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Author Topic: Wireless motion sensors  (Read 34844 times)

bkenobi

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Wireless motion sensors
« on: March 29, 2011, 01:05:52 PM »

Yup, another thread about the MS16A...sorta.

I have a few MS16A ActiveEye motion sensors that I've been playing with for a few months now.  The unit transmits far enough now that I have a modded CM15A antenna, but the issue is detection.  I find that for my purpose, it has too short a detection range, too narrow a field of view, does not detect fast enough (or at least send a signal quick enough), etc.  Otherwise, it works brilliantly!   B:(

I've seen a few threads about the Heath Zenith sensors and the glowing reviews related to them.  What I haven't seen is a "guide" or detailed descriptions or pictures of a modified unit to work with X10.  I'm looking to use this for my driveway to trigger both lights and a chime.  I know I could simply use the unit as is and leave it out of the X10 setup, but I was wondering if anyone has taken the steps to mod it with either DS10A or PowerFlash since I assume the unit does not send X10 RF signals.  I figure it's not too difficult, but if someone has done this already, it would be worth a review!

Oh, and FWIW, I'm looking at the SL-6032 right now although I know the SL-6030 is what most people have looked at in the past.  The primary difference is the wider angle of view (240 versus 180).
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 01:13:03 PM by bkenobi »
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dave w

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 01:18:39 PM »

$0.02
I'm probably not giving any new information but how do you have your MS16s oriented? Any PIR motion detector is most sensitive to a warm body moving across the field of vision. Least sensitive to movement directly towards or away from the detector.
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bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 01:54:30 PM »

Yeah, I'm aware of that.  I don't have a lot of choice of where to place it if I'm going to detect motion in the driveway though.  The thing is, I'd like this to be able to do 2 things that may not work out well together. 

1) As you can see in the picture, the garage faces west.  When someone drives in, I'd like the lights to turn on if it's dark.  Currently, the lights turn on about the time that the driver passes the garage door which is obviously a bit late to help see the front of the house.  This would work though if someone parked in front of the garage.  I have the MS16A mounted ~7ft off the ground (just above the door) mostly centered on the garage.  I find that it works ok for stall 2, but it doesn't always work for stall 1.  I don't know about stall 3 as I've never used it (only have 2 cars).  It seems like a longer detection range might help turn the lights on quicker even with a delay were present.  Those Zenith units claim 70 or 100ft (can't remember which ATM).

2) The house has no light switches for the entry lights anywhere but by the front door.  If I walk around the south end of the house, I'd like the driveway and entry lighting (same thing) to turn on for me.  The motion sensor works pretty well if I walk out in the driveway, but I'm not doing that if it's raining.  I know this one is a tough request since the motion is all the way at the edge of the detection zone at best.  The detector only sees 90 which is why I'm looking at the Zenith units (180 and 240).

It's possible I can't get both of these done with a single sensor, but I'd certainly like to try as it makes everything that much easier (and the WAF easier to attain without 2 sensors being visible).

dave w

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 03:02:27 PM »

I see. That is a toughie. What about a wireless driveway detector mounted at the mouth of the driveway, interfaced through PowerFlash, with some conditionals to prevent lights coming on when leaving.
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Knightrider

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 05:41:16 PM »

Don't know about the wireless end of things, but I purchase el cheapo heath units for about $6,  stip off the lights and hardwire in a rat shack 120v relay.  Relay provides contact for a powerflash.  I have several of these around the yard closing contacts on an underground telco cable (don't ask how I aquired this) and a bank of powerflashes out in my garage.

I really should post some pics.

It may be a pain to run wires for power and closure, but I seldom have any false activations and have get to change a single battery.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 05:42:50 PM by Knightrider »
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bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 05:45:04 PM »

You mean something like the ones that have buried tubes?

Perhaps one other option, though.  I have a nice antenna installed on my CM15A that, during testing prior to final installation, was able to reach the road easily.  When I put it in the attic though, it lost some range (probably due to the number of low quality couplings + the type of wire used).  Either way, I think I could probably put a motion sensor in the center of the turn around facing the SE so that it could see the entrance of the driveway and the garage in a 90 swath.  The only problem is detection range potentially.  If I could get long enough range so that the motion sensor could see the garage and most of the way to the driveway entrance, I could have a nice solution.

At some point, I'm planning on installing some kind of wireless motion sensor on the south side of the building too so that when I walk the dogs the lights on that side of the house will light my way.  If I can figure this out (probably with the Zenith), then I'll probably do the same thing there.  I'm thinking I could probably just use either a power flash or a hacked door sensor installed in an electrical box in the garage send signals to the CM15A.

bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 05:47:13 PM »

Don't know about the wireless end of things, but I purchase el cheapo heath units for about $6,  stip off the lights and hardwire in a rat shack 120v relay.  Relay provides contact for a powerflash.  I have several of these around the yard closing contacts on an underground telco cable (don't ask how I aquired this) and a bank of powerflashes out in my garage.

I really should post some pics.

It may be a pain to run wires for power and closure, but I seldom have any false activations and have get to change a single battery.
I'd love to see any pictures of what you did.  Have a model number on the motion sensor?  I saw several wired motion sensors at Lowes this morning (Zenith units) that are designed to be added on to an existing fixture.  I was contemplating how hard it would be to use one of those.  The primary issue of course is that I don't have a box to install it on, so running wires is an issue...especially since I don't know the best location to install things.

bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 04:19:59 PM »

I stopped by Lowes last night to see what they had that I could try out.  They carry a good selection of Heath Zenith wireless motion sensor packages, so I was able to pick up the lamp/chime module with motion sensor.  The range is much better than the MS16A (as expected), but I'm not sure how I would rate the field of view.  They claim 180, but I'd say it's more like 135 or so.  I can see the lens at the sides, but it doesn't detect motion in any direction until I'm further to the front.  They make a better looking model that claims 240 FOV, so maybe that one will work to ~180.  That one is only available online in my local, so I'm going to have to be sure the setup will work prior to ordering.

The problem I'm having with it is that it doesn't seem consistent.  If anyone else has one of these units set up, I'd like to know what I'm doing wrong.

I started by trying the default dip settings, but that didn't seem to connect.  I switched to a different setting and the two units connected.  I set the sensor to max range, day/night, and Test mode.  This config seems to turn the light on and chime once.  It then waits for motion to stop and turns the light off.  The minimum lit time seems to be ~10 seconds.  Fine...so I took it to the garage and drove the truck past it...nothing.  The MS16A kicked on the outdoor lights so I know it should work, but nothing.  I got out of the truck and walked up to it and it turned the light on.  Hmmm.  Problem is, it seems to get confused and sense motion continuously without motion occurring.  The remedy is a reset of both units.

For testing I have no problem with a reset or two.  I cannot accept ever being required to reset the unit other than to change batteries.  If that were required, I'd look for a different unit.  So, I'm not sure where to go from here.  Maybe I just got a dud?

bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 11:09:23 AM »

I just spoke to Heath-Zenith this morning about the difference between the SL-6030-WH and the SL-6032-WH.  The specs indicate the primary difference is that the 6032 has a wider FOV (240 versus 180) and it has a longer detection range (100ft versus 70ft).  They confirmed that those are the primary differences, so I'm looking at the 6032 now.  The problem is that I can't find anywhere that sells a 6032 with a receiver unit of any kind.  Perhaps this is a bit cheapskate of me, but I don't want to spend another $20+ for a receiver that I won't really be using correctly (hacking it to work with a PF or DS10A).

BUT, this led me to a thought about using this thing in a different way.  Since I really don't want to use the motion sensor for it's transmitter exactly anyway, couldn't I open the sensor up and hack in a DS10A directly?  It's not a perfect solution since this probably would keep the sensor from being quite as water resistant and definitely increases the size, but it eliminates working with a part that may prove to be an issue anyway.  I was having issues with the sensor and receiver communicating anyway, so this could actually help a lot.

There is an LED that flashes any time the sensor sees motion.  Could I just install a transistor across that line to switch the DS10A?  I'm not familiar with DS10A mods, so I'm just guessing here.  I know I could use the PF, but that requires wiring things into power.  If I do that, then I might as well use a hard wired motion sensor which are readily available at my local Lowes.

Thoughts?

bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 11:43:35 PM »

Well, I played around with the DS10A this evening and am left...ambiguous.  The sensor does work and it does pretty much what I want, however the range is...well...lacking.  I think I can use this arrangement in front of the garage, but certainly not in any other location (that's the next step I haven't talked about yet).  The other issue is the speed at which the DS10A sends a signal.  It seems like it takes a little long for AHP to see the change.

I'm starting to think that a powerflash + a wired motion sensor might provide the best results.  Heath Zenith makes a wired unit that has 270 deg FOV with 100ft detection range.  It looks like that unit needs 120VAC and switches on a second line when motion is sensed.  I suppose I could use the PowerFlash on that switched line.  If that's out of the question voltage-wise, I could always use a relay.  Does the PowerFlash respond quicker than the DS10A?

Brian H

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 06:09:47 AM »

Powerflash module can either be triggered by a dry contact closure or applying a low DC or AC voltage of less than 18 volts.

Normally if you trigger it with a voltage or contact closure it sends a signal immediately as far as I can tell. I never timed one.

Dakota Alert makes some nice wireless motion sensors and I believe have a 600 foot transmission range. The receiver can have four channels registered to it and have a relay output for each. For things like a powerflash trigger. Though you are now talking low $100 range on sale and $150 from many places.

http://www.dakotaalert.com/catb2b1/index.php?cPath=47
http://www.smarthome.com/7312/Dakota-Alert-WMA-3000-Wireless-Motion-Alert/p.aspx
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 08:29:06 AM by Brian H »
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bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 11:02:52 AM »

That is a nice setup!  I don't see mention of FOV on the motion detector, so I'm assuming it's going to detect ~90-135 based on the cartoon in the manual.  That might work, but I'd have to locate it in the turnaround rather than on the house.  I don't know that that would be an issue or not.  The price is a little steep considering I'd still need the powerflash, but if I can't get anything else to work, I'll definitely keep that setup in my back pocket.  The nice thing would be that I could then use that same receiver for other motion sensors around the house.  Since I'm looking at adding 2-3 more at some point, that's definitely a bonus!

For this weekend, I'm probably going to just use the DS10A and pick up a Heath Zenith SL-5316-BZ.  I think I can add a small electrical box for the connections and a mounting point and then just run the power from my garage door opener outlet.  If so, I've got most everything to give it a try.  I wonder if I can use a transistor instead of a relay somehow?  I'll have to open the unit up to see how it's built to know I suppose!

bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 11:32:33 AM »

If I want to connect to the AC switched leg of the motion sensor and have that switch the powerflash, am I correct that the only way to do this is via a relay such as this?

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2049721

I can't tell if this switches AC or if it can use AC as the input.  Based on the reviews, it looks like it can use AC as the signal, so it should work.  Hopefully I can find something in the motion sensor to switch the PF off of.  I'm thinking the LED light might be sufficient.  Of course, if I use that then I only get notified of motion and not the end of motion...

dave w

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 11:59:01 AM »

If I want to connect to the AC switched leg of the motion sensor and have that switch the powerflash, am I correct that the only way to do this is via a relay such as this?

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2049721

I can't tell if this switches AC or if it can use AC as the input.  Based on the reviews, it looks like it can use AC as the signal, so it should work.  Hopefully I can find something in the motion sensor to switch the PF off of.  I'm thinking the LED light might be sufficient.  Of course, if I use that then I only get notified of motion and not the end of motion...
Yes you are correct. Here is one less expensive than Radio Shark
http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/RLY-453/120-VAC-RELAY-DPDT-12-AMPS//1.html
Both relays use 120V AC for the coil. So the relay coil takes the place of a connected light fixture.  The contacts are completely isolated from that.

So,  I'm confused about your Power Flash statement. You would connect the N.O. contacts of the relay to the Power Flash. The motion sensors LED doesn't even come in to play. Besides, if the motion sensor did not use a transformer power supply, the LED could be "hot" with 120V if measured to neutral or ground.  Besides being dangerous, the Power Flash would not like that.

Motion would supply 120V to the relay coil, closing the N.O. contacts. When the motion sensor would normally cut power to an attached light the relay contacts will open.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 12:14:25 PM by dave w »
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bkenobi

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Re: Wireless motion sensors
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2011, 01:24:34 PM »

I missed your answer the other day.  I was about to ask a variant of my question when I saw that you have already provided everything I need to know!  Sounds like I just need to order a PF and that relay.  Thanks!!!   >!
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