First post, and I’ve just ordered ST hub 2018 so looking forward to getting stuck in.
I have a potential problem. I have a very long driveway (25m) and therefore am putting in a postbox at the entrance - partly cos it’s gated as well. However at the entrance it’s out of range of wifi and I’m guessing out of range of zwave too… Because what I want to do is to put a sensor in the postbox that will send me an alert whenever the flap is opened.
Are there any wired sensors I can use? It’s no problem to feed an ethernet cable to the postbox, but I can’t see any wireless options working at this range. I haven’t had any luck finding any wired / lan sensors.
Appreciate any thoughts.
(PS: please don’t tell me I have to muck about with a Pi! I really want a simple wired sensor if possible!)
If it’s out of range of Wi-Fi, it’s out of range of everything that works with SmartThings. . But 25 m should be within range of Wi-Fi, do you know what’s obstructing it? A typical indoor consumer router should cover around 50 m. In particular, you want to be on a 2.4 GHz band, not a 5.0 band to get the maximum distance. You also want narrower bandwidth.
The pressure on device manufacturers has been towards faster and broader Wi-Fi In order to support streaming video. But for something like a gate sensor, 802.11b should give you the longest distance coverage.
If it’s really only 25 m unless you’re in the middle of Pine woods or electrical towers I would think that zwave plus should be able to handle it as long as the weather’s dry. If the humidity goes up it could be more of a problem.
There aren’t any wired sensors that natively work with SmartThings, And that would be a long distance for a single device. I would look at the RF devices first.
There’s a how article in the community – created wiki on automating an outbuilding that might also give you some ideas, although it’s not going to directly apply unless you have electricity out by the post box.
Thanks for the reply @JDRoberts - I’ve only had a quick look at the link but looked helpful and will go through in more detail later.
Welll… there are a few brick walls and an thick earth bank to go through, so yeah, I guess that explains the lack of wifi!
Now, just a thought: would it be more feasible to run some CAT6 down to the end of the drive and install an access point near the gate? Just thinking, that if that works, I can also have ST cctv, lighting and motion sensors near the gate all running on the main hub. The access point would be set up to be part of the same wifi network (same as a school or office) so presumably ST will still work with that? Setting up an access point is not really a problem for me.
Read the article first, and then let’s see what questions you still have.
will do, will confirm back.
So further to some more research, looks like I have a couple of viable options, so in order of what I think would work best:
I already plan to use a Ring doorbell by the gate, and this is specifically mentioned in the post. I understand these work over wifi (or a LAN optons) so I can provide should be able to add a wifi access point? If I can use the Ring doorbell to detect motion and use that to trigger an electric switch that powers the lights, that would work fine for me. However, if I want to add additional motion sensors, I presume that this can’t be done with this setup?
Run a couple of zwave repeaters down the drive. (1 or 2 should do it?) Then I could add a couple of motion sensors at different spots, and use them to trigger different sets of lights in stages: on the house front, on the parking, driveway and at the gate entrance. I guess I’d still need wifi / Lan for a Ring doorbell in any case. All the outdoor lighting switches can be controlled from inside the house, so they will be in range.
I don’t plan to use Philips Hue - all lighting I plan to retro fit smart switches to existing. It looks like I could use webcore proxies or Hue bridge to connect the two locations or else try purely using Zigbee motion sensors with Pro repeaters with an outdoor antenna. Not keen on any of this though, sounds like it’s getting too complex for what I want.
What I’m considering doing is connecting up the Ring doorbell first, using a WiFi access point that’s situated near the gate (will probably need to run POE anyway for standalone CCTV system). Once that’s in place I’ll trigger the lights from that and see how I get on with it. If I’m not happy I’ll then try adding additional motion sensors and a repeater or two to get the additional triggers that I need at a later date.
I’m not missing anything am I?
PS: the comment on dry weather… not a lot of it here in the UK so that may affect distance too!!