A pretty door/reed switch

Hi all,

So, I’m fascinated by the idea of being able to know whether a door or window is open or closed. I own an 1800 sq ft house with 30+ external windows and doors total, then an external garage with 3 doors, and a barn with a total of 11 doors and windows. So, the status of doors and windows are a constant struggle for us.

I knew of OpenHAB from past exposure but have never had the time to start one up. A google search brought me to this site, and I began to get excited. All of the stuff he’s doing is stuff I want to explore! So, I ordered some Arduino’s and some parts that I’m waiting to arrive, and then I started delving into what it would take to get a simple door switch going…

No offense to the author of that article, and I’m not afraid of a soldering iron in the least… but most of the stuff I saw there looks aesthetically like the bride of Frankenstein. I’m a married guy and my wife is in IT like I am, and even she will not tolerate it if I put these things up above doors with taped magnets to the top of the door. So I started looking for other options, within the $25 price range per item. I found this, but after reading a bit on Z-Wave, I’m getting the impression that connectivity/reception is a problem.

I then went looking at OpenHAB supported hardware, but this list does not help a beginner know what to choose as a reliable and inexpensive door switch.

Does someone make pre-built, Arduino-based, 915 MHz reed switches for doors in the $25 range that don’t look like Frankenstein’s lover? I mean, I love the idea that I can see the voltage on the device from OpenHAB. I love that I can see the status of the door. I’m even willing to put multiple OpenHAB devices in place so I can cover the house, the garage, and the barn… But so far I’m overwhelmed with the options and looking for advice from those more experienced. What’s a good, reliable door/window switch that won’t kill us on cost, as we’re covering lots of doors and windows?

Why not just use a pre-built Z-wave window/door sensor? There’s a ton of them available and at reasonable prices. My wife wanted something even more discrete than that, so I ended up with the Aeotec hidden sensor, but it’s a good bit more costly.

Actually, that’s EXACTLY the route I was looking at with the Monoprice door sensor I linked to above, but then I started reading about Z-Wave reliability issues, the cost of a Z-wave USB controller as the bridge device, and someone mentioned (?) that the sensor would track that the door was opened but not that it was closed again? Again, not sure about the truth/validity of ANY of those things, but it was enough to give me pause and re-think the original Arduino unit with the 915 MHz transmitter on it. The two problems there are

  1. No one wants a 2-3 AA battery holder unit sitting around the receiver. It just says “clip my wire and all your problems go away” to someone who doesn’t want it known that the door is being opened or closed, and

  2. The excessive amount of work to get one up and running. Even if I were a master solderer, it would take me 30-60 minutes to solder together and test one unit. My time isn’t worth the $25 for the monoprice unit.

But I’m not sure whether OpenHAB can monitor the voltage in the Z-Wave unit. And I’d love to know when a unit’s battery is going to go dead before it happens so I can swap it out with a new one. We have tons of professional grade rechargeable batteries around here that were used for wireless audio-visual equipment in the past and swapped out when 1 year was up on them.

I can’t speak for any of the door sensors other than the one I used (which seems great). I know Zigbee devices are supposed to be better on power, but I don’t think the Z-wave ones are that bad, and a lot of people are using them from what I know (also, they report battery power). In terms of the bridge device, I got the Aeotec z-stick Gen 5 for not a bad price, and it works well (a lot of people using those as well). And yes, any door/window sensor should track both open and closed.

The only issue you may need to deal with in a larger house using battery devices is that you may need a repeater to get full range. Any powered devices will act as repeaters (I’ve got a ton of z-wave switches, so they do the trick).

An idea would be to 3D print a “pretty” case and still use the ugly but cheap arduino solution.
You do not need the big arduino board that is shown in the “Uber Home” Tutorial.
There are quiet a few tiny arduino boards on the market. :slight_smile:

Maybe a combination of a NodeMCU (or some other ESP8266-based board) - in a suitable enclosure - and a door sensor of this type would make for a more visually pleasing setup?

Magnetic contact switch

I am not sure about the battery life you would get on the NodeMCU since it is Wi-Fi based, so maybe some other radio communication module (e.g. ZigBee) would be better.

I use monoprice sensor with aeon stick Gen 5.

the only problem I get maybe once a month is that it do not report the status change. (it tell it is still open when it is close). it’s so rare that I don’t mind.

the battery is reported. and report open/close almost instantly.

the only problem is that zwave is not encrypted. if you don’t mind then it’s for you. (you can have zwave plus encrypted device and zwave 1 door lock encryption but openhab still did not work well with them)

good luck with your project.

If you are putting a sensor on every door and window, it may be worth adding an alarm system at the same time. I use a DSC alarm, and that works great with OpenHab…

I use DSC EV DW4975 Vanishing Wireless Door Window Transmitter for the windows where the wired connections were not wired working and you can barely see them. Also have one on the shed and the garage overhead door as we tend to forget those are open.

Another option would be RFXcom and a supported Door sensor.

I’d also agree that an alarm system with sensors on all those doors and windows might be a cheaper way to go while also keeping a good looking and reliable setup.

The DSC ones are good and plug into OpenHAB easily enough.

An added benefit will be that you can also hook into any motion sensors that are part of your alarm too!