Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Recessed Z Wave Door Sensor Install

As you know I've been playing around with some home automation tools recently.  One thing that I've wanted to install is a contact sensor for my front door.  The issue has been that the trim on the door makes it very difficult to install a traditional, flush mount sensor like I used for my pantry door project.  While searching online the other day, I found this recessed sensor, which seemed perfect for my application, so I ordered one up.  It arrived on Wednesday, so over the weekend, I got around to the install.

Package contents: sensor, magnet, small screws and instructions.

The physical install seemed like it would be straight forward but before I started drilling holes in my door frame I needed to be sure the sensor would pair with my Almond+. 

Pairing the Sensor 
The first step here was to remove the cover so that I could pull the battery saver tape.  It would be nice if you could do that without removing the cover but no dice.  I set my Almond+ into pairing mode, pulled the strip, watched the LED light up and... no love.  Ok, time for the directions.  A quick scan of the directions indicated that the device does not start up in pairing mode, you need to push the little Z Wave button with a paperclip.  I put my Almond+ back into pairing mode and then I pushed the Z Wave button and bingo, done!

Screen shot of the configured sensor from the Almond app.

Physical Install
With the pairing finished, it was time to move on to the physical install.  First up I had to drill a 3/4 inch wide hole in my door trim.  I chose to do this along the top of the door because of the way my door fits into the trim.  The clearance on the long side of the door is pretty tight, while the clearance along the top is more loose.  I think it would have worked on either side, but since I had the clearance, I took advantage.

One hole drilled into the top trim of my door frame.

Next I dry fit the sensor into the hole to see if I had drilled the hole deep enough.  The sensor mostly fit, but it did not fit flush, so I drilled slightly deeper and tried again and that did the trick.  Notice that there are three holes in the cap of the sensor, two for screws and the center hole for pushing the Z Wave button with a paperclip.

The dry fit sensor before I added the screws to hold it in place.

The last step for the sensor install was to add the two small screws.  Again, notice the center hole to reach the Z Wave button.

One sensor, fully installed.

Next up, I needed a hole for the magnet.  This time I used the same bit to drill a shallow hole into the top of the door.  Again, I did a quick dry fit and found I needed to make the hole a little deeper before I got the fit I wanted.  Super simple.

There's a hole in my door...

Push the magnet into the hole. 

Now the hole has a nice magnetic cap...
And, just like that, I'm ready to create some automation rules.  The first rule I created really isn't a rule at all.  I setup the new sensor to trigger a notification anytime the sensor state changes, but only when the Almond+ is in "Away" mode.  Home and Away are some of the first things I created with my Almond+ but I don't think I've posted about that process.  I'll save the details for another post but in general if Cath's or my cell phones are connected to the wifi then the Almond+ sets itself to Home and if neither phone is connected, then it sets itself to Away.  This is great because it uses our phones as a presence sensor so no need to buy a Zigbee or Z Wave presence sensor.  Now if anyone opens the front door while neither Cath nor I are home, I'll get a notification via the Almond app.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about this sensor or the install process feel free to leave me a comment.


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