Chamberlain CWA2000 Driveway Motion Sensor Review

This product has been around for many years,  it’s was pretty much the go-to, cheapo driveway sensor.

Features:

  • 1/2 mile range
  • Expandable up to 4 sensors
  • Remote sensor runs on 4 x AA batteries
  • Base station runs on 9V AC/DC adapter
  • Base station has volume control & mute for the alert

I had this up and running on my driveway on & off for the past 2 years. It was a struggle to get it to work reliably, and in the end, I was asking it to do things it couldn’t.

In my mind, this thing had to have zero false alarms and alert me to every car & person on my driveway. I may have a unique environment with lots of wind, a few trees, hot sun and swaying plants. In my situation, this didn’t work well at all.

Sensor Teardown

When you open the housing with the 4 phillips screws, you get a battery pack wired to a PCB attached to the front of the housing. The antenna exits the housing thru a small hole.

PCB Back Side

Here is the front of the remote sensor PCB. You can see the PIR sensor in the center of the board. The red switch in the upper left sets the sensitivity & the range.

  • Position 1 – 15ft/30ft
  • Position 2 – Low sensitivity/high sensitivity

 PCB Front Side

The PCBA is conformal coated, so if it gets wet, it is somewhat protected.

The housing itself is not sealed. This is an outdoor use item, but without a proper seal/gasket, over time, water gets in.  You can see the antenna exits the housing thru a simple notch in the housing.

Housing SealAntenna Exit

Mounting wise, the housing has a rear mounting flange which has 4 mounting holes. It also has a ball joint to allow for articulation. Unfortunately, the range of angle adjustment is just a few degrees, so you are quite limited to how much you can adjust this once rigidly mounted.

6   

The front of the housing has an optical lens element typical with PIR. It is also snooted to shade it from the sun as much as possible.

When the senor goes off, there is an LED that will illuminate the PIR lens.

In my trials, I mounted it on a fence about 42″ off the gound, parallel to the driveway. I had tried to angle it to get the front/rear face of cars to hit their hot spots (engine & exhaust). On the far side of the driveways is a rising slope with some vegetation and trees.

During mid-day hot sun, light wind, this would start false alarming so much, you just unplug the base to shut it up. At night, when cars passed it on the driveway, it alerted maybe 75% of the time. It would usually pick up pedestrians, but I don’t get many of those.

At one point, I had to replace the battery holder as moisture had collected in the housing and corroded the battery holder contacts. At that point I was using alkaline cells, but switched over to lithium cells. , which lasted at least 3 months. I don’t honestly know actually how long the cells lasted as we used this for a while and got fed up with all the false alarms that we unplugged the base and forgot about it.

Conclusion

I don’t recommend this product.

Faults

  • Numerous false alerts during the day
  • Doesn’t alert on every vehicle, misses 25% of the time
  • Unable to disable sensor LED
  • I don’t believe this unit is temperature compensated, which means lots of false alarms when it heats up.
  • Only 4 options for sensor adjustments
  • Housing is unsealed

Positives

  • Cheap, can be bought for well under $50
  • Easy to setup in less than 30 min
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