Security Issue with a Fifteen Exterior Door Church

I am the sound engineer at my 15,000 sq-ft church, (which has 15 exterior doors). I am also the main computer tech, live broadcast admin, media admin, and network engineer. I’m not afraid of DIY as I’ve been an electronics tech and enthusiast for many years.

I’m looking to setup a system of detection where I can see on my smart phone/tablet the status of said doors whether they are closed or opened and locked or unlocked. The reasoning behind this is for the last person out securing the building, that they would be able to glance at the door status rather than visiting each door. It would also be for those that are perhaps alone there and need reassurance that the building is secure. The church’s exterior doors are mostly panic lever (down) types. There are no deadbolt locks, no locks that could be replaced (that I’ve researched) with any z-wave or smartthings locks either. Therefor the need to do DIY.

What I would like/require is:

  1. All the sensors reporting to one hub so they could all be seen on one screen/scrolling. Might be out of range seeing that it’s about 120 feet from any corner to the center of the building. Failing that, multiple hubs that I could see on the same smart phone/tablet.
  2. A single device mounted in or on the door that perhaps has multiple/dual open/closed sensors, so that it will handle opened/closed / locked/unlocked. I looked at some sensors that had terminals for external switches, but I would only be able to put the two needed in series, which would only give me closed and locked, and not closed and unlocked, or opened and locked.

I’ve uploaded a picture of what I’m dealing with as far as dimensions and such. The round cylinder on the right side with pin at the bottom is where all the locked/unlocked action is at. I’m figuring a micro-switch and some kinda tumbler at the top would suffice to report to the sensor.

Any suggestions and guidance on the project would be greatly appreciated.


Hi @BAM,

You could use a dry contact z-wave sensor if there is enough room in the housing of the locking mechanism for two contact leads.
Something like this:

It has two ports for wire contacts to test when the tung of the lock is in the right posission.

And you can setup a tablet with an ActionTiles loaded on it to display the status of all the sensors. Sort of like a Security Panal.

Skipping over all of the warning about using SmartThings as a security system, i think distance is going to be your challenge here. I would start with one, centrally mounted hub and test your distance by installing Z-wave plus repeating devices in a radius away from the hub in order to get coverage at your doors.


The Dry contact sensor I recommanded is Z-wave Plus" certified for wide compatibility. I use it in my house and can tell you that it is a good product.

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@johnconstantelo posted a project report on something similar on a retrofit on the existing lock, including pictures:

It’s very similar to the suggestion that @lmosenko is making, but John substituted smaller parts rather than just using an existing contact sensor.

I agree with the recommendations to use Z wave plus devices both for better range and because then you don’t have to worry about Wi-Fi interference.

I also agree with the recommendation for action tiles as both an excellent display and a way of creating a display only option which keeps other people from accidentally messing up any of the existing rules and reports.

My biggest concern is going to be getting signal out of that housing if it’s all thick metal as it appears to be. That’s something you’re just going to have to experiment with. But if you put the contact sensor piece inside the lock housing, then you need may need to put a plug in pocket socket nearby as a repeater to catch the signal from the individual door sensors, the sensor signal just may be really weak by the time it gets to the middle of the lock Casing.

But if you are using John’s method, you put the micro sensor inside the casing and run wires outside the casing to the piece that has the radio in it, and then you don’t have the signal drop issues. :sunglasses:

Oh, and I, too, will skip over the caveats about the potential unreliability of SmartThings as a security system and all of the number of false reports. You can find discussions of those in the forum. But at our house we use SmartThings for convenience notifications like getting an alert if the guestroom window was left open when rain is expected, and it works fine for that. So if this project is mostly just for convenience notifications, I think it makes sense. But if you’re having problems with theft or vandalism, I would go to a purposebuilt security system instead. Just sayin’… :wink:


Fibaro FGK-101 (white color option?) door/window (magnetic) contact has separate dry-contact input that might be applied to lock status . Looks like. I would try this device for one battery to maintain per door.

Bravo people…

Thanks for your (timely) suggestions.

Nice. Looks like it is only one input. I may be looking at two sensor per door. Any opinion on this:

It has both reed/magnet report and possible external report via the micro-switch. Although I’ve read it’s difficult to get separate report status.

Yes, kinda looking at this as the final piece to be used by the end-user.

Agreed. To date, I have yet to purchase anything. So, yes, I’ll be “trying-and-buying” before a final purchase.

Yes, read through that. He says he had found a sensor that reported status separately, but didn’t elaborate on any specifics to get it to work. No specifics on the part number either.

Yes, end-users should not have root.

Ideal scenario. Or, monkey with the antenna, wiring it outside the housing. No, battery replacement would be easier. (The housing is a bear to put back together.)

Yes, this is a pseudo-security system, and a totally convenience notification system. We do have a conventional purposebuilt security system in place, but it’s not cost effective to monitor every door.

Again, the ideal scenario. Do you know if this device can be used with SmartThings, and if it will report separate internal reed switch status and external terminal connection status?

Thanks, I will keep you posted as I progress.


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In my opinion, you should try it. This Open/Close/with optional ports device can be used as a multi sensor for one door. You can place the magnet detector side to make certain that the door is close while at the same time run two wired into the locking mechanism casing to detect when the lock is in its correct possision. But you will still need to buy a number of these for all the doors and will need z-wave repeters as @JDRoberts recomanded.

Another thing is to integrate some sort of wired or wireless camera system for the perimiter of the Church. As I am a strong supporter of one of these companys I am recommending Blink. They do work and you will always get a camera clip motion Alert to your smart phone. If you are interested, someone on the Blink community forum has posted a Break-In capture live on their systen.

Have you seen this device and the custom handler @krlaframboise made?

[RELEASE] GoControl/Linear Multifunction Contact Sensor

I don’t have one but in that thread it seems like the DTH can handle internal and external contacts simultaneously? It may even be able to tell you locked/unlocked vs. open/closed with some edits to the code.

This is a healthy attitude to have when getting started with ST as a security system. It’s not just the DIY-nature of it (which can be fun), but the unreliability/cloud gremlins/whatever that make it a poor option for more serious security needs.

Unfortunately I feel the same way about Blink overall too. Convenient for notifications, sure. But they have a ways to go before they can meet the standards of a more professional security system too.

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Correct, you can use both at the same time and my DTH has an option for generating a child device so you can use the internal and external sensors as separate devices.


Looks like the one that will work with the custom handler, the GoControl (WADWAZ-1) one, is not z-wave plus. Also one website has it at end-of-life in December, with no replacement. Don’t know where to go from here. Of course I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a v2 ST hub for the z-wave plus distance benefit, but don’t know now as far as the double duty open/closed / locked/unlocked sensor.

Went ahead and bought the version 2 ST hub and two door/window sensors. I’m in the testing phase. One of the sensors is the GoControl (WADWAZ-1) non-Z-wave plus sensor. It worked pretty good. Got Kevin LaFramboise (krlaframboise) handler to work with it seamlessly. (Thanks Kevin.) The other one is the Z-wave plus Ecolink sensor (DWZWAVE2.5-ECO). It didn’t have a handler to impalement the external sensor for separate report status operation, but I was hopeful some other handler would make it work, like the monoprice one. Didn’t work.
With both sensors I manually activated and deactivated the sensors internal reed switch while walking away from the hub in the church building. Line of site I could get about 100 feet of good results (99%). Going directly to one of the farthest external doors (about 80 feet away from the hub), and going thru two walls, one masonry block and the other drywall, I got about 90% positive open/closed results. Yes, I know this is not definitive as far as testing goes, because I don’t have mess implemented, and I really didn’t have good hub placement, but it’s a start.

I was thinking that with some of the drywall walls being new construction with light switches in them, could I use some Z-wave plus light switches and outlets as repeaters? If so, which have the best results in that capacity?

Also, does anyone know of a Z-wave plus door/window sensor that works as well as the GoControl and a handler that reviles the external contacts as a new separate “thing”?
Thanks, Bob

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Any zwave light switch or outlet will work as a repeater and they should all work equally well, this is base functionality for a certified Z wave device. The newest generation, Z wave plus, have better range so if they fit your budget those will be a better choice. But otherwise the brand/model shouldn’t matter. :sunglasses:

Zooz has z-wave plus switches for around $30. About the cheapest i’ve seen.

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Thanks for your quick and concise replies. I’ve attached a couple images showing the layout of the building and approximate locations of the doors and a mock up of what I’m thinking as far as how a door would be monitored.

Hi @BAM,

One word comes to mind when looking at the floor layout…WOW!

You will need to get a lot of z-wave repeaters for your project. Might as well upgrade all of the light switches as they will repeat the signals from the door sensors best and will give you the aditional ability to remotely turn off lights when no one is in the building. As for security issue. The layout presents a lot of securety holes and a security nightmare if you don’t monitor access points.

I repeat my recommendation. You may need some sort of a CCTV solution for the perimiter.

Thanks @lmosenko, but it’s more of a ‘last-man-out’ convenience system than a full blown security system. We already pay money for a conventional security setup, a few doors (open/closed) internal, external, motion sensors, etc. Don’t really need cameras, the building is out in the country. That being said, we don’t want to be stupid and leave any door open and/or unlocked. Insurance companies frown on that sort of thing.

As far as upgrading ‘all’ the light switches, kinda cost prohibitive. Also overkill to the point of being incompatible; please correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of what I’ve read about the limitations of Z-wave (not Z-wave plus), is that sensors can only go four hops. Keep in mind at this point I don’t have a Z-wave plus option (apparently unlimited hops). The GoControl (WADWAZ-1) is not plus, works great, but not plus. I tried the Ecolink (DWZWAVE2.5-ECO), but the internal reed sensor and the external terminal contacts are wired in parallel. Either one triggering will report as ‘closed’. Sending that one back to Amazon.

The GoControl is the only device that allows you to use the internal and external sensors independently.

The Monoprice Door/Window Sensor is Z-wave plus and it has external terminals.

There’s no way to determine which sensor was opened so you can’t use it as 2 separate devices in SmartThings, but the device won’t report closed unless both sensors are closed.


A zwave message can only go 4 hops, whether it is zwave or zwave plus. How big is the space you are trying to cover and what are the materials of the walls? A lot of things can degrade signal, including brick, tinted glass, chicken wire leaving inside plaster, water pipes in the walls, adobe, foil wallpaper, some kinds of insulation, etc.

As far as hops, see the following:

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Thank you for the ‘hops’ clarification.

I’m thinking now that I might have to do two hubs with integration into Action Tiles. I would start with one hub in the educational wing / multipurpose hall where there is 10 external doors. (Obviously more than half the battle.) I’ve updated my graphic, added in a couple Z-wave plus wired devices, and attached. Let me know what you think. Also, gonna stay with GoControl sensors due to it’s separate dual purpose triggering and only having to deal with the single battery. Sad that it cost $30+ though.