Extending range of LWRF hub

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LightwaveRF Community: Welcome Forums LightwaveRF Hackers Extending range of LWRF hub

This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  michael ward 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #23438
     rockhoppers1964 says:

    rockhoppers1964
    Participant

    Has anyone had any success extending the range of the LightwaveRf hub ?
    I want to control stuff outside in the garden, but it is at the end of its range and operation is 50/50 at best.
    Two hubs are not supported yet it seems ?

    Can the aerial be boosted ?

    Andrew

    #23440
     Antyronnen says:

    Antyronnen
    Participant

    My experience to date is that the ‘Signal Booster’ works but is very sensitive to position (more than distance) and finding an ideal location if you have several remote devices can be immensely frustrating; also the devices themselves can get fussy about what they are near. Also the Booster can only boost (or relay) signals to 6 devices (strictly speaking the limit is the number of separate commands it can handle so if you want to send the same signal to a number of devices which you have paired to the same ‘device’ in the app that works).

    The non-support of two Links is a limitation of the App in that you have to log in to a specific account which gives you control of a single Link. I have just installed a second Link on the same network as my original and the two work happily each in complete ignorance of the other. To do this you have to set up a separate account for the second link (different email and password) and you have the inconvenience of having to login to two separate accounts but it means you can site the second link somewhere nearer the devices at the edge of the range of your first one. My second is connected to the router by a Homeplug so within the limitations of your own bandwidth that seems to work. A direct physical connection to the router does not seems to be necessary. Incidentally, but perhaps not surprisingly, one device can be paired to both Links (I guess as long as this doesn’t exceed the limit of 6 control devices such as remote).

    As far as the software limitations are concerned the old App had provision to switch between links so it would worth sending LWRF helpdesk a message that you’d find this useful. Even the option to choose between accounts at login would do (as with Apple or Windows computers). One way round this is to use Demopad which can handle separate Links in the same set up but you do need to do your own design work. The designer (windows based) is free but you need to pay for the iOS App. One thing I haven’t been able to crack is getting it to work with LWRF devices remotely. Another useful ‘fix’ is to set up a separate IFTTT account using your second email and this will give you access to LWRF channels without having to go through the dreadful LWRF App (which I am told is being updated, sometime).

    #23441
     Jules says:

    Jules
    Participant

    LW800 Signal Booster
    http://lightwaverf.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/LW800.pdf

    My Mazda CX-3 Blog: jtonline.info
      Home automation: 1 x JSJSLW930 Lightwave Link / 4 x LW400WH Dimmer Switch / 1 x LW205 Wire-Free Switch / 3 x LW381 Basic On/Off Socket / 2 x Echo Dot / 1 x Harmony Companion.
      #23442
       rockhoppers1964 says:

      rockhoppers1964
      Participant

      Thanks guys, I have a range extender….not sure if i am doing it right but i found it made no real difference !
      Looking for a hack to boost the internal aerial if such a think exists !

      Andrew

      #23512
       michael ward says:

      michael ward
      Participant

      Don’t know if this will help but I had to position the link box within the house for optimum distance for all devices, with regards to walls.
      I can’t remember off hand, but a signal passing through a wall that is not perpendicular to the wall, sees the wall as an ever increasing thickness that is not proportional to the actual straight line distance, but something like an exponential thickness.

      In other words, if you want range down a garden then you are going to have to situate the link box by an outside window , then use the extender for devices inside the house.

      As long as all your devices are on the same network, you could always use a wifi extender so that you can get the right position for the link. I have a good second dual band wifi box, which connects over ethernet cable to the main modem, so that the link can be situated wherever I want it.

      Another method could be to use ethernet over mains, this allows you to choose anywhere on your property within range of a mains plug, to position the link box. I would presume that you could purchase a 433MHz repeater around £30 to try out, but don’t know if it will work.

      #23616
       greyowl says:

      greyowl
      Participant

      Has anyone had any success extending the range of the LightwaveRf hub ?
      I want to control stuff outside in the garden, but it is at the end of its range and operation is 50/50 at best.
      Two hubs are not supported yet it seems ?

      Can the aerial be boosted ?

      Andrew

      Hi

      I have the same problem – made worse by the presence of a small pond ( which RF doesn’t like ) by the kitchen window – and I have relays controlling the waterfall pump, lighting etc etc which are near to this.

      I have been using a remote from the conservatory which overlooks the ( small ) garden and I can usually get it to work everything most of the time – however there is one relay position which I can’t easily move and usually needs two or three tries to activate ( I’ve changed the relay etc etc – its the position not the hardware ).

      I wanted to set timers on the garden lighting so I picked up a link box from Maplin – then took it back the next day having considered that it was unlikely to work.

      I was considering switching to Z-wave and the vera + rxtx system to interface with the LWRF stuff but the basic problem is the 434 MHz frequency and the lack of handshaking on the LWRF relays. I am reluctant to tear out the relays and replace them with Z-wave ones -because of the cost. With hindsight I should have wired all lights and pumps independently on spurs originating from a switch unit in the house – would have been far cheaper in the long run.

      Anyway, I just got some more powerline units so that I can get a link box in the best position in the conservatory or kitchen and see if that works – I will report back in a few days.

      Incidentally, I use a range extender in the garden to get at the problem relay but I agree with another poster that they are a beast to align properly. I also don’t like the 6 small screws to get to the sealed battery department and the pairing switch – its a pain.

      AS for the rest of the house, we use the LWRF just for lighting room by room and so I don’t see the need of linking these all up which would need an army of range extenders( wouldn’t it ?? ) to interface with the link unit which would have to be at the opposite end of the house from most of the installations – and I hear the IOS or Abdroid apps aren’t too hot anyway.

      Richard

      #23621
       btidey says:

      btidey
      Participant

      AS for the rest of the house, we use the LWRF just for lighting room by room and so I don’t see the need of linking these all up which would need an army of range extenders( wouldn’t it ?? ) to interface with the link unit which would have to be at the opposite end of the house from most of the installations – and I hear the IOS or Abdroid apps aren’t too hot anyway.

      Richard

      I find the range of the link box pretty good. It tends to work a bit better than the remotes and also repeats the messages 20 times ( 6 for remotes) making it more likely that it gets through.

      I have 1 link box situated in downstairs room in the corner of the building and it has no problem controlling devices all over the building up to 16m away through solid walls (no extenders). Obviously the range can be significantly affected by construction and the presence of any metal barriers.

      #23622
       michael ward says:

      michael ward
      Participant

      I bought a second wifi box to extend the range of wifi, as this is used for the transmitting commands to the link box, then situated the link box at a roughly central point, which covers all the controllers, even those on the radiators, the lights not being a problem as everything was brought back to a central location when a rewire was done. As long as the link is on the same network then everything works fine.

      Out of curiosity, why do you need feedback ? Although I do admit that in some cases it would be very handy. There must be some kind of feedback possible, because with battery powered devices, a battery status is fed back to the link.

      Have you thought about wifi controllers http://us.dlink.com/products/connected-home/wi-fi-smart-plug/ plenty of others too.
      Although anything on wifi poses its own problems, as in what if there is a power cut ? How many local devices are on the frequency you use for wifi ?
      You could transmit at 5 GHz to avoid noise pollution with the 2.4, but I have no idea how good the range will be.

      My garden has hoses running down the garden and as I keep everything external, low Voltage, I run a multi core control/LV power cable alongside the hose pipe (tie wrapped) to the end of the garden (Greenhouse) and use 3 way relay controllers, for a remote control. Thus the range of the 433MHz is not required, and the wifi reaches that far anyway.

      #23623
       greyowl says:

      greyowl
      Participant

      Out of curiosity, why do you need feedback ? Although I do admit that in some cases it would be very handy. There must be some kind of feedback possible, because with battery powered devices, a battery status is fed back to the link.

      In the same way you need handshaking for boller/heating controls. I need to know that if I switch a fan on in the greenhouse etc then the command has been received,and apart from failures, then the action is done.

      I don’t want to rip up the wiring since most of it is buried beneath the patio now but I like your idea of running LV power and control cables.

      I decided to get a Vera hub + RFX to work with the garden stuff and then I have the option to switch to Z wave relays which are more robust if needed. My experience is that 868 MHz seems to work better outside in my environment that 434 does ( only have a Klimalogg at the moment but the connection is solid compared to LWRF and some other 434 stuff like weather stations.)

      Cheers

      Richard

      #23625
       michael ward says:

      michael ward
      Participant

      I completely understand why the need, just wondered in your specific instance, to see if there were a way around it.

      Working with little knowledge of what you have here. But I am going to make the assumption that you have mains power to the Greenhouse, just as I did for the hydroponics and fan. I use linked vents that are directly driven from the heat of the greenhouse. Window opens which pulls on a string, that goes over pulleys to a spring loaded bottom vent.

      One way to know of an action taken, like switching a fan on, is to use a current sensor of some sort (clamp meter type maybe), run through some sort of comparator if you need to, on the mains cable to the Greenhouse. If you want to really get your hands dirty, you could use a microcontroller and set a lookup table that could tell you which device is turned on, by level of current drawn. :) Probably overkill if all you need to know is if the fan has been turned on or not.

      TP link and others, do of course have ethernet over mains devices, which could help out with control and feedback.

      #23640
       greyowl says:

      greyowl
      Participant

      I completely understand why the need, just wondered in your specific instance, to see if there were a way around it.
      Working with little knowledge of what you have here. But I am going to make the assumption that you have mains power to the Greenhouse, just as I did for the hydroponics and fan. I use linked vents that are directly driven from the heat of the greenhouse. Window opens which pulls on a string, that goes over pulleys to a spring loaded bottom vent.

      One way to know of an action taken, like switching a fan on, is to use a current sensor of some sort (clamp meter type maybe), run through some sort of comparator if you need to, on the mains cable to the Greenhouse. If you want to really get your hands dirty, you could use a microcontroller and set a lookup table that could tell you which device is turned on, by level of current drawn. Probably overkill if all you need to know is if the fan has been turned on or not.

      TP link and others, do of course have ethernet over mains devices, which could help out with control and feedback.

      Thanks for these good ideas – and also I am just fitting hydroponics tanks in my greenhouse. For the fans I think I will just use a Biogreen thermo. I have used these before and they are very robust – Just connect it to a fan using the cooling setting. I have one of these connected to a heater for the winter. I have a box with an Arduino in which I have never got around to using apart from playing with it – had some concerns in any case about how long it would last even boxed in in the humidity of the G’house.

      Back to the wireless stuff – I just got a VERA Edge and the RFXtrx thingy. Got it working fine covering the garden and all of the house LWRF relays and dimmers without too much fiddling with the unit position. I think the radio signal is much stronger than with the LWRF remotes – tested it multiple times and it switched the relays without drop out ( so far ). Waterfall and lights are now on timers which is what I wanted.

      Anyway onwards and upwards – wife keen on electric curtains so that’s my next project.

      #23642
       michael ward says:

      michael ward
      Participant

      IP66/7 enclosures for the greenhouse. although your worst enemy is condensation with any enclosure in the greenhouse.
      Thanks for the info, looked up both of those Vera Edge and RFXtrx and bookmarked for further reference and reading. Interested to note that the RFXtrx runs on 432.92 MHz, along with your comment about the transmitter being stronger.

      I have roller blind control on my wish list, so good luck with that. It is apparently quite easy to do. My idea was to use the IFTTT timer along with a light sensor to determine true sunset, rather than a heavy overcast.

      The other idea was to have either an inverted blind or blind with a clear panel at the top, in the bedroom, so that at sun rise light could be let in at the top of the blind without opening too far, and led lights over the top of the window to simulate day break for winter times.

      I like the idea of the Biogreen thermo and have looked at this one which does the job, summer and winter. http://www.greenhousesensation.co.uk/bio-green-thermo-2-digital-thermostat.html

      Good luck with your projects and hope everything goes well for you.

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