Author Topic: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?  (Read 94590 times)

Offline parkerc

  • Sr. Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2339
  • Karma: +32/-45
  • Life Moves Pretty Fast....
    • Node Central
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2012, 07:39:23 pm »
A bit of surfing suggests that the antenna needs to be in the range of MHz that you want it to work within/cover, so 908.42MHz (US) and 868.42 MHz (EU) version

Being in the UK, unless I've missed something, it sounds like I could theoretically drill a small hole in the case of my Veralite and get the U.FL connector to SMA to create an external SMA connection and then get a suitable antenna like this one and screw it on?

http://www.simplesolutions-uk.com/products/antenna/rf-antenna/868mhz-antenna/ant-868-cw-hw-sma

I will admit to being curious about what it will give you? Would it I prove the range?


BTW - nothing is new in the world, here's an external z-wave antenna mod done back in 2005.

http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=109115

« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 07:41:27 pm by parkerc »

Offline tinkerdoctor

  • Sr. Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 09:03:55 pm »
Any preferred polarization?

Offline guessed

  • Master Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 5294
  • Karma: +90/-22
  • Release compat is not a bolted-on afterthought
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2012, 09:48:58 pm »
That, and the antenna-matching are the open questions... 

At work, we spend ages experimenting with different antenna combinations, with the gear to match them correctly, so it's going to be hit-n-miss for those wanting to try this.

Offline JGreen1280

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2013, 04:36:38 pm »
Hello,

I understand this is an old topic, however I still wanted to share the info I have so far.

Based on this thread, I purchased these 2 items:
U.FL to RP-SMA: w w w .ecrater.com/p/13249554/12-ufl-rp-sma-wireless-wifi?keywords=12%22+U.FL+RP-SMA+Wireless+WIFI+Mini+PCI+MiniPCI+Antenna+Cable+USA
and
900 MHz 5dBi Rubber Duck Antenna: w w w.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=22181


When I receive the items, I will be sure to post my findings. I too have a metal wall-mount cabinet in my basement, which was prohibiting my MCV3 from communicating to my front door lock. I will give this a shot and report back my results.

Misc. Info:
Controller: Micasa Verde Vera 3 (USA Version)
Door Lock: Kwikset SmartCode Z Wave Deadbolt
Potential Distance between controller and lock: 15' (with Vera in a metal cabinet in basement and lock on first floor)

Offline Piwtorak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 988
  • Karma: +4/-0
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2013, 04:59:15 pm »
I would like to extend my vera3 antenna ... this would prevent work with 2 vera3 installed.

has vera3 a connection to plug an additional antenna ? or needs a technical interference ?

thanks !

Vera3 (1), Airport Extreme (2), Apple TV (3), Sqblaster (1), GE Switch (3), GE Dimmer (1), Leviton VRCSZ2 (2), GE 45601 (1), Intermatic HA03 (2), GE Zwave Outlet (1), Remote Control Curtain (1) and growing.

Offline akbooer

  • Master Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 5182
  • Karma: +223/-67
  • "Less is more"
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2013, 05:44:37 pm »
From memory, the FCC compliance regulations don't allow transmitters in this frequency band to be modified in any way, specifically in relation to antennas.  All part of working in an unlicensed band.  I might be wrong about this, but certainly worth reading the small print...

[edit] I have just checked an FCC statement on one manufacturer's manual and it says:

FCC NOTICE (for USA):

THE MANUFACTURER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY
RADIO OR TV INTERFERENCE CAUSED BY UNAUTHORIZED
MODIFICATIONS TO THIS EQUIPMENT. SUCH
MODIFICATIONS COULD VOID THE USER'S AUTHORITY TO
OPERATE THE EQUIPMENT.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 06:14:22 pm by akbooer »
3x Vera Lite-UI5/Edge-UI7, 25x Fibaro, 23x TKB, 9x MiniMote, 2x NorthQ Power, 2x Netatmo, 1x Foscam FI9831P.
Razberry, MySensors Arduino, HomeWave, AltUI, DataYours, openLuup, ZWay, ZeroBrane Studio.

Offline Piwtorak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 988
  • Karma: +4/-0
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2013, 11:58:18 pm »
Well remembered akbooer!
Vera3 (1), Airport Extreme (2), Apple TV (3), Sqblaster (1), GE Switch (3), GE Dimmer (1), Leviton VRCSZ2 (2), GE 45601 (1), Intermatic HA03 (2), GE Zwave Outlet (1), Remote Control Curtain (1) and growing.

Offline Chris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 821
  • Karma: +3/-0
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2013, 04:47:23 am »
I've also just ordered a cable and antenna.  I intend to drill a hole in the back of the Vera to fit the antenna... It should be a 5 minute job and I'm hoping it will allow me to communicate with devices in my garage.

Chris

Offline parkerc

  • Sr. Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2339
  • Karma: +32/-45
  • Life Moves Pretty Fast....
    • Node Central
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2013, 02:30:08 pm »
@Chris & JGreen1280

I never found the time to mod mine, so I eagerly await to hear how you both get on.

Seeing as ZWave is a mesh network and designed to build and extend itself as more nodes get added, i was not sure of the beneift of improving the antenea, but having Vera available directly to more nodes can't be a bad thing. Can it ?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 02:44:01 pm by parkerc »

Offline Chris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 821
  • Karma: +3/-0
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2013, 02:39:54 pm »
Seeing as ZWave is a mesh network and designed ti build and extend itself as more nodes get added, i was not sure of the beneift of improving the antenea, but having Vera available dorectly to more nodes can't be a bad thing. Can it ?
This is true if you can (easily) fill in the holes in the network by adding a node - eg add a power switch somewhere to bridge the gap. However, where this isn't possible, improving the antenna should help both receive and transmit signals...

At least, that's my hope  :)

Cheers
Chris

Offline JGreen1280

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2013, 10:14:13 pm »
@Chris & JGreen1280

I never found the time to mod mine, so I eagerly await to hear how you both get on.

Seeing as ZWave is a mesh network and designed to build and extend itself as more nodes get added, i was not sure of the beneift of improving the antenea, but having Vera available directly to more nodes can't be a bad thing. Can it ?

I will definately keep you posted.. (Sorry for the late reply, apparently, after first notification of new comment on thread, I didn’t receive any more).


Offline mcvadi

  • Tech support engineer
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2013, 08:54:14 am »
Please note that any hardware changes done to the Vera unit will VOID your warranty and it's possible to lose communication with your Z-Wave devices.
It's a known fact that the walls are diminishing the Z-Wave signal and metal objects might block it entirely, therefore it is not recommended to place z-wave devices (including Vera) inside metal cabinets or behind metal doors that may produce issues in your home automation network.
We recommend to put Vera in an open space and in a more central position.

Offline JGreen1280

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2013, 12:52:37 pm »
Please note that any hardware changes done to the Vera unit will VOID your warranty and it's possible to lose communication with your Z-Wave devices.
It's a known fact that the walls are diminishing the Z-Wave signal and metal objects might block it entirely, therefore it is not recommended to place z-wave devices (including Vera) inside metal cabinets or behind metal doors that may produce issues in your home automation network.
We recommend to put Vera in an open space and in a more central position.

Thank you for this information.

What I have seen:
My house was built in December of 2006. It is a 2 story house with basement, 2,860 square feet.
My controller, Vera 3, is in my living room (on its side with top of Vera facing west) under my TV on a wooden shelf. About 16 feet, west of the Vera, I have a Kwickset Zwave lock and a Zwave door/window sensor on my front door. There are times when the Vera loses connectivity, briefly, with the door lock and door sensor.
Additional info: The front door is adjacent to the 'formal dining' area, which is adjacent to the living room. The wall between the formal dining area and the living room/family room had a window/shelf opening in the wall, which has been closed.
Prior to closing this wall, the top of the Vera was facing east and I was seeing intermittent communication issues. After the wall was closed, my success rate when polling or controlling the devices on the front door was about 5%, if that.  As a test, which became a temporary solution, I flipped the Vera over (in the exact same spot) so the top was now facing west and angled it slightly so the top of the Vera was more south-west than west. This significantly enhanced my success rate. I now would say polls and controlling is now at about 95% successful. The 5% of the time the lock fails is because the front door is open, the controller loses communication with the lock.
Where I want the controller is underneath its exact location in the basement (basically down 5 more feet), near my network equipment (ASA, Switch, Cable Modem, UPS, etc.). I have no issues placing outside the rack, however, when I attempted to place it on the rack (about 1 foot from the basement ceiling), the lock would work from the basement, from the TV stand, from my sofa. As soon as I approached the wall in the picture (the area with the red box), Vera could no longer communicate. I couldn't have been more than 10 feet from the controller, with simple housing sub floor between me and the Vera.

This is my dilemma. So, if what I read is correct, when I want to add out-door motion or temp sensors, basically I need to buy another Vera for each sensor I install, and place the Vera a few feet away from the sensor - but inside the house to protect from weather elements? Or, buy more switches, which come nowhere near where the exterior motion sensors will need to go? If I decided to zone my hvac system as a next step in my HA project, as it sits today, the controller would be unable to talk to my thermostats or occupancy sensors in the bedrooms on the 2nd floor.


I like the Vera, I really do, however I don’t live in a 10k square foot mansion. It is an average sized home in the US. It baffles my mind how weak the antenna is, or maybe just the RF amplification on Zwave - which I completely understand is regulated via FCC. I just want the range to be extended so the controller can talk to a device 30' away. Heck, my Bluetooth on my smart phone works at greater distances in my house than the Vera from the devices it controls.

(Edited: Forgot to attach image)
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 12:55:15 pm by JGreen1280 »

Offline akbooer

  • Master Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 5182
  • Karma: +223/-67
  • "Less is more"
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2013, 01:40:18 pm »
JGreen1280...

I completely understand the frustration - I have difficult areas in my house too (actually 175 years old - the house, not me - with solid 18-inch thick stone walls and metal wall boxes for switches...)

What you haven't indicated on your layout is whether you have other modules around which can act as relays.  I put in a few superfluous switchable wall sockets to increase coverage and it's worked well.

I'm not familiar with building practices in your part of the world, but I have noticed that newly-installed insulation in some new internal cavity walls that we have installed recently is actually metal clad to reflect heat... a really good RF screen.  I wonder if this is the case for your filled-in window/shelf opening?

The problem may not be the rack itself.  What you have around that area may be causing interference.  I recently bought an IP camera and the cheap power supply completely nuked my ethernet-over-power connections.  Replace with higher class power supply and all works well.

I don't know whether any of this can help.  I'm sure you've done your homework.  The secret of a reliable HA system, it seems to me, definitely rests upon the robustness of the underlying communications architecture. Zwave really is quite good.  There must be some additional factor.
3x Vera Lite-UI5/Edge-UI7, 25x Fibaro, 23x TKB, 9x MiniMote, 2x NorthQ Power, 2x Netatmo, 1x Foscam FI9831P.
Razberry, MySensors Arduino, HomeWave, AltUI, DataYours, openLuup, ZWay, ZeroBrane Studio.

Offline rondave

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Antenna on Vera3 -- extending?
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2013, 10:20:36 am »
I just added an external antenna to my Vera lite.  Huge improvement.  Even though my lock was about 30 feet away it lost the connection most of the time.  Now it has Four star signal quality in the heal report.  My thermostat, same thing.  Went from 1 star to 4 stars.

Modification took a couple of minutes.