‎Entry sensor IS responding, but doesn't always trip | SimpliSafe Support Home
 
DTM's profile

11 Messages

Sunday, November 13th, 2022 9:04 PM

Entry sensor IS responding, but doesn't always trip

This is a Gen 3 system, installed and working for 4+ years. I have an entry sensor on the entrance door I usually use that started acting oddly several weeks ago. When the system is activated ("Away") and I enter through that door, it doesn't always detect it. That is, it senses that I entered about half the time. Some more info:

  • I never get a "sensor not responding" error.
  • When I test the sensor, it always works.
  • When I open/close the door, it always flashes the blue light on the sensor.
  • The battery was only a few months old when this started, but I replaced it again anyway. That did not help.
  • It is the farthest sensor from the base station, so I tried swapping it with another sensor to see if the "new" one would have the same issue. It doesn't, so it seems to be the sensor itself that has a problem. (And anyway, if distance were the problem, I'd expect to get "not responding" errors, which I never do.)
  • When I arm the system to leave the house, I always get the audible warning that the door is open, so I know the base station is communicating with the sensor and the sensor is correctly indicating that the door is open.

Very strange. Any idea what could be happening? I'm suspecting it's an intermittent fault internal to the sensor, so I should probably just replace it. But I first want to be sure I'm not overlooking anything. Besides, it seems so unlikely that it would fail so often in operation, but has never once failed when I test it.

Accepted Solution

11 Messages

1 year ago

I've now reversed the position of the sensor and magnet so the magnet is on the metal door and the sensor is on the wood frame. So far, I've still not had a failure since I did the power cycle, so I'm inclined to believe that--somehow--is what did the trick. But I agree that mounting the sensor on wood is better anyway.

This may not be much help for dianalsavani's issue, but for me, I believe the problem is solved and this issue is closed. I'll post back if anything changes.

Thanks to all for the help and suggestions.

1 Message

1 year ago

We had this exact thing start happening this week. However we did not try a new battery yet. We tried talking to SimpliSafe via online chat and all they had us do was a power cycle of the system via these steps: 

"To power cycle your Base Station, please do the following steps: 1. Unplug the power cord from the Base Station. 2. Open the battery compartment on the bottom with a Phillips head screwdriver. 3. Remove one of the batteries for ~60 seconds. 4. Reinsert the battery and replace the cover. 5. Reconnect the power cord to the base station. When the system is powered on, it will say “Welcome to SimpliSafe” and confirm the most recent alarm status - Off, Home, Away."

We did this and the SImpliSafe agent checked our account and said "it should be working now." I asked what they determined the problem was, and turns out they didnt, they just said the system shows no sign of issues. I explained that the system showed no sign of issue prior to the power cycling too and the door was still not sensing that it was open consistently. I ended up just saying I'd see later if it happens again and if so I'd reach back out. 

then they asked me to arm and disarm the system and said "great! it shows the issue is gone!" and i asked what the issue was showing up as before and they said "alarm was triggered previously and therefore unable to trigger another alarm so it had to be armed and disarmed." which i told them made no sense since it was working just not consistently. 

They then had me go to system settings on the keypad and install system updates. We are doing that now and will just have to wait and see if it works.

For us it seems to be after a long duration of the door being closed. For instance, first thing in the morning upon opening the door, when it would normally start beeping right away and give us 30 seconds to enter the code, it does not start beeping at all. After opening and closing a few times or multiple times throughotu the day it seems to sense the door is open no problem. If we are gone for most of the day, when we come home, it again does not pick up that the door is being opened either at all or for maybe 30 seconds, at which point it then starts beeping the countdown. 

Sorry this is not much help but just wanted to share we also have this problem !'

UPDATE - after all that yesterday, the same thing happened today where it did not sense the door opened on the first open of the day. Ugh. 

(edited)

11 Messages

1 year ago

Thanks for the response and for trying to help, even though it doesn't look like you've found a fix yet. I recently had some progress that you might want to try.

I said that I had swapped the sensor with another one and that the "new" one on that door was working perfectly. About a week ago, I swapped them back, but this time I first removed the battery from the problem sensor for a minute or so. My thinking was that this might cause the sensor to shut completely down, as opposed to the few seconds it took to change the battery, which might have let the thing keep alive on whatever residual charge was in any capacitors onboard. I then put the battery back in and reinstalled the sensor in its original location. It has not failed since.

I'm guessing (or maybe just hoping) that the sensor might have gotten hung up in some odd condition and the long power-down reset it. Or perhaps it was the base station that got hung up somehow in its handling of the sensor and making it "go away" temporarily was able to reset the problem. I don't know. But we'll see what happens.

(edited)

Community Admin

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5.2K Messages

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70 Points

1 year ago

Hi @DTM ,

The first thing that I thought of is that the sensor might just be on the border of being too far away from the magnet; so most of the time, it is able to register as opened or closed. But not all the time.

But if that was the case, if you swapped that sensor with a different one, that different one should actually start having trouble as well.

The next thing I figured is that the sensor might be placed on a metal surface - namely iron or steel. Over time, the sensor might demagnetize, and lose its function. That would explain why swapping it with the new one seemed to work. It would have taken time for the demagnetization to happen.

The solution to that would be to put some sort of shielding under both the sensor and the magnet - maybe just a piece of wood or plastic.

But I'm curious to hear if simply power cycling the sensor works for you, because you might be onto something there as well.

11 Messages

1 year ago

The distance between the magnet and sensor is about 1/2 inch, so that shouldn't be an issue. But the sensor is on a steel door, with the magnet on a wood frame. I suppose I could try reversing that if the problem returns.

However, if the sensor is demagnetizing, I would expect it would "fail open", that is, it would show the door as open when it is actually closed and I would get false trips.

On the other hand, it's possible that the reverse is happening and the proximity of the magnet to the steel door is magnetizing the door so the door itself has enough of a field to keep the sensor tripped, at least sometimes, when it is opened. But why would swapping help? Maybe one sensor is a little more sensitive than the other. But I'm really speculating now.

I'll see what happens going forward.

Question: when mounting a sensor on a metal door, does SimpliSafe recommend putting the magnet on the door and the sensor on the frame? I don't recall seeing that anywhere, but may have overlooked it. If that's important, but not explicitly recommended, I'd guess that a lot of people have mounted it the way I did, so there should be a lot of reports of this.

Community Admin

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240 Messages

@DTM​ You're correct, if there was an issue with the magnetization the sensor should incorrectly state that it's open when it's not. We only have a small mention of this on our Help Center, so I'll be syncing with the team internally to get more documentation added for the installation guide. 

If the steel door is magnetic, it is a best practice to install the magnet on that side of the door, and the sensor on the wood frame for your set up. If it's simply a metal door, adding a thin layer of cardboard between the sensor and metal surface can help to better insulate the sensor, and improve the overall connection between it and your system. 

1 year ago

My garage sensor is not responding 

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