to place a few of the Motion Sensors around the house.  Since this is new construction I have the luxury to power these (vice just batteries) so they will act as repeaters.  However I’m struggling to find a good clean way to get them the micro-usb power, since they are motion sensors they will be higher up on the wall.

The only thing I have really found is to have the electrician install a wall outlet like this. And then find the shortest micro-usb cable i can find (do they make like 3 inch ones?), and try to mount the motion sensor over the outlet, somehow…

Another idea I had (and I’m not an sure this is even doable wrt to code), would be to somehow mount the usb outlet inside an electrical box but fully inside the wall, and then just bring the usb cable through the sheet rock (it would be nice if there was some finishing trim or something for that) or just poke the usb cable only through the sheet rock, and mount the motion sensor over that?

Last idea (again not sure if this is up to code or technically doable), would be to run a very, very long, usb cable from someplace like the basement or something up to the location on the wall and then poke it through the sheet rock.

Anyone else have any experience with this type of thing?  Or maybe there is another type of compatible motion sensor that would be more appropriate for my situation?




Whether it is up to code or not is a very difficult question to answer. I’ve found usually not. I would consider the size of your house and think about whether you really need every motion sensor to act as a repeater. As in, would you rather spend $16 for a USB outlet on each motion sensor + the cost of the electrician to install it + plus the $13 for a sensible length USB cable. You could also just purchase and deploy a SmartPower Outlet for around or less than that and retain the range extending functionality. The benefit to that would be being able to use a range extender as needed and higher flexibility to move around motion sensors as seen fit.

A long USB cable probably wouldn’t work. It more than likely would be too long of a run to still power the device reliably. I liked the USB + AC power outlet you linked, you can get short cables off mono price, and if it’s not short enough you could always cut it and make it shorter.

If I were in your position I’d be trying to get everything powered as possible as well, as I dread hunting down dozens of gadgets every couple of years to change the batteries.

Also, I like that it has a normal power outlet as well, you may not use these motion sensors for forever, and if and when you switch to something else you already have an outlet.

Something else to consider is RJ-45 Cat 6 run through the house to a central closet somewhere. You can do some really nifty things with a PoE switch. EDIT: actually now that I think about it… a PoE switch could actually power you motion sensors…I’m not sure how much there would be to it but I’d think it would be possible.


Dont forget that the motions are up to ten feet so if you have a large room room will need to locate them by entry points in a corner. What about powering from the attic?

I wouldn’t worry about replacing batteries every few years. The devices can tell you when they need to be replaced. My main concern would be running a cable to the motion sensor in a high corner that would look nice and not need professional installation. Would probably cost less to power too.

This is one of those things thats a personal choice because the motion sensor doesn’t care how its powered :smiley: one of the great things about SmartThings is our flexibility.

It may tell me when it needs the battery changed, but I still have to change them. For one or two devices that’s no big deal…but if the house is littered with them, it could get to be a pretty annoying rotation. 15 windows alone, each with an open closed sensor…each one failing a few weeks after the other…

I hope this is not your REAL security system. As said, I would stick to the battery option; if you need a repeater stick in an outlet. If you have a REAL security system and want to wire it you may want to look at 12V to USB (5V) converters and put both motions together if you want to put them high up on a wall but I would not.   My 2 cents.

I dont see why simply using a wired connection should make it less of a “real” security system. If anything it would add redundancy as you could put batteries in them as  a backup source.

I never understand people who talk about how a “REAL security system” needs fully redundant power supplies, direct connections to multiple government agencies, and so on.  For those of us not storing crown jewels or working for a spy agency, a system that detects opening doors and windows and other unauthorized motion and sets off an alarm and flashing light is probably more than sufficient.


Those of us who need more than that will not be relying on SmartThings, but then again, those people can probably get whoever installs their underground bunkers and manned observation towers to install a decent security system.