Weird problem with GE 12721 outlet

I’m having a weird problem with a GE z-wave outlet (12721). I have it outside in a weather-proof receptacle, roughly 20 feet from the nearest inside z-wave plus device.

What’s weird is that the outlet connects, and I can turn it on. But once I switch it on, it seems to lose its connection. I can no longer control it through Smartthings. However, some time after I manually turn the switch off, it reconnects.

If it was simply a range issue, I’d assume it would never be able to reconnect. Any idea what’s going on and how to fix it?

I’d say that you’re at the very edge (distance-wise) of connectivity for the outlet. It’s close enough to connect when the outlet is off but not close enough to continue connectivity when the outlet power is on - because of the electromagnetic interference created by the current flowing in the outlet. Adding another z-wave device to act as a repeater between your outlet and the next closest z-wave device to see if that helps.

Okay, that makes sense.

Would changing that outside one from Z-Wave to Z-Wave plus help?

It would certainly help since Z-Wave Plus devices have stronger communication capabilities. You’ll know if it’s enough help after you try it :wink: But, if it’s still not working well enough, you could still add a repeater.

I’ll give it a shot. Thanks, Lee.

My first guess wouldn’t be the radio, it would be a hardware malfunction, probably due to humidity causing water damage either inside that switch or along the wire.

Even going indoors to outdoors, 20 feet should be plenty close enough even for Z wave classic. (Assuming that the protective box is plastic and not metal.)

That doesn’t mean I’m right, it might be the radio, but the first thing I would do is have an electrician come check it.

It depends on where you live, but even in a weatherproof box humidity is an ongoing issue for outlets which are not rated for outdoor use.

That’s fair. I definitely have an interior outlet outside. And I’m in South Florida, with plenty of humidity. So that explanation makes sense as well.

However, that doesn’t explain why it consistently works while off and doesn’t work while on.

But if we assume that is the cause and one of the outdoor receptacles might be better, are they okay to leave hanging under an outlet box mounted on a fence, in the rain?

When you turn the outlet on, it will heat up internally. That often causes faults to then behave differently. So it’s a thing. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening with you, but it is worth checking out.

And the reason I recommended an electrician is that one of the problems with using an indoor rated device outdoors is it’s not weather sealed in the same way, which can allow humidity to get up along the line, so there might be damage farther up on the circuit where you can’t see it.

I’m not quite sure what you’re asking on your second question, but if you want to put an outdoor rated smart pocket socket plugged into an outdoor rated dumb receptacle, as long as they are hanging down as designed, they’re usually OK.

Florida can just be a tough climate on any outdoor electronics. :disappointed_relieved:

I put a bunch of zwave plus recepts outdoor with outdoor rated covers and their range is 15 feet no joke. The’re set in a concrete brick wall though SMH.

So, I ended up getting a GE outdoor outlet, handing outside my outlet with the weather-rated cover. So far, it seems to be working much more consistently.

Thanks for the help, guys.