HomeHome AutomationPIR sensor like no other: Shelly Motion

PIR sensor like no other: Shelly Motion

It's big and feature-packed

Do you remember Shelly? You should, as they have nifty devices for home automation. I was in love with their web GUI on Shelly 1 (review) and their funky-looking Shelly Eye camera (review) and now, Shelly is exploring another market: sensors with Shelly Motion. And there are lots to talk about.

Now discontinued, so please check Shelly Motion 2 sensor which offers even better features than the original design.

Shelly Motion – not ZigBee but WiFi

What stands out most is the size of the sensor. Shelly’s Motion is big and heavy. It’s nicely designed so it’s not ugly, but it will be instantly visible thanks to its size and (optional) LED embedded inside the PIR shell. The reason why Shelly Motion is so big is the internal battery that lets the PIR sensor connect to the network for a year (or more) on a single charge.

Other than the micro USB (hey guys what happened to USB-C?) and a reset pin, there are no other ways to interact with the device physically. WiFi protocol enables hub-less operation which is great for anyone just looking for an easy start and the well-developed app and web interface provide an array of interesting options.

Shelly Motion – unique PIR

It’s not just a PIR sensor. Shelly Motion comes with an array of sensors capable of measuring motion, vibration and luminosity. Thanks to these customisations, you can use this PIR sensor to trigger lights or dial it in, to work with alarm systems without running into false positives.

PIR

What’s really cool about this sensor is the custom options. Shelly Motion can detect individual motions every 3 seconds. Obviously, this more than anyone would ever need, so you can customise the following settings:

  • motion sensitivity (distance and size of the motion)
  • blind time (up to 5 min)
  • motion pulse time (how many motion events before the alarm is raised)

Thanks to these parameters your sensor will only report when predefined thresholds had been reached. On top of that, you can set the operating modes to work at night or day increasing the battery life of the device.

Vibration

The vibration sensor serves as a tamper alarm but it can also double as Earthquake detection. It comes with sensitivity settings so you can adjust the value to ignore heavy trucks moving outside of your house. It’s not a must-have feature in Europe, but my friend moved recently to California, and Earthquake info is much more appreciated in seismically active locations. In fact, it may very well save lives.

The sensor is very sensitive and can pick up the keystrokes of the keyboard when placed on, the same, as a keyboard, or table.

Luminosity

To keep track of the daylight, there is a luminosity sensor included. There are options to calibrate the light levels responsible for setting operational modes BRIGHT, NIGHT, and TWILIGHT. This data can be used to trigger other products as well!

Connectivity

As usual, Shelly delivers in that department. I had said that before and say this again. Shelly knows how to combine interfaces for everyone’s satisfaction. Full cloud connectivity is available while using the app, while extra protocols like MQTT, CoAP, and REST are configurable via web GUI for anyone looking to direct the devices via the local network.

All this is available by default. There is no need to hack the device open and flash custom firmware. It’s an approach I wish others would follow and the reason I like ZigBee devices as they also don’t require hacking.

The default control protocol is Shelly Cloud plus REST API which triggers HTTP tasks. I remember this function on Shelly 1, but now you can make multiple API calls per trigger. It’s a great option to keep the device compatible with Shelly Cloud (and therefore with Alexa and Google Home) and be able to trigger Home Assistant or NodeRED. It means that you could send information about the movement to several devices at once instead of processing it on another server.

If the cloud isn’t enough and you would like to have strict LAN control, using a web interface allows you to play with REST MQTT and CoAP. It looks like Shelly Motion remains present in the Cloud while MQTT is enabled, so this is a big step up from Shelly 1.

In my next article, I will show you how to use Shelly with NodeRED via REST and MQTT protocols so you can come up with nice home automation projects yourself without being dependent on Shelly Cloud. I also got 2 Shelly Duo bulbs to play with, expect more Shelly-themed articles soon!

Missing one thing

Priced around €40 it’s not a cheap device, and some of you will have a hard time justifying the purchase. In reality, there is one more thing that stopping Shelly Motion from being an ultimate go-to sensor for each room: temperature and humidity sensor.

Shelly Motion already shares PIR data, luminosity, and motion sensitivity data, and adding temperature and humidity to the mix would replace the need for several sensors. As it stands now, you’d still have to buy one more sensor to track the temperature on top of €40 spent on Shelly Motion. Having all 4 sensors in one package at €40-50 would probably justify the purchase for a lot of you.

Otherwise, the alternatives might be cheaper, but equipping rooms with multiple sensors quickly adds up the cost, and requires bigger (often costly) infrastructure to support dozens of devices.

Get Shelly

Check out other devices from the Shelly series to build your ultimate DIY automation:

Final thoughts

I shared my feedback with the Shelly guys. They are looking to get some more as Shelly Motion are the baby steps into IoT sensors. I’m always impressed by how much care and attention goes into their products. Even if I get confused about their GIU “OK” button at times and try to swipe that! They may not be the cheapest options out there but they do live up to their expectations and I’m looking forward to playing with more Shelly toys! In fact, I should reserve some time as I still have 2 Shelly devices I have not talked about before! Any comments? Let me know in this Reddit thread.

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