Tiny backstory. My hub is in the corner of the basement. I have GE dimmers and fan controllers throughout the house so very good Z-Wave coverage. In spring I installed some Kwikset locks, two were z-wave and one was ZigBee. I also a couple months ago put in leak sensors throughout the house including upstairs. A couple weeks ago I was cleaning up the kitchen and I pulled out the only SmartSense appliance outlet I had since it wasn’t being used.
Well long story short the battery in the ZigBee lock died after a couple weeks. Didn’t think much of it at the time and replaced them, it came back up and worked for another two weeks and batteries dead again. Again didn’t think much of it…figured I got a bad batch of batteries. Replaced again and a few days later a water sensor (furthest from the hub) goes down. Replace batteries and it came back. Then it dawned on me that the outlet was probably repeating the signal and without it the batteries were draining because of the distance. So:
Does this make sense that the devices “worked” fine but the batteries drained extra quickly without the outlet (repeater) in between?
If I actually use the Orvibo as a RGB LED controller will that have any effect on the repeater functionality?
Nope. As long as it’s just being used as a normal LED controller. If you’re pounding it to death with polling it will have trouble processing the other messages it’s supposed to be repeating because it would be busy handling all the incoming polling messages. But that would only happen if you yourself had installed an extra smart app or Webcore piston to poll it more often.
Are there any other ZigBee repeaters that are inexpensive?
As @navat604 mentioned, typically a pocket socket on sale is the least expensive repeater that you will find. The Lowe’s iris smart plugs are sometimes on sale as well, you can check your local store.
Thanks guys. For the price the Orvibo is pretty cheap as a repeater and has the secondary advantage that I might be able to get it to work for lighting in my kitchen above the cabinets. The negative is I’ll need a 12 - 24 volt transformer and I can’t find one in stock in the US…all ship from china and will take over a month. Think I’ll keep my SmartSense plugged in for now…really don’t need a replacement until after Thanksgiving when the Christmas tree goes back up and it moves to the same side of the house as the hub.
The problem with zigbee is that it is used to provide proprietary networks, like Hue. My Hue networks does not provide network support for a zigbee door lock that I might add. But even my Hue network, with only five devices, is too sparse to be 100% reliable with Hue products.
The best way to build a reliable network is by adding z-wave dimmers and switches throughout the house and to not buy zigbee products. Or Insteon. Nothing wrong with zigbee and insteon devices. But these devices will not be in a robust network in most homes.
The design goal for most HA should be robust z-wave and wifi networks. Hubs today that can support many network types tempt people into buying a variety of devices that are insufficient in numbers create a highly reliable mesh network.
Devices in highly reliable mesh network can each directly communicate with several other devices.
Zigbee is different from zwave in that it allows for different “profiles.” This is actually part of the zigbee’s flexibility and is one of the reasons that it is very widely deployed. You probably already have a couple of zigbee networks in your house that you are not even aware of. many cable set top boxes use zigbee, most smart meters do.
Hue bridge uses the zigbee light link profile, ZLL, which is intended only for lighting devices. That’s why you can’t add a zigbee lock to it.
The smartthings hub uses the zigbee home automation profile, ZHA, which allows for both locks and lighting devices.
You can read more about this in the zigbee profiles FAQ:
Both zigbee and Z wave are well-established third-party protocols. They each have pluses and minuses.
Most very expensive professionally installed home automation systems such as those from control 4 and Crestron use zigbee because of its greater flexibility and better energy management. But there are zwave advantages for low-cost do it yourself networks. It’s certainly possible to have a robust network with either zigbee or Z wave. (People like Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg are using zigbee for their home automation, but most people don’t have homes of that size so the Z Wave four hop limit is not an issue for them. )
The fact that SmartThings supports both zwave and zigbee is the reason why many people, myself included, selected it in the first place. You can read more about the various differences and uses in the following article in the community – created wiki: