Finding the right presence detection sensor for your home automation system can be a challenge, especially when it comes to scenarios where detecting movement becomes difficult. An example of this is detecting people sitting on the couch, working at their desk og at a table – where the motions might be so minute that a regular motion detector might not cut it. The Aqara FP2, with its millimeter-wave presence detection technology, offers a great solution for those seeking to improve their smart home experience, particularly in places where you want to detect presence/occupancy rather than motion – which is something I’ve really been longing for. In this blog post, we’ll look at my experiences with the Aqara FP2, how I integrated it with Home Assistant, explore its features, and my specific case of using it to automate bedroom lighting.
Bedroom Lighting Automation: Striking the Right Balance
Automating bedroom lighting is often considered a tricky task, as getting it wrong can lead to accidentally waking up a sleeping partner. I want lights to come on when someone enters the room, like we have in all other rooms, but if anyone is sleeping there already, we need to take that into account. If on the other hand somebody moves while sleeping, I don’t want that to trigger any lighting. With the Aqara FP2, it’s possible to achieve a balanced approach to bedroom lighting automation, offering convenience without compromising on sleep quality.
Aqara FP2: Key Features and Setup
The Aqara FP2 stands out in the market due to the combination of its millimeter wave technology and ease of setup. The device operates independently, connecting to your network via Wi-Fi, and is powered by USB-C (note: power brick not included). This makes the installation process relatively simple.
Compatibility with both Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Home Assistant via HomeKit Bridge allows for seamless integration with your existing smart home ecosystem. This means you can manage the Aqara FP2 using your preferred automation platform.
Customizable Zones for Personalized Automation
The ability to create and configure zones within the Aqara app is a key feature of the Aqara FP2. By setting up zones, you can expose them as separate sensors, giving you more control over your automation setup.
Aqara FP2 in the Bedroom
By installing the Aqara FP2 in the bedroom and configuring zones on each side of the bed, it’s possible to achieve granular presence detection for more precise automations. In our bedroom I created 3 zones, one for each side of the bed, and one where you would enter the room. Because of this, when someone enters the room, the bedside lamp on each side of the bed can turn on only if there is no one sleeping on that side – pretty neat right? This provides a convenient and personalized lighting experience without the risk of waking a sleeping partner. While movement beyond entering the room won’t trigger any lights at all.
Even for automations during the day, where the lights will come on more brightly, this is really handy to make sure that someone taking a nap won’t be woken up by an accidental trigger of a motion sensor that probably stopped detecting motion once you fell asleep.
Additionally, the Aqara FP2 can automatically turn off the lights when there is no motion detected. Since the device also has a light level sensor, I can use the same check as with other automations, making sure it is dark enough that lights are actually needed.
In my particular case, I also use this to change other motion based lighting automations. When everyone is sleeping, I can turn off all the lights as well as the motion based lighting in the living room, preventing false positives from the cat.
Keep it out of the corner, for now
While the Aqara FP2 offers a practical solution for my bedroom lighting automation, the granular control also requires more planning. One of the main challenges users face is finding the right placement for the device.
Currently, the Aqara FP2 requires placement on a wall rather than in a corner if you want to create zones effectively. This constraint can make it a bit difficult to find the optimal position for the sensor, especially in rooms with unconventional layouts. The device has a 120-degree field of view, which would make it ideal for corner placement, but setting it up in a corner is rather tedious at the moment.
Aqara has already stated that a software update allowing users to rotate the map within the app is on the horizon (and lots of other features as well). This update should help address the placement challenges and offer greater flexibility in configuring the device to suit various room setups.
Integrating Aqara FP2 with Home Assistant
For Home Assistant users, integrating the Aqara FP2 is a straightforward process. By using the HomeKit Controller, you can easily connect the device to your existing automation setup. I’ve noticed reviewers saying that they had issues, but it worked flawlessly for me.
All in all, the Aqara FP2 offers a practical solution for those looking to enhance their smart home experience, particularly in the bedroom. Its millimeter-wave presence detection, customizable zones, and compatibility with HomeKit and Home Assistant make it a suitable choice for bedroom lighting automation. If you’re considering ways to improve the presence detection in your bedroom or other areas of your home, the Aqara FP2 might be worth considering.
Because it requires power and costs significantly more, I won’t be replacing all my motion detection sensors any time soon. But for certain scenarios, it just solves a problem that a regular motion sensor can’t.