We want to install a smart automatic gate opener ~550 ft from the main house. Ideally, I would like to use Zigbee/Z-wave, but I’m not sure how far they go. We do have a GH/Workshop in between the main house (~200 ft) and the gate (~350 ft) if that helps.
With WiFi, I can try an outdoor directional access point from the GH; although, trees and elevation might make that tricky.
What’s the best way to extend my Z-wave/Zigbee that far? Or should I try to stick to WiFi?
As far as products, IF I can get my Z-wave that far AND somehow make it back & forth in 4 hops… I was thinking of the Zooz Zen16 or Zen17 with any regular electric gate opener. Open for any Zigbee Multirelay suggestions or even WiFi. If there are kits that integrate well with HE, I’d be interested in those, too, even if they cost a bit more. Eventually, we’ll want a keypad and maybe an intercom there.
I think you're too far.
I was using a Zen16 that I fit into the control box for my old gate.
It was very spotty.
I'm using an Ecolink sensor in the control box for my new gate, but it only for annunciation, not control.
Long range Z-wave seems to be getting closer, but nobody knows the timeframe for Hubitat.
Other than Yolink, which I think is cloud based, you could rig up a local solution like someone mentioned the other day using a long distance driveway chime.
Just be careful with your rules and don't do what I did:
The sonoff dongles do have a long range. I'd advise to get the older model, not the newer dongle E, unless the bugs have been worked out.
If you edit the firmware before flashing, you can adjust the transmit power
Definitely leaning more towards having a control box. We don't have the gate yet, but just starting initial thoughts on how we want to do it. The challenge is getting the range of the Zigbee or Zwave network ~550 feet out from the main house. Others have suggested a long range Zigbee repeater like the Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 P/Plus dongles and increasing their transmit power and even using our guesthouse as a "hop" so the repeaters are only transmitting ~200-350 feet at a time. I'll definitely have to test it out. Thinking with a contact sensor at the mailbox close to the gate (something we want to do anyway).
How does that work? Wouldn't we now have to run ~350 ft of underground powerlines lines from the control box at the workshop to the gate to power the actual mechanism that opens it? I apologize if that is dumb question. I guess I'm not 100% sure how the control box actually communicates to the gate itself. My husband was thinking of having the control box closer to the gate and solar powered.
Correct, wire for power and potentially other things like intercom or keypad as you mentioned. Or a totally solar powered solution with RF remotes for the gate control itself is usually possible (but makes everything else more difficult to accomplish).
Here's an example schematic of how a mighty mule gate opener is wired. Many DIY gate controls are pretty similar. The battery can be recharged with solar only, the low voltage wiring isn't always required. It's the "control box" that relays, keypads, etc. are wired to.
From my Sonoff dongle flashing guide...default power defaults to 9 if you flash per the FW version below. In most cases that should be sufficient.
As of the 20220125 Sonofff dongle P/Plus router FW release the transmit power (normally 5dbm) is set to 9dbm. (Changelog here.) The more recent dev 20221102 release allows the transmit power to be customized, but we haven't worked out yet how to access that setting. Default power on 20221102 is still 9dbm.
I found it! The very end of the first comment had a PDF on how to change the transmit power. I do agree for most cases 9dB should be fine, but I basically want them to become “PtP bridges” so looking for more distance when pointed at a direction.