Teardown: 433MHz window sensor

We’ve had a look at at 433Mhz window sensor before, but are they all the same? Let’s check another one:

osm900-1

Ist this one different? It definitely is a bit larger. Why?

osm900-3

It runs on AAA batteries. That makes replacing the batteries easier and most likely cheaper than the special 12V battery we saw in the other sensor. If you want to use it as a security device, it is also nice to see that there is a switch connected to the case. If somebody tries to open the device, it will also send a message.

osm900-2

On the back there aren’t any surprises. Just the transmitter chip with a few external components and an LED.

The protocol used for the 433MHz RF transmissions is trivial. There is no encryption. This means it is extremely simple to record the signal from the sensor and play it back again. It depends on your use case, if this is a problem.

As the module tested before, this one also only sends a signal when the window opens, not when it closes. Therefore it can’t be used to detect if a window is open or close.

433MHz window sensor

On eBay, Alibaba or other web sites, you can find cheap Window sensors that will send a data packet to inform you about the state of your windows. They often costs less than 10$ per unit, which makes it easy to test them.

They look like this:

Newest-High-quality-1Pcs-433-MHZ-Wireless-Home-Security-Door-Window-Sensor-Detector-with-Battery-for

But what’s inside? Let’s have a look. The part that is mounted on the window itself is basically just a magnet. You might already know what will be on the other side: a reed relay. But what else:

The electronic circuit is based on the HS1527. The nice thing about this chip is the 1uA standby current. Even with a small battery, the battery life will be relatively high. It is powered by a small 12V battery – I haven’t seen this battery type before.

The good thing about the chip is that you can use a lot of cheap 433MHz receivers connected to a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to receive the signals.

However, there is one major downside: This sensor sends only a data packet when you open the window, not when you close it. This is ok if you want to use it to detect break-ins, but it won’t work if you want to detect if a window is open (e.g. if you want to turn off the heating).

Therefore I can’t recommend this sensor type for home automation use.