Outdoor range

I have two outdoor GE smart switches for lights on our deck and pergola. Unfortunately they aren’t connecting to the system. I’m guessing due to the range. They are set up and linked but I can’t control them. Any suggestions on how to extend the range outdoors? It isn’t terribly far, one is right outside the door but I’m guessing the barrier is too much to get through with the distance to the hub. And we can’t move the hub.

Do you have a need for a switch that will serve as a bridge? Are they plus models or the regular?

This is what we got. I didn’t realize there was a plus. What is the difference?

GE Z-Wave Wireless Smart Lighting Control Outdoor Module, On/Off, Plug-In, Black, Works with Amazon Alexa, 12720 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0013V8K3O/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_9CKwzbR23BQF9

Do you mean an outdoor switch? There are no switches outdoors flag I could change. We have a Smart switch in the dining room across from the doors to the deck but that doesn’t seem to be enough. Hmm wonder if that’s zigbee and not Zwave though.

This is the switch in the dining room.

Linear WD500Z-1 Z-Wave 500-Watt Wall-Mount Dimmer Switch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E1OVFAK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_.GKwzbX6FFAHP

Aww ok. Didn’t realize they were the plug-ins. These are Z-Wave. Don’t have any experience with them either.

Did you try rebuilding the Z-Wave Mesh? Goto Z-Wave Utilities and then Z-Wave Repair in the smart app.

Just tried it and no luck but thanks for the suggestion!

The switch you have outside, is that directly off the dining room where your other zwave switch is?

It is. The switch in the dining room is about 15" from the door that leads to the deck. The switch is about 10" from that.

I have the same switch, also at a distance outside, but in my case, my mesh extends close enough. I have 3 Zwave devices outside. A GE hard wired socket, an Aeotec MicroSwitch and this GE plug-in.

Drawing an imaginary line as the house, the Aeotec is closest at about 8 feet. Next is the hardwired GE, which is 20 feet from the Aeotec, and finally, the GE Plug-in is 30, maybe 35 feet from the hardwired GE. Just inside the house, is a GE hardwired smart switch and I believe that is acting as my inside to outside relay of the mesh. The total “radio distance” from my inside switch to the GE Plug-in is 8+20+30 = 58 feet and it all works just fine. The devices are not exactly in a straight line so the “radio distance” from the inside switch to the GE Plug-in is probably 48 feet. All of this is just to say, it is quite possible to work.

You may have to add a hardwired Zwave switch or socket into the house wall that is closest to the GE Plug-in in order to get the mesh to form with greater reliability. You don’t have to USE that socket or switch, it just has to be joined to the network and because it’s hardwired, it will relay the mesh. (Technically its a node OF the mesh, but I think the other words are easier to use.)

Which hardwired outlet did you use? I can’t find any outdoor smart outlets.

It’s not outdoor rated itself, but it’s inside an outdoor rated box.

Oh I didn’t realize I could do that!

I didn’t realize I couldn’t :slight_smile:

“Indoor” simply means protected from the elements, to me, and a weatherproof electrical 1 or 2 gang box meets that in my opinion. But then again, I don’t even play an electrician on TV, only here around the home. :slight_smile:

Haha touché

Check your local building code. Many in the US now require that all outdoor outlets, even in a weatherproof box, be GFI. If so, you can’t use a Z wave outlet as there aren’t any which are also GFI since the two require conflicting conditions. (A GFI outlet has to be able to cut power completely, while a Z wave outlet needs to always have power so it can hear the next “on” command.)

You can resolve this in one of two ways.

  1. Install a nonnetworked GFI outlet that meets your code requirements and then plug in an outdoor zwave pocket socket.)

  2. or install a non-networked GFI outlet that meets your "code requirements and use an in wall Z wave micro upstream of that to give you on/off control. This would be similar to putting a wall switch indoors that controls an outdoor socket.

As it happens, I have an Outdoor circuit that is GFI, and all the Zwave devices mentioned are on that circuit.

I have a 220vac 70 amp circuit that goes to my pool and spa equipment. There are additional breakers for each (pool and spa) as well as a 120vac GFI and breaker. That GFI protected circuit is on every light and outlet in the yard. The first time it popped, I spent hours looking for it. It was quite a surprise to find it out in the pool equipment box.

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I don’t get why GFI and Zwave are “conflicting”. A GFI is only required to cut certain power completely. Many have one set of downstream connectors that is cut off, and one that isn’t. And there’s always power still coming into the box where the GFI itself is, unless the circuit breaker also blows. The Zwave part would be powered by the incoming power, but would control (and monitor) the outgoing power. Nothing hard about the engineering at all – it’s almost like plugging a separate GFI nto a regular zwave-controlled switch, just built into one package. Am I missing something?

It’s just the way the NEC has evolved. They don’t want any power inside the device after the GFI trips. there was a big argument about eight or nine years ago when some manufacturers wanted there to be a signal light indicating that the GFI had tripped and because that would require power in the device it got voted down.


My last NEC training was 21 years ago, so glad that someone else has kept up. We just need an arc-fault and ground-fault pre-stage for the commmunication and control circuits?