Signal to a shed 60 feet away

I am looking to control a small motor and a light located in a shed located 60 away from my house where the hub will be located. Will it work and which kind of switch I should use?


I control a 12v motor on a actuator that closes my chicken coop door about 150’ away from my house with a ZigBee based solution I have had good results with ZigBee when it comes to long distance connections. However with that being said results are going to very a great deal based on your setup. If you have buildings in the way, your hub is on the other side of your house, or your walls just won’t allow it you may have problems. If your open to trying and see how it works take a look a this generic ZigBee relay If you need help with the Custom Device type to talk to it let me know I have one I wrote for mine.

1 Like

Put either a wave or zigbee plug in switch as close as you can get. And test it. I use a zwave switch in garage and also zigbee one. My mailbox is 150 feet away and it works reliably. Also the aeon zwave repeaters are very good. I have a temp sensor in a very very old metal freezer and would not work with a zwave switch 20 feet away. Put the repeater above the freezer and it now works great.

1 Like

Depending on how the shed is getting the electrical power for the light and small motor, you might also be able to leverage some sort of PowerLine device to extend your Ethernet from your home, to the shed. That way, you would have a hard-wired connection to your shed (e.g. Ethernet flowing over the electrical power wires from your house, to the shed.) Then, you can set-up almost anything you want out there, because you have power, and hardwired Ethernet. Pairs of these PowerLine adapaters are fairly inexpensive, and just plug-in to wall outlets.

The “issue” is that they sometimes don’t “jump” across circuits in your electrical panels very well. But, it’s worth buying a pair, and giving it a try. If it doesn’t work, just return it, and focus on a wireless option.

I already have Wi Fi to the shed, if I install a hub in my house what kind of switch I will need in the shed, zigbee, zwave or something else? I don’t think zigbee or zwave use wifi, may be I am wrong.


Zwave, Zigbee, and wifi are 3 different protocols.

The SmartThings hub is one plastic box that includes multiple radios: one for Zigbee, one for Zwave, one for Ethernet connection to your home internet.

Effective Signal Transmission Depends on Different Factors

All 3 protocols can run into reduced signal from the same architectural barriers: brick, concrete, metal, tinted glass, etc.

All 3 can easily travel 60 feet on a clear day across an open field. But getting signal from inside one building into another requires going through at least two barriers, and maybe more. Much depends on the specific local conditions. Is the shed wood or metal? Does it have clear glass windows? Is there a lot of metal equipment inside? Concrete feeding troughs? Etc?

Also, rain and snow can interfere with signal transmission, so that’s another planning factor.

How good is the WiFi at the shed now?

My first question would be did you add Wi-Fi into the shed because you couldn’t get a Wi-Fi signal inside the shed from the main building? If so, it’s quite likely that you will have difficulty picking up any radio frequency signal transmitted from the main building (Zigbee, Zwave.) inside the shed as well. Zigbee and Zwave are both low-power protocols and cannot be boosted in the way that Wi-Fi can, and so if WiFi can’t get through they usually do even worse.

You might be able to position two devices very precisely, such as two electrical outlets, one on the outside of each building, that could pass signal to each other and so get it inside the shed. However, these typically depend on either the outlets being not quite airtight, which isn’t suitable for all deployments, or on putting a very similar corresponding outlet on the inside of the building as well. So now you’ve taken four devices just to pass signal from one building to another. You haven’t even selected the switch for the pump yet. That starts to become an expensive set up.

And if the Wi-Fi is boosted, it will tend to drowned out nearby Zigbee signals. Z wave is usually unaffected by Wi-Fi, though.

Sometimes it’s easier to treat each building as a separate location

So rather than trying to pass signal from the main building over to the shed, sometimes it’s cheaper and easier just to buy a second hub ($99) and put it inside the shed so that you have two locations on your account.

If you do put a second hub inside the shed, then you have a lot of choices for possible switches to use, and you don’t have to worry about weather being an issue.

So there are a number of different possibilities, but it comes down to the specific details of the set up.

If you can receive Wi-Fi inside the shed now, there will be some way to have a controlled switch there. But the best way is going to depend on other local details, including how strong that Wi-Fi signal is, with the point being that either a weak WiFi signal or a very strong one might indicate possible problems with other protocols.

If you already have a good WiFi signal in your shed , you could go with Belkin WeMo plug and switch which work over WiFi.

How powerful is the motor? 1/4 hp? 1/2? 3/4? 1.5?

“Small” means different things in different contexts.

As @JohnR said, smartenIT makes some excellent relays for controlling pool equipment or other motors that might work well if you can get a Zigbee signal into the shed. There are also some Zwave motor control relays from other manufacturers if Wi-Fi interference is a potential problem.

But if the motor is small enough that it would fit into the small kitchen appliance range like a coffeemaker, you’re going to have more choices.