SmartThings Community

Open/Close sensor with long range

(Vic Singh) #1

Hi All,

I would like to find a door open/close sensor with the greatest range.
I live in a townhouse with a terrace and my hub is on the second floor. The exit door to the terrace is 2 floors above the hub and I get no reception from the GoControl (Monoprice) open/close sensor.

There are 2 motion sensor(GoControl/Monoprice) close by(3 feet and 10 feet) but it still does not recognize actions.

Will the ST open/close sensor be better? I have a ST Motion sensor I can use as a relay by replacing one of the other motion sensor. I know ST products are Zigbee and not Zwave.

Thanks for the help,


(Ben W) #2

Most sensors have probably about the same range. The easiest way is to add a repeater in between (needs to be plug in powered). Could be a light switch, or lowes iris plug adapter (repeats both zwave and zigbee for ~$25)

I have a couple GoControl sensors, that are a floor away and they work fine (maybe 15 feet). You may be having interference on the frequency which could be causing issues.


(Vic Singh) #3

Is it only the plug adapter or light switch that acts as a repeater? not all device?



I agree that the best approach here is to strengthen the mesh by adding repeaters of the appropriate protocol.

Zigbee repeats only for Zigbee and Z wave repeats only for Z wave so you need to get a mains powered device of the same protocol as the sensor placed about halfway in between the hub and where the sensor is. (Battery powered devices do not repeat) popular options are pocket sockets, plug-in motion sensors, in wall relays, and light switches. (Some lightbulbs are will also work, but that gets more complicated just because of the variety of protocols .) pocket sockets are typically the least expensive and the easiest to move around.

After you place the repeater where you want it, you need to get the sensor to update its neighbor tables so it knows who its nearest neighbors are. This requires doing a Z wave repair utility for Z wave or unplugging the hub (including taking out the batteries) for at least 15 minutes for Zigbee devices. That will send out the message to tell the devices to rebuild their own neighbor tables, but it can still take a few hours before each device finishes updating so you may not see improvement until the next day.

Back to the original question, which may not actually be relevant…

The longest range sensors which can integrate with smart things are the Kumostat wireless tags. People often use those if they need to reach an outbuilding more than 200 feet away. But they are not likely to be the right match for your particular situation. I just want to mention them in case people in the future find this thread based on its title.

For sensors inside a single Home, the longest range will usually come from zwave plus devices which have a range about 50% longer then classic zwave or Zigbee. Zwave plus is fully compatible with classic zwave so you can have a classic sensor and a plus repeater or vice a versa and everything will work fine .

Before even trying a repeater, though, you might want to just update all your network tables by running both A Zigbee heal and A zwaverepair. One of those can’t hurt, might help steps that can greatly improve the overall efficiency of your existing network.

For more information, see the range FAQ:

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Most mains-powered devices except smoke alarms work as repeaters. Battery operated devices do not.

See the repeater FAQ in the community-created wiki:


(Ben W) #6

To pile on light bulbs (like hue) are also usually not repeaters.



Lightbulbs connected to a hue bridge are repeaters–but only for other devices attached to the same bridge. They essentially form their own mini network. So they won’t help with nearby sensors.

Zwave lightbulbs like those from Linear and aeotec typically are repeaters – – but only for Z wave. These can actually be very useful in some specific use cases like getting signal down basement stairs or across a garage. :sunglasses: :bulb:

Zigbee lightbulbs like hue or Osram if connected directly to the SmartThings hub without using a bridge shift from the ZLL profile to the ZHA profile and then do act as repeaters for other ZHA devices. We have a number of members doing just that. But there are some complications, which to be honest I just don’t want to go into right now. This is all covered in the various FAQs that I already linked to.

So many lightbulbs do act as repeaters, and sometimes they are the most practical choice particularly in rooms that have a lot of potential signal blockers like cars in a garage because the bulb is typically placed much higher in the room than a pocket socket or even a light switch, and consequently offers additional lines of sight. But they introduce additional protocols and there’s also the question of whether they are really going to be left on power all the time. So I usually bring them up if the particular use case under discussion seems like it would benefit from them, and otherwise not.

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(Vic Singh) #8

Been here since last summer and I must admit I love the member if this forum. There are many many forums I check everyday.

Thank you guys for clearing up the issue I had.