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MT14 Vape Detection FAQ


Vaping is now an epidemic in adolescents:  More than 2.5M youths reported e-cigarette use in 2022. E-cigarettes are handheld devices that produce an aerosol that can be inhaled, by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine and other toxins. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s. Unfortunately, e-cigarettes often come in a variety of “fun” flavors, making them more attractive to adolescents.

Now, Meraki offers a solution that can help schools detect when students are vaping, so that school staff can prevent students from harming their health. 

The MT14 is an indoor air quality sensor that offers high sampling mode, which increases the sampling frequency for key metrics used to detect vape. MT14 provides real-time indoor air quality monitoring that can detect the presence of vape, chemicals, debris, extreme temperature, humidity, and noise. If air quality is impacted, MT can notify customers immediately with alerts via email, SMS, push notification, or webhook.



Detect vape by enabling high sampling mode

What is high sampling mode?

MT14 measures PM2.5, and e-cigarette vape fumes impact the PM2.5 concentration in an area. High sampling mode on MT14 increases the sampling frequency for key metrics used to detect vape. This allows for customers to monitor for sudden spikes in air quality that may be missed with less frequent sampling. Note that PM2.5 can also be triggered by numerous other sources, such as matches, aerosols, and cleaning agents.

Specifically, high sampling mode increases the sampling rate to: 

  • Particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5): Every one second

  • Ambient noise: Every five seconds

  • TVOC: Every 90 seconds

  • Temperature: Disabled

  • Humidity: Disabled 

MT14 does not have high sampling mode enabled out of the box. Out of the box, the metrics are sampled at: 

  • PM2.5: Every five minutes

  • Ambient noise: Every five minutes

  • TVOC: Every 90 seconds

  • Temperature: Every two minutes

  • Humidity: Every two minutes

How do you enable high sampling mode? 

Navigate to MT14 sensor details page > Settings > and you will see a section to toggle on high sampling mode. You can toggle this MT14 setting individually, so that you can have some MT14s in your network running on high sampling mode and others running in non-high sampling mode. For more details, refer MT14 High Sampling Mode article.



What are the power requirements?

Persistent power is required for high sampling mode, as it is required to sample PM2.5. There is a USB-C port on the MT14, and it can be powered either via USB-C (MA-PWR-USB-XX) or PoE with an adapter (MA-PWR-ETH), which are sold separately. The power ratings for MT14 are 5V;0.2A.

Why are some metrics disabled?

Temperature and humidity readings are inaccurate when high sampling mode is enabled. In order to provide a consistent experience, these metrics are disabled on the sensor. Note that you can disable high sampling mode to revert back to the out-of-the-box firmware to sample temperature and humidity again. However, frequently switching back and forth between modes is not recommended and will take time to calibrate.

Mounting the MT14 for Vape Detection

How high should the sensor be mounted on the wall?

We recommend installing the MT14 8-10 ft high on the wall, both to increase sensor reading sensitivity and to reduce the likelihood of student tampering. The vents should be facing downwards.

What is the sensing range for vape detection?

MT14 is most likely to pick up on vapor fumes in a room when vaping is occurring within an 8-foot radius of the sensor. With a mounting height of approximately 8 feet, this translates the coverage area to roughly 100 square feet of circular area with the sensor at the center.  

Additional factors such as room air flow, and the placement of the sensor can affect the efficacy of the MT14. Ensure that the MT14 is away from an inlet or outlet airflow vent.

What can you do to prevent tampering?

First, ensure that the MT14 mount plate is screwed into the wall and that the security anchor screw (T6) on the top of the MT14 body is engaged to the mount plate. 

Finally, users will receive an alert when the MT14 is disconnected from persistent power, so that you are made aware if the MT14 is unplugged and can immediately check on what happened to the sensor. Please make sure to enable Default Status Alert to receive these alerts.

What gateway requirements are there for the MT14?

You will need a compatible gateway (MV smart camera / MR access point) within the range of the sensor. RSSI for the sensor to the closest gateway should be > -80 dBm.

Can I pair the MT14 with a  camera so that I get a snapshot when vape is detected?

You can enable Sensor Sight on MT14 which will allow you to receive a text with a link to a timestamped MV camera feed at the time that vape is detected.

To enable Sensor Sight, navigate to “Assign Camera” on the Sensor Details page.

Select the camera you want to connect to the MT14 and hit “Save.”

You will begin automatically receiving alerts with a link to time stamped MV footage from the time the alert was triggered on your MT14. This will enable you to quickly navigate to MV footage from around the time that you received the alert, so that you can identify students who potentially set off the alert.

Alerting on vape

How do you set up alerts to detect vaping?

There is a default Potential Vape Detection alert in the dashboard. The alert can be enabled when a customer opts into high sampling mode on any MT14 device. The default alert has 80 µg/m3 auto-populated as a starting point, but admins can adjust thresholds for the default alert to account for installation and environmental differences that may require different settings.

What do you do in response to receiving an alert?

We recommend that alerts be sent via SMS to school staff who are responsible and will be available to check on the environments in which they receive vape detection alerts. From there, there are two recommended paths to follow up with students who may be vaping: 

  1. If possible, staff can check on the bathrooms at the time that they receive the alert to catch students vaping live. This is the most effective way to catch students who are vaping.

  2. Customers can pair their MT14 with an MV smart camera and leverage Sensor Sight to receive a timestamped MV camera feed. Staff will be able to retroactively identify students who have potentially been vaping by examining the snapshot or camera footage, and reaching out to these students at a later point to have a conversation with them.

How can I test that my MT14 is working for vape detection?

We recommend two tests to ensure that MT14 is working properly in your environment for vape detection. 

  1. With high sampling mode enabled and the default vape detection alert enabled, blow vape fumes directly onto the sensor from a few inches away. If you receive the alert, you know that high sampling mode is properly turned on. If you do not receive the alert, there is an issue with your setup - we recommend double checking that you have completed the steps in the previous sections.

  2. Test blowing vape fumes from further away, such as 3-5 feet away from the sensor. If you receive the default vape detection alert, the alert thresholds are set at an adequate level for your environment. If you do not receive an alert, you may need to lower your alerting threshold so that it is more sensitive.

What if the default vape detection alert is not working?

If you are testing the vape detection capabilities on MT14 and it does not seem to be detecting vape, here are some troubleshooting tactics you can try: 

  • Ensure your firmware is up to date: 1.4.1 for MT, 29.5.1 for MR, and 4.20+ for MV

  • Ensure that high sampling mode is toggled on for the MT14 you are testing 

  • Try different alerting thresholds so you customize the alert to your environment. For example, if a threshold of 80 µg/m3 PM2.5 is not picking up on vape, you can try setting it to a lower threshold such as 70 or 60 µg/m3

Can I see a demo of the alert setup experience?

Here is a video of the default potential vape detection alert setup process. Reach out to your sales rep for a more detailed demo! 

Additional resources for MT14 and vape detection

Here is a Meraki Community blog post on high sampling mode and here is our technical documentation.

More about MT14: MT14 was recently certified for UL 2905! This demonstrates through third-party certification that MT14 delivers accuracy and effectiveness in its measurement of indoor air pollutants.


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