Unable to connect to zwave switch in outbuilding

Hi all. I need help troubleshooting my zwave network. I have a brand new Zooz Zen73 switch and ran the inclusion setup without any problems. I brought the switch near the hub and ran the setup while it was temporarily installed as a switch near the hub. Then I moved the switch to the outbuilding and have been trying to get it connected ever since. When I try the network diagnostic tool on the switch, I get a flashing green led for a few seconds, then it stops flashing. Flashing green means it has a weak connection to the hub, but I don't think that is correct (see below).

I have tried several different troubleshooting steps, but now I am to the point that I have temporary wires run in such a way that I have two Zooz Zen73 switches about 80 feet apart in full line of sight, and still can't make a connection.

My setup...
I have a metal outbuilding about 50-60 feet from the back corner of my garage. My hubitat hub C-5 is in my kitchen, in the center of the house. In the garage, there is a zwave switch on the interior wall that has a stable connection. On the outside of the exterior wall of the garage, I have temporarily installed a Zen73 switch in an effort to make a connection to the outbuilding. To be absolutely sure, I have even pulled the switch 4 or 5 inches out of the box so it is totally exposed to the outbuilding. This Zooz switch, when put in network discovery, shows a solid blue led, meaning it has a good connection to a repeating node. For the Zen73 in the outbuilding, I have run temporary wire to the outside of the building to eliminate the chance of the metal siding causing interference. When I run the network diagnostic tool at the outbuilding switch, I still get the momentary green flashing led.

I have tried the zwave repair tool on the hubitat. That doesn't seem to help. I have moved the garage Zen73 to other places in the garage, finally landing on the outside switch in direct line of sight. The garage Zen73 only has one node between it and the hub (I believe), so I don't think it is maxed out on hops.

See the log screenshot below (sorry for the poor quality). "Node 12" is the garage Zen73. What do those debug entries mean? "Node 13" is the outbuilding Zen73. I assume the repeated "repair SUC route" is the hub attempting to make a connection to it (and failing)?

ETA: Added bold emphasis on the current setup.

I think 50 to 60 feet is pushing it for Z-wave. You might try a Zigbee switch or go Wifi and add a second hub to your outbuilding.

I tried adding a contact sensor to my mailbox which is about 80 ft from my house. I tried Zigbee and Z-wave and couldn't get either to connect reliably.

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The specs on the Zooz 700 series say the range is up to 500 feet line of sight.

I'd stress the words up to. That 500 ft is theoretically possible if there is nothing in between, no RF interference, etc. As you describe your environment there are a few walls (thinking wood, drywall, some wires and pipes) before you get out of the house, and then you're trying to get into a metal building.... might not even work at 10 feet.

Pulling a page from one of my Inovelli switches:


Yeah, that's not happening. Maybe if you were outside or in a large open building with nothing blocking signal. 40 feet is pushing it. The fact that it's in an out building is a big no. If you have wifi or other network capability out there, get another hubitat and pair it with that then share with Hubmesh

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Thanks for the replies. I know there is a lot of information to read through in my initial post, but please note that I currently have the switches set up outside, with a clear line of sight only ~80 feet apart.

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As the saying goes, your mileage may vary; I use an old Z-Wave Go Control WAPIRZ-1 motion detector in the backyard as a perimeter sensor; it repeats through a Homeseer motion/lux floodlight sensor mounted above my garage. It's an old Z-Wave non-plus device, yet it manages 136 feet to the FLS-100+ in a moderately wooded environment and has been working well outdoors (Northeast climate-- weatherized with Scotch tape) going on four years now; it has never dropped off or required any attention other than battery changes.

I'd suggest excluding the new switch-- near the hub if need be; just make certain it's excluded-- and instead of including it near the hub, try doing the inclusion 'in place' at the outbuilding. If network wide inclusion does what it's supposed to (fair warning, it often does not), the switch should be included through whatever repeater is in range in its intended location; this would automatically generate the preferred route without relying on Z-Wave repair to figure it out.


In a Faraday cage, in a vacuum, at 1* Kelvin, on a sunny Tuesday in June, when Jupiter and Mars are aligned, and the sunspot cycle is at its minimum.


Haha. Understood. But surely real-world results aren't just 10% of that, right?

Meh. Ever read the range claims for a GMRS radio? But yes one would hope you'd get at least 25% of the claimed range :slight_smile:


Tried this and couldn't get the switch re-included at it's installed location. I even ran an extra wire out further into the yard and still couldn't connect.

Maybe I just have a bad switch. Or maybe Zooz's 700 series radios are garbage. I am going to try a different switch and see what I get.

Unlikely to change. It's not that 700 is garbage. Things to take into consideration. What's in the way? Metal receptacle box, walls, wiring and or plumbing in walls, outside trees, the wall and what not inside the house. So many variables.

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Thanks for the reply. I have tried to eliminate those variables by pulling the switches out from the boxes, and, in the case of the outbuilding, completely pulling the switch out of the building using extra wire. There is literally nothing between the switches, other than the distance and whatever invisible interference may be occurring.

I guess the next troubleshooting step, other than trying a different switch, is to plug the switch into a 50-foot extension cord and walking right up to the other switch, seeing if I can make a connection, and then slowly walk back to the outbuilding to see when/if the connection drops.

That would actually be a great test. A major pain, but a great test.

That may actually be easier than what I have been doing...having to go down to the basement to flip the breaker every time I wire and rewire the switch into some temporary box. With this, I can just walk around with my extension cord and plug up.

Are the switches both the same type? If so you might try swapping their locations to see if the results are any different. It might save the effort of ordering a replacement (if that's more trouble than excluding the original). Still would recommend doing both inclusions in place.

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This is good advice. If the switch cannot pair in place, it would be difficult for it to stay on your mesh. I'd also recommend trying something other than a switch outside your garage as a repeater.

Maybe something like this?

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I had to put in a 2nd outdoor outlet as a repeater to make my first outdoor outlet (only maybe 30ft from the hub as the crow flies) work reliably due to stucco walls and interference killing the signal.

This isn't rocket science. It is purely a signal strength issue.

  1. Put in more repeaters to raise signal strength from end device to 1st repeater
  2. Do the "external antenna" mod to the hub to get better signal at the hub (may still not work though if the return signal to the end device is too low).
  3. Move the hub to a better location to get a stronger signal
  4. Move the end device to get a stronger signal to the hub
  5. Try a different brand end device, and hope it has a better antenna/signal/interference pattern. But that is a crap shoot.

That's about all of the options.

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Ok! Learned some things tonight.

The TL;DR: I think the radios on the Zooz switch are weaker than they should be. Not sure if this issue is just on this switch or if it is the way all the Zooz switches are (haven't tested the other switch).

I got two drop cords and connected a switch on each one. For one, I used the Zooz switch that I had installed in the outbuilding. On the other cord, I connected a GE Enbrighten switch. From what I found, at a certain distance the GE switch could reach the Zooz, but the Zooz switch could not reach the GE. What I mean by this is the signal could reach the Zooz to turn on, but the Zooz could not return a signal saying that it had turned on.

With this information, I think I can find a solution. Worst case scenario is I have to buy an extra repeater to put in the outbuilding so the return signals can get back to the hub.


Another option if you have Wi-Fi or a direct connection out there is to install another Hubitat and then simply share any devices out there on hub mesh