Heiman ZigBee Smoke Sensor And Alarm Review

When planning out your smart home, there are certain areas where you need to get a good quality gadget you can trust. If your motion sensor or door sensor fails, your hallway light will not turn on. Big deal. But, if your water leak or smoke detector fails, it could cause expensive damage to your home. Or potentially bigger disasters, so let’s not even go there.

In this review, we are going to test the Heiman ZigBee Smoke Sensor and Alarm to see if this is a gadget you can completely trust. 

Technical Specification

  • Model: HS1SA
  • Connectivity: ZigBee 3.0
  • Power: DC3V (CR123A Lithium Battery)
  • Standby Current: <10uA
  • Alarm Current: <60mA
  • Alarm Sound: <120dB/1m, <90dB/3m
  • Working Temperature: -10°C + 50°C
  • Working Humidity: up to 95%RH
  • Dimensions: 60x43mm with base
  • Certification: CE, RoHS, FCC, CCC, EN14604, TÜV

IMPORTANT: Besides CE and RoHS, it’s important to note that this smoke sensor is EN14604 certified. This certificate represents a standard for wireless smoke detectors which is a mandatory requirement for residential protection in the European Union

When companies apply for this certificate, their product goes through testing in the EU, specifically for several types of fires:

  • Pyrolysis wood fire TF2
  • Glowing smouldering cotton fire TF3
  • Flaming plastics (polyurethane) fire TF4
  • Flaming liquid (n-heptane) fire TF5

It’s also important to note, that the sound output is tested and must be within a certain permissible range with an accepted frequency. On top of this, the Heiman Smoke Sensor received the Reddot Design Award in 2017.

Different Models

Heiman produces the same smoke sensor in three different versions:

  • Standalone Version:
    • HS1SA: No connectivity model, just sounds the siren when smoke is detected
  • ZigBee Version:
    • HS1SA-M: First Generation, ZigBee
    • HS1SA-N: Second Generation, ZigBee
    • HS1SA-E: Third Generation, ZigBee 3.0
  • Z-Wave Version:
    • HS1SA-Z: Z-Wave Compatible and Certified Variant 

In this article we are talking about the ZigBee 3.0 version labeled HS1SA-E.

What’s Inside?

The Heiman Smoke Sensor comes packaged with a user manual, a hairpin for resetting the sensor and two plastic dowels with bolts for installation.

Once you remove the contact film, you can unscrew the mounting cap and remove the battery. We can see it’s a 3V lithium CR123A battery, which can also be replaced with a CR17335.

The battery is wrapped in a product information tag, containing some basic characteristics of the sensor on one side. 

Once untangled, it provides more information about the battery type, and short explanation of the sensor working modes in case you lose the manual. A Battery Removed Warning is placed at the bottom.

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On one side of the sensor, there is a status LED which doubles as a Test and Mute Button. This is an indicator blinking fast when in pairing mode, or blinking once every 59 seconds when in normal operation mode. It’s a dim light, so it won’t be annoying to you. On the back side, there is small hole which accesses the reset button inside using the hair pin. 

Once disassembled, the components and the main PCB are exposed. I noted the battery holders/contacts are very strong and not easily bendable. Three wires connect the PCB to the siren beneath the sensor.

The other part of the shell can be removed by a gentle pull, and the actual smoke sensor is observed. It an in-house built Heiman Infrared Photoelectric Sensor. Inside the bottom casing, the 90db siren remains glued to the plastic.

Under the smoke sensor, the ZigBee antenna is soldered. It’s a Silicon Labs EM3585 which includes an ARM® Cortex®-M3 microcontroller, 512 kB of flash, 32 kB of RAM, 0 GPIO and is available in a QFN48 package. EM3585 devices include ZigBee and Thread wireless software. 

Integration Compatibility

The Heiman Smoke Detector Alarm is compatible with ZHA, ZigBee2MQTT and Deconz. It pairs easily with most coordinators, although some people have reported issues with the CC2531 stick, as it uses an outdated chip. In my case, I am testing it with the Conbee II. 

To pair the smoke sensor, we use a hairpin that came in the package to press the button on the side for 2 seconds and the LED will start blinking rapidly to indicate pairing mode. If for some reason you have trouble pairing it with your coordinator, you can completely reset the sensor by holding the hairpin for 5 seconds. The LED will flash 6 times to indicate it has been reset. After this, you can repeat the pairing procedure.

ZHA

The sensor pairs seamlessly with ZHA and exposes the following entities:

  • Smoke Binary Sensor
  • Battery Low Binary Sensor
  • Battery Percentage Sensor
  • Link Quality LQI Sensor

ZigBee2MQTT

In Z2M, it is identified as model HS1SA with different ZigBee IDs depending on which version you have: 

SMOK_V15, SMOK_V16, b5db59bfd81e4f1f95dc57fdbba17931, SMOK_YDLV10, SmokeSensor-N, Smoke, 319fa36e7384414a9ea62cba8f6e7626, c3442b4ac59b4ba1a83119d938f283ab, SmokeSensor-EF-3.0.

Once paired, it exposes the following entities: 

  • Smoke Binary Sensor
  • Battery Low Binary Sensor
  • Battery Percentage Sensor
  • Link Quality LQI Sensor

Deconz

The sensor is also officially supported in Deconz. Some users have reported that the detector pairs fine, but does not report events at all. To fix this, after you pair it to your coordinator, you need to trigger the sensor once and all other exposes will start to report their state in time.

  • Smoke Binary Sensor
  • Battery Low Binary Sensor
  • Battery Percentage Sensor
  • Link Quality LQI Sensor

Testing

Sensor Testing

Before testing the Heiman Smoke Sensor with actual real life scenarios, the correct operation of the sensor could be checked by using the test button on the side of its shell. 

To test if the siren is in order, we can press the button which will make the LED blink rapidly and present loud beeps for several seconds. Pressing the button again will make the sensor go silent and enter “Hush mode”. This operation mode silences the siren when smoke is detected, the state is only reported through its ZigBee payload. After 10minutes, the sensor is back to normal working condition.

Heiman suggest testing the alarm once a week, but I feel this maybe a bit of an overkill. Testing maybe once a month seems more appropriate. Important thing to note though, is that air dust can pollute the sensor and make it report falsely. It will report false positives if not cleaned regularly. False positives are not a problem though, false negatives on the other hand are! If enough dust is accumulated, the sensor will not be able to detect smoke and in the case of a fire emergency it will fail to do its job. This could potentially lead to grave consequences. Try to keep its mesh clean and you will have no issues.

Real Testing

To test the sensitivity and accuracy of the sensor, I developed several real life scenarios and measured it’s response. After the first test, I turned off the siren because the sound was unbearable. I repaired the sensor 3 times to test its response from different positions and pairing paths (coordinator, 1st router, 2nd router).


Test 1: Cigarette Smoke

  • Placement: Door Frame
  • Paired: Directly to coordinator
  • Trigger range: 1 meter (3.2 feet)
  • Smoke Strength: Medium
  • Response: Within 3 seconds
  • Test Repeat: 10 times
  • Result: Detected 10/10 times

Test 2: Cooking Bacon Smoke

  • Placement: Kitchen Aspirator Frame
  • Paired: Directly to coordinator
  • Trigger range: 80 centimeters (2.6 feet)
  • Smoke Strength: Low/Medium
  • Response: Within 40 seconds
  • Test Repeat: 2 times
  • Result: Detected 2/2 times

Test 3: Burning Paper

  • Placement: Terrace Ceiling
  • Paired: Through 1st mains connected router
  • Trigger range: 2 meters (6.5 feet)
  • Smoke Strength: Medium/High
  • Response: Within 1 minute
  • Test Repeat: 4 times
  • Result: Detected 4/4 times

Test 4: Burning PU Cloth

  • Placement: Terrace Ceiling
  • Paired: Through 1st mains connected router
  • Trigger range: 2 meters (6.5 feet)
  • Smoke Strength: Medium/High
  • Response: Within 1 minute
  • Test Repeat: 2 times
  • Result: Detected 2/2 times

Test 5: Burning PVC Plastic

  • Placement: Terrace Ceiling
  • Paired: Through 1st mains connected router
  • Trigger range: 2 meters (6.5 feet)
  • Smoke Strength: Medium/High
  • Response: Within 1 minute
  • Test Repeat: 4 times
  • Result: Detected 4/4 times

Test 6: Burning Dry Wood

  • Placement: Porch Ceiling
  • Paired: Through 2nd mains connected router
  • Trigger range: 2.5 meters (8.2 feet)
  • Smoke Strength: High
  • Response: Within 1 minute
  • Test Repeat: 1 time
  • Result: Detected 1/1 times

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I decided to burn PU cloth under the sensor because most home furniture nowadays is made from PU derivatives, and in case of a fire, this is the kind of smoke it would produce. For the PVC plastic test, I burned an old kids toy. Most of the modern household appliances are shelled in some kind of thermoplastic derivative (PVC, PP, PS, ABS), and this is the kind of smoke they would produce.

Although it delivered different results with variable time frames, it did not fail to detect smoke in any scenario.

IMPORTANT: It’s absolutely crucial that you have a robust and well-rounded ZigBee Mesh Network to ensure the correct operation of the Heiman Smoke Detector. Because this device is battery powered, it acts as an end device instead of a router. It’s placement in ceilings and corners extends the range of sending the ZigBee payload, so to make sure it does not fail in the case of an emergency, you need to solidify your ZigBee Mesh by adding as many routers as you can.

Verdict

The Heiman Smoke Sensor proved to be an excellent fire detection device you can trust. In my tests, I tried to replicate real-life scenarios of burning different materials to produce different kinds of smoke. It did not fail once to detect smoke and alert Home Assistant.

The siren it uses is rated as producing 120db at <1m and 90db at <3m with an incredibly loud and distinct sound, comparable to the Neo Tuya ZigBee 90db Alarm Siren. I had to turn it off during testing otherwise it would had deafened me. 

The battery it uses has an reported life of 5 years! It can be replaced with two models: CR123A and CR17335 at 3V. Although it’s not that common and purchasable in your neighborhood hardware store, you can find it on Amazon and AliExpress for dirt cheap.

The EN14604 certificate it possesses further solidifies its case a solid product. This tells me that the Heiman Smoke Sensor is not some cheap Chinese junk, but a product that the company went out of it’s way to certify and prepare for western markets. I Intend to dig a little deeper about this company in a future article.

If you want to add the Heiman ZigBee Smoke Detector to your smart home setup, consider ordering through our affiliate links bellow.

Heiman Smoke Sensor HS1SA-E ZigBee

AliExpress | AliExpress 2
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

Heiman Smoke Sensor HS1SA-Z Z-Wave

AliExpress |
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

Heiman Smoke Sensor HS1SA Standalone

AliExpress |
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

Note: This item is not available for purchase in Amazon.com, and some EU Amazon stores. We recommend ordering from AliExpress instead.


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4 thoughts on “Heiman ZigBee Smoke Sensor And Alarm Review”

  1. Wow. Great review thanks a lot for that. have been wondering about these for a while now. And also thanks for taking the time to test with actual smoke, that made all the difference to me.
    They say to change your smoke alarms every 10year so I still have some time left on the current ones.

  2. I bought eight of these sensors via Aliexpress and installed them in my house here in Germany half a year ago. My Zigbee network is also installed with the Deconz stick. Everything worked out of the box – the only thing bothering me is that the battery state is still shown at 100% – which seems to be wrong as I can not believe that after half a year it did not change. At all of the eight sensors.
    But I think it is still one of the best offers for having your house covered with home assistant compatible smoke sensors and not spending too much money on them.

  3. There is also a different model, a completely round model.
    As far as I could tell I think these are newer than the rounded square
    I have 3 of those and they work perfectly in HA with ZHA.

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