VeraLite built-in antenna tip

I have a light switch about 25 feet from the VeraLite controller. On about 20% of the days, the two devices lose communications (sunspot activity, who knows?). While looking for an external antenna solution, I saw some photos of the controller with the cover removed and the interior antenna on an inner edge.

I had placed my controller on edge with the LEDs up and the cables on a vertical edge. From the photos, I realized that the interior antenna was on the bottom edge and horizontal. If the antenna is a monopole type, then the radiation pattern would be vertical and the light switch was out of this plane.

To test a hypothesis, I re-oriented the controller so that the LEDs are on the bottom and the cables are on the top edge. This would put the antenna on a vertical edge and put the radiation pattern parallel to the ground. After a week of this configuration, the light switch has not lost communications with the controller. I may not need the external antenna after all.

Excellent write up!

Would love to see some pictures of where the antenna is inside. And a depiction of the radiation pattern.

It’s on this forum somewhere. Do some searches for it…just can’t remember the thread.


Photos of VeraLite and information about upgrading with an external antenna: Modification to extend wireless range | Sanuja Senanayake .

BTW, my controller and light switch have a two walls between the two devices and they are on the same floor. If I do get the external antenna some day, I’m thinking of trying the Superbat 3G 12 dbi on Amazon.

I don’t know if the internal antenna is a monopole, but here is Wikipedia’s article on monopole antennas: Monopole antenna - Wikipedia

The Vera Lite antenna is a 2.2dBi dipole PCB trace antenna.

It produces a near spherical radiation pattern. The radiation pattern will vary, think dents in the sphere, due to environmental factors, things like the PCB and wiring inside the Vera Lite case.

@tessar - An external antenna will improve your overall signal quality and reach. However, what you really need to do is add intermediate nodes between Vera and your switch.

Thanks, Z-Waver.

The Wikipedia article about dipole antennas (Dipole antenna - Wikipedia) describes the radiation pattern as a toroid. It definitely has voids around the poles. My experiment with changing the orientation of the internal antenna demonstrates that the radiation pattern is not spherical.

I will not be adding any more nodes to the Vera network. Vera has been the most disappointing component of my electronic home improvement projects. For climate, I use a Venstar thermostat with its own mobile app, and it is excellent. For security, I use FrontPoint Systems monitored service, and it is excellent. For my Schlage lock and porch light switch, I use Vera, and it leaves much to be desired.

If I need to improve the communications further for the two Z-wave devices, I will do so with a cheap external antenna, not an expensive Z-wave device.

I have 4 Schlage locks and have no issues with them whatsoever. But then, each lock has a z-wave switch, dimmer or outlet no farther than 5 foot away. See my signature for what I run. Unfortunatelyt with any Z-wave battery operated device, polling is slower and range is less than a mains powered device. Understandable as no-one wants to change lock batteries on a weekly basis (Mine generally last about 2 years)

Would I trust Vera (o zwave for that matter) to be the security system? Heck no! I’d want my sensors etc wired to a dedicated alarm panel that can communicate with Vera. Fortunately my security system is 4 pawed and

I would have thought that a Sr. Member would know to keep on topic (the built-in antenna). But since you have taken the initiative to take the thread completely off-topic, here are some of the issues I have with Vera and the Schlage lock. Some are clearly Vera’s problem and others could be Vera’s or Schlage’s or both.

Vera’s bugs:

[ul][li]Vera stopped sending text alerts (starting late June, early July) with no warning. I had to revalidate my phone number to get Vera to send text messages again. See separate thread.[/li]
[li]On iOS, e-mail messages started looking empty (in early July). No known fix or workaround. See separate thread.[/li][/ul]

Schlage or Vera’s bugs:

[ul][li]Only unlock/lock events trigger alerts. Bad PIN, low battery, and lock button pressed events never trigger an alert. For the battery, I blame Vera because the UI displays the battery level if I log-in, but Vera does not send me an alert if it is low.[/li]
[li]PIN codes entered in Vera UI must be 4 digits. Schlage supports 4-8 digits. My lock is set to 6 with the Schlage keypad, and 6-digit codes cannot be entered and accepted in Vera UI.[/li]
[li]Restricting a code to work only on certain conditions does not work. My housekeeper has a code, but I want that code to unlock only on Saturday morning and not any other time. This does not work.[/li]
[li]Most unlock and lock events trigger an alert, but 5-10% do not. This is true even after I re-oriented the built-in antenna to be vertical so it is not a loss of communications issue.[/li]
[li]The unlock messages do not indicate which code was entered or whether the unlock was mechanical (inside knob or outside key).[/li][/ul]

My issues with Schlage and Vera have nothing to do with battery drain (added in edit) or distance from controller or loss of communications. The two work together is a minimalist sense, but the experience falls far short of the potential. Fairly or unfairly, I tend to blame Vera mostly. The reason is that the Schlage lock works well as a stand-alone device. Vera presents a UI that gives the appearance that the lock’s capabilities are far greater, but it fails to deliver on the UI it presents.

No problem here with range on my Veralite G. Had one window/door sensor that was problematic, but everything else works great. Is your vera in a cabinet or something?

My VeraLite is not in a cabinet, but two walls separate the controller and light switch. It is located by the family room TV because an Ethernet switch and WiFi extender are located there, and VeraLite requires a wired Ethernet connection. The light switch and controller have not lost communications since I changed the orientation of the controller so that the light switch is in the radiation pattern of the built-in antenna.

In my original post, I did not ask a question or seek solutions. I posted my solution to a communications problem, and I shared it so that maybe other people could benefit from my experience.