Expandable Zigbee Repeater Solution (With Temperature, Humidity, Pressure and Light sensors)

Hey, never mind my last post. I got it to snap together. I will let you know if I have any more issues.

Ok. I just got my repeater paired and installed. I used a piece of aluminum with a piece of thin steel riveted to it so I would get a good ground plain. It seems to be working ok but I don’t know how to add devices to it. Previously I took an open close sensor to the garage and it worked intermittently. After the repeater was installed I took a spare outlet to the garage and it worked regardless of the repeater being powered on or not. So is there some way to add devices to the repeater or when I get my lights will they automatically pick the repeater to use instead of the hub. Right now there are no children added to the repeater.

Zigbee build its mesh network automatically.

In testing my module, I can force end devices to connect to the extender by shutting down all router and the smarttings hub for 15 min. This force end devices like your door sensor to associate with the extender.

In real life case, I would not do this. I would give some time for your mesh network be naturally optimized. This can take a day(or a lot longer). Please click on the refresh button from time to time. The information in DTH is not automatically refreshed.

If your end device have connection issue due to range, it will attempt to find a new parent. This is where the extender come in play. Your end device may associate itself to the extender. This will make the child count in DTH goes up.

Having said that, zigbee network is a complex network. The extender, I sent you, is basically a zigbee router. Your end device may connect to other router which in turn connect to the extender to the hub. A lot of things could go on where the child count does not goes up.

The next attribute that you can use get some sense if the router play some role is the neigbor count. If it say that the extender see some neighbors, your extender can play some role on your mesh network. The next attribute that you can use to gauge whether it does something is the TXFail and TXRetry. If those number goes up, it meant that it is handling some packets for the mesh network.

In summary, the child count is the easiest way to confirm the extender does something for your zigbee mesh. However, that should not be the only one attribute you can use to make determination. There are other attributes that you can use to get some sense what it is doing.

My current status…I moved some sensors around today:

I am a bit concerned about the PacketDrop. It is unusually high compared to mine.

It may not mean anything as it could happen on over the air network. However, please keep a watch on it. If you can minimize it, it probably will give you better results.

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My Wi-Fi network system is picking up two hidden open networks…was wondering if these belong to the repeater? Or if I have some other network somewhere in my house.

My ZigBee channel is 24…so it could probably be something else.

Zigbee and wifi may interfere from one to the other if you happen to use them in the same overlap channel. However, their modulation and framing are so different. One would not show up in the other network.

However, if your wifi channel overlap with the zigbee, it may cause all that packet drop. Smartthing use channel 20 zigbee. I do not have in my head what is the overlapping channel in wifi. You can Google them.

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FYI, here is one of my extender packet drop after a few weeks of operations.

I’m not getting any success in pairing with my ST? Does it work with either version of the hubs? I have both but only tried V1.

I only have v2 hub. I suspect the fingerprinting on v1 may not work with my dth. If you can help to do some investigating if this is the case, it could be helpful for v1 owner.

I know a few of us had it paired just fine.

I tried it with V2 hub, it still did not pair. Do I just plug in to USB power during paring? Do I need to press any button? Maybe it’s too far. I’ll move it closer to the hubs.

Here’s the setup. The laptop is a dead laptop. I’m using the Wi-Fi antenna.


There is no button to press if you have not pair it with any hub before. The reset procedure are a few thread back up.

It is hard to tell what kind of antenna you have. If the impedance is not matching, it will have hard time sending/receiving packets. So this is a possibility.

I am considering placing a contact sensor on my mailbox…about 150 feet away (next to neighbors house). Would this repeater work? If so, will the antenna I have be suffice or will I need something else?

Could you post links for us who might want to order these components and try to build it ourselves.
I see you are using a CC2530 chip, would CC2531 also work ?

Would this one work ? https://www.aliexpress.com/item/CC2531-USB-Dongle-ZigBee-packet-sniffer-protocol-analyzer-packet-sniffer/32819276370.html

I believe you are getting the extended range version. With high gain and a bit more directional antenna, the extender should reach 150 feet. However, can the end device transmit packet back at that range.

I am not sure about your mailbox. Mine is made of steel. This can be an issue if I were to install the sensor in the mailbox.

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Any in Ebay cc2530 may work. However, I did add on my own board. It may look the same as cc2531. However, I am not using the USB for data. The USB is used for power only.

Mine is metal…so I guess it probably won’t work. Unless my neighbor lets me place a repeater on their property.

My other project using this module has graduated. I thought I consolidate it here since it is pass prototype stage. In the past few weeks, I added a few sensors to the router/repeater. Some of you may have seen my video here (please turn off your audio, I use hair dryer to demo the responsiveness of the sensor) and here about the sensors.

Most zigbee solution that I can buy uses battery. They are not able to push information very quickly without draining their battery. I want a solution where I can monitor what is going on in my room all the time without ever change battery once every few weeks. At the same time, I am building a dense Zigbee mesh in my house. See them below in actions. It is time to have my son write Smartapp to do something with all those sensors. I told him to track sun movement from the house perspective. That would be a fun project for him.

Like last time, I would be happy to share the modules for all of us to test. I have 6 unused boards that I do not use.

I can populate them and give it to anyone who are interested. However, I am hopping that if you interested please share the cost of the sensor and radio modules. For those who are interested, I hope that I can get $15 donation per module. I can start ship them in 2 weeks time. If you are interested, lets leave notes on private message for details.

The current price of Temperature, Humidity, Pressure sensor in the BOSCH BME280 is $7 at digikey. The Zigbee radio is about $6. The Light Sensor is $0.70. In addition, there are cost of PCB board, passive component and voltage regulator, shipping and handling, etc etc. I want to give you guys an idea about the cost. It is a lot more than $15 than what I ask. It get expensive if I have to buy the materials and give them out for free.

Please give me some time later to explain what is the advantage/disadvantage of each type radio module in the context of having all the sensor on the board. This information will come.

Any feedback will always be appreciated (a simple interested or not interested). Who knows, perhaps with enough interest I can find a manufacturer who can build them at quantity. Feedback like adding any additional sensor would be useful as well.

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I just want to give some insight on Zigbee Radio selection since we have sensors added to the board. This has some impact.

If you look up on the original posting, we have 3 Zigbee Radio. One come with PCB antenna. Another radio come with external antenna. The last one is a radio with extended range power amplifier and external antenna.

The PCB antenna has convenience as advantage. You do not need to purchase separate antenna. It is already on the board.

The radio with external antenna is more flexible in term of antenna selection. There are wide selection out there. You can play around with yours and perhaps find a golden match where you can maximize the connection quality.

In term of sensor impact, The above radios have minimal heat dissipation. The current temperature reading should be quite accurate. If the sensor reading is important for you, these are the radios I would choose. I personally use the PCB radio since it is really convenient. I also think that with enough of the sensors in the house, it really does not matter any more whether a sensor coverage is long enough to cover the whole house. These radios are a good choice for all of us who want to build dense zigbee network. The choice between the two is just antenna flexibility. For some of us here may be an expert on antenna, I would like to give flexibility for us to match our own antenna. Antenna is a complex things. There is gain to be considered. There matching impedance. There is radiation pattern etc, etc. I will be interested with what you guys can come up with.

The Extended Range Radio radiate enough heat to impact the sensor reading. This heat is nothing like your CPU. GPU or Fireplace. They are not dynamically change from what I have observed. They are reasonably constant. It has constant offset generate of about 5 degree Fahrenheit from room temperature from my observation. The use case of this radio is more for those of us who need distance island kind of setting. If you have a detached garage where you need to cover, this is a radio that can help. You do not have any other option and sacrifice a bit on the temperature/environment reading.

I also will be providing DTH. The DTH will have offset setting to further calibrate your sensor for your room. The sensor temperature reading may be 1 to 2 degree off from temperature of an area in the room where you are most interested in (if you have air flow, etc etc). You may not have access to power the sensor on that area. This is why I provide offset in DTH. You can install the sensor somewhere else in the room and use offset to get representative temperature on the remote area.

The DTH will come in groovy code. You can do your own adjustment if you like. I will be curious to what kind of algorithm you guys can come up with. I personally use constant offset and quite happy with it.

@TN_Oldman, @TonyFleisher, @SpruceCurrent, @Mavrrick58. Please let me know what is your radio selection. Please stated PCB, External, Extended Range.

I would be interested in the extended range as I will be testing it to replace my current working Xbee repeater in my shed. I should be able to use the antenna I purchased for those Xbee radios.

If I end up with 2 then one extended and one PCB. Then I would test \ experiment with one in the house also.

Eventually it would be neat if I could build a solar power supply for it. I had started down this path with my Xbee radio I assembled. Just haven’t gotten back to it.

I will test or do whatever you need. I’m just happy to help.

Thanks again for including me.

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