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Author Topic: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?  (Read 20570 times)

Offline n0ir

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Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« on: March 31, 2015, 08:45:38 am »
My new Vera Edge can't quite reach my Fibaro Universal Sensor in my barn (or the Wall Plug I also put there to help the network).

I thought about buying a Extender (like http://aeotec.com/z-wave-repeater) but thought I maybe would be better of by trying to upgrade the Vera Edges internal antenna, like in this thread for Vera Lite:

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,11276.0.html

Have anyone tried modding the Vera Edge yet? Does the new Z-Wave Plus chip matter when buying a replacement antenna?

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2015, 09:54:51 am »
I don't have an Edge, so I've not done it and couldn't tell you absolute certainty if an external antenna makes a positive difference with the Edge. The Edge does use a different stock antenna and radio than what was used in the previous Vera 3 or Vera Lite.

I can tell you that,  since the Vera Edge's internal antenna has a 0.56dBi gain, it is highly likely that using a 3dBi or 5dBi gain external antenna would make a big difference to signal quality and range. The typical 3dBi antenna would nearly double the power output of the Edge's Z-Wave radio. The 5dBi antenna is probably too much and may exceed FCC limits, though I can't be bothered to do the math.

If you chose to put an external antenna on your Edge, you would use the same antenna(3dBi preferably) and connectors described in the old antenna modification post.

The Antenna selection is based on RF frequency, not Z-Wave protocol version and, if you look at the pictures in this post about Edge internals, you'll see that the Edge uses the same Hirose U.FL connector in the PCB.

Offline n0ir

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2015, 06:34:23 pm »
Sound like it would work!

I ordered some different antennas and a IPX to SMA adapter. Will try it out and report back. The Aeon Labs Extender cost ~?40 so I have an imaginary budget to play with... ;)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 07:13:49 pm by n0ir »

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2015, 06:44:39 pm »
I have been waiting for a thread like this.

I had and still have the antenna on my unused LITE. I honestly couldn't tell a difference before.

I got the EDGE and with all the same devices in the same place it appears to work the same.

So how much it helps I don't know but I guess if enough people say it works I might do it on my edge also just for kicks.

Offline kyb2012

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2015, 06:47:48 pm »
I took the external antenna from my broken Lite and installed on my Edge.  Seems to work.  Not sure it's actually better.

Offline BOFH

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2015, 09:21:15 pm »
I installed a 5dB one on my Ui5 Vera3 a while back and did notice a difference. Almost all my devices now talk directly to Vera and that improves the response time.

I just ordered a second set of eBay to modify my UI7 Vera3 the same way as most of the devices she currently services are battery ones and I'm seeing some range issues that I hope a stronger antenna will resolve.

Not recommending any seller or fleabay, but this is what I got for a little over $5

Antenna 3G 5DBi GSM CDMA WCDMA RP.SMA jack Tilt rotation 850-960/1710-2170MHz
http://www.ebay.com/itm/271228395832 $3.00 + $1.50 S&H

Pigtail RP-SMA male(female pin)to u.FL/IPX cable 1.13mm for Wifi Network 15CM MJ
http://www.ebay.com/itm/221708405702 $1.09 with free shipping

This was the shortest cable length I could find. As cable length has an effect on the actual dB improvement. The longer the cable, the more resistance it creates and that reduces the dB gain the antenna provides.

As both come from China, it's gonna take about a month for them to get here.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 09:26:02 pm by BOFH »
Vera3 UI5 UI7 Edge Plus
Trane TZEMT400AB32 | Schlage BE369 FE599 | GE 45601 45602 45603 45604 45606 45609 45631 | Intermatic HA01C HA03C HA05C HA07C CA600 CA3000 | Aeon DSC06106 | Telguard GDC1 | Foscam FI8910W FI8905W FI9821W | D-Link 930L | Wanscam JW0011 | ZModo ZPIBH13W

Offline rstrouse

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2015, 09:47:35 pm »
I had a dramatic improvement on my Vera3.  I bought 4 different antennas that advertised 3dbi - 7dbi in the 900Mhz range.  I did this since at the time so many people were reporting varied results and the most expensive one was $9.  Some reported controlling devices on the international space station while others claimed either no improvement or diminished range.  When they arrived after several weeks I tried each one and picked the one that made the most improvement.  Most devices now connect direct to the Vera.  That simple improvement can have dramatic affect since it improved response times for everything.

One of the antennas was an epic fail and I believe it was defective.  All the others gave noticeable improvement.
1xVera3 1.7.619, 4xLinear WT00Z, 3xLinear WS15Z, 1xLeviton VRCZ4, 10xCooper RF9540, 1xLeviton VRFI10, 1xLeviton VP00R, 2xLinear GD00Z-4, 1xGE/Jasco 45612, 1xGE/Jasco 45610,  4xGE/Jasco 45605, 2xYale YRD220-ZW-619, 1xCaddx NX584, Autelis Intellitouch Pool Control, OpenSprinkler

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2015, 10:27:53 pm »
I had a dramatic improvement on my Vera3.  I bought 4 different antennas that advertised 3dbi - 7dbi in the 900Mhz range.  I did this since at the time so many people were reporting varied results and the most expensive one was $9.  Some reported controlling devices on the international space station while others claimed either no improvement or diminished range.  When they arrived after several weeks I tried each one and picked the one that made the most improvement.  Most devices now connect direct to the Vera.  That simple improvement can have dramatic affect since it improved response times for everything.

One of the antennas was an epic fail and I believe it was defective.  All the others gave noticeable improvement.

Well which was the winner?

Offline rstrouse

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2015, 10:57:22 pm »
The 5dbi and the 7dbi had almost identical performance and of course the performance measurement is subject to perception.  The 3dbi was a noticeable improvement but the difference to the 5dbi was even more noticeable.  In the end Vera is actually sporting the 7dbi because she is compensating for something.  My house is on the large side and before the antenna I had real issues reaching the farthest areas.
1xVera3 1.7.619, 4xLinear WT00Z, 3xLinear WS15Z, 1xLeviton VRCZ4, 10xCooper RF9540, 1xLeviton VRFI10, 1xLeviton VP00R, 2xLinear GD00Z-4, 1xGE/Jasco 45612, 1xGE/Jasco 45610,  4xGE/Jasco 45605, 2xYale YRD220-ZW-619, 1xCaddx NX584, Autelis Intellitouch Pool Control, OpenSprinkler

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2015, 11:35:24 pm »
The 5dbi and the 7dbi had almost identical performance and of course the performance measurement is subject to perception.  The 3dbi was a noticeable improvement but the difference to the 5dbi was even more noticeable.  In the end Vera is actually sporting the 7dbi because she is compensating for something.  My house is on the large side and before the antenna I had real issues reaching the farthest areas.

Is there a down side to going to higher dbi?

Offline rstrouse

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2015, 01:33:43 am »
I don't believe so.  I believe it is more likely how well the antenna is tuned to the frequency.  I don't believe for a second that I am getting the proclaimed 7dbi on an antenna tuned for a wide frequency range.  That being said the improvement is undeniable.
1xVera3 1.7.619, 4xLinear WT00Z, 3xLinear WS15Z, 1xLeviton VRCZ4, 10xCooper RF9540, 1xLeviton VRFI10, 1xLeviton VP00R, 2xLinear GD00Z-4, 1xGE/Jasco 45612, 1xGE/Jasco 45610,  4xGE/Jasco 45605, 2xYale YRD220-ZW-619, 1xCaddx NX584, Autelis Intellitouch Pool Control, OpenSprinkler

Offline n0ir

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2015, 08:19:22 am »
I ordered these antennas (and both IPEX to SMA and IPEX to RP-SMA adapters):

868MHZ/915MHZ / GSM / 3G Small Sucker Omnidirectional High-gain Antenna (7DBI)
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271711067722

New GSM (900MHZ) Omnidirectional Wireless Module Antenna SMA Head (5DBI)
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/281534631632

868M/900M/915Mhz antenna module aerial 5dbi Omni direction SMA male folding NEW (it was avaliable in both SMA and RPSMA on request)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/271734261589

Will let you know which one works best when they arrive.

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2015, 08:38:27 am »
Is there a down side to going to higher dbi?
Yes, there can be multiple issues.

The first issue is one that most people here won't care about. That is exceeding the legal Effective Radiated Power(ERP).

The other issues are ones you might care about. First, too much gain can push your signal too far out and cause interference in other devices or networks that share the same or nearby frequencies. One Vera could impact a second in the garage, for instance, or a neighbor?s baby monitor.

But, the biggest potential issue is increasing the gain/power so much that nearby devices can't hear the signal over the noise.

For an analogy think of a loudspeaker. Increasing the antenna gain and the radiated power is like turning up the volume of a loudspeaker. It allows you to hear the speaker better further away. But at some point the speaker becomes so loud and distorted that when you are closer to it, the sound is unintelligible because it is perceived as just loud noise and you can no longer make out what is being said.

Offline GT!

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2015, 11:11:05 am »
I don't really understand the point of this, other than some people like to do mods.  Zwave was designed to be a mesh network, not point-point.  So if you can't reach a device due to distance the solution is to put a zwave node in between to extend the range and strengthen the network.  Messing with the antenna just seems wrong.  Sure an antenna might save a few dollars, but most people can find value in the extra zwave device they install (yes, I'm suggesting a light switch or outlet or something rather than a repeater that isn't much cheaper anyway).  Just my 2 cents ...

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Mod antenna on Vera Edge?
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2015, 11:48:11 am »
I don't really understand the point of this, other than some people like to do mods.  Zwave was designed to be a mesh network, not point-point.  So if you can't reach a device due to distance the solution is to put a zwave node in between to extend the range and strengthen the network.  Messing with the antenna just seems wrong.  Sure an antenna might save a few dollars, but most people can find value in the extra zwave device they install (yes, I'm suggesting a light switch or outlet or something rather than a repeater that isn't much cheaper anyway).  Just my 2 cents ...

Problem is some devices work better with point-to-point. For example GE/JASCO switches don't have instant status, but when communicating directly with the controller they will act as if they do.

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,30690.msg220127.html#msg220127

Also across the board latency is better, and relaying on vera for correct and logical routing also doesn't always work out the way it should.

5.00 antenna mod that takes 5 min to do....... If it helps why not.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 10:39:53 pm by integlikewhoa »