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Thread: Practical distances between hub and switches/pico's.

  1. #1
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    Practical distances between hub and switches/pico's.

    I am building a house right now and have just completed the design for my Caseta system.

    I installed a PD-5NE at my current residence and installed a hub (non-pro). I started at about 35' from the hub to the PD-5NE with very little in the way of obstructions, just around the corner of a timber/sheet rock wall) and everything worked fine

    I moved the hub to another router maybe 55' away, again, through minor sheet rock and stud walls and again, everything worked fine.

    In a normal wooden stud and sheet rock wall structure, does anyone have a rule of thumb beyond the 30' spec? Or is it an, "install and see" kind of thing? I know there are a lot of variables like RF interference, etc.


    Thanks much.

  2. #2
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    Devices within 30 feet are pretty much guaranteed to always work regardless of construction type, interference, etc. I've seen 40 and 50 feet work just fine with typical North American construction methods (2x4 walls, 1/2" drywall, etc.) I would say that beyond maybe 45-50 feet, it isn't a given that it will work reliably. Remember that you can use one lamp dimmer as a range extender, giving you another 30-40 foot radius.
    Evan Kirkhart- Home Electronics Solutions
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by evankirkhart View Post
    Devices within 30 feet are pretty much guaranteed to always work regardless of construction type, interference, etc. I've seen 40 and 50 feet work just fine with typical North American construction methods (2x4 walls, 1/2" drywall, etc.) I would say that beyond maybe 45-50 feet, it isn't a given that it will work reliably. Remember that you can use one lamp dimmer as a range extender, giving you another 30-40 foot radius.
    Thanks for the reply.

    OK, great. I have laid out two options, one central hub, with maybe 40’ max radius to the farthest intelligent devices. My backup is to move the hub a little and install a dimmer 25’ from the hub to get full coverage within spec.

    I can’t believe how easy it all is to install and setup. My old LiteTouch was super complicated in comparison. This system is going to be perfect.

    PS - sorry for posting in the wrong forum, fat fingers on an iPad.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by evankirkhart View Post
    Devices within 30 feet are pretty much guaranteed to always work regardless of construction type, interference, etc. I've seen 40 and 50 feet work just fine with typical North American construction methods (2x4 walls, 1/2" drywall, etc.) I would say that beyond maybe 45-50 feet, it isn't a given that it will work reliably. Remember that you can use one lamp dimmer as a range extender, giving you another 30-40 foot radius.
    Thanks for the reply.

    OK, great. I have laid out two options, one central hub, with maybe 40’ max radius to the farthest intelligent devices. My backup is to move the hub a little and install a dimmer 25’ from the hub to get full coverage within spec.

    I can’t believe how easy it all is to install and setup. My old LiteTouch was super complicated in comparison. This system is going to be perfect.

    PS - sorry for posting in the wrong forum, fat fingers on an iPad.

  5. #5
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    @BillS-Install a plug in lamp dimmer. The first one is allowed to be a signal extender. You probably have a table lamp of some sort that you want on the system anyway. Allows for placing the bridge near the networking gear, which is the first place I'm going to look when called out for a trouble shoot.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
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    Extender

    Quote Originally Posted by SDR-Mike View Post
    @BillS-Install a plug in lamp dimmer. The first one is allowed to be a signal extender. You probably have a table lamp of some sort that you want on the system anyway. Allows for placing the bridge near the networking gear, which is the first place I'm going to look when called out for a trouble shoot.
    Thanks Mike, I just went over the blueprints. The wiring closet is in the middle of the house, so the maximum radius I have to traverse is about 35’. My backup plan will be to move my hub outside that closet and add an extender on the longer side, such that the greatest distance will be about 20’. There should also be less noise outside the closet, if that becomes a problem.

    The distance I am covering right now to my one test PD-5NE is about 55’, similar style construction (wood frame, sheet rock) so my confidence right now is high.

    The Cable guys install my internet tomorrow, so I will get a chance to test maximum ranges over the 4th-5th when the contractors are off. I love the PD-5NE’s coupled with the Picos my wife will like the consistency of operation. I got the Lutron app up and working with schedules and am playing with HomeKit, so far kind of unimpressed with HomeKit, but it is early. :)

    This is pretty cool stuff.

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    I find Lutrons distance numbers to be conservative. However, no two houses are the same. Even if they have similar construction. Steel has a weird effect on RF signals. It doesn't have to be directly in the path to affect the signal. Steel is expensive so most builders don't use it. They do use duct work that is wrapped in what looks like aluminum foil. Sometimes moving the bridge as little as a foot can help. So you are correct, there is a bit of trial-and-error. Keep in mind the RF coverage is a 60' diameter sphere. If you place the bridge at floor level of the first floor, 1/2 of your sphere is in the ground. The bridge doesn't have a user interface so it can go anywhere there is a network connection.
    LED, Incorporated
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    Thanks for the advice Randy.

    I do have a little experience with RF and so know how squirrely the results can be, for seemingly very strange reasons. The good news is the wiring closet is in the center of the house on the second floor, so I have a decent shot that everything will be working with a single hub. The max radius from where I will locate the hub centrally is about 40’ and the construction is wood. There is a little difference between the current house we have been testing with super long distances and the new place, as the new place we used a laminate stud material and 2x6’s a lot more, along with 5/8” sheet rock (we wanted really straight walls) so they are denser than current 2x4 and 1/2” sheet rock construction in the test house. I expect that may hamper range a little. Also, the current hub, while sitting next to a router, has little in the way of other noise around it. The wiring closet in the new place will be a different deal I suspect. If I can’t get it done with the centrally located hub, I have a couple of places I had designed in optional WAP locations, so will locate the hub to one of those and a repeater dimmer in another spot on the other half of the house. With these options, I am pretty sure everything will be operational.

    The cable guys came out yesterday, supposedly to install the HS Internet, but couldn’t find the buried taps in the area, so testing in the house with everything we will be using fully installed will be a while I suspect.

    Some fun.

    PS - How many spares would you guys have for the longer term failure replacement stock? We will have about 50 PD-5NE’s and about 20 picos installed. I am budgeting about +10% for the Halo modules for the first order.

  9. #9
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    To the mods

    I inadvertently started this thread in the wrong forum.

    I tried to PM one of you but apparently I don’t have that power.

    Maybe we should move this thread to its appropriate location as clearly it isn’t a programming thread.

    Thanks for everything, this forum has been a super valuable resource to me, a rank amateur. It made the difference for me in getting to an intelligent lighting control system from what I had compromised down to when designing my new house, which was a bunch of dumb dimmers and timers.

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