Perform a Site Survey Using a Button Press Sensor

An ALTA® Wireless Button Press Sensor can be used to survey a site, identifying the best placement of your sensors before installation. Our Button Press Sensor will report signal strength between itself and the gateway every time you press the button. This allows you to test the location and placement of your sensors before installation to ensure reliable transmission to the gateway.

Get Started

Check a Sensor’s Signal Strength

Every time the Button Press Sensor checks in it reports its current signal level to the gateway. As illustrated in the image below, the signal strength is reported similarly to its display on a cell phone, represented by a dynamic “signal strength” icon.

To check your sensor’s signal strength:
  1. Open the Menu on your iMonnit Mobile app (“Hamburger Menu Icon” on the top left side of the screen).
  2. Select “Sensors."
  3. You should already see the Signal Strength here, but to see more details Tap on the Button Press Sensor’s “tile.”

The sensor in the following image has good strength and would not need to move.
Sensor Signal Good

The image below shows that the sensor is further away from the gateway. As you can see, the signal strength has decreased, though it’s still adequate.
Sensor Low Signal

Monnit advises that the signal strength icon showing two bars is adequately reliable but could experience interference by unexpected obstructions or environmental changes (for example, someone moving a bookcase obstructing the RF path between the gateway and the sensor). Monnit recommends considering a different location/placement when the signal strength indicator displays one bar or less. Ideally, you want three or more bars.

Survey the Area

Once the Button Press Sensor has been added to your account and is checking in, follow the steps below to conduct a site survey for signal strength/sensor placement.

  1. Go to the desired mounting location of the sensor.
  2. At the location, place the Button Press Sensor on the equipment or the wall where you plan to mount a sensor – hold it in the spot and press the button on the sensor.

The LED on the sensor will flash GREEN or RED once the button is pressed.
GREEN - The sensor successfully delivered a message to the gateway:
Button LED Green
RED -The sensor could not reach the gateway:
Button LED Red

Confirm if the sensor reached the gateway by checking the mobile app:

  1. Open the mobile app on your mobile device.
  2. Refresh the mobile app.
    • Tap the “Details” tab of the Sensor view.
      Sensor Details

If the Button Press Sensor LED flashed GREEN, the signal strength icon should be updated in the Sensor Details within seconds (remember to refresh in the app). If the number of signal bars is three or above, the location is appropriate for deployment. If there are two or fewer bars, the sensor should be moved and the test repeated.

NOTE: If you are unsure what materials/objects may be physically placed between the sensor and the gateway, moving it to the left or right by 1-2 feet may make a big difference. There may be building materials or something similar that can hinder RF integrity. This will require a bit of experimenting on the user’s part.

If the Button Press Sensor LED flashed RED, the transmission did not reach the gateway. Move the sensor (1-2 feet or so), and test again by pressing the button; repeat the process to survey the area to identify weak spots in your deployment. Persistent RED flashes indicate that you have identified a larger area that is not adequate given the gateway’s current position. If this happens in a location where a sensor is needed, moving the existing gateway or deploying a second gateway would be necessary.

Add Notes

During the survey, you can add notes which can make correlating the placement to the sensor’s reported signal easier. You can potentially add a logged note to each testing position reading. A note can be added during or after your test.

Steps to add Notes:

  1. Go to your sensor’s “Readings” tab.
  2. Select the “Square Paper” icon to the left of the reading.
  3. Write your Notes (maybe the location you want the sensor installed).
  4. Select the “Add” button.
  5. Enter the Notes.
  6. Save.
    Create Notes
    Please see more instructions and information on the “Notes” feature at the link below.
    Adding Notes to a Sensor Reading in iMonnit Online

Conclusion

The Button Press Sensor can be a powerful tool for plotting your sensor placement. If you have related inquiries, feel free to reach out to support@monnit.com.



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