Fibaro Motion Sensor

Posted: September 22, 2014 in General

Introduction

The Fibaro Motion Sensor is a multi sensor that uses the Z-Wave RF protocol to communicate with compatible controllers. It offers motion sensing, temperature monitoring, light level detection and vibration sensing, all from a unit not much larger than a golf ball.

What’s in the box

The unit comes supplied in a very presentable, informative box and looks very professional. Inside, we find the actual sensor, stowed safely in plastic moulding, full instructions and fixings (plug + screw & adhesive pad). The sensor itself is small, easily most compact motion sensor I’ve seen. The finish is of an excellent quality, with no visible screws, just the sensing window and a neat Fibaro logo at the rear.

The mounting bracket has an ingenious design. Shaped like a C clip and very thin. It’s mounted using a single hole, or stuck in place. With the sensor clipped into the bracket, you can adjust the sensor for optimal motion detection with virtually 360 degree movement.

IMG_6597

Configuring the sensor

To use the sensor, we must first include it into our Z-Wave network. I’m currently using the excellent Z-Stick with (z-way-server) from Z-Wave.me, which is then integrated into my system, BMSLink. To include the sensor, we need to remove the back off the sensor, which is achieved by rotating the rear cover and removing it.

Inside, we find a large capacity 3V lithium battery and a single button used to perform various admin functions for the sensor. With the Z-Stick in ‘inclusion mode’, 3 ‘quick’ presses of the internal button see’s device join the network.
I did find the inclusion method (3 quick presses) a little tricky at times, with the device sometimes failing to enter inclusion mode. It might be easier if Fibaro had opted for the ‘long press’ method, with some sort of LED notification to indicate the current state.

Once the device is included, you find a wealth of configuration options, from the LED’s colour to the temperature sensor offset.

I found that most of the default settings met my needs, but I opted to set the motion detect reset time to 15 seconds. Initially, I had trouble with the motion detection etc. Investigating further, I found that even though the device had been properly included, it had failed to create the required association between sensor and controller (group3, node1). I’m unsure as to the ‘why’ this association had not been created, but I do know that other products (including Fibaro) I’ve tested have managed this successfully. Once I added this configuration manually, all was well.

Using the sensor

Now that the device is included into the Z-Wave network, its now ready to use in BMSLink (http://forums.bmslink.co.uk) BMS Link is a multi user, web based platform, providing a common control interface for a wide range of RF devices including Z-wave. It’s supplied as a Virtual Machine image and so is natively multi platform capable (hardware and software).

For my particular instance, I have many practical applications which use the various sensing abilities of the device.

motion_sensor_02
Lighting

If a light has been set to ‘auto’ or ‘auto on’, by using the ‘motion’ trigger from the device, coupled with present time of day, I am able to switch on relevant lighting automatically. If the above light has also been configured for ‘auto off’, an absence of ‘motion’ for a set time period turn’s off the light. By using the ‘lux’ level sensing the device, I can also confirm what effect turning on the light has on the room. For example, if the light is turned on, but the lux level fails to rise, chances are the lamp has failed and I can set an alert.

Heating

By placing the device in a zone, it allows me to provide ‘zoned’ heating control. The devices ‘temperature’ sensor value is included in a function block, which mimics the operation of a thermostat. This virtual thermostat then controls the local heating valve, subject to user configurable parameters. i.e. time of day, temp set point, local window open etc. The system then detects the local heating valve is open and closes the boiler relay, starting the pump.

Security

If the user has enabled motion sensor monitoring (for either the whole house or a zone), the system can alert the user by means of mobile notification. They can then login to the system remotely and if desired, remotely activate an alarm sound etc to deter an intruder.

Summary

Thumbs up :o)
Having used a wide range of ‘motion’ sensors, this unit is by the far, the best I’ve used. The motion sensing abilities are 2nd to none (for both range and size of object). The mounting bracket design is pure genius and allows for a virtually infinite adjustment window. The multi function aspects allow for temperature, lux and vibration monitoring.

The configuration options are vast and allow for deep customisation.

The physical appearance is excellent: professional, well finished and is totally unobtrusive

Thumbs down :0(
It would be nice to see the internal button operate of a ‘continued’ press, instead of rapid momentary press.

Fibaro (http://www.fibarouk.co.uk/) are like the Apple of the home automation world, making products not only functional but beautiful. The Motion sensor can be purchased for about £52 in the UK and worldwide.

Our guest reviewer today is Neil Duffy who is the developer behind BMSLink, a multi user, web based platform, providing a common control interface for many home automation products. Please visit his forums for more information on his work.

This review comes to you via our “Submit a Blog” program where guest reviewers can publish a review over TheSpyGroup. If you are interested in writing something like this, please either contact us or submit your blog to info@thespygroup.com .

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