Have I reached the end of my zwave network?

Ok, I can’t get a device to include in my network and need some help. I’ve got a Smart Things hub centrally located in my home. I have a detached garage, which has an existing Zooz smart switch for the lights, as well as a battery-powered toggle switch on the other side of the garage which acts as a slave to that light switch (thus, I have two working Smart Things devices in that garage.) I’m now adding a third distinct switch to control pool lights, and it is physically between the other two switches in the garage. However, I can not get that new Zooz switch to include into the network in that garage (trying to control pool lights.)

I’ve reset the switch, tried removing and reinstalling… Done it all. Given the distance from the Hub to the switch, I’m sure it’s connecting through other devices, but since I already have two devices in that garage, I would have assumed adding one more would be a snap.

Anyone with any guidance would be appreciated.


How many total Z wave devices do you have? There is a hard maximum for current generations of 231 devices on a Z wave Network, plus the hub, although you may lose efficiency much sooner than that.

My own guess, though, is, it’s probably just the actual physical location. Garages are always tricky. Lots of concrete and metal, few windows, and occasionally large metal objects (cars) can all block signal. Sometimes a particular switch is just in a place where it’s hard to get signal to it.

Back in the day we often solved this in garages by adding a zwave lightbulb to the ceiling, but very few of those are made now, most smart bulbs are Zigbee instead. So that doesn’t help. :thinking:

I think the first thing I would do is take a more portable zwave device, like an open/close sensor, and try adding it near the switch position. If that works, then it’s probably not location and we have to look for something else.

If the sensor doesn’t work, try moving the sensor over near one of the other two devices that does work. If it works in that position, but not where the balky switch is, then, yeah, it’s probably just something in the local architecture.

Also, if you have cars that go in and out, make sure you test the sensor under the same conditions as the balky switch. And preferably in both situations: car at home and car away.

Sometimes you can put a Z wave smart plug in the garage and ricochet signal that way and reach a challenging position. I’ve even used two on opposite walls across from each other to try to shoot signal under parked cars. :oncoming_automobile::oncoming_taxi: It can just take trial and error.

1 Like

I’ve had the same problem. I have a detached garage with two z-wave light switches that connect and work fine but a switch for my pool lights that won’t connect. Is your pool light switch in a metal outdoor outlet box? That can affect the signal. Your battery-powered switch won’t act as a relay but your wired switch should.
Once the weather improves I’m going to install a z-wave range extender in an outdoor outlet at my house on the side toward my garage with a plastic weatherproof in-use cover to see if that helps. I’m also considering changing to a plastic outlet box for the switch or I might even re-wire a little and move the switch into my garage with my other switches. I don’t need it by my pool since I can just tell Alexa to turn on the pool lights.
Also, try to wire your switch at an existing switch location near your hub to make sure you can get it to work. It could always be a bad switch.
Hope this helps.

1 Like

All good thoughts! Especially the metal box issue. Go with plastic, but preferably not blue plastic – – for some reason that tends to block more signal.

As far as a range extender: we used to need those back in the third generation of Z wave. But by the fifth generation (which includes both the V2 and V3 smartthings hubs) and the introduction of Z wave plus and explorer frames, pretty much any mains powered device will work just as well as a repeater as the single purpose range extenders. That includes Z wave smart plugs and zwave switches. So you can save yourself a little money and get a dual purpose device that will work just as well.

The one exception is, if you want a zwave repeater that can run on battery (even if only for a day or two). Most battery powered devices do not act as repeaters because it takes too much battery life. But a couple of the security systems, including ring security, do offer a mainspowered range extender which can switch to battery power if the power goes out, so that all your security sensors still can reach the hub. Of course, that’s only useful if your hub has its own power source and cellular communications, which the smartthings hub does not. But it is a use case where a dedicated single purpose range extender makes sense. Otherwise, just use any mains powered Z wave plus device. :sunglasses:

Also, Z wave series 7 will have the longest range right now if that helps. And those can still work with your series 5 Smartthings hubs. So a Zooz or Aeotec series 7 smart plug or light switch should give you good range.

Good advice on the range extender. That’s something I didn’t know. Maybe I’ll skip the range extender, change to series 7 switches and move my pool switch into the garage. Rewiring in my case would be easy.
And yes, use the gray, plastic, outdoor boxes.

1 Like

Wow, you guys are awesome! I am blown away by both the quality of the responses and the speed. Thanks! The metal boxes make sense - I’m pretty sure it’s metal. I was thinking it wouldn’t matter because several of my inside junction boxes are metal. But I just realized those will be a lot thinner metal. I’ll investigate more tomorrow. Cheers!

1 Like

You could do the same thing now with one of these outlets and a plug-in outlet/repeater, if the ceiling turned out to be a particularly effective location for this scenario.


1 Like

Did you try a general exclusion? Sometimes “new” Zwave devices won’t add because there were previously added, but not excluded, to another hub. For example . . . during testing at the manufacturer.


I just had to do that very same things with a new Ecolink contact sensor.

1 Like

As a matter of course, I always exclude every device before including it just for this reason. Takes 10 extra seconds and then I know the state is clean. It also helps verify signal level is reaching the hub, although with devices without both NWI and NWE this may be misleading.

1 Like

Yeah, I do, too. It’s just easier to know it’s a clean install. Too many devices still have testbed settings when they’re shipped. :wink:

1 Like