100 Scenes!

I really wish I could put scenes in rooms! With 100 scenes now this is becoming a mess.

i.e. Living Room scenes in the Living Room!



I had no idea you could even have that many. Why so many scenes and how are you using them?

We have 90 devices and I’m adding new ones every day. I’m a lighting designer so all of our standard lightbulbs inside and out are Lifx color. (And more Lifx bulbs on order!) I have GoControl zwave outlets in every garage and outdoor outlet and a few in the house. Most of my dimmers are GE/Jasco and are in every room of the house. There are plug-in switches for fans and an in-wall switch for the whole house fan. There are also two thermostats (upstairs/downstairs). All of this has allowed me to create loads of scenes for any situation. Most scenes have some element of color.

In just the Family Room (all start with an “FR”) we have:

FR Relax (warm, 50%)
FR TV Time (low and blue)
FR 65 Kay (full bright at 6500k)
FR 40 Kay (50%, 4000k)
FR Cool
FR Aquamarine
FR Nightlight
FR Pink and Warm
FR RelaxPlus
FR Nighttime

There are also tons of Scenes that are more for function than visual: Everything OFF, Everything ON, Away At Work, Nighttime, Evening, Daytime, Heaters OFF, Garage Workbench, etc (and loads more for all the colors! - I even have “Red Alert!”)

We have scenes in the Kitchen, Laundry Room, Garage, Back Yard, Front Yard, Living Room, Studio, Master Bedroom, Hobby Room, Guest Room, Dining Room, Breakfast Nook, and Whole House, of course. There is also a “room” for devices not being used. At one point I maxed out the number of rooms you can have in the app!

I REALLY wish scenes could be put into rooms so I can clean up this clutter. You can also see what a Virtual Switch challenge this is with our integration with Alexa (we have NINE of them) and Google Home (we have 5).

I think I’m crazy, yes? LOL


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Actually I don’t! You just have a very interesting use case for so many scenes.

I’ve got as many Alexa devices as well, and just over 280 devices, but I’ve not had a need for that many scenes regardless if I did them in ST or Alexa. We have our typical “movie time” ones, and one I have for “work from home”, but not colors or light temp. I guess we just voice controlled them individually, or in some scenarios used button devices.

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I think most people who start working with colored lighting end up with dozens of scenes. :sunglasses::beach_umbrella:


Yes. In my back yard, for example, have 10 lights. Controlling just their on/off state would be insane if I had to control them one at a time. Scenes solve that problem very simply.


This is a scenario where better lighting groups would be super useful! They currently don’t support colors and can’t be used in scenes or Automations (as far as I’m aware).


Groups work for creating groups but they don’t remember (save) dim, color, or temperature values.

On any given day we use 40 or so different scenes via buttons, motion sensors, timers, schedules, and through Alexa/Google. Groups aren’t really designed for this and can’t be triggered. When I was a theatrical lighting designer, Groups were an essential element of a lighting plot. So using groups in scene would be interesting but probably a little too complicated for ST.

I find using Trend Setter to group color bulbs, then controlling the color via Alexa to be the best. Now if you want different colors per bulb, then that’s obviously different.

Out of interest I use scenes much the same way you do, at certain times of the day for example my lights change scene, energise in the morning through to relax in the evening, a number of rooms doing this creates a number of scenes and automations.

The question I have is how do you find the speed of managing scenes and automations? The logic the app seems to have when managing a scene is “open or any change - check the validity of other devices” which seems to be creating huge lag. It can be taking upwards of 2 mins to open or save scenes.

Is this simply a number of devices * scenes * automations problem and if it were a much simpler setup speed would be OK.

Hey Rob, sorry for the slow reply (I’m not getting the notifications from this post for some reason).

Managing Scenes and Automations are pretty straightforward. With as many Scenes that we have I do wish there was a way to build them from a desktop. Usually once I setup the Scene and have an Automation associated to run it, I can then just work with the Scene details regardless of how the Automation triggers it. The only lag I have ever encountered is when a Scene will not save for one reason or another and throws some kind of B.S. network failure error. I usually just wait a few minutes and go back into the Scene, re-make my changes, then it saves just fine. (We’re all too familiar with these back-end problems with ST).

There are LOTS (Read, Smarthings engineers: LOTS) of ways to improve both the Automation and Scene management. For example:

  1. Allow real-time mode when editing Scenes so we can see the Scene while we are building it.
  2. Fix (a bug, I feel) devices so that when added to the Scene capture their current dim/color values.
  3. For devices that have no values (like when you are adding a new device), assume the values of the last device added. For example, when I create a Scene for our backyard, I have to go through and set EVERY. SINGLE. DEVICE. - even if it’s the same value as the last device I edited.
  4. They need to fix the Color Temp interface control… the slider isn’t cutting it. I recently bought five Lifx bulbs for our dining room chandelier. Setting each bulb’s color temp is maddening with that silly slider: because each one is slightly different it looks like I have mismatched bulbs! SmartThings engineers have introduced a bit more trouble for themselves with this problem too since they already have a robust color temp control built into their device handler page. They need a little more consistency in their Scene tool and reduce UI sprawl.

As for the overall speed of managing Scenes and Automations I feel that it can be much more efficient therefore the user perception will be that it is easier. The above suggestions are the tip of that iceberg.

Automations have lots of issues (i.e. no timer, can’t run more than one scene, can’t re-order the actions, they do not function with three or more IF conditions, etc). As a software designer myself, the satisfaction of the user is a direct result of the design process. It’s Usability 101.

SmartThings has much bigger issues. Their backend (“cloud”) is notoriously unreliable and slow. Their own devices have fail me every single day. I came into my home office to type this reply and pressed my SmartThings button to turn on the lights. It did not fire the Automation. I’m literally sitting here in the dark. I have been on half a dozen support calls diagnosing and testing the ongoing issues with their buttons and motion sensors.

What good is an app when the backend is unresponsive, the app is slow, and their devices are unreliable? Is that what we call market value now?

  • mr.smith