Battery powered z-wave repeater?

(Daniel Heyl) #1

I’m doing a smart thing integration for a series of job sites that are outdoors and the electric outlets are too far from one another for the zwave signal to reach. Is there any battery powere device out there that will repeat the signal between the two outlets? If not what are your thoughts on using a usb backup battery (think cell phone battery life extender) to power up motion detectors? Any other creative ideas out there in the community? Thanks!

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

Not a bad idea, but I wonder what the power draw is and thus, battery life duration. Aren’t there some dedicated ZigBee plug-in repeaters? Unfortunately, these won’t have USB power input, though they probably are 5v internally.


To the best of my knowledge there are no certified zwave battery operated repeaters. The power draw drains the batteries too fast, so the manufacturers don’t make them.

Is this for a temporary or a permanent installation?

Sometimes the easiest repeater for odd places is a light bulb like the linear or Domitech. (These are zwave, not zigbee. You need a zwave bulb to repeat zwave. Just in case you also need zigbee repeaters, we should note that zigbee utilizes two protocols for light bulbs, ZLL like Hues and ZHA like Osram Lightify and they don’t repeat for each other.)

Some security class devices like smoke alarms will not repeat even if hardwired, to make sure they don’t miss an alarm because they were busy repeating for a light bulb somewhere.

Otherwise any mains powered zwave device should act as a repeater, just plug it into a conventional temporary power pack.

Zwaveproducts has the Schlage plug in light module on sale for $20, a good deal, and makes a good range extender. It will draw very little power if not used for anything but range.

(Daniel Heyl) #4

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve got a few of the Schlage modules already connected for that exact purpose. The real issue is that it is a temporary setup (say 6 months at a time before it is moved) and I do not have outlets close enough for the repeating to pickup. The outlets are outdoors and approx 100-150 feet apart. I’ve tested different products and while some claim better range than others, nothing has been able to talk that far away. Everything I have on this setup is z-wave, not zigbee. Thanks!

(Bryan) #5

I have a concern about hard-wired repeaters. If you are using a Z-Wave repeater for door/window sensors, wouldn’t they go down in a power outage? Possibly the most important time you need them. I realize that battery operated repeaters are not viable because of the power consumption, but why not a battery backed-up repeater that primarily operated on 120V and used the bbu for power outages? This seems like a no brainer to me but I may not know all of the technical aspects to make something like this work. Anyone know of a device that is 120V repeater with bbu? I have searched and come up with nothing. Some sirens that plug in are repeaters with bbu but I believe the repeater part goes away on bbu.


During construction in the field for industrial applications, field engineers bring UPS back up then just plug in repeater devices. Just like you’d back up your Internet router. It doesn’t take anything special, any plug-in device can plug into that kind of a battery backup. Or you can wire one into a circuit.

It’s just a question of your particular set up and your particular needs. The hub controller for your battery powered devices needs a back up anyway, if you want it to run when the power is out. And if you expect to get any notifications outside the home, you need battery back up power for whatever that is.

If you go out and buy a system designed primarily for security, like frontpoint or simplisafe or scout, their hub has its own battery back up and that’s all you need. But you have to have each battery powered sensor connecting directly to the hub, so sometimes it takes more than one to cover a whole house.

When you have a cheap System designed primarily for home automation, like smart things, there’s no battery back up for notifications, the back up for the hub is limited, but you’re more likely to want to use extended mesh and have all the devices connected to the same hub for when the power is up. Essentially they assume most of their customers give their home automation the same priority level as their home theater.

If you want more from it, you just have to provide more battery back ups. Still have the problem that you can’t send any notifications when the Internet is down, though, so that’s a separate issue even if you keep the power on.

I’m quadriparetic so my medical support systems have to stay reliable. (Those are not on SmartThings) so I pay attention to a lot of the stuff. Other people might follow it for other reasons, like personal security. My house is dual grid, solar and conventional, so I minimize the number of off power days.

The new powerwall battery technology from Tesla is really interesting. Ideally suited for solar systems but can be used with others as well. That gives you anything from a one circuit back up to a whole house, depending how much you want to invest.

The following article goes into some of the nitty-gritty about what you would actually need to pay to solve different kinds of use cases. For example, if you really want to minimize power use, you don’t use an electric dishwasher, solar or not. Anyway, it’s the high-end of the price spectrum, obviously, but a lot cheaper than the older technologies. For about $10,000 you can have a pretty solid backup strategy.

(Bryan) #7

Thank you so much for the reply.

I basically want to extend the range with a repeater to my battery backed-up V2 hub.

Notifications are important but not essential. SmartThings is turning more towards monitoring your home like an alarm company with the latest updates using Smart Home Monitor. Say it is 3am and someone cuts your power to your home and intends to break in. There goes all of the door/window switches and sirens behind your hard wired repeater. The notifications are great, but the siren at 3am is way more important in my opinion.

The most economical way would be to put a UPS at the repeater. That is what I will have to do until a repeater comes out that is hard-wired with BBU.

Thank you again.


Well reviving this topic. I ideally want a 12 volt Z-wave extender. I uses a solar panel and a battery to get continuous 12 volt power at a remote location. I plan to take apart an AEOTEC extender to see what it converts the AC to. I suppose I could use a 12 to 120 volt inverter but that just seems inefficient