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Author Topic: Motion Sensors  (Read 1893 times)

Bauerlein44

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Motion Sensors
« on: January 02, 2013, 04:58:13 PM »

     Overhauling my home automation system. Got a WGLW800USB RF Antenna Kit to handle all the RF in the setup. Had trouble setting it up to where it would be reliable from wherever in my house. I am using a Radio Shack antenna recommended by the guys on the Home Seer forum. Long story short, I placed the antenna in my garage in the rafters. The biggest limiting factor was my motion sensors. They don't seem to have a great deal of range. I am using the MS16 Hawkeye X10 Motion Sensors. My question is: Are there better motion sensors that I should be using for my home automation system? And what do others here on the board recommend? My goal is to have a rock-solid reliable home automation network. Thanks in advance.
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bkenobi

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Re: Motion Sensors
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 07:28:40 PM »

I use MS16A ActiveEye sensors outside.  These are similar to other X10 sensors range from other's reports.  They have poor range in general, but by adding a passive repeater to them, you can dramatically improve the range.  I put 1/2 wave and 1/4 wave antennas on each and found that 1/4 was sufficient for my range needs.

If you want to use non-X10 motion sensors and budget is less of an issue, check out Dakota brand stuff.  I've never used it, but that's what the local security consultant I spoke to recommended.  I was recommended the same by forum members, but it's many times more expensive than the X10 stuff, so I didn't go that route at the time.  If I had to do it over, I would probably go Dakota.  These don't connect right into X10, but have relays so they are capable of connecting to any system with a little effort.  Range is purportedly phenomenal!

dhouston

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Re: Motion Sensors
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 08:44:57 PM »

Range is purportedly phenomenal!

Not if they are adhering to FCC rules. It's primarily the extremely low FCC limits that cause the short range. About 30' is the best you can expect.

I found some specs. They use 433.92MHz and claim 600' range. Unless there has been a major change in FCC rules, I suspect they are selling European or Australian models. Europe allows about 10x as much power as the FCC and Australia allows about 10x the European limits.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 10:47:50 PM by dhouston »
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alexsoh

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Re: Motion Sensors
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 09:30:11 PM »

The MS16A is discontinue apparently. Looks like everything is discontiunue except for some left over newer stuff and those lousy cameras.
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bkenobi

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Re: Motion Sensors
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 10:45:22 AM »

X10 closed their factory in China early last year.  I heard it was a fire, but in any case most products are not currently being produced.  Once the stock is depleted, that's it for now.  The only thing that won't show up as discontinued is probably the stuff they are just rebranding from OEM.  They are pushing the cameras right now, but they were trying to sell the Android tablet and their whole house audio solution a few months back.  As far as I know, they are trying to set up a new production facility for at least some of their products.  I'm hoping they get back up and running as some of their stuff is still really useful.  If they don't get set up again, the next best thing would be Insteon since it's partially compatible with X10 and can use the current stuff until the user decides to upgrade.  The big down side is the price since Insteon is ~3-5x more than what we are used to paying for X10.  Since the shortage started, that price gap has narrowed though.

In any case, you can find most X10 modules on ebay, Smarthome, etc.  At this time, it appears that MS16A's are going for ~$16 shipped on ebay.  FWIW, that's about what they used to go for before the shortage started.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 10:47:02 AM by bkenobi »
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