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Author Topic: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network  (Read 7044 times)

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Offline lksseven

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Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« on: December 15, 2016, 05:16:57 pm »
I have a two Almond3 mesh network (slave is wired to the network, not wireless).  The master Almond3 is up in front part of my building.  The slave is in the back part of my bldg.  I have a Z-wave in-wall light switch (GE 12727) that is about 70feet from the slave Almond3 (and 75' further away from the master Almond3).

Given those logistics, how am I going to get the light switch communicating with the dongle (which the master Almond3 will recognize when the dongle is inserted in the master, but the master won't recognize the dongle when it's inserted in the slave)?

Am I out of luck in trying to be able to control the lights in the back of my archery range with a smart light switch and Almond? 

Offline Ohiomedic

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2016, 05:45:47 pm »
I know that controlling/syncing home automation is coming to the slave almonds in an update. If this will allow you to place a zwave stick in the slave and us it I don't know. If don't use the LCD to control the lights and have no more zwave devices you could switch the position of the two almonds. Also zwave devices that plug into an outlet or a directly wired works as a zwave repeater. I don't know how many it would take to span the distance, but you could also add a zwave device or two in between the front and back if you need to control your lights now before the update.

Offline lksseven

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2016, 06:01:31 pm »
Yes, I think I'll swap the locations and see if I can make it work that way.  Thanks!

Offline mparadis

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2016, 06:46:30 pm »
I think your best bet is to add a few more devices in between. Mains powered device (not battery) act as repeaters. I'd add a few switches or outlets to your collection and start to build it out.

Offline lksseven

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2016, 06:46:34 pm »
I put the master A3 back in the range where the zWave action was going to get, and put a third A3 up in the building lobby. So now have three A3's in my mesh (all wired), covering 6,000sq ft with wifi.   GE 12727 in-wall light switch works great with the zWave Securifi dongle.   

Offline lksseven

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2016, 12:14:17 am »
installed another GE12727 in wall light switch that is 20 feet from the master A3.  Moved the A3 to the door way to give the zWave dongle line of sight with the light switch and it synced up just fine.  But when I moved it back to its perch, it's 10 feet from the doorway, and a 90degree  turn to get to the light switch which is 10 feet from the doorway.  The zWave can't make the connection - I guess because of the 90degree angle. 

I'm going to run a 15' usb amplified extension cable up along the ceiling and try to get line of sight to both switches simultaneously.  Maybe that will work.

What a ridiculous scenario that modern tech can't make a turn through a doorway and communicate with a device 20 feet away ... Yeesh.   

Offline fillibar

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2016, 08:36:45 am »
Does sound odd. Do you know the construction of the wall between? Is it a "modern" commercial building with the metal studs? I imagine those would do a number on the radio reception.

My last building at work had metal panel walls instead of drywall for much of the interior, as well as lots of metal shelving and other interference. The network guys hated it because of how many WiFi points it needed for regular coverage. Even cell signals were terrible.

Long story short: Just wondering if you are getting hit by the building construction with this scenario.
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Offline lksseven

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2016, 09:19:59 am »
Hi fillibar,

The wall is metal, but the door is always wide open.  Wifi signals are robust (thank you Almond!).  But the light switch is only 20 feet (10feet, then a left turn through the doorway and another 10feet line of sight to the light switch) from the master router (and 3 feet from a slave A3 ... can't wait till the slaves can also host a zWave dongle!).  The Almond phone app will actually - with a noticeable delay - 'work' once on the light switch 'smart device' on/off toggle one time, but then will get caught in a relentless "updating sensor" loop. 

The Peanut plugs are bulletproof - don't understand why no one makes (or do they?) a zigbee in-wall light switch, and the heck with the zWave technology.

Offline fillibar

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2016, 09:42:47 am »
Weird. Z-Wave has a shorter wavelength so it should "technically" penetrate better. Wonder if there is some other interference somehow.

As for ZigBee switches, they do exist. Here is one example, but there are a couple:
GE 45856GE is a ZigBee light switch with energy monitoring also. Max load of 960w.
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Offline lksseven

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2016, 10:03:41 am »
The GE switch - yes!  I just saw this on Amazon.  It didn't specifically cite Almond as being compatible, but I was going to take a chance on it.  But first I'll try the USB amplified extension cable and dangle the dongle from the ceiling with line of sight to both zWave switches and see if that solves my immediate issue.  The zigbee switch, while more expensive, would be the more elegant solution (and hopefully more robust), though.  I've got another switch to convert to 'smart' - I'll likely try the zigbee, especially since the light switch is 70feet from the router and 4 feet around the corner (not line of sight).

Offline fillibar

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2016, 10:27:31 am »
Not a guarantee, but I did a search on the forum for that GE switch and someone had success with it with an Almond 2015. Further, the switch specifically lists HA 1.2 support, which is a very good sign for compatibility. I just wish they were not so darned expensive. Not sure how a ZigBee device could cost even more than Z-Wave... Oh well.

Interested in seeing for the dongle works over the USB cable. I put my Almond 3 on a UPS to more easily add things, but I also have a 30ft USB cable that could make things easier. Never thought to use it for this.
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Offline anwar.shiekh

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2016, 11:21:06 am »
Weird. Z-Wave has a shorter wavelength so it should "technically" penetrate better. Wonder if there is some other interference somehow.

2.4GHz penetrates better than 5GHz; radio penetrates better than visible light; we can see further into the Milky Way using infrared (rather than visible).

So one can't generalize.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 11:27:34 am by anwar.shiekh »

Offline fillibar

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2016, 12:17:59 pm »
I guess I should not have mentioned wavelength.
Z-Wave should penetrate better than ZigBee, but there are many factors that can impact that, so your experience may vary...
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Offline lksseven

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2016, 01:25:54 pm »
So, I attached the zWave dongle to the 15' USB extension/amplified cable, and it works like a charm.   Here are some pics.  You can see the dongle attached to ceiling by the sunlight ceiling tile, and the router against the wall.  I'm standing in the doorway that the zWave had trouble making a left turn.

Still shaking my head that the zWave won't turn the corner, but nice to be able to solve a problem by using forgotten stuff that's just laying around ...

 

Offline anwar.shiekh

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Re: Z-wave Dongle on an Almond3 mesh network
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2016, 01:32:17 pm »
Is that a metal filing cabinet?

 

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