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Thread: Some devices outdoors need a repeater

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2018
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    Some devices outdoors need a repeater

    50 device installation at my home. Initially installed professionally. I have the essentials 12.6.0. I have upgraded the firmware on the main repeater, and activated a replacement device in my system. So I know the nuts and bolts of device activation, uploading to the repeater, etc. I have two RRD-8S-DV switches in a weathertight box on a stonewall that control a swimming pool light and low voltage transformer for landscape lighting. I have these switches installed and functioning as dumb devices. In the Northeast, but these devices are offline during the cold weather, and have survived one and a half winters fine.I have tried to activate these devices. After initial failure, with by entering the device addresses and by following the prompt to add the device manually by button press, it continually fails. I am aware of the distance limitations, and thought of installing a auxiliary repeater in the basement with horizontal line of sight. (vertically the devices are 12 inches below the edge of the stone wall facing away from the house). Before doing this, I temporarily installed my Main repeater in the location I was thinking about. It still fails to be able to activate. I assume the distance and back wall of the house, which is mostly glass, is still too much for the RF. So, my only mounting solution is outside. I thought of a fiberglass weathertight box, and perhaps putting a 5 watt nightlight bulb with thermostat in the box as well to warm up some in cold weather. But this is still 35 feet from, and vertically blocked by the stone wall. I can mount it high up on the house, but it will never be line of sight to the devices, and at the extreme of the RF range. Cabling to the switch location to hardwire a repeater, then installing weatherproof as described doesn’t work. Moving the devices higher so the protrude above the walls edge is possible, but might be the thing that makes me settle for dumb devices. Any other ideas?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by dougcoleman View Post
    50 device installation at my home. Initially installed professionally. I have the essentials 12.6.0. I have upgraded the firmware on the main repeater, and activated a replacement device in my system. So I know the nuts and bolts of device activation, uploading to the repeater, etc. I have two RRD-8S-DV switches in a weathertight box on a stonewall that control a swimming pool light and low voltage transformer for landscape lighting. I have these switches installed and functioning as dumb devices. In the Northeast, but these devices are offline during the cold weather, and have survived one and a half winters fine.I have tried to activate these devices. After initial failure, with by entering the device addresses and by following the prompt to add the device manually by button press, it continually fails. I am aware of the distance limitations, and thought of installing a auxiliary repeater in the basement with horizontal line of sight. (vertically the devices are 12 inches below the edge of the stone wall facing away from the house). Before doing this, I temporarily installed my Main repeater in the location I was thinking about. It still fails to be able to activate. I assume the distance and back wall of the house, which is mostly glass, is still too much for the RF. So, my only mounting solution is outside. I thought of a fiberglass weathertight box, and perhaps putting a 5 watt nightlight bulb with thermostat in the box as well to warm up some in cold weather. But this is still 35 feet from, and vertically blocked by the stone wall. I can mount it high up on the house, but it will never be line of sight to the devices, and at the extreme of the RF range. Cabling to the switch location to hardwire a repeater, then installing weatherproof as described doesn’t work. Moving the devices higher so the protrude above the walls edge is possible, but might be the thing that makes me settle for dumb devices. Any other ideas?
    The 1st thing that I would try is taking the Main Repeater outside (long extension cord) and your laptop and try to activate it. If it works, then we can look for better locations for the Aux Repeater. If it does not work, try defaulting the switch and try again.

  3. #3
    Do you have a blueprint of your house by chance? I ended up drawing and cutting out two circles to scale (1/4" per 1 ft) that represented the coverage of main and aux repeaters. Each circle had a radius of 7.5 inches, which at 1/4" per foot scale, equals 30 feet.. After cutting them out, I placed them onto my blueprint and moved them around until I had optimum coverage conforming to the RF range of 60 ft (18 m) between repeaters and 30 ft (9 m) to where I knew I was going to have devices. I was able to install the main repeater in the garage ceiling and the aux repeater behind a piece of furniture.

  4. #4
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    If we think my idea of an auxiliary repeater in a weathertight non metallic enclosure with a small incandescent bulb on a thermostat to keep the device somewhere near environmental limits mounted next to the two exterior devices. This would be within the 60 foot repeater to repeater distance. Seems a little steampunk approach but workable. Now here is the next question. These devices are only used seasonally. So in the winter, the power is off to these devices. If I succeed in this installation, and the devices and the auxiliary repeater is successfully installed during the summer, and then it goes offline during the winter, what is the implication to the system, say in the spring when it comes back into the system? Will everything eventually be fine once re-powered?

  5. #5
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    Not sure if this is a helpful suggestion or not, but if the devices are fed from your house, and there's a conduit running to them. Why not make them rd-rd switches, and move the devices to the junction box at your house junction box - rd-rd don't require activating, so having the "smart" end of the switch closer to your house may bring them in range of your repeater. May work for you, or not visually but its a suggestion.Julian

  6. #6
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    Rd-Rd

    Julian, thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately the devices are fed off a sub panel at the pool. Only thing coming from in the home is a 30 amp 220 line to the sub panel at the pool.

  7. #7
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    I had a similar situation where the electrician mounted some devices 4' down a 6' high retaining wall. The wall had rebar which made it more difficult. I used a ~12"x12" weatherproof PVC junction box. I drilled a small hole in the top for the Antenna to penetrate and filled the hole with way too much caulk. Then I added some more caulk. The electrician added a receptacle inside the jbox. My fear was that the Antenna would get hit by a lawn mower or weed wacker. It's been in place about 3 years. The site is near the NC/SC border. Winters are fairly mild but they do get several days of
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  8. #8
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    Try to activate off an Aux repeater or the new Wireless Repeater. Both have a much stronger antenna than the main (inside source/"little birdie" told me). Might be able to bury the wireless repeater easier in line outside (provided you solve the temperature issue) in a method similar to mentioned above.
    Simple automation when DIY isn't working
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  9. #9
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    I have the same issue with an outdoor sub panel feeding my outdoor lighting. I would like to put switches in weatherproof boxes to control my lighting as well. What was the outcome of your situation?
    I am debating using an enclosed pvc box to mount the switches in rather than a weather proof switch box. I am thinking this may extend the life of the switches.
    The furthest switch would be mounted approx 100’ away from the main repeated outside. Will I need an additional repeater mounted outside to make this work? Thanks for your help!

  10. #10
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    I would get a new wireless repeater in between. I've seen the old auxiliary repeater pull 80' in an empty house, so it might work, but I would not rely on this or sell that solution.
    Simple automation when DIY isn't working
    intuitivehomecontrols@gmail.com
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