Use case suggestion - wifi contact sensors for metal detached garage?

I have zigbee contact sensors in our metal detached garage that I just can’t get to stay online (assuming it has something to do with the metal) so I was wondering if you all think it would work to try wifi contact sensors. Our wifi signal doesn’t seem to be as easily disrupted by the metal siding/garage doors.

We don’t have electric run out to the garage yet, it’s fairly new. I can run an extension cord with a zigbee outlet to the garage and all the sensors will connect and work fine… But that’s not safe to leave that way (though I do when we go out of town).

Thoughts? Suggestions? I hate to buy a bunch of wifi stuff that won’t easily integrate into ST but I doubt the electric will be getting run until next year. On Hub V2 and not inclined to upgrade just due to the sheer number of items and automations I’ve got going on.

Also side note, I have zigbee+ bulbs in my house lights closest to the garage as I tried to set up a hopping point. The zwave door lock on the man door stays connected fine as does the man door contact sensor and they are nearly the closest point to the house, and the door is wooden. That’s what has led me to believe the metal is disrupting the zigbee signal. (and Google of course). I’ve searched this forum without being able to find specific wifi related topics.

Tia. Stay safe.

Wi-Fi is a stronger signal, so it can get into places where Zigbee might not, but it has terrible power management compared to Zigbee, so if you were thinking battery powered, you might end up with a device that needs new batteries every two or three months. It’s a trade off.

Personally, I would probably try Z wave plus sensors before Wi-Fi sensors. The range is much better than zigbee and the battery life is much better than Wi-Fi, so it can be a good middle solution.

There’s a how to article in the community – created wiki on automating an outbuilding that might give you some ideas, although most might have to wait until you get electricity run out there. But there are some good tips on getting signal out of the building that might help even now. :sunglasses:

1 Like

As far as the lightbulbs you were trying to use as repeaters, there’s no such thing as “Zigbee+.“ There are some specific brands that use plus in their name, like the Osram Sylvania “smart plus” Zigbee bulbs. But as it happens, most Zigbee bulbs are not good repeaters for battery powered sensors, the only real exception being IKEA Tradfri. See the community FAQ for details:

FAQ: Are Smart Bulbs Repeaters? (Updated 2019: the new answer is yes, but may be inconsistent)

What’s the brand and model of the bulbs you have there?


I have Sylvania Smart+ bulbs on the outside of my garage and two Iris plugs in my actual garage. I can see my bulbs route through the Iris plugs in my garage to my hub in IDE. I do have some IKEA bulbs sitting around so I might try that first. Thanks for the tip!

The only difference between the bulbs and the Iris plugs is about 12’ and then, of course, the garage doors. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Once you put the bulbs in place, take your hub off power for about 20 minutes while leaving all your other Zigbee Devices on power. This will cause them to go into “panic mode“ because they can’t find the hub. Then when you put the hub back on power, all the devices will create new routes, so the sensors in the garage will be able to pick the IKEA bulbs if that’s a good routing for them. :sunglasses::bulb:

I forgot to ask, what’s the brand and model of the sensors? Some I have more trouble staying connected than others. :thinking:

Out in the external garage I actually use Iris Gen 3s which I have found to be some of the most stable in my environment.