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Wireless Linker - Signal Reception


Rick Hughes
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Post=Christmas Greetings ...

There's been some vandalism is our neighborhood this year - fortunately none at my house. But it's caused me to think about making my LOR units much less visible (I'm of the "put them close to the lights with fewer extension cords" school).

I'm going to put them inside plywood gift packages (as many others have done).

My question is this: If I mount the Linker inside the box, with the antenna extending straight up through 1/2" plywood, is it likely to receive an adequate signal. At most they will be 50' from the sending unit.

Any thoughts?

Many thanks to all, in advance.

Rick

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LightORamaDan

At 50' you can probably just keep them in the box with no hole. I would try that first.

Edit:

One possible problem is the proximity to the ground. I recall there was an issue with ground effect and that the antenna should be well off the ground for good reception. However at 50' it will probably not be an issue.

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LightORamaDan wrote:

At 50' you can probably just keep them in the box with no hole. I would try that first.

Edit:

One possible problem is the proximity to the ground. I recall there was an issue with ground effect and that the antenna should be well off the ground for good reception. However at 50' it will probably not be an issue.

The ELL at my pc was only about 2 feet off the ground. The next two ELL's were mounted inside 4X4X4 1/2" plywood boxes with the antenna inside the box. The distance from the PC to controllers 1 and 2 were about 30 feet. Never had a problem with them. My problem was the further out controllers. If you are only going about 50' I wouldn't think that you would have a problem with that. As you said, if you do have a problem you can always drill a hole and poke the antenna up through. To get to my further out controllers, I had to mount the ELL at the computer on a stick about 8 feet up.
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Thanks ... good to hear of actual experience. Mine will be about 2' above ground.

A related question then ... I assume best reception is with the antenna vertical rather than horizontal? And if so, does it matter whether it is right-side-up or upside-down (such as mounted on the underside of the top of the box)?

Again, thanks.

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LightORamaDan

You want the antenna to be vertical. Upside down should be okay.

The reason that you want the antenna to be vertical has to do with the type of antenna that we use. This type of antenna puts out a flat plate shaped signal with the vertical antenna sticking through the center of the horizontal plate.

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Thanks Dan, this will work very well ... and not being restricted to a hole through the top I can have several places inside to mount it for best reception.

I've been so pleased with the Linker (this is the 2nd year using them) for 2008 I'm going to eliminate the cords running across the yard. Much cleaner look and fewer trip hazards.

Rick

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Richard Hamilton

LightORamaDan wrote:

At 50' you can probably just keep them in the box with no hole. I would try that first.

Edit:

One possible problem is the proximity to the ground. I recall there was an issue with ground effect and that the antenna should be well off the ground for good reception. However at 50' it will probably not be an issue.




Amen on Dan's comment. I was thinking similarly.

A 1/4" to 1/2 inch of plywood should reduce the effect range by an almost unnoticeable amount. My guess is a 15 feet reduction. I am effectively transmitting line-of-sight to two neighbors that are 250 feet away with the only physical barrier being their wooden garage door.

As Dan mentioned, can have a larger effect due to ground proximity. In fact, it can be quite large depending on your terrain, and your range greatly decreases as you near the ground due to modifying the radiation pattern, SWR and other ground absorption/reflection effects. I suggest staying at least 3 feet off the ground if you want to get the best range. I keep my transmitter and receivers > 5 feet off the ground because I need maximum range to my neighbors.

Think of these receivers/transmitter as cordless phones when you think about range. The units operate at 900 MHz which is the same frequency as older style cordless phones, and transmit at about the same power level.

When I do testing for the season, I create a one minute sequence where I have a single "ON" event across all channels on all controllers. Then I watch to see if the lights go off on any controller during that time. If a controller shuts down quickly, it tells me communication is poor. I try to get it so that all controllers stay up during the full minute (or longer).

Since LOR appears to have a nice feature of turning off the channels if a signal is not continually received, this is the easiest way I know if a controller is not communicating reliably with the transmitter. LOR folks, please correct me if I am wrong on this assumption.
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So as I was driving towards my house this eve, I had a vision of linking all of the lamp posts in our development leading up to my house - 2.5 blocks, about 5 lamp posts along the way - to the end of the street where people would turn left into our cul-de-sac and be blinded by my house.

Assuming I could convince the neighbors to let me decorate the city street lamp that sits on their property, and assuming they'd let me plug my LED lights into their outlet, I figured I'd need 1 16-channel controller (4 sections running up the post x 4 different colors) and one wireless linker. A bit costly for the effect, but would be way too cool to not at least think a bit more about it.

Well, except as I read this thread and think of the technology, I think I underestimated....

I'd actually need one linker in my yard, then 1 to receive the signal at the first lamp post about 300 feet away, and at the same first lamp post I'd also have to have a second linker to then transmit the signal to the second lamp post 300 feet further away? I'll have my ladder out anyway, I could probably just attach the linker on the top of the lamp post for best reception.

Or maybe I would just need to double up every 600 feet with both a receiving and transmitting linker?

How far apart have most people found consistent reception? And, in snow/wind here in Minnesota, would that have a huge effect if I tried to push out to 600 feet?

Any thoughts would be helpful, thanks!

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Yea good point, will do. They've been supportive so far, including plowing the snow in the cul-de-sac out of the area to allow for better traffic flow and to keep it from getting too high in front of my bushes :D

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