Adding Aeotec Range Extenders has made my BE469 and FE599 locks reliable


#1

Last week, I emailed support indicating that my Schlage locks (BE469, FE599) worked intermittently, dropped off the network randomly, and I could never use a lock code to work as a trigger.

@bobbyD from Hubitat Support suggested the problem may be a lack of z-wave+ repeaters (most of my line powered devices are z-wave, not z-wave+). He also told me that rather than repeaters being placed close to the device, they would work better if placed close to the hub.

So I added three Aeotec Range Extender 6 to my z-wave network. I placed one of them literally 6 inches away from the hub. The second one was about 4 feet away in one direction, and the third one was about 20 feet away in the other direction (my townhouse is small - 1800 sq ft over 2 storeys).

Here's the bottom-line outcome: Neither lock has dropped off the network since I installed the range extenders and rebuilt the z-wave network. In addition, for both locks, I can add/delete lock codes reliably using HE - this was hit or miss before.

SO A BIG THANK YOU TO @bobbyD!!

Here are lock specific changes, and remaining issues, after adding the Aeotec Range Extenders.

BE469:

  • Manual lock/unlock using the thumb turn results in device state changes that can be used reliably in automations.
  • Lock codes can be used in automations very reliably.

FE599:

  • Manual lock/unlock is picked up as device state changes in HE only if I do a refresh on the device page.
  • Even when using HE to control the lock, I need to do a device refresh before the device state changes on the device page.
  • Automations using lock codes do not work. For whatever reason, while lock codes show as the assigned 4-digit numbers on BE469 device page, they only show up as "????" on the FE599 page (btw, all lock codes were generated using HE). I think this is an issue with the HE driver for this lock, but I could be wrong.

In general, my z-wave network behaves a lot better now. I didn't save a before map, but here's the map after adding the three range extenders.

  • Device 1 is the HE
  • Devices 75, 76, 77 are the Aeotec range extenders
  • Device 62 is the BE469 and 64 is the FE599
  • Devices 73 & 74 are two Aeotec minimotes
  • Device 49 is a Aeotec leak sensor (DSB45) that triggers automations just fine
  • Device 5 is Dome motion sensor in my kitchen that has no line-powered z-wave devices around it.


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#2

Given the number of neighbors your locks both have now, it would be interesting to see the before map. I have a couple of Zwave switches within 5 feet and line of site to the hub, but both route through other devices.


#3

Yeah - I wish I had saved that. The FE599 had many fewer neighbors. But the BE469 had a lot (~20). I don't understand how adding these three range extenders made them so much more reliable, but there you have it.

Actually, when I first read @bobbyD's email, I was a little skeptical. I'm glad I followed through with his advice.


#4

@zarthan

If you're in my neck of the woods (Louisiana), you're welcome to borrow the z-wave toolbox and map your network .... takes all of about 20 minutes.


#5

I guess you talked me into it, I will have to give these range extenders a go, I really didn't want this to work since they are single use devices (not an outlet which also repeats), but it sounds like it made a significant difference for you.

Guess these extenders will be like the Peanut plug is to Hampton Bay controllers for Schlage zwave locks.


#6

@waynespringer79

I got three Securifi Peanuts and four Tradfri plugs (or maybe the other way about). They're both great zigbee repeaters. No longer have any zigbee issues - not even to my LeakSmart water valve that used to fall off the network every week when it was connected to Wink.

I think I might have picked up the tip to use Securifi Peanuts from you.


#7

Thanks for the offer. I'm in the middle of the country just a whole lot north, Minnesota. I do have OZWCP running and have a script that generates a map or used to. I stripped out the map and it now just generates the tables of hops and neighbors. Once you have more than a few devices, for me, I found the map just too hard to follow. Totally worth having.


#8

@aaiyar First I want to say Thank You for being the tester and recommendation on these.

I have 3 Schlage BE469 locks
#1--- is within 5 feet of the Hub, haven't had much of any issue at all with it.
#2--- is about 30 feet from the Hub, I have the following repeaters 1-Zooz Zen 26, 1 Zooz Siren, 1 Fibaro Dimmer 2 switch, and 2 Fibaro Wall Plug Outlets ALL within 5-10 feet from the lock.
#3---is about 50 feet from the Hub (about 25 feet from the 2nd listed locks location) also it is outdoors on a shed, the following repeaters 1-Zooz Zen 22 switch and 1 Fibaro Wall Plug outlet are within 5 feet from the lock.

I have the Reliable Locks App that polls/refreshes each lock set to every 10 minutes.

#2 lock is "intermittent at best, It will work for a few hours then no response for a few hours, dashboard/device page control comes and goes depending on if it's responding during these times. As if it drops off the network.

#3 lock is almost always non-responsive in fact it has been DAYS since it has responded with anything, If I unplug the battery and power cycle it, it will work with the Hub for about 10 minutes then goes back to unresponsive and Reliable Locks almost always doesn't return ANY communication being polled/refreshed every 10 minutes.

So I took @aaiyar recommendation and bought 2 Aeotec Range Extender 6's, The first one arrived today and the second will be here Monday.

I placed this first one in the place of one of the Fibaro Wall Outlets on Lock #2 and immediately upon pairing the range extender, the lock (which failed to unlock per the rule machine rule firing when entering that room) unlocked directly after the Aeotec Range extender paired, without me sending the unlock command.

So far it has been 2 hours and looking at the logs BOTH (trouble) locks (which #3's range extender isn't even here yet) have polled every 10 minutes perfectly.

I know it's too soon to tell long term, but so far THIS has fixed the Zwave Lock issue.

@mike.maxwell I know you are currently looking at the drivers for these, and I wanted to provide you this info "IF" maybe it can help you on it. ALSO, the Aeotec Range Extender 6 paired "as a device" in which I used the Generic Zwave Repeater driver for it. Do you already have/and/or want the fingerprint for these?

If so, I will provide it here once I pair the second one on Monday.

Man this frustration is so glad to be going away!!!!!


#9

We don't have the fingerprint, by definition, if a device pairs as "Device" we don't have the fingerprint.


#10

Well this is exciting. My range extenders just arrived at home an hour ago. Will be installing them after work.


#11

I wasn't sure if it was just a fluke, as my "first attempt" at pairing it got stuck on the "initializing" phase and never finished pairing, at which I excluded and repaired, it was the second attempt that it came up as a device so I wasn't sure if it may have not paired correctly OR if it was because it needed to be added in

But I will post and tag you with the fingerprint when the next one I pair comes in.


#12

@waynespringer79

:crossed_fingers:

So far my locks have stayed connected and responsive. I hope yours do as well. And to clarify give credit where it's due - @bobbyD is the one to thank.


#13

Is the z-wave network smart enough to prioritize z-wave+ nodes over z-wave when necessary? Thinking through my device layout, the traffic could easily take a + or non+ route and I'm wondering if I should mitigate that or trust that the mesh will sort itself out, preferring + for the locks.


#14

I'm pretty sure every zwave device on my network is Plus, every device I have is less than a year old.


#15

I ordered the 2 pack and they arrived hours ago for me also. Thanks @aaiyar for the info on this and the zigbee repeaters too! I am slowly strengthening my meshes.


#16

Did any of you guys restart the hub after pairing? Or did you just plug in the extenders, get them paired and that was it? I have 1 set up and paired but I was wondering if I needed other steps. I did change the type from device to generic zwave repeater.


#17

I did a shutdown and power cycle of the hub, prior to pairing, I've found that I have significantly better zwave signal strength after a hub power cycle (thanks Schlage locks) other than than I just did a zwave repair shortly after pairing, and currently in the process of running another one.


#18

Thanks. The little instruction booklet says it can vary by hub, if a repair is necessary or not.


#19

@CrisD

I did what @waynespringer79 did for the Aeotec repeaters. For the zigbee ones, shutdown your hub for 30-60 minutes after pairing the tradfi outlets or peanut oultets . Then start it back up again.

P.S. Also, please don't attribute this to me; I just copied what others found. @bobbyD told me how to place zwave repeaters.


#20

I had really hoped this would work for me, but alas my issues have returned.

I got an Aeotec Range Extender 6 and plugged it in about 2 feet from my HE based on this post. I also replaced all batteries with fresh AAs just in case.

For 2-3 days things were performing well. My rules were opening my BE469s and I thought this might be resolved. But about 5 hours ago I tried to open my garage lock with a rule. And when I got out to my garage it was still locked and my z-wave network had become frozen for the usual 2-3 minutes. My lock still hasn’t responded to any refresh, config or any other HE commands. Tomorrow I will go back outside and disconnect/reconnect the batteries which usually gets it to work again for a day or 2.

Before adding the Aeotec Range Extender 6, I excluded it first and followed standard best practices. Inclusion, repair, reboot, shut down, etc.

Again, with my old Wink v1 the locks worked fine, no issues with ‘robots’ (rules in that ecosystem), and no unusual battery drain. With HE my batteries drain in just a few weeks and trying to unlock anything with a rule usually causes some nasty z-wave issues on my network (all z-wave devices frozen for 2-3 minutes, lock never operates or updates the HE, etc). I absolutely am thrilled with all other aspects of HE. My BE469s are the only thing that really cause me significant frustration.