ADT SmartThings alarm malfunction (28 March 2019)

I experienced a strange issue with my ADT SmartThings Hub today and was wondering if anyone else has seen such a behavior:

The alarm was armed away and when my wife returned home the normal entry delay didn’t happen and the siren was sounding. The ADT SmarTthings hub screen was black and would not wake by either touching the screen or the square or plus buttons on the panel. The plus button was white and the square button was blinking red. I wasn’t home at the time but when my wife called to tell me she couldn’t disarm the hub I attempted the following:

  1. Used the SmartThings Classic and new app to attempt to disarm with no results (the ADT alarm still appeared “Armed Away” in the app.
  2. Attempted to reboot the hub via the SmartThings IDE web interface - the hub seemed to “reboot” but the screen still was not responsive and the siren kept sounding (however, after 4 minutes it was stop briefly and sound again for another 4 minutes) However the “SmartThings” side of things did appear to restart but the hub still returned to the siren sounding and the panel being unresponsive. Now I don’t know if the hub actually did a real reboot (i.e. the screen turned white with the ADT SmartThings logo) but the SmartThings seemed to work before and after the reboot and the classic app did show the hub “offline” during the reboot (e.g. I could turn light bulbs on and off)
  3. My wife attempted to disarm with one of our ADT Keyfobs with no success.

I tried to instruct my wife to disconnect the battery from the panel but she was a bit nervous she was going to break the connector (and I’m sure highly annoyed by the loud siren… which didn’t help). So she unplugged the panel and put it in another room to drown out the siren noise until i returned home.

A few things:
I self monitor, so I am not subscribed to the ADT service
Good things:

  1. The battery lasts a long time (7+ hours)
  2. After I returned home, I unplugged the battery from the panel, the panel rebooted and things are back to normal (the hub did return to Armed Stay upon reboot)

Bad things:

  1. The event log (on the IDE) showed limited value except that all non-ADT things still seemed to communicate and work fine with the hub. It did show that no ADT devices were communicating by virtue of the fact that none of the doors or motion sensors reported any activity as my wife returned home.
  2. No alerts that the alarm was sounding ever came to the app and worst yet, the app showed the alarm was armed so if I had been gone for a couple of days I wouldn’t have even known that it was malfunctioning from looking at the app or web interface
  3. No good way to reboot the hub in this malfunctioning state without removing the battery
  4. Annoyed wife who already not a big fan of home automation

After having a largely flawless experience with Lowe’s Iris for 7 years - this malfunction experience occurring with first 45 days - especially when the main reason I went with the hub is the simple alarm functionality of the ADT panel.

I hope that I’m alone in the experience and its just a fluke but if someone else has had this experience please share.

1 Like

So first off i am sorry you had to deal with that. I have had my panel now for over a year and so far it has been pretty flawless. I had a few issues early on adding some ADT sensors which were resolved within a day or two on their own. This is a technology device though so i don’t doubt issues like this can occur.

One thing this highlights though is the fact that Smartthings and the Security side of the system are two separate silos. This unfortunately means that the if one is behaving really bad the other may not be much help in resolving the problem.

I am curious did you see anything in the Smartthings IDE that would indicate the alarm went off. It sounds like you just had some kind main software failure on the alarm side. It would be interesting to see if Smarthings got any sign of the problem and if it did, if it was something that could be monitored for. If you see anything let me know and i will see if i can add something to ADT Tools to monitor for it.

I would suggest you reach out to Smartthings support and let them know what happened. Be as detailed as possible with times if you can. If it is still possible they may pull logs from your hub to see what happened.

It is one thing for the Smartthings side to flake out, but we certainly don’t want the ADT side to do so.

Unfortunately there was no indication in the IDE event logs of anything being awry. The last event from an ADT sensor prior to the malfunction was a normal log entry of “bypassStatus ready” from an ADT door contact sensor after the alarm was armed and the door was closed after leaving.

I will reach out to support and share with them the details and I’ll report back here with the results.