Complete Home Protection

Combining ESP32's with other electronic devices to create a complete home protection system

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The initial device uses an ESP32 and RCWL-0516 Microwave Radar Sensor as the basis of intruder detection part of the Complete Home Protection system. All devices are connected via the ESP32's WiFi to a central server running on a Raspberry Pi or similar device. Devices can also operate independently should communication with the central control unit fail...


A collection of autonomous devices also capable of combined operation dependent on circumstances. Each device can be configured as an input device (sensor), an output (signal) device or as both an input and output device.

Devices can communicate with a central control unit and with each other. Devices can relay information to the central control unit where the signalling device is out of range of the central control station.

The only real concern is powering some the of the sensor and signal devices where standby current is too demanding resulting in the battery requiring constant recharging. In such cases we permanently connect the sensor to the nearest power point.

In my home test setup, I can plug almost all the sensors into near by sockets.. a few did require I ran a little cable but this was considerably easier than having to cabling the entire house or use costly high current rechargeable batteries... 

RCWL-0516 Microwave Radar Sensor

I have only seen demos of the RCWL-0516 device and it performs well at distances up to about five meters in all directions which should cover most rooms in my house but I can always add another sensor if required. The only concern is the frequency as some devices may vary and encroach on the WiFi frequency in extreme circumstances...

While the RCWL-0516 appears to be a perfect match for this application it has one major drawback, its quiescent current is quite high for a battery operated sensor.

Existing Tech:

May combination with my ESP WiFi Server project (currently being updated)...

Sensor Types:

Smoke/Fire, Moisture/Water, Temperature, Humidity, Noise, Motion, Intruder (Radar/IR/Inertia/Mechanical).

Signal Types:

Bell, Siren, Light, Message.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 74.50 kB - 12/29/2017 at 17:02


JPEG Image - 20.06 kB - 12/29/2017 at 17:02


JPEG Image - 36.87 kB - 12/29/2017 at 17:02


  • 1 × ESP32 Hybrid Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Chip
  • 1 × RCWL-0516 RCWL-0516 4-28V 3mA Microwave Radar Sensor

  • Test Results (28 days)

    Michael O'Toole03/01/2018 at 13:23 1 comment

    I tested the Microwave Radar Sensor 24/7 from a single 3.2 volt LiFePO4 battery for a period of 28 days and here are my conclusions...

    The RCWL-0516 worked perfectly for 26 days at which point the battery voltage dropped to just below 3.0 volts and while the device continued to work below 3.0 volts it became more and more erratic as the voltage continued to drop...

    • There was no measurable difference in detection be it a 4 volt supply or a 3 volt supply...
    • Voltages below 3.0 volt (even if detection is possible) are not consistent and cannot be relied on...
    • A single LIFePO4 battery will power the sensor reliably for 175 hours (25 days)...

    In the real world I would recharge the battery every two weeks or better still, power the sensor from a near by main socket.

  • Initial Testing (RCWL-0516​)

    Michael O'Toole02/09/2018 at 08:39 0 comments

    Notes on RCWL-0516

    According to the datasheet the minimum operating voltage for the RCWL-0516 is 4 volts, however, in my tests they appear to operate perfectly fine at voltages as low as 3.0 volts (and possibly lower). While it's entirely possible that the detection distance is reduced as the voltage falls, it is not a major concern as during my test, I could not enter the room without triggering the device even when the supply was at 3.0 volts.


    I plan to use a LiFePO4 battery (fully charged to 3.6 volts) to power the circuit thereby eliminate problems associated with having to reduce higher supply voltages to power a 3.3 volt microcontroller or similar device.

    Test Method

    Power the test device with a fully charge LiFePO4 battery charged to 3.6 volts and ran tests every few minutes over the course of two weeks (the device was powered continuously 24/7).

    When testing I simply  turned on the multimeter (I could see this from a distance) and left the room. I waited a few seconds for it to settle and reentered the room. Each and every time I tested, it triggered perfectly.  Note I also tested for potential false triggering in an empty room, but there were none...

    Recorded the battery voltage at the end of each day to facilitate further analysis. Currently into week three but the battery has not yet dropped below 3.0 volts so finding are as yet incomplete...

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Tomas Mudrunka wrote 10/12/2019 at 10:29 point

I would love to see ESP32 WiFi RF frontend being used as doppler motion detector instead of RCWL-0516. There are some papers on this topic:

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