SmartThings Community

Zigbee Repeater

#5

The old Smart Things zigbee motion sensor is still in the ST shop, but now it’s called “original” instead of v1.

There are three things to know about repeaters.

  1. Devices running on battery power don’t act as repeaters for either zigbee or zwave. Repeating would burn through the batteries too fast. The ST original motion sensor can act as a zigbee repeater, but only when it’s plugged in via
    USB cable. If you use it on battery only, it won’t repeat.

  2. you’re absolutely right: zigbee can only repeate zigbee. Zwave can only repeat zwave. Different antennas. And encrypted zwave messages (“security”) can only be repeated by encrypted zwave devices, which is where “supports security” matters.

  3. this FAQ explains more:

And here’s the link to the original motion sensor in the store. I know the link looks weird, but it seems to work. (If it doesn’t, use the SHOP link on this page and look in the Motion category for the Original ST motion sensor.)

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#6

Ok, so I have several Zigbee LED bulbs (i.e. GE Wink, Wemo LED) which techinically speaking are plugged in. Am I to assume they act as zigbee repeaters??

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(Scott G) #7

The GE bulbs do not act as repeaters. Their tech support has stated that they could update the firmware in them to make them repeaters, but who knows how you would get the update into the bulbs.

I don’t know about the Wemo bulbs.

Bulbs are a little tricky because many users still turn them off at the switch at times, so if they were repeaters, those nodes would disappear and make routing changes necessary.

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(Joel) #8

Bump. Can anyone help recommend a smartthings computable device that can act as a zigbee repeater ? My motion sensors and contact sensors are stopping working every now and again. I reset and bring closer to the Hub and all good. But when placed back away from the hub the only last a few days.

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#9

Two products by ST come to mind. The first is the Original ST Motion Sensor and the second is the ST Smartpower Outlet I have the first option and it works very well but only if it is plugged in via USB cable.

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#10

Pretty much any zigbee device that is not battery powered except some ZLL lightbulbs will work as a repeater. To be compatible with SmartThings it should use the HA1.2 zigbee profile (HA= Home Automation). Not Home Automation Pro, which is different.

The Osram Lightify lightbulb, SmartThings original motion sensor (but only when it is plugged in to USB power), and the plug in zigbee SmartPower outlet all work. So will the SmartenIT wired relays, but not their battery operated switch. The light bulb is the cheapest, but if someone turns it off at the switch it won’t repeat.

Hue and GE link lightbulbs will only repeat for other bulbs.

After you put the repeating device where you want it, unplug the hub for 15 minutes, then plug back in, to make sure all the repeating device’s neighbors find it.

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(Joel) #11

Sweet. The only issue is the original motion sensor won’t ship to Australia. I originally bought the new one (5) thinking they were z repeaters. Do many get sold through the forums ?

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(Shahid Haque Hausrath) #12

Sorry if this is reviving an old thread, but does anyone know if the motion sensor will act as a repeater when plugged into the USB, even if that device is not actually programmed through the same controller as the other devices I’m trying to extend? I am asking because I have a spare motion sensor sitting around and I have a Phillips hue bridge. I would like to extend the range of my bulbs, but I cannot actually add the motion sensor to the bridge, as that controller only allows bulbs to be added.

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#13

Even if it is a zigbee repeater, it would be a ZHA profile repeater. It cannot repeat for a Hue bridge, or vice versa, as the Hue bridge uses the ZLL profile. Hue bulbs only repeat for other bulbs.

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#14

What if they were GE Link bulbs connected to the Hue hub??

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(Shahid Haque Hausrath) #15

Yes, I would also prescient confirmation that that the GE link bulbs really do repeat for Hue bulbs to extend their range. I’m already doing this, and it is a bit hard to tell.

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#16

I’ll be honest: the GE bulbs completely confuse me. First of all, they have some behavior that none of the other brands exhibit, in particular dropping off the network every week or so, regardless of the controller being used.

Second, there do appear to be some overheating issues with some of the GE bulbs that you don’t get with most of the other brands.

And then there’s the whole repeating thing. The manufacturer swears up and down that if the GE lightbulbs are connected to a ZHA controller, That they will repeat for other ZHA devices. Smartthings includes that in the official support documentation on them. But a lot of people say they’ve tried it, and they don’t.

Meanwell, Phillips engineers unofficially say that the GE link light bulbs when linked to the ZLL Hue Bridge don’t repeat “well” and that’s one reason they are so often marked as “unreachable” by the Hue app even when they’re clearly still attached to the network.

I really liked the aesthetics of the GE lightbulbs, as well as the price. I like their particular brightness.

But now that the Hue white bulbs are out (which replace the previous hue lux model), and they’re priced at $15 and are brighter than the previous generation, I may just replace the GE links that I have. I’m just tired of fiddling with the links. And as someone who uses a wheelchair, it’s just really inconvenient to have this whole set of lights that aren’t quite reliable, no matter which controller I’m using.

So I don’t know what the answer is on repeating. The GE links are definitely supposed to repeat both ZHA and ZLL. But in practice, a lot of people say they don’t. We may have to wait for one of the independent labs to do some slow for test and find out. I don’t have the equipment for that.

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#17

This is a firmware issue with the ZigBee chip on the bulb - that’s why you see it across all controllers.

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(Brad Langhorst) #18

I was searching for Zigbee repeaters and thought I would bump this thread. I can tell you that without a doubt, the GE Link bulbs do act as repeaters in my Wink environment and I would assume for ZHA. I have Tripper open/close sensors on each of my garage doors at the opposite end of the house, and connectivity was extremely spotty. I dropped a GE Link bulb between the hub and Trippers and they are rock solid now. I recently removed the bulb as a test and sure enough, the Trippers started failing again. I even compared the GE Link bulb to the GE Link hub and quite honestly, the bulb did seem to be a better repeater.

I really don’t have places where I want to use the GE Link bulbs, so what I did in the case of the Wink repeater was to buy a craft light socket, put the GE Link bulb in it, and hid it (and always keep the bulb off). I could do the same thing with SmartThings as I do have an extra Link bulb, but I was hoping to find something a little more elegant. For the cost of the SmartThings outlet though, I might just stick with the Link bulb. :smiley:

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(Riccardo Spagni) #19

So this has left me even more confused.

I have quite a few Hue bulbs, and those are the ONLY Zigbee devices currently in my house. Some of the bulbs are unreachable by the network due to their placement. Since I’m going to be going SmartThings anyway, I figured that I could get some of the first generation SmartThings Motion sensors and use them to extend the network, and I picked up a set of 3 quite cheaply on eBay. Now that they’ve arrived I’ve realised that it may not be quite as simple, and stumbled across this thread and your post, but I feel like I’m lacking some fundamentals here.

So am I correct in saying that ZLL devices (such as the Hue bulbs) will typically only repeat ZLL messages? ie. they will discard any ZHA messages they receive, and the opposite is true: ZHA devices will typically discard any ZLL messages they receive.

In which case…what happens if I have both ZLL and ZHA devices (as I will eventually have)? Will they all be on the same channel, but messages will just route through any available device? Or will I have to have my ZLL devices on one channel, and ZHA on another? That 2.4ghz spectrum is getting crowded in my house;)

Also, on that topic, what is the solution to a ZLL-compatible repeater? I mean, the solution can’t possibly be “just stick a lightbulb in the ceiling”, that seems like an incredibly frustrating waste, plus I’m dangerously close to the 63-bulb limit on my Hue setup, and I’m trying to avoid running two bridges;)

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#20

If you are joining the Hue bulbs directly to the SmartThings hub without using the hue bridge (possible, but not recommended by SmartThings) then the smartthings hub is their ZHA coordinator, they will join as ZHA devices, and they will repeat for anything on your SmartThings zigbee network and other ZHA devices on that network will repeat for them.

If you are using a Hue bridge, your Hue bulbs will never join your SmartThings zigbee network. Instead, your Hue bridge and your SmartThings hub will talk to each other over your LAN. They won’t use zigbee to talk to each other. So you end up with two different zigbee networks in your home. A ZHA network which is controlled by the ZIGBEE Coordinator inside your SmartThings hub, and a completely separate ZLL network which is controlled by the zigbee Coordinator inside your Hue bridge.

Your SmartThings hub then has to pass all of its requests to the hue bridge via LAN which then passes them to the bulbs.

While technically possible to add a ZHA repeater to a ZLL network, I don’t think the hue bridge allows it. With the cost of the new “Hue white” line down to $15 a bulb, that’s the cheapest ZLL repeater you’re going to get anyway.

Summary

So as usual, it just comes down to your exact set up. If you are connecting the bulbs directly to the SmartThings hub, they’ll use the ZHA profile and any zigbee repeater you get that’s on that same network should repeat for them.

If you’re using the Hue bridge, bulbs connected to that bridge are forming a separate ZLL network that the SmartThings hub does not participate in. So that message traffic only flows through other devices connected to the Hue bridge.

Did that help?

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#21

Regarding channels, the channel for the SmartThings hub is randomly set at the factory and cannot be changed after that.

The channel for the hue bridge is randomly set at the factory, but there is an option in the official hue app to change it if you’re getting interference.

Because both ZHA and ZLL devices are very low power, it’s pretty unusual for them to interfere with each other. If they do, you can just move the Phillips bridge over about three channels and you should be fine.

The usual issue is zigbee/Wi-Fi interference, or more accurately strong Wi-Fi drowning out weak Zigbee. I have a Wi-Fi booster at my house. If I plug it in on the west wall of one room all my Zigbee devices to the west of it fall off off my smartthings network. If I move it to the north wall, everything is fine again.

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(Riccardo Spagni) #22

Perfect, that answers my questions exactly - thanks!

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(mark hahn) #23

GE Link bulbs do NOT repeat. I’m staring at the XCTU utility which shows me a mesh of what is transmitting to what. The GE link bulbs are only receiving. The reason I found this thread is because my furthest bulb is flakey even though one 10 feet closer if fine. I need a repeater.

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#24

I have a plan link base and sensors but do not have a smart hung hub. Can I use a smarting outlet as a repeater without having a smart hung hub?

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