‎Base station can not reach sensor 70ft away | SimpliSafe Support Home
 
jsloat1's profile

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 5:58 PM

Base station can not reach sensor 70ft away

We have a mother-in-law unit. The furthest sensor (entry on the door) is about 70 feet from the bast station in the main house. This sensor is basically always disconnected, we get the warning every night when we arm the system.

I've gotten 2 replacements for this sensor, reset everything, moved the base unit, etc. One solution that I'd really like to avoid is buying a 2nd base station & monitoring plan.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any ideas to troubleshoot this? I'm assuming the issue is either radio interference (though I don't get the in-app warning) or the material between the base station and sensor. I'd love for someone to SS to come out and diagnose, but they've said they don't offer this service.

I don't think there's any sort of range extender that would work for an entry sensor, right?

I've been in contact with SS support on and off for months and there has been no progress, hoping the community may have some ideas.

Official Response

Community Admin

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5.5K Messages

2 years ago

@jsloat1 alright, so we have confirmed that it's a physical issue. I mentioned before that the materials of your house can play a big part in impeding the signal; do you have brick or adobe walls, metal siding, or mesh insulation? All of those make up the worst offenders when it comes to physical interference. So short of building a new house, there might not be a solution better than a second whole system.

But I agree that it seems silly when it's really just the one Entry Sensor having trouble. So it's worth still playing around with the positions of both the Base Station and that Entry Sensor just in case you can get a sweet spot.

Alternately, you could position a Motion Sensor so that it's watching the door, while still being closer to the Base Station. The only caveat is that there will be people in the building while your system is armed, you'd want to disable that Motion Sensor in Home Mode, and the door would be unprotected.

5 Messages

@davey_d​ Thanks for all your time.

Not sure about all of the building materials but it's a pretty standard wood and drywall construction AFAIK.

I guess I'll try to pursue further solutions with support but it seems like I may just be out of luck with the system which I can no longer return.

Community Admin

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5.5K Messages

2 years ago

Hi @jsloat1 ,

Yes, from what you describe, it's very likely to be physical interference. The range of the sensors should be 500ft+ over open air, but if you have dense material in-between (brick or adobe walls, metal siding, etc), the signal might have trouble coming through.

But to confirm that, have you already tried moving your Base Station to the in-law unit temporarily? If it is indeed the walls, we would expect that one sensor there to start working  properly, and then all the others would stop.

I'm thinking that there might also be a way to mitigate the effect of the interference somewhat. Like perhaps putting the Base Station close to (but not directly in front of) a window on the same side of the house. Or similarly, moving the sensor to a different spot on the door.

(edited)

5 Messages

2 years ago

Thanks for the reply @davey_d.
 
Yeah, I have confirmed that moving the base station fixes the failing sensor, while not reaching others. So yeah it basically shifts the problem.
 
I'm attaching a really crude sketch of the layout. Blue dots are where we have tried putting the bast station (it's currently in the left position) with no change. Green dots are working sensors, red is the failing one.

(edited)

2 Messages

2 years ago

I had the same problem. One of my sensors is in a bad location with 2 walls with metal studs to go thru and the window it is mounted on is aluminum. It keeps randomly losing communication with the base station. "Sensor not responding " on simplisafe alerts. Metal causes degredation of the signal used by the simplisafe system it is very similar  to a bluetooth signal a radio signal around 2.4GHz.Solution get the sensor away from the metal and get metal out of the path of the signal. Simplisafe told me to put something between the metal window and the sensor. I put a 1 inch piece of wood on both surfaces that the sensor is mounted on, separating the sensor from the metal. It Didnt work.I did the nerd thing and figured out the sensors frequency after simplisafe wouldn't tell me then used a signal analyzer. I'm glad that they wouldn't tell me the frequency. The wood increased the signal strength a little but not enough to solve the problem. I then tried a piece of cheap tungsten I had laying around because its super dense. My other components were operating between 72-77db (80 is excellent strength the difference between 77 and 80 doesn't sound like much but 80 is double the strength of 77) but the problem sensor was usually in the 60's and would drop to the 50's when it failed (most of the loss was when the signal passed thru the walls with metal studs but I cant change that). By getting the sensor away from the window frame just 1" w tungsten the strength went to normal low 70's and bad times mid 60's which was just enough to maintain communication, solving the problem. I tried wood first because it was easy if it dosen't work try something denser to seperate the sensor from the window. Maybe even build a "shroud" around the sensor. I got lucky but if not I was going to keep trying different materials between/around the sensor because I knew it only needed a tiny bit more signal strength. I may have built a better antenna if nothing worked (wouldn't be that hard. Just figure out the impedance of the antenna the sensor has and build a better antenna that matches that impedance. Ill bet its really close to a normal wifi/wlan 50 ohm antenna in every laptop but  I don't know much about the security business and could be way off.If you don't have success look at hacks to improve bluetooth signals online and try some of them. Just remember the nature of a radio signal is that it must pass thru not go around objects to get to the base. Also look at devices that may be communicating using a radio frequency.  Its possible that something is causing interference that's just enough to booger up that sensors signal and not the others. Density between the sensor and the interfering signal that doesn't interfere with the sensor-base signal path may help For sure simplisafe has got nothing good for this problem. I dealt with it for 3 years with only the same process every time I spoke with them. System checks, move components, batteries every call same thing It took about 10 calls till they suggested separation from the window frame (the support guy knew what he was talking about not just going thru the if this then this menu that all the rest of the support people I spoke to followed). Absolute torture. It got pretty frustrating and I decided to go nerd and figure it out myself. Radio signals are just science but its weird, finicky science try anything.  Good luck 

2 Messages

2 years ago

I just realized that I took a lot for granted about your post. I assume that the sensor had to work for you to connect it to your system. I will assume nothing and ask a few questions about your problem. 

Is the sensor installed in your system? I.E. front door, etc.

Exactly what does the warning say? IYou say that it is basically always disconnected. Do you ever go to the sensor and open and close it to see that the indicator light on the sensor is functioning? Does your system recognize the sensor if you open and close it?  Have you examined the settings for this sensor  to insure that it is set up correctly? Have you put your system in test mode and tried the sensor to see if it will trigger the alarm? Have you tried walking the sensor into the base to see if it communicates when closer to the base? Have you tried switching another sensor from your system to the problem sensors location to see what happens? I don't mean to sound like a dick but your description is very vague. I even see what I call a stumble bump. You replaced it with 2 new sensors. Its possible that they were bad as well as the original sensor because they were not confirmed to function properly. Take a sensor that you know works, uninstall it and install it at the problem location.what happens? I would take it off of where it is mounted and walk it around trying to see where it communicates and doesn't ,then try to figure out what is stopping communication but I don't know that it is not communicating. If you  have time list specific information and ill figure it out. Figuring out functionality problems is my muse , what rocks my boat.

3 Messages

2 years ago

I ended up modifying antenna on my sensors to out buildings, with a piece of wire. It helped dramatically.. I have been calling simplisafe and checking my signal strength regularly. The lower the number the better on signal strength . You have to talk to a tier 3 tech support person that speaks fluent English to get this number. The new system SS has now runs through a different frequency. It kind of sucks....  

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