ZigBee Motion - Intermittent Connectivity

I have a few of the inexpensive Iris Zigbee motion detectors as well as a number of other zigbee devices scattered across my mostly zwave based home. Although the Zigbee devices, across the board, are less reliable than any of my Zwave devices, I’m having challenges with these motion detectors. I have three that simply stop working, one at a time. So far, my fix has been to pull out the battery and let it reconnect to the network (but perhaps I should remove the devices entirely and reinstall??). So, are others having similar problems with these devices? Any tricks to getting better consistency? Note also that my samsung zwave motion detectors have literally never had an issue and I’m on 18 months with the same battery, more expensive but they they seem much more reliable.

  1. repeaters, like a plug-in ST Outlet / Centralite 3200
    These outlets default devicetype have a bad habit of sending 0.1watt updates so the log get cluttered.
    I suggest you use something else. Aeon gen2 multisensor (Zwave) is better for my purposes.

  2. or relocate the hub higher and/or change its orientation.


Thanks for the info Eric. One of the motion detectors is only about 20 feet from the hub and had the fewest issues so suspect you’re right on.

I decided to migrate off my V1 Hub last week and have been struggling with motion sensors on the V2 Hub. The real issue is the sporadic behavior.

Currently all the sensors which have been triggered are stuck on “MOTION” in the Android app. In the log they reported motion about an hour ago and haven’t updated with a no motion.

Its frustrating… they were fine with the V1 Hub. In fact, if I re-join the motion sensors to the V1 Hub, they still work fine.

I agree with repeaters. I still do have random zigbee motion here and there but overall it’s pretty good after 5 iris plug repeaters for my zigbee mesh. Also remove your osram bulbs if you have any. They do causerepeater problem for some here on the forum.
Not sure how you guys paring your devices but you are suppose to remove power to the hub and leave it off for about half an hour after you place the zigbee device in its first alert location so the zigbee can rebuild the mesh once the hub is back on.

Edit : also try changing your WiFi router channel to avoid interference. Zigbee and WiFi are on the same frequency.

I thought the Iris Plugs were Zigbee Plugs, but Z-wave repeaters…

Zigbee plug and zigbee/z-wave repeater.

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Hmm… there;s a thread about the plug. And its confusing as heck… there is mention that it could repeat both protocols. But nothing definitive… I’ll show my ignorance and ask.

Is your hub next to the WiFi router? If yes, move it a few feet away using an extended ethernet cable and you may see a difference in performance.

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Most mains-powered devices will repeat for their protocol. Light switches, in wall relays, plug in pocket sockets, receptacles, plug in sensors.

if a plug-in device has two radios in it, then it probably repeats for both of those protocols.

The iris smart plug is a controllable zigbee outlet that does repeat for zigbee.

It also contains a Z wave plus radio and it was intended to act as a repeater for zwave. They were trying to make it simple for people who bought their system with one pocket socket repeating both protocols.

However, multiple community members here have reported problems with the Z wave side. Some people said that if they turned the plug off with the zigbee radio, then it lost the ability to repeat Z wave, implying that the Z wave radio itself had been powered down. Other people said they just randomly had problems with the Z wave antenna.

A few people, although not as many, also reported problems with the zigbee side. But some people said both radios were repeating successfully for them. So it’s not clear what’s going on. But it was designed to be a repeater for both protocols.


Thanks for the validation, that was the same message I received on the device thread!

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Thanks all for the insights … let me sum up what I believe I’ve read so far…

  1. Ensure that the Hub is a few feet away from the router
  2. Try using zigbee repeater (iris plug)
  3. Power down the hub for 30 minutes before adding the zigbee motion detectors to allow the mesh to optimize.
  4. OSRAM bulbs are suspect (only one bulb but not sure if OSRAM??: Sengled Element Touch. Works horribly BTW)

Is there a device/tool available to test/measure zigbee or zwave signal strength at a given location?

  1. Preferably at least 3 meters between the hub and the Wi-Fi router or any Wi-Fi access point

  2. Any mains-powered zigbee device except a smoke alarm should work as a repeater. (Battery powered devices do not generally repeat as it uses up too much battery life.) The iris smart plug should be OK, the Samsung brand smart plug, the peanut, zigbee in wall relays, light switches, or plug-in sensors. People like the iris because it’s cheap and you can pick one up at Lowe’s.

  3. First add all the new devices, then power down the hub while leaving all the other devices on power. This will cause all the other devices to go into “panic mode” because they can’t find the hub. Then when the hub comes back online, all the devices will rebuild their individual neighbor tables. This can take a while, so you might not see the results until the next day. But in general anytime you add new devices to the network or move devices to a new physical location, you should do the network heal after everything is in its final location.

  4. As far as bulbs go, at this point the Osram are known to cause problems, but other zigbee bulbs Connected directly to the hub may as well. Bulbs connected to the Phillips bridge will not cause this issue.

Tools exist to test signal strength but SmartThings has not yet provided them for their network. We’ve been told they hope to eventually.


JDRoberts… read a bunch of your other posts, always “helpful” so thanks.
Thinking through point 2 … rather than buy more devices simply to extend my Zigbee mesh I’ll probably just flip out the 3 ZigBee motion detectors for the samsung zwave units. However, are there any device types that are ZigBee only? In other words, if I need to extend the ZigBee mesh because not doing so would limit future automation capabilities then I’ll probably go with some repeaters vs replace the detectors.
On bullet point 3, i’ve got about 40 or so connected devices so will let this run overnight as you suggest… but I’m assuming that powering down the hub includes removing the battery to go completely dead, not just disconnecting the network and power cables?

Yes, exactly. :sunglasses: Then just leave it off power for at least 15 minutes to give the other devices all time to figure out that it’s gone off-line. Once it comes back on, the other devices will automatically update all their neighbor tables so everyone will know who their closest repeater is.

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TY and have a good weekend!

Do you mean device classes? There have generally been more different kinds of battery powered sensors available for zigbee because zigbee has in the past been better at power management. But Z wave plus has improved this area quite a bit. And it’s also allowed for physically smaller devices. So now you can get most of the traditional device classes: humidity sensors, temperature sensors, contact sensors, motion sensors, etc. In Z wave as well as zigbee.

The one thing you can’t really replace with a Z wave version is the arrival sensor. But there are other alternatives for presence as well.

Yes device classes/types. I’ve seen zwave “plus” appearing in some of the forum threads but didn’t associate it with device types, just thought it was a range/battery life thing that hadn’t really made it into product redesign improvements yet. Apparently I need to do a bit more reading.
I’m having an absolutely hellish time with my cell phone presence detectors … all the apple devices in the house work flawlessly while the samsung note/galaxy devices are completely unreliable … read something about the OS killing inactive connections or something… need stop working so I can keep up with all this fun stuff @#$%

“Zwave plus” is just the trade name for the 5th generation zwave chip. Also called “series 500” and “GEN five.”

A zwave plus device is a device using the 5th generation zwave chip. “Zwave classic” is using the third or fourth generation. Zwave plus devices started coming to market mid 2015, so there are quite a few of them out now.

Several manufacturers issued a new version of an existing model, such as a light switch, where the only difference is that they are using the new chip.

Zwave plus has several advantages over the older generations, in particular better power management and longer range. But it’s fully backwards compatible with the older generations. :sunglasses: