SmartThings Community

Assistance with inital SmartThings setup needed

#1

Hello. This is my first post here so hopefully its in the correct place.

I got here to this site by asking a question on another forum, which directed me to the ActionTiles site, which lead me to IFTTT and then here to SmartThings. But as I look into this more and read thru the posts here, I feel like I’ve got more questions than when I started. I have headed down this rabbit hole!!! I figured that I’d create this post to hopefully get a few things sorted out as I’m getting started.

Quick backstory … A couple of weeks ago my work was getting rid of some older Dell tablets. So I picked one up with the thought that I’d set it up to use to be able to control my D-Link smart plugs, view my IP camera, work with my Sonos speaker, etc instead of always using my phone. But after installing Windows 10 on the tablet, I realized that because I currently access all those items from my phone with apps, a Windows tablet might not work for me.

A few questions as I’ve looked into this over the past few days:

  1. I currently have a Sonos speaker w/ Alexa. Can I just add the SmartThings skill to the Sonos speaker and use this speaker as the hub instead of buying a separate SmartThings hub?
  2. Once I get the hub sorted out, I’m thinking the next step would be to add my various devices into SmartThings. Or is there another step that I’m missing to get things going??
  3. Will this Dell Latitude tablet running Windows 10 work to control things (might be a better question to post on the ActionTiles site)? It seems like a lot of the posts I’ve seen talked about Amazon Fire tablets.

Hopefully that all makes sense and I can get some direction going forward. Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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(Bryan) #2

You’ll need a Smartthings hub. The Alexa skill just allows Alexa to “hook” the functionality of the hub. You should get a hub configured and then add the skill. You’ll see all the devices added to ST now available to Alexa.

Bear in mind that a ST hub requires Zwave and Zigbee devices. Are your existing D-Link plugs WiFi? If so, they may not be directly supported by Smartthings.

Regarding tablet use, ST is directly controlled via it’s app and a web-based control panel. Control panels are essentially 3rd party addons that can be implemented AFTER you have a ST hub and devices connected to it.

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#3

Thanks for the reply Bryan. I’ll look at and pick up a SmartThings hub to start this adventure!!! It dosen’t seem like there are too many options to choose from. But from a quick search I’m seeing a Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation hub as the most current version?? If that is what I should get it should get me started by this weekend!!!

My D-Link smart plugs are Wi-Fi plugs, and I did notice that they aren’t listed on the SmartThings website. But I saw this post about using IFTTT to get them to work. If that doesn’t work or I have a lot of issues with them I can always pick up a couple new ones from the “works with SmartThings” list.

Ok, I’ll cross the “tablet bridge” when I get to it.

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#4

You don’t actually need a SmartThings Hub any more (this is new) unless you are going to use zwave or zigbee devices. If you were only going to use Wi-Fi devices and cloud to cloud integration, you don’t need a SmartThings hub at all. This is because of a major change with the most recent generation of the app where they now assume that many people will be using it who just have a Samsung TV or smart appliance and some Wi-Fi devices. But you don’t have to have the TV either. The account is now fine with you not having a hub. But you do need to set up a smartthings account.

(Like I said, this is all very new and since most of the people in this forum already had their hubs, It’s a little hard for most of us to wrap our heads around. But you no longer need to have a hub.)

@tgauchat Is one of the action tiles developers. I’ll leave it up to him to discuss whether not you can use action tiles without a hub. It’s a very popular third-party dashboard app in the community, but again, I would say 99% of us in this forum have hubs right now, although I do expect that percentage to change over the next year.

As was mentioned, there is no official integration with the D-Link smart plugs, but you can use them through IFTTT to connect to your smartthings account. (Again, no hub required now to do this. )

I’m pretty sure your Sonos speakers will work.

Please be patient with us as we are all navigating the new platform concept, which includes a new app, a new cloud, and again, the fact that you no longer have to have a hub unless you want to use zwave or zigbee devices.

https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/categories/115000465506-SmartThings-App

When you look at possible new devices, just keep that in mind. As soon as you select a zigbee or Z wave device, you will have to commit to a hub as well. :sunglasses:

@brad_st

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#5

Anyway, for now, all you need to do is download the new “SmartThings (Samsung Connect) “ App and get started with the devices that you already have. You may eventually need to download the classic app as well, but you’ll find out about that later.

https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/categories/115000465506-SmartThings-App

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#6

As far as tablets, people buy the Fire ones because they’re cheap. Seriously, that’s the only reason. but if you want to put a tablet controller in 10 or 12 rooms in your house, that cheap does make a difference. :wink:

Actiontiles itself will run on pretty much any web browser, so it doesn’t really matter what tablet you get. Again, I just don’t know how it does in the new environment where a hub is not required. So I’ll leave that to those experts to discuss.

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#7

Thanks JDRoberts. Glad to hear about the app update and not needing a hub. I’ll definitely start working on this tonite then!!! I have the app on my Samsung phone, and I think I’ve created an account. I’m sure I’ll be posting more as I work thru this, but at least I can start in on it!!! And as I get more devices I’ll look out for those 2 brands.

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#8

Ok, makes sense. A free tablet is what started all of this for me. I was hoping that I wouldn’t need (a hub and then also) a new tablet. That would defeat the purpose of me using the free tablet. :grin:

I’ll start by working with the SmartThings app and then work my way to the tablet and ActionTiles.

Thanks again.

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#9

Zigbee and Zwave Aren’t “brands,” they are communications protocols. Like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Many different brands for each.

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#10

And there I go learning more about this already!!! Wonder how difficult it’ll be to find WiFi devices?? Another quick google search seems to come back with mostly Zigbee and Zwave devices.

I’ll look into this a bit more. Maybe a hub would be the way to go to give me more flexibility as I add devices.

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#11

There are already a number of threads about this in the forum, But the short answer is that people are used to Wi-Fi so they like Wi-Fi which creates a big market so right now those devices are often cheaper. But you will generally top out at 30 or 40 max devices per Wi-Fi router, and they use a lot more energy per device, Which means you won’t find battery operated sensors using Wi-Fi. However, WiFi is great for gigantic messages, like streaming audio or video.

Zwave and zigbee were designed for automation of very small messages sent infrequently. And they can handle hundreds of devices. Really good for sensors and light switches. They use very little energy to operate. Pretty much any professionally installed system that you buy for security or home automation is using one of those two protocols, or a proprietary protocol with similar characteristics.

If you have a smart meter or a cable TV set top box, you probably already have a zigbee network in your home, you just don’t know it. And it’s not likely to be one that would integrate with a home automation system. I’m just saying zigbee is used a lot, you just may not have heard of it before.

Here’s a good recent thread to start with about the different protocols (this is a clickable link)

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#12

Thanks I’ll read over that link. And after thinking about it for a bit, having a separate device that controls all the “SmartThings” in my house might be good. And as a bonus it would give me more flexibility with choosing devices going forward.

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(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #13

Thanks for the mention, JD.

ActionTiles works as long as you have a SmartThings “Location” - and with most Things, even non-Hub connected Things. No Hub is “required”… Though that would be unusual.

ActionTiles is now available in the Amazon Appstore. Please search for “SmartThings”.

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#14

In that case…

And read the following faq. Start with post 11 in that thread, then go back up to the top and read the whole thing:

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#15

Thanks @JDRoberts and @tgauchat, definitely some good info.

So, I’m thinking I’ll get this Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation Alexa Google Compatible - Zigbee, Z-Wave, Cloud to Cloud Protocols hub. Any thoughts on this hub??

It seems to be the most recent model and supports both Zigbee and Zwave, so I’d be covered with either protocol going forward. It’s only $60, so factoring in being able to use the tablet I picked up from work with an ActionTiles license I think it’s a good deal all around. Also, I do have an available network port behind our living room TV, which is on our middle floor in the middle of the house, so that should be good placement for the hub.

I feel like I’m moving in the right direction here!!!

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#16

That’s the V3 hub mentioned above. :sunglasses: it should be a good choice for someone starting from scratch today. I see they’ve dropped the “2018“ from the product description, which never made any sense, but it’s the same model.

Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation [GP-U999SJVLGDA]

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#17

Thanks. Purchasing as we speak (or as I type)!!! :+1:

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#18

Typing is so 20th century… :sunglasses: LOL!

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