The hunt for inconspicuous door/window sensors is something that at one point or another we all undertake, whether for ascetics, special cases or spouse acceptance factor. The problem we face is that companies are used to turning out the big ugly boxes that mount to your door and/or door frame and just never fit in with your home. There are a few companies out there however at least trying to give us options for better looking sensors that can blend in. I have tried many of these in the past, from the Sensative Strips, Nyce Door Hinge, and the GE Hinge Pin. I have had mixed feelings about most of these and my search lead me to the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor which I have also read mixed reviews about. Most reviews complain about battery life and the device falling offline. Battery life I can deal with and with the amount of time I have spent developing and mapping my mesh I am not too worried about the device falling offline.
I have been testing the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor for about a month now with my SmartThings system and have for the most part been impressed. Battery life has not been an issue and it have never fallen offline after some initial hiccups pairing. The Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor reports open/close state quickly and accurately and in my testing has a faster response time than my Nyce Door Hinge and Iris Contact Sensor which are both on the same door.
Installing the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor does take some work as you have to drill two holes (one in the door and one in the door frame) but I have to proper tools so this was not an issue for me. It is interesting to note however that having to modify the door and frame was the one thing that my wife did not like about the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor. In talking to here she prefers the Iris Contact Sensor even though it is visible just because no modification was needed. I find that funny because she is the reason that started my hunt for a discrete sensor but what can I say other than women often change their minds. I also should note that the installation instructions included with the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor are terrible but not so much of an issue because how many of us read instructions. Fore the most part it is easy to figure out what size hole needs to be drilled and how to pair the sensor without the instructions.
One concern I had about installation of the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor was lining up the sensor and the magnet. I spent a good amount of time working on this to make sure it was perfect. Well that was not necessary you have a good amount of leeway on placement as it does take about 1 inch of separation to trigger. This is good from an installation standpoint but something I find annoying when thinking about it from a security standpoint. I always try to place my sensors so that even a little bit of movement will trigger them so that they trigger as fast as possible but with the separation required with this sensor it is hard to do that. I may try a smaller magnet in the future to see how that affects it.
After the time I have spent with the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor I will be keeping in in my SmartThings system but using it for a bit of a different application. We just added a puppy to our family and often we open our back door and let her out onto our deck. The problem is that we do not always close the gate on the deck and no one really makes a weather proof Z-Wave sensor. My thinking is that this sensor mounted inside the wood of the gate will last some time. The wooden gate will protect the circuit board from water. I will have to report back on how well this works out for me, but I do not foresee any major problems.
Another useful application that I can think of is on a swinging door that we have that swings both ways. The Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor would allow me to have a sensor on this door where a traditional contact sensor like the Iris Contact Sensor could not be used. Additionally, I see a sensor like the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor working well on bifold doors so there may be a use there for me.
I briefly mentioned pairing issues with SmartThings so I thought I should mention that the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor appears to pair fine when you add it, but it will not function at first. It pairs as a Generic Z-Wave Sensor and simply changing the Device Handle in the SmartThings IDE to the Generic Z-Waver Plus Door/Window Sensor solves the problem and allows the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor to properly report open/close state.
As I mentioned I will be keeping the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor in my system so you should take that as I like the sensor. I can deal with the hiccups during pairing and the separation required to trigger it while being happy with the fit and finish.
Anyone else using the Aeotec Recessed Door Sensor? Let me know your thoughts 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.