The Aeon Labs Z-Wave enabled Magnetic Window / Door Sensor is an extremely compact and sleek battery-powered device that can be used to ensure security, safety, and comfort.
Aeon Labs has packed a lot of powerful features into this little device starting with the obvious magnetic switch and micro tamper switch. However, it’s the not so obvious features that make the sensor really stand out. For one, the standard battery required can be found just about anywhere.
“We decided to go with a CR2 battery that can be purchased at any Target, Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons,” says William Li, director of business development for Aeon Labs. “This is a standard camera battery that has an excellent battery life for the form factor. With this battery, we are able to last up to two years as opposed to the Everspring sensor that uses AAA.” One of the hidden features that makes this battery last so long is that the device will automatically go into sleep mode after a period of inactivity.
Another not so obvious feature of the Aeon Labs Window / Door Sensor is automatic configuration with all the popular gateways including Mi Casa Verde’s Vera and HomeSeer. By simply including the device into a SUC/SIS enabled gateway the sensor is automatically associated with the gateway. This means when the sensor is activated or deactivated the gateway receives a Z-Wave message from the sensor providing its status. Being associated with the gateways also allows the gateway to monitor the battery level of the sensor — another not-so-obvious feature.
I installed the Aeon Labs Magnetic Door / Window Sensor using our existing Mi Casa Verde, Vera gateway as the primary/master Z-Wave controller. My Vera gateway came with an Aeon Labs Z-Stick which is a Z-Wave USB controller.
By simply following Vera’s videos — which are conveniently located in the top corner of Vera’s web browser interface — I learned that to include the Aeon Labs Magnetic Door / Window Sensor into my Z-Wave network all I had to do was remove the Z-Stick, press the button once and note the LED flashing slowly. Then from reading the instructions for the sensor I learned that pressing the tamper switch on the bottom of the sensor would place the sensor into inclusion mode.
Once the device was included I placed the Z-Stick back into Vera’s USB port and it automatically detected that I had a new device. I assigned the device to a room and saved my changes to complete the installation.
Setup and Configuration
Once installed, the Aeon Labs Magnetic Windows / Door Sensor shows up on Vera’s device page as a motion detector. By clicking on the plus sign to the right of the device listing you can access additional configuration options for the device (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Vera Device Display
Clicking on the “Custom Z-Wave Settings (Figure 2)” button will allow you to set up associations for up to five other Z-Wave devices. Associations are automatically configured. This means that the device you associate the sensor to will know how to behave instinctively. For example, breaking the connection between the magnet and the sensor will turn the lights “ON” and closing the connection between the magnet and sensor will turn the lights “OFF.” All you have to do is tell Vera which devices you want the sensor to control.
Figure 2. Vera Device Display
On the “Custom Z-Wave Settings” page enter a number between 0 and 155 in the Group ID textbox and press “Add Group.” Set the device you want to be controlled to the desired level. For example, if you want your living room lights to come on to 50 percent when the connection between the magnet and sensor is open, then set the level using the light switch or you can set the level using Vera. Then press the “Set” button to the right of “Set To.” This will bring up a list of your available devices. Select the device you wish to control. In our example this would be the living room light. Press the “Back to Z-Wave Options” button when you are finished and then save your configuration using Vera’s “Save” button.
Windows and Door sensors have been used in Home Automation for decades. You don’t have to look far for ideas on where to mount your Aeon Labs sensor. Here are a few of the more popular applications.
Figure 3. Medicine Cabinet
Installing the Aeon-Labs Window and Door sensor on a medicine cabinet door is one way to ensure your children’s safety. Using your favorite home automation controller you can be notified any time the cabinet is open.
Figure 4. Truck Door
You probably have an alarm system on your vehicle but sometimes when you’re rushing in to the house axnd you simply forget to lock your doors. Installing an Aeon-Labs Window and Door sensor on your vehicle’s door can easily turn on a bright light in the middle of the night providing added security.
I tested this on my own vehicle and found that I could get a range of about 100 feet when the sensor is aligned vertically and only about 40 feet when the sensor is aligned horizontally.
Ease of Installation
Magnetic Door / Window Senso
Rants and Raves
Inexpensive ($69.95) and works as advertised. Automatic association configuration. Supports full power inclusion. Tamper switch for added security.
Does not have terminals for external sensors like the HRDS1