Monoprice z-wave recessed door/window sensor - range/connectivity issue


(Jeffrey Ropp) #1

Still new to home automation here. I have a 1st generation hub and have only deployed Cree Connected lights outdoors so far but I’m ready to grow my network.

I just picked up a Monoprice recessed door/window sensor and am having issues with connectivity.

The device registered with the hub without incident and performs normally provided I’m within 10 feet of the hub. Beyond that it fails to report open and close events as expected.

Any thoughts that could help me resolve the issue? Did I get a bad sensor?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
Jeff


#2

If it doesn’t work when you are 20 feet away through clear line of sight then it’s a bad device. But there are a lot of different things that can interfere with signal if it’s not clear line of sight. For example, foil wallpaper, wire lathing inside the wall, Aquariums, refrigerators, cement walls, water pipes in the walls, can I reduce the effective range. Some people who live in cement or adobe homes have to balance signal out into the hallways and around corners, it just won’t go through the walls. But you should definitely be able to get 20 feet through clear air, so check that first. Sometimes you do get a bad device, and the monoprice are budget items to begin with.


(John C) #3

Another caveat to the list @JDRoberts just gave you: if you’re working with a metal exterior door, YMMV. Perhaps an external device or one of those hinge sensors may be a better choice, in cases like this…


(Jeffrey Ropp) #4

Thank you both for the feedback.

The red dots are zigbee devices (Cree Connected bulbs). They typically operate well.
The green dot is the hub (v1)
The blue dot is the new Monoprice sensor.
Stucco building, wood door.

After reading through the Smartthings notes on range and other factors, I oriented the Hub so that the z-wave antenna was aligned with the sensor. It stopped reporting at about 20 feet. As you can see, the path basically goes right through the window to the door where I intend to place the sensor.

So, bad device?

If not, am I stuck adding another z-wave device somewhere in between if the range remains poor? Maybe another device on the sliding doors to the patio or a receptacle?

Should I consider going to V2? Would Z-wave plus offer better range?

Thanks again for the thoughts and Happy 4th to those of you in the States.
Jeff


#5

So the pathway goes through two exterior walls to get to the sensor? That in itself may be the explanation, exterior walls generally include materials which are much harder to get signal through.

Zwave plus is always better range than the older Z wave generations, so you can certainly try that. Also maybe consider a sensative strip sensor instead of an embedded one.

The hub is in an OK place for the red dots you currently have, but for best practices we usually place the hub centrally in the building both vertically and horizontally. Yours is right on the edge between two exterior walls, so you’re going to have lesser range than most deployments. It may still be what you want, particularly if it gives you a good signal to the garage, but it’s just something to be aware of.

What’s the material of the patio?

Mostly, though, I would switch from an embedded sensor to a surface mount of some kind, go to Z wave plus, and potentially put a Z wave plus repeater near an outside window along the pathway.


(Jeffrey Ropp) #6

Thanks JD. You are such an amazing and generous resource to this community!

Definitely through one exterior wall and at an oblique angle. Patio is concrete.

Really prefer the embedded sensor approach for aesthetics so if I have to add another device, so be it.

I actually have succeeded in getting the device to report events if I have the hub right at the window. It appears I’m just beyond the range which is a bit maddening!

If I add another z-wave plus device, do the devices communicate over z-wave plus and just the parent relies on zwave to the hub?

If I do go to v2, would my migration be pretty easy?

Thanks again,
Another JD


(John C) #7

Quite likely the issue, as @JDRoberts points out. I’ve seen stucco sometimes done with a metal mesh as lath beneath the stucco.

You might find building a mesh with ZWave Plus devices would help distant nodes such as your door switch. A “pocket socket” is easy to try – I recently added a couple of the newer Zooz ZEN07 mini plugs and like them a lot. Most plug-in or wired ZWave devices work as repeaters. Battery devices don’t…


#8

Thanks for the kind words. There are a lot of great people in the community, I only stand out because I’m interested in stuff like network protocols that most people could care less about. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m tired today, so I’m not going to give an in-depth response right now. I did just want to say that it’s hard to beat the Sensative strips for aesthetics. They have a patented case that makes them thinner than anything else so they fit between the door and frame, and they are paintable so they can be almost invisible.

It’s just that they’re expensive. The smartest house often has a bundle deal with a motion sensor which makes the price much better if you have a use for the sensor:

You can mix and Match zwave classic and zwave plus at any point Along a message path, they are fully compatible. It’s just that each individual zwave plus device will have longer range in reaching the next device, whether the next device is zwave plus or zwave classic.

As for migration to V2, it’s still requires rebuilding everything from scratch. :disappointed_relieved:

Your current V1 hub might be either Z wave classic or Z wave plus, depending on how old it is. By mid 2015, most of the V1 hubs being manufactured were also using a zwave plus chip.

Also, I know you already know this, but for anyone else finding this thread later, see the repeater article in the community – created wiki for more information on repeaters.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Is_this_device_a_repeater%3F