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Motion Sensor Product Update Request


matapan

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I have a number of Insteon motion sensors I've tried using. They work, but the main drawback with the design is the battery life and lack of a reliable low battery notification mechanism. None of the motion sensors I have show up with any low battery indication in the ISY's Admin Console when the batteries expire. And they expire with frequency.

 

So here's a seemingly simple product upgrade request. Why not make a jack on the motion sensor which accepts power from a power adapter? That would at least take care of supplying constant power to the motion sensor, until power goes out. How about using the battery as a backup device in that case?

 

In fact, why not produce motion sensors that are integrated into the dimmer or appliance switch? Imagine a smart version of a Leviton motion activated switch so commonly used in commercial buildings and you get the idea.

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I have a number of Insteon motion sensors I've tried using. They work, but the main drawback with the design is the battery life and lack of a reliable low battery notification mechanism. None of the motion sensors I have show up with any low battery indication in the ISY's Admin Console when the batteries expire. And they expire with frequency.

 

So here's a seemingly simple product upgrade request. Why not make a jack on the motion sensor which accepts power from a power adapter? That would at least take care of supplying constant power to the motion sensor, until power goes out. How about using the battery as a backup device in that case?

 

In fact, why not produce motion sensors that are integrated into the dimmer or appliance switch? Imagine a smart version of a Leviton motion activated switch so commonly used in commercial buildings and you get the idea.

 

Many people already use a 9 volt power adaptor which SH already sells. If you're not receiving any low battery node updates more than likely there is interference or not enough Insteon RF coverage to see the low battery node when it trips. I have been using a rechargeable lithium battery cell with a solar charger up on a 25 foot pole for more than five years.

 

Works like a champ and haven't had to change out a battery since. 

 

NOTE: To get more exposure to your idea please do make your voice known in the new Insteon forum site under the *Wish List* located here. Nobody is tracking this forum at all and certainly your idea won't be reviewed.

 

http://forum.insteon.com/forum/main-category/new-insteon-device-wish-list

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While I personally don't have the time for this..couldn't help but post this project as a perfect solution.  Unless of course your application has lots of motion during the dark of night, when hooked up to a disassembled landscape lighting solar panel - it should last forever with just ambient light. 

 

http://www.digitalequilibrium.com/docs/9v_capacitor_battery.pdf

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 I have been using a rechargeable lithium battery cell with a solar charger up on a 25 foot pole for more than five years.

Are you saying that the solar charger is connected to the cell all the time and that you haven't had to mess with it for over 5 years? If so, that is pretty awesome!

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Are you saying that the solar charger is connected to the cell all the time and that you haven't had to mess with it for over 5 years? If so, that is pretty awesome!

 

Technically, what I have basically done is used a cheap solar charge controller which limits and regulates the voltage. This is to ensure the battery is not over charged, or charged at all. Only, if the battery starts to discharge and meets the set voltage will the battery be charged by the custom solar panel.

 

I basically went on EBAY bought a few solar cells and wired them to the correct voltage and had to use a resistor to ensure the voltage was within the working range of the battery etc.

 

NOTE: Even though Lithium cells require a different charger when compared to there regular brothers of Nicad, etc. I basically purchased the cheapest one's I could find (assuming they would blow up) and see if the solar charger I had would operate, it did!

 

From there I just bought some higher quality one's for long term use. One thing to note is that unlike Akaline batteries the voltage is lower so the low battery node will trip sooner rather than later. Since its being powered all the time this is really a non issue because it never runs out.

 

The reason I did this was I didn't want to climb 25 feet every 4-6 months in the dead of winter which of course seemed to be when the batteries died. The system (v1) has since been changed out because the pole is powered by a very large solar array which powers a few PTZ Axis cameras for 360 view of the property.

 

I used a step down PSU to power the MS from there because the other solar array was (voltage) was too high. Has been working like a champ (v2) for about 14 months?? 

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been working like a champ (v2) for about 14 months?? 

Well that is quite good I'd say! I've used a couple wall wart adapters for 9V, but they have all died. Since then I've been using regular 9V batteries, but very interested in an alternative. I am going to look at putting together something similar to what you described.

 

Thanks for the inspiration!

 

~ Bertram

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Well that is quite good I'd say! I've used a couple wall wart adapters for 9V, but they have all died. Since then I've been using regular 9V batteries, but very interested in an alternative. I am going to look at putting together something similar to what you described.

 

Thanks for the inspiration!

 

~ Bertram

 

Hello Bertram,

 

No worries glad this inspired you to find another solution. I too was disappointed in the wall wart solution because I saw the same failure mode?

 

I had lots of spare 9 volt adapter plugs from another mini project so just went surfing the Interwebs for some inspiration. The initial cost obviously cost more than a replacement battery for one time. But, if you consider five plus years for a $16-18.XX battery it doesn't take long for the project to pay for itself.

 

Saving money is great but the biggest thing is it saved me time and effort to do something in the dead of winter at 25 feet! That in my mind was well worth the effort and investment in the gear, that is priceless.

 

Since the release of 4.2.22 RC2 having the ability to remote update has been a complete God send! Thank you to all the UDI engineers that pushed to make the auto wake / update a reality!

 

It has saved me several climbing journeys already . . .

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  • 4 weeks later...

What is "remote update" and/or "auto wake"?

A motion sensor feature I need...

 

Bert

 

Battery powered devices need to be "woken up," (i.e., put into linking mode) in order to write updates. That's because they "go to sleep" when not sending a signal in order to conserve the battery. They're controllers only, so they do not need to listen for a signal 24/7. "Remote update" wakes up the device.

 

Line powered devices are always ready to receive and/or transmit.

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Teken wrote this: Since the release of 4.2.22 RC2 having the ability to remote update has been a complete God send! Thank you to all the UDI engineers that pushed to make the auto wake / update a reality!

 

This sounds like there is a feature/trick that I don't know about. How does one "remote update" a Motion Sensor without pushing the "set" button?

 

Thanks,

Bert

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