Combining multiple sensors into one package is nothing new and there are quite a few “multi” sensors on the market. Today I am going to talk about the SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor which is a strange combination of sensors where I find it difficult for all its sensors to be useful in a single scenario. Don’t get me wrong this is a pretty good sensor and for the price of it right now it is worth picking up a few if your in the market for sensors, just don’t plan on taking advantage of all of its capabilities.
The SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor is a Zig-Bee sensor that can detect vibration, orientation and angle (tilt), temperature and open/close state. That is a good number of features in a small package (measuring in at 19. Inches wide, 1.89 inches tall and 0.57 inches thick) and at a reasonable price. You can use these sensors to do a lot of things from monitoring doors and windows (open/close), monitoring Garage Doors (tilt) or just temperature or vibration. The SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor does a great job with these individual tasks, but I feel like every application underutilizes one or more of the features. To me the biggest waste is either the contact sensor or the vibration sensor depending on what your application is.
Using this on doors and windows the contact sensor is great but can your really take advantage of the vibration? Not especially on a window unless you mount the bigger section on the window which is not all the aesthetically pleasing. The same goes for something you might want to monitor vibration of like a washing machine or dryer there really is no advantage of the contact sensor. I guess if you have a specific application in mind and can overlook the fact that you are underutilizing the feature set then you will be fine but for me it drives me nuts knowing that I am not using every available feature.
The individual sensors seem to work very well and report quickly and accurately which is a huge plus and as I mentioned in the beginning for the price this is well worth picking up even if it is something you are going to find a use for later.
In the end I do like this sensor although I would have expected greater customization inside of SmartThings seeing as though it is a SmartThings product. If I could “shut off” certain sensors depending on the application that would be great. Take a garage door as an example, I would use the tilt sensor but not the contact sensor, SmartThings would still show me the status of the contact portion of the sensor and it would show it as open which to me is not cool. There are community developed Device Handlers out there, but I should not have to use them for a SmartThings product.
Anyone using this sensor in any creative ways? Let me know in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.