Ideas for adding things in a detached garage

This is my first post. I am running into a problem I would like to solve, if I could, that seems quite difficult.

I have a detached garage about 40-feet from the house in my backyard. It is not heated or air conditioned so in my climate, it can swing from -10 to 110 degrees outside. It is constructed of concrete block so that does act as a heat battery making it warmer than the outside in winter and it takes a while to get hot during the day. I can stick a thermometer in there to get an idea of my actual temperature swings.

I ran two Cat-5E wires and a RG-59 in a separate underground conduit from the power conduit.

My hub is in the bedroom closest to the garage on interior wall but, unfortunately, the signal does not reach into the garage between the exterior wall, large distance between the two buildings, and concrete block walls of the garage. I tried getting a door sensor to work and it only joined if the door was open. So, I know Zigbee and Z-Wave signals are going to be a problem.

My original thought was to get a second hub since Ethernet to the garage is not a problem but the specs say that it should be kept between 45 and 95 degrees, so that is not going to work on a hot July day or a cold January night. Now, granted, the garage does not get quite as cold as the outside and, I could install a gable vent and fan to pull hot air out of the garage but I am still at the mercy of the outside temperature. I might get close past the upper limit of the hub and I could probably put a small heater in there on really cold days to keep it above 50. I live in a humid down so misters would not help for cooling.

Obviously, I do not have any buildings or shelters between house and garage to stick a repeater. If I did it, I would have to make something because anything in the yard would be subject to running power to it and snow and rain and other weather conditions. I have a tree, so, putting it up near the tree is not impossible and would keep me from accidentally mowing it.

If I stuck a repeater on the exterior wall of the bedroom, that would only gain me about 10-feet. I do have an exterior, weatherproof outlet and cover on the back of my house. But, that means the repeater sees all temperatures. Not bad, but I would like to get one that has both Z-Wave and Zigbee.

If I could repeat both signals across the Cat-5 already run and if I have to do it over IP, I am fine with that.

Does anyone know of anything that might help me out with this tough problem? And for manufacturers, I cannot be the only person that has this kind of problem where repeaters over Cat-5e would be a product people buy. You can get them for running VGA and HDMI signals (you need 2 cat-5e/6 cables). There are over 20 garages on my side of the street, alone, and all want to keep the stuff we own in the garage.

Thank you all in advance

Can’t use more than one hub, unless it’s setup as a separate location, so there’d be no way for your hub inside and its devices to talk to the hub in the garage.

Have you seen this?

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That method is covered in the how to article in the community – created wiki that @marktheknife already linked to. :sunglasses:

You still have to set up each hub as a separate location on your SmartThings account and the hubs still don’t talk to each other directly. But if you use webcore you can have a piston on one location trigger a piston on another location, so if you set up virtual devices as proxies, it is possible to have events in one place trigger events in the other. But, as @ady624 says, it’s inefficient, complicated, and introduces lag. So it may work for some use cases, but it’s not what most people are looking for.

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If it were me I’d find a way to place an outlet repeater between the house and the garage. Obviously that takes some wiring/cabling and the outlet needs to go in a weatherproof box but doable.

And I have thought of the dual hub scenario but I would have to put the hub in an air conditioned and heated enclosure to keep it from going below 45-degrees or above 95-degrees.

Are there any dual band (Zigbee and Z-Wave) repeaters that plug into power. I probably could use outdoor outlets to bridge that gap between the two buildings.

I suggested an outlet but that would be one or the other. I was forgetting you might want both Z-Wave and Zigbee.

There is a plug in solution if you can place an outlet in a suitable location …

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That is a good idea, however, I would have to put it outside and I see it is rated for indoors.

I have a Z-Wave garage door controller I just paired up. I was able to take it out to my garage and it still shows up with all the doors closed, so I am guessing the increased range of the 900MHz radio on Z-Wave is the way to go. Plus, this is powered so I would think it would be a repeater. I think I might just change out the Zigbee sensor on the entry door to Z-Wave and then just make sure any new items I put in there, like motion sensors or security cameras or light switches would be Z-Wave.

Range is a little more complicated than just frequency. While it’s true that on a clear dry day Z wave plus will have the best range of the Z wave/zigbee home automation options, Z wave has much more trouble with humidity then zigbee does as it uses FSK while zigbee uses DSSS. So you’ll find that most of the outdoor devices are actually zigbee as it has less of a dispersion issue in wet weather.

In addition, there’s another antenna option that you can use with zigbee if you really want. This is discussed in detail in the how to article in the community – created wiki on automating an outbuilding. If you haven’t read that yet, do – – there’s a lot of good information there.

The garage door controller is indeed a repeater, and if you bought it recently it may well be Z wave plus, so that’s a good sign. It should be able to get signal to other devices in the outbuilding.

There is also a hop limitation issue with zwave, though – – again that’s covered in the how to article.

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2-3 seconds sounds about right, yeah. Essentially, this lag is added to normal operation:

sender hub event delay > webCoRE spin-up > get runtime data > execute time > cloud request > receiver hub webCoRE spin-up > receiver piston get runtime data > receiver piston execute > results passed to virtual device

I would not hope for anything below 2 seconds, at least not consistently, but the method definitely works, as a fallback to being able to extend the range.

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What smart devices do you plan on installing? I had a similar issue, I wanted my outside garage spot light to turn on when I was in proximity to my house. Unfortunately, it was out of range for zwave or zigbee. I noticed I had decent WiFi in there however. I slapt in a Wemo smart switch and it connected perfectly to smartthings over WiFi. Have it working perfectly for 6 months here in Canada, yes during the winter too and it never skipped a beat.


So…Proof again that WebCore is magic. :dizzy: :heart_eyes: And @ady624 is definitely a wizard.

Thanks for testing. I do think setting up the proxies and the Pistons is going to be technically more complex than many people are ready for, but it will be just right for some others. And there are some additional complications with third-party integrations like echo or Google home or IFTTT, so it’s not going to work quite as effectively as some of the other options, just because of SmartThings limitations when you have more than one location. But it’s definitely helpful to know about. Choice is good. :sunglasses:


A couple motion detectors, an entry door sensor, I have a garage door sensor, a couple of on/off switches. If I put cameras in, they will be Ethernet.

With WiFi, 2.4GHz would have the range (B, G and N band). 5GHz does not have the range (A, N, AC). I was thinking about putting another access point in the garage so my backyard would have full WiFi coverage and as much of it as possible in the 5GHz band.

Interesting about winter. That is good to hear. I know yours are a tad colder than mine. When I read the specs of the hub, I did not want to have to put one of those out there because I knew winters and summers would probably kill it.

I’ve got a similar question, so hopefully it’s ok if I ask it here.

I’ve got a garage apartment that is about 30 feet from my back door. In an attempt to make sure I have a strong z-wave network, I was going to put a z-wave plus device at the edge of my garage and at the edge of my house (the back porch light switch and the security light switch on the garage.) My question is will those two devices in essence “bridge” my regular z-wave network? or can z-wave plus repeat z-wave? I’ve got roughly 12 GE z-wave switches in the garage apartment and 75 in the main house with the ST hub being towards the rear of the main house on the second floor.

Hopefully all of that made sense. :slight_smile:

The Iris Smartplug from Lowes does both. You can now use the ST Smartplug device handler for the Zigbee side but load in the Zwave DH for the repeater:

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I have tried getting both radios to be set up in SmartThings and I have failed miserably but it is repeating Zigbee so what I really need it for works.

Thanks for the response! I was mainly trying to figure out if it was worth putting in a couple of z-wave plus devices to help boost the network between the structures. I know z-wave plus has a better ranges than all of my current z-wave devices.