I’m interested in putting a keypad outside. I’m curious (as a general noob to ST) about a few things. I’ll put them all here at once, since they relate:
Is there a consensus on “the best connected keypad?” Seems like the two “majors” are Centralite and Iris.
What are the underlying protocols (Zigbee / Zwave / both)?
Does the “meshing” process work from keypad -> light switch -> hub? I’ve got a GE Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control Smart Toggle Switch, In-Wall, White, 12727 in the middle that will need to relay the signals back to the hub (for distance reasons)… I’m assuming that’s how the mesh protocol works right? (the critical points being (a) matching physical layers and (b) that meshing carry remote-originated signals back to the hub).
The Iris keypad is made by Centralite for Lowes. Centralite is one of the largest manufacturers of zigbee Home automation profile Devices, and their business model is to sell to other companies that then rebrand them. Over the years a number of the SmartThings-branded Devices have been made by centralite, as well as devices branded by Lowes Iris, PEQ, Xfinity home, etc…
As far as participating in the mesh, all of the zigbee devices on your SmartThings network will participate. (And all of the zwave devices will participate in the separate zwave mesh). Battery powered devices do not repeat for others, as it would use up too much battery life, but they will send their messages to mains- powered devices to be repeated. So that part happens automatically.
So, in general, “my light switch will repeat Zwave signals the way I want it to” which is nice… but I’m not quite sure how to tell if the Centralite-made keypad is Zigbee or Zwave… is that documented somewhere? I can infer from the way you phrased the reply that it is a Zigbee device, but I want to be sure since my net outcome would seem to requite buying a new switch with Zigbee (which is ok).
You can use most mains powered devices as a repeater.
The GE zigbee light switch will work as will the Iris smart plug.
As far as telling what a device is, if you’re looking at the box, it should say ZHA 1.2 on the box. If you’re looking at the physical device, there should be a label with the FCC license and either a zigbee or Z wave logo. (Sometimes this is inside the battery compartment) it should also be listed in the user manual.
You can also save a few $$$, by finding one of the old Verizon or Xfinity branded keypads . They are the same device with the same functions as Iris branded ones. Remember that these ARE NOT designed for outdoor use, so if mounted outside they will need to be protected from the elements
Since the keypad is battery powered it will function best with a strong signal. So put a ST/Iris/Centralite wall plug in an outlet inside close to where you are mounting the keypay outside. DO NOT use a metal encasement to protect keypad from the weather since that will kill the radio signal strength.