Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor

 

Introduction

 

The Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor (model #RTCGQ01LM) is a reliable product in a surprisingly tiny body. The diameter of this sensor isn’t much bigger than a quarter, and it’s barely over an inch tall. It has a 170 degree field of view, and detects motion based on a high precision pyroelectric IR sensor. The motion sensing range is approximately 23 feet (7 meters).

This sensor works with SmartThings, although it isn’t a SmartThings-certified device. You will have to add it through the SmartThings IDE. It reports battery percentage if you use the correct device handler. It’s a very sensitive device, and reacts quickly in SmartThings to turn lights on and off. It should work well with other home automation devices too.

It’s a ZigBee sensor, and has great wireless range. I’m using 3 of the sensors throughout my home and haven’t needed to set up a repeater. The motion sensor upstairs is farthest from my SmartThings hub, about 25 feet away.

I purchased mine through GearBest.com. These things usually run less than $10, which is pretty much the cheapest price on the market for a SmartThings-compatible motion sensor. The downside is they must be ordered from overseas, so shipping will take a couple of weeks. You do have the option of paying for expedited shipping if you want. For those in the U.S., I would also purchase the shipping insurance. It’s really cheap- it cost me $1.60 on an order of $38.37). By comparison, the next cheapest SmartThings-compatible sensor was this $20 Bosch sensor that only gets 3 stars on Amazon.

 

  • Price
  • Range
  • Battery Life
  • Installation

Summary

Yet another ultra-cheap Xiaomi sensor. There's no other motion sensor that can touch this thing as far as price goes. I paid $12.79 for each one. They are much smaller than any other motion sensor that I'm used to seeing. The sensing range is incredible (maybe too good, sometimes they trigger lights when passing by an open door), and the sensitivity is on par with more expensive options. The ZigBee range is pretty good too- I didn't need a repeater for any of mine, one of which is upstairs about 25 feet from my hub and goes through several walls. I haven't fully depleted a battery yet, but expect it to last over a year based on observations from the past two months of use.

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Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor

 

Adding the Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor to SmartThings

 

The Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor is designed to be used with its own hub (Xiaomi Gateway hub), not SmartThings. Because of this, you will need to use the SmartThings IDE to add it. This is a two-step process: first you’ll need to pair the sensor with SmartThings, then you’ll need to use the SmartThings IDE to create and configure it.

Ok, so first things first. We’ll add the sensor to our hub using the SmartThings app:

Slideshow- Tap or click to view

SmartThings will start searching for devices.

Use a paperclip to press the pairing button. You’ll see the motion sensor flash each time you press it. Press the button several times to make sure SmartThings sees the pairing process.

You probably won’t get past this screen. That’s ok. If you pressed the pairing button a few times that should be sufficient to start the next part of the process.



Once the sensor is added to SmartThings, you’ll need to login in to the SmartThings IDE to finish adding the Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor to SmartThings.



 

The Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor and the SmartThings IDE

 

Before you can continue in the SmartThings IDE, go here to get the device handler code.

The following slideshow will walk you through everything, from adding the correct device handler to completing the sensor setup so you can use it.

Slideshow- Tap or click to view

Click on My Device Handlers.

Click the green + Create New Device Handler button.

Click on From Code.

Right-click in the editor and select Paste to copy the device handler code to the editor.

Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Create.

You’ll see a confirmation message highlighted in green. Next click on the Publish button.

Select For Me.

You’ll get another confirmation message. You’re finished with the device handler.

Now click on My Hubs.

Scroll down a little and click on List Events.

You’ll see a huge list of all events received by your hub. Scroll down until you find the last “Z-wave include search started”. Now scroll up from there until you see “catchall” followed by a string of numbers and letters.

The first 18 digits of the catchall can be ignored. What you need is the alphanumeric group of four digits that follows. Remember or write down this code (CCAF in this example). You might also see something like “read attr” that will contain the device ID.

If the motion sensor showed up as a Thing, you will need to find it in your list, click on it, then click the Edit button. Chances are it did NOT show up in the list of things. In this case, you will need to click the + New Device button.

Give your Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor a name.

Next, click on the Type dropdown box. Scroll to the bottom of the list and choose the Xiaomi Motion Sensor device handler that we created earlier.

Type in the device network ID that we found under the hub’s event list (CCAF in this example).

Version should show Published by default.

These aren’t required, but I usually fill in these fields anyway. When you’re finished, click Create.

You should get a confirmation message letting you know the operation was successful.

 

Checking the Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor

 

Once you have everything configured, go back to the SmartThings app. You’ll definitely want to make sure that everything is working.

Slideshow- Tap or click to view

Under the Recently tab, you’ll see way too much information.

Finally, your motion sensor won’t be useful until you assign it to a SmartApp or Routine (for automations), Smart Home Monitor (for security), or both.




 

Problems and Solutions

 

One complaint people have about the Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor isn’t really a problem- it’s a design issue. There’s a one minute delay after the sensor sees motion before it starts sensing again. This makes the sensor “blind” for 60 seconds, during which time it won’t be able to react to another event. Personally, it doesn’t affect me, but it’s a big deal for some people. I use mine for lighting automations and security, and they work great for those purposes.

 

Conclusion

 

The Xiaomi Smart Motion Sensor is an inexpensive device with a premium feel. It’s a small sensor, which helps it to blend in with its surroundings. It’s light enough that a small piece of Velcro with suffice for mounting it to a wall. It works well for both automation and security, and I’ve been extremely pleased with the performance for the price.

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