Can Hell be Worse than Dealing with 'Smart' Things?

Z-wave dying, Matter needing entire reboots to change SSID/Password on Wifi, Zibgee constantly rebooting?.

I invested many hundreds into this and it sometimes works well, it usually doesn’t. It’s worse than dealing with a gambling addiction at this point. You always lose on this.

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Lets put it this way, I’ve had to tell people to NEVER get involved with this. Just use old fashion times and the freaking clapper worked better 35 years ago. X10 was better.

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There are multiple other systems that provide greater reliability at this point, although not necessarily the same range of devices or sophistication in automation options. So it depends on what your own priorities are. The trick is to find the system that meets your needs and interests.

As I’ve mentioned before, I myself moved all of my mission critical use cases off of SmartThings almost 10 years ago now, and it has not yet achieved the stability I would need to move them back. I don’t expect anything to be perfect, but I do want the same MFOP ( Maintenance Free operating Period) that I would get from a typical home appliance like a dishwasher or a washing machine. So a minimum of six months and preferably a year. I’ve never been able to go more than two months with SmartThings without something breaking. :man_shrugging:t2:

On the other hand, I still use it for some convenience use cases, because they are often on the cutting edge of some interesting stuff, such as Matter right now. I find all of that interesting and the conversations around it interesting. But I can’t trust it with my everyday automations yet.

(For one thing, because I have to pay someone else to do almost anything physical, even just popping the batteries in a sensor to reset it, I need to be able to postpone updates until a day when I have a tech savvy helper available.)

Anyway, I feel your pain, and I share your frustration. But if you do have a need for reliable (if possibly simpler and potentially a bit more expensive) Home Automation, there are choices available.

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out of curiosity… which hub do you have?

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Samsung V3. My V2 flat out died on me years ago, since then I’ve added a ton of Z-wave switches and I’m worried they’ll all be just manual toggles.

Matter is not much of an option for me, I like a dedicated hub. My wifi SSID and password needs to change occasionally and I don’t want to have to get the stinking ladder out every time to reset the devices.

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:thinking: One would think so :grin:

Let’s see if we can make SmartThings a “somewhat” better experience for you than hell :hugs:

For what/it’s/worth… I’d have to say my experience over the past 5 years across 5 Locations has been pretty good. Even before the Edge Drivers. Although the Edge Drivers have made many things easier and feels like a big improvement. Each location has dozens of devices, including Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi Devices.

Certainly less than an ideal situation :face_with_head_bandage:

Changing the Wi-Fi Network is a pain in SmartThings (see steps here): I WISH SmartThings would add the functionality to press a Button on the Hub Device Card to access/change the Wi-Fi Network !!!

Some things that come to mind:

  1. Can you move your v3 Hub out of the attic into a more convenient/accessible area? At least that way, you can access it IF you need to change the SSID. We’re using three v2 Hubs and two v3 Hubs (at five separate locations/addresses). I have found that they don’t need to be up high to broadcast signals effectively. In the three “3-story” settings, we’ve placed them on the 2nd Floor and it effectively reaches the 1st and 3rd Floors.
  2. If you CAN… move it out of the attic, connect it to a LAN connection somewhere and bypass the Wi-Fi Connection altogether! (I’ve found that the LAN connection takes precedence over an existing Wi-Fi Connection).
  3. If for some reason you do require it to be in the Attic, any chance you can run a Cat6 Wire to it (elegantly; not dangling in the middle of your room LOL) ?
  4. If in the end you can connect via LAN, you’ll avoid the entire aggravation of Changing the Wi-Fi Network and you may find it to be more reliable overall.
  5. Which brings up another point… How strong is your Wi-Fi Signal in the attic ? Is the Hub getting a good Wi-Fi Signal ? If it is weak, that could present some of the issues you’re experiencing.
  1. What does your Z-Wave Network look like overall? i.e. How many Z-Wave “wired” Constant-Power Devices do you have. Any dedicated Z-Wave Repeaters? Are they within relative proximity to each other and able to form their Mesh Network?
  2. Are your Z-Wave Devices set to Automatically Update Firmware? Hub Device Card > 3-Dots > Device Firmware Updates (Auto or Manual) ?
  3. Have you tried a Z-Wave Repair from within the Hub Device Card > 3-Dots > Z-Wave Utilities > Repair Z-Wave Network ?
  4. When’s the last time ALL of the Z-Wave Devices were Power-Cycled? (i.e. perhaps when the power to the house went off at the street, etc.). I have had several instances, just like any type of Network or Electronic Device, where a Power-Cycle of ALL Z-Wave Devices fixed what a Soft-Reboot would not.
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Isn’t this feature still only available for Zigbee devices? :thinking:

Also note that there are two known platform issues right now affecting zwave, each confirmed by multiple community developers including Mariano and the developers from Zooz, that can cause z wave devices to become erratic or completely unresponsive. There’s nothing any individual customer can do to fix this. It’s a flaw in the architecture that needs to be addressed by SmartThings. It has created a great deal of frustration for the edge drivers developers, who then have to deal with customer questions about why the devices aren’t working.

Until those issues are fixed by SmartThings itself, there’s going to be little that individual customers can do if they run into the problems. :disappointed_relieved:

EDGE Drivers "infoChange lifecycle" is Intermittently Called Several Times
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Most Z-Wave Devices Stopped Responding, Please Help (14 March 2024) - #3 by erocm1231

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Frankly I’m not really sure now @JDRoberts !!! You would think if it were, the Device Card would state “Zigbee” Device Firmware Updates". They add the note about “Some old versions of Zigbee lights…” but I just take that to be a heads up related to older Zigbee lights, not about Firmware Updates being exclusive to Zigbee Devices.

A while back, I recall updating the firmware for a bunch of Jasco Z-Wave Dimmer Switches. But now I don’t recall by what method that was accomplished :man_facepalming: . I “thought” it was the aforementioned Firmware Updates function.

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We do use a few Drivers from Mariano. Haven’t experienced any issues on our end.

Agreed… but I think in @Monty2_2001 's case… there are some basics worth a try :slightly_smiling_face:

All I can say is most people would’ve thrown in the towel during the smartthings fiasco account changeover, and what was that almost 10 years ago?

That took months of back and forth, changing logins to one, then another, until it finally got settled.

When I say ‘Z-wave is dying’ I mean who is going to support it going forward? Samsung doesn’t even in their latest ‘hubs’.

This isn’t about ‘fixing the network with z-wave repair’. That’s like saying you can fix and replace a tire on a car that already went down the cliff. At best this is a very tiresome hobby. Would anyone recommend getting into Smart home things now? Or in the near-reasonable future? Hey, I got into this cause I liked how in Back the Future in 2015 they went into the house and said ‘lights on?’ and they came on. Shortly after I could do that with Alexa and Smartthings, but then again I reinstall Linux kernals back then for kicks. There’s a lesson to be learned here by all Smart home developers, don’t be worse than trying to keep up a 1997 Red Hat Linux distro.

It’s a novelty. It’s been baking for 10 years now, and it’s just not a good experience.

To fix it:

1: Guarantee that my dozen Z-wave switches won’t be doorstops in 5 years.

2: Make Wifi integration a priority or don’t. This situation is what my dad used to call ‘Half-Assed’.

And editing, it’s not the hub I’m worried about dealing with wifi or network changes. It’s fine. It’s having to get up and reset every single device, factory reset basically, to switch them over. I know how to do all that. And it’s like pulling teeth.

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Can’t be done with SmartThings because of their cloud dependencies. They say specifically in the terms of service that you agreed to when you set up your account that they can change anything at any time, and changes can be neither deferred nor denied. They also say, specifically, that changes may cause some existing devices to stop working. They didn’t have to design it that way, but they did.

If you want to go outside the smartthings environment, any certified Z wave hub that doesn’t have cloud dependencies can offer this. So your zwave switches will still be fine as long as the hardware is still operational, but that doesn’t mean they will work with SmartThings.

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As far as this, I’m confused by the wording :thinking:

Would I recommend adding Home Automation today? Absolutely, there are lots of good choices available and for someone like me (I am quadriparetic, use a wheelchair and have limited hand function) it can add tremendous independence and quality of life improvements.

Would I recommend setting up a new Samsung SmartThings ™ implementation today? Not if your main focus is zwave devices, most of the competitors are at least one generation ahead with more utilities and better functionality. And as a company, Samsung has already said that it sees its future as matter, WiFi, and Zigbee, not zwave.

If your main focus is Zigbee/matter, maybe, as long as you understand The instability and cloud dependency issues, and you want to play around with the newest stuff while still having a really nice app that doesn’t require being a programmer to use.

Every platform has pluses and minuses. And you always have to trade off between price, reliability, and versatility. Choice is good. It’s always a matter of matching your interests and requirements with what a platform offers.

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The problem, to me, if that to make changes I have to reset things manually to make major changes. Overall, my experience is just ‘meh’ at best. Like I tell everyone I know, when it works, it’s great. But if you have any problems, you’re sitting there trying to flip lights on and off 6 times, push the button on the switch up 3 times on some products, down 5 times on others.

Basically this is a 10 year long format war. And now it’s 3-way or even more. Matter, Z-wave, Zigbee and standalone wifi apps.

Choice in format wars is not good. I don’t want my $1.5k worth of Schlage locks and switches to be in the air like this. I can understand in 2015-2016 timeframe that things needed to be sorted, but as I see it things are getting more broken up into fiefdoms of formats.

And I did mean ‘home automation’ as a general idea. I have had to replace and rewire all of my old Z-wave switches, I hope and pray that 700/800 chipsets will last longer than the old ones did. But, if the format dies anyway, they might as well be just regular locks and switches with a clapper or X10 even.

I got 4 Matter smart bulbs in my high up ceiling fan. I had to get a new router, and didn’t want to use the old one’s SSID and password. I had to get on the ladder, turn them off and on 6 times, re-add each one. It took an hour+. . If I knew Matter needed this, I’d have just gotten Zigbee ones. And guess what? Those are starting to get hard to find even on Amazon.

No local store carries any home automation devices anymore. Not Lowes, not Home Depot. The only choice on switches at this point is Zoos when it comes down to it. Ultrapro is still making new products, but for how much longer?

https://www.amazon.com/Philips-SmartThings-Required-Dimmable-Equivalent/dp/B08428JSDZ

$50 for 2 Zigbee bulbs. Know why it’s so much, there’s no market for them. The volume is so miniscule that these things are 2x more than what they were 5+ years ago. You can get them cheaper, but it’s sad to me how this is now.

Edit: and the funny part, and I’m not complaining here at all, lol, is how smooth the Edge transition went. The only way I even knew it happened was by getting weird code resets on my Schlage.

I suppose it depends where you live, but most Home Depots carry lots of Home Automation devices. They even have their own line, although I don’t recommend it, called “hubspace.” But they almost certainly carry Ring, Philips Hue, Lutron, Leviton, Enbrighten, LIFX, and more. Target and Walmart also offer more than they used to, not less.

Every industry analysis I’ve seen shows that the SmartHome segment has grown significantly over the last five years and is projected to continue growing.

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Most of these are behind paywalls, but here’s one that isn’t, and is pretty typical.

Smart Home Market Size, Share And Trends Report, 2030.

A lot of sales have moved online, but that’s true of many retail segments.

As for Zwave specifically, there are a couple of community threads discussing that. Here’s one.

Does Zwave Have a Future?

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That graph seems to have a lot of things that most people probably don’t even use, I wonder what ‘smart furniture’ is. Mechanized beds? I don’t really want cloud security cameras, those things are leaky, too many vids of people on toilets out there from their Roomba cams.

I hope it’s not a case of this…

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As far as futureproofing, as I’ve mentioned before, I look at this differently than many people do. I know there is a tendency to look at home automation like home renovations, and assume that the devices and setups will be good for 10 to 20 years. So people go crazy trying to figure out what direction the industry is going in and how to protect what they see as a sunk investment.

For me, I found that my life got much easier Once I started looking at Home Automation as a technology service that delivered features that I want, most similar to my mobile phone. I know that both hardware and software are changing rapidly, and even as a network engineer, I don’t feel like I can predict Where the combination of market forces and technology will take things. Plus, I know that my own needs and interests are likely to change over time.

So I budget my Home Automation on the basis that I am likely to want to replace everything, including the hub, every three years. Again, similar to my mobile phone.

On that basis, the numbers I came up with set me to a budget of about $500 per room and a total of $5000 for the house. Or just under $150 a month. It’s not cheap, but again, it’s in the same realm as my mobile phone service, and it adds a great deal to my independence and quality of life.

If I have devices which end up lasting longer than that, then that’s great: it means more money in the Home Automation budget to spend on shiny new stuff. :heart_eyes:

But once I started looking at Home Automation in this way, I saved myself a lot of stress and worry with regard to planning my investments.

Again, different things will work for different people, and I understand that many people will continue to look at Home Automation as a home improvement project. It’s whatever works for you.

But if you do want to look at Home Automation as a 10 to 20 year investment like a regular manual light switch or a plumbing project, you need to get off of the cloud and choose things that can run locally for as long as the hardware lasts, even if the company goes out of business or discontinues their services. So that’s definitely not SmartThings. :man_shrugging:t2:

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You can see that color line is a little tiny sliver of the current market, but, yes, motorized beds are probably the largest category. That also includes beds that change the firmness or temperature.

Other device classes under smart furniture include mirrors, recliners, Home entertainment cabinets with doors that open and close, gun safes, adjustable desks, end tables with air purifiers, built-in, etc. not a lot of stuff, but there is some, and it is reported separately.

To me it’s not really the money that’s the issue. These things are way too expensive for sure, but I’m at the point that I just don’t want to deal with the hardware hassles. I can deal with software. It’s the time and dexterity required to replace these things I hate. A new phone every 3 or 4 years, you can start over fresh and reinstall or even transfer it over usually within the same brand no problem.

When this stuff works well, it’s amazing. And 95% of the time it’s great. But the rest of the time… I’ve considered myself lucky overall. But if I have to rewire everything, do you know how much labor would cost to install 15 switches in a house? I had to get a pro to fix just 1 and it was $75. I’m in a sunk cost scenario, hopefully it’ll be ok

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Since you have Z wave, you’ll probably be fine on a 10 year timeline. Most of those were built to last in that range (much more so than the really cheap Zigbee stuff), and Z wave has always had a commitment to backwards compatibility. The only really vulnerable part from this perspective is the hub. Definitely, switching that out would be a pain, but it would be doable.

BTW, beginning with 2022 most Z wave Devices support “smart start“ which allows them to be reset using just a QR code, and was intended to make it easier for professional installers to get everything set up at their own warehouse, and then ship it out to the installer who just had to do the physical wiring. So for zwave, at least, The newest devices don’t require the physical manipulation that the old ones did even if you change the hub. It doesn’t help with your existing devices, but it does show that the industry can develop new solutions for these old problems. :sunglasses:

I haven’t used it, but doesn’t Smartthings have a ‘hub transfer’ automatic thing now? Hub Replace tool?

Was that even rolled out fully? I don’t see it as an option when I select the hub in devices and click the top right menu.

I think the OP meant that Z-Wave was falling out of favour/support.
I, for one, am happy with my SmartThings setup that consists of mostly Zigbee bulbs but also Z-Wave thermostats, etc… I have a V2 hub and even bought a spare, just in case.
I am quite technical myself and would not recommend extensive home automation to a non-technical relative/friend without some sort of support contract (i.e., not me).
As far as I can see, Matter is real bleeding edge. I will stick with Zigbee and Z-Wave (not WiFi) for the foreseeable.
Just my 2 cents

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