SmartThings Community

Complete frustration with my system

(Steve) #1

Hello all. I have been a longtime follower and have been trying to learn all I can. I haven’t contributed because I feel I really can’t until I could get my own system stable. However, I am on the verge of just giving up. As the title says, I’m just beyond frustrated. Every single day I have devices dropping out of network. Most are different… every… single…. Day. Let me start out with giving you an idea of my system. I have around 120 mixed devices scattered through a 4100sqft two story house. Now, the smarthub v2 is located in the center of the house on the second floor away from any wireless AP (of which I have a Linksys Velop with four nodes).

Here are my devices:

12 Zigbee outlets
7 – Osram RGBW bulbs Zigbee
10 – Zigbee White lightbulbs
4 – Z-wave Aeon Metering switch
2 – Z-wave GE lightswitch
2 – Z-wave GE appliance module
6 – Z-Wave repeaters
3 – Schlage z-wave deadbolts
1 – Kwikset z-wave doorlock

Also random z-wave & zigbee water sensors, motion sensors, garage sensors, glass break sensors, siren, etc.

I also have an ecobee3, 3 harmony hubs, a hue hub with 19 bulbs, a rachio, Ring doorbell, etc etc etc. Let’s me go back to the problem. Every day… every single day I have multiple random dropped off devices. I can have two smart bulbs right next to each other (within 6 inches) and will will be fine and the other will be unresponsive. It doesn’t matter, motion sensors that are on batteries, light bulbs and outlets that are plugged in. The only devices that I never have a problem with are the ones that have nothing to do with SmartThings. Almost every device that needs to connect to smartthings I have a problem with…… this is beyond frustrating. I’ve tried different device handlers. I tried switching every one of them to a handler that execute locally instead of from the cloud. I’ve shut off the hub for 15 minutes so that the zigbee mesh repairs instelf (which it never does because some devices refuse to reconnect).

Just tonight I had to reset two bulbs because they were on the same switch within 4 inches of each other because one was unresponsive. So I reset the bulbs, re added them to smartthings, was able to control them, then I switch the color to one of the bulbs and it because unresponsive again.

I like the ability to do so much with this, but the stability is absolutely not there for me…. And my wife is starting to give me the angry face about it.

Thanks for reading.

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(Keith Croshaw) #2

I had health issues with my devices too before I left.
I had a TP-Link WiFi switch that my hub was plugged into.
I scheduled it to reboot every night at 2AM.

It seemed to help with a lot of those issues…
Good luck…

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(PPO16) #3

If a reboot is enough to fix your issues then that would mean this is not related to the mesh as it would hardly have the time to self-heal on a so short period. If you shut it down (meaning you don’t run the hub with backup batteries) for 15 to 30min and see improvement then the mesh would have its part in the issue.

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(Keith Croshaw) #4

Well the fact is I’ll not using it anymore due to issues like this. Just what helped my device connection issues.

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(Tyler Durden) #5

Not sure if this could be applicable: FAQ: 32 Zigbee direct connection device limit?

Also this: FAQ: Create an all-around z-wave presence in a 4,000 sq ft home?

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(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #6

I really have to wonder what SmartThings Support is able to do about such relatively complex environments.

It is estimated (based on hints here and there, though I wish the industry did more research) that most of SmartThings’s million customers have 15 devices or fewer. If you take that into account, then both Support and Product management would not be getting an impression that the issues you are experiencing are common.


The recommendation I have is to meticulously isolate the issue or issues. A single misbehaving node in the ZigBee or Z-Wave mesh can mess up the entire mesh, in completely non-deterministic ways.

As can a bug in the Hub firmware (which, unfortunately, is a variable outside of the Customer’s control).

To isolate? Well… Disconnect everything. Everything. Then add one device at a time. Just a few devices. Wait, if no problems, add a few more. You can perhaps do the distinct RF’s in parallel (i.e., Add a couple ZigBee and a couple Z-Wave at the same time, since these meshes don’t overlap); but don’t get rushed or cocky.


And … ditto, ditto, ditto to this:

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#7

If you are using the Classic app, then don’t forget to turn off Device Health (under the hamburger More tab) which ironically seems to cause more problems than it solves.

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(Steve) #8

What system are you using now?

I have the same tplink setup outside my smartthings just in case it needed to be rebooted. I’ve shut it down for about 15 minutes early in the morning and by the time I get home most of the devices are back online… but there are always around 8 that need to be reset and readded. I have waited three days just to make sure and they never become active until after a manual reset.

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(Steve) #9

Interesting… I know I have at least one repeater in every room. Some have two. Maybe I have to turn everything off, start with repeaters first and branch out. What a PIA but I’m willing to try anything at this point.

I’ve read about not having a wifi router next to smartthings which it’s not… should I move the hue hub since it is nearby? The hue system has been rock solid. In fact, the Hue hub is upstairs and all my hue bulbs are downstairs… still I have had no problems at all with it.

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(Steve) #10

Thank you. Yes I made sure I did this. I read about it in many many posts lol.

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(Keith Croshaw) #11

Yea that’s nasty… I have switched to Hubitat.
It’s not perfect, and it’s missing some big things that that “normal” users might find as a deal breaker. BUT it’s very stable once you’ve set it up.

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#12

I feel your pain. :disappointed_relieved: unfortunately, many people have gotten to this point over the years. It’s up to you whether you want to try to continue with SmartThings or move onto another system, but although they have continued to promise better reliability since the summer of 2015, they still have an MFOP (Maintenance free operating maintenance free operating period) of about two weeks.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Bug:_First_Reports

That’s worth it to many people in order to get the flexibility and power of a SmartThings operating system, but not to everybody.

In my own case, because I have to pay someone else to do any maintenance, even just changing batteries (I am quadriparetic), I need an MFOP of at least six months and preferably 12. I don’t expect any system to be perfect, but I do need my home automation critical systems to hit this target. I get that pretty easily from a number of HA systems, including the hue bridge, Amazon echo, Logitech harmony, Lutron Caseta, apple’s HomeKit and even wink these days. But not ST. :disappointed_relieved: So I have moved all of my critical systems off of it for now.

I do continue to use ST for convenience notifications like a reminder that the guestroom window is open when rain is expected and the guest is away from the house. It just does that much better than anything else in its price range.

So different things work for different people. If you want to, you can start trying to diagnose some of the issues and work through one at a time, but While you can make some improvements, most of the issues are not local problems. They just have to do with the fragility of the platform design And the very high rate of change introduced.

But there’s definitely no point in raising your stress levels over it. Smartthings is what it is, and it is a fun and exciting system for many people. And if you want to build a Jetsons house, it definitely offers a huge amount of Power for relatively small investment in money. But, as you’ve noticed, it does require a significant investment in time, including time spent troubleshooting problems which mysteriously appear without warning.

There are lots of alternatives out there these days, just depending on your own needs, preferences, and budget, so it all comes down to what you need. Different things work for different people. :sunglasses:

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(Tyler Durden) #13

Unfortunately, I don’t have much personal experience with this kind of issue.

All my zigbee Xiaomi sensors talk directly to my hub without a repeater and have been flawless. I even have a few outside. I assume I have less than 32, but getting close.

I have 2 Ring doorbells, and a couple of ESP2866s and a couple of Kasa wifi plugs and a Harmony. Everything else in my house is zwave (switches, outlets, schlage locks,etc.)

I have plenty of devices… IDE says over 90, but probably only 50 to 70 are physical. My two story floorplan is compact and no larger than 2000 sqft. My v2 hub sits right next to my wifi access point on the second floor. I have a wifi extender access point on the first floor to help the Rings. I do occassionally need to run a zwave repair when I notice one of the schlage locks failed to report an event. It’s usually a nearby switch or outlet in the mesh that is the culprit. But sometimes it’s just time to swap the batteries.

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(Alex) #14

It is not very clear which one of your mesh networks is having issues. You likely have:

  • Zigbee network for your Hue bulbs
  • Zigbee network for your Osram bulbs (I believe it has its own little hub, right?)
  • Zigbee network for devices connected directly to SmartThings hub
  • Zwave network for devices connected directly to SmartThings hub

The first 3 all share the same band with Wifi. Might be worth trying to figure out what Zigbee channels your 3 networks are using to see if they may be causing interference to each other. I would also check your wifi settings to see channel bandwidth and power. Since 2.4GHz is so crowded I only use it for low bandwidth devices therefore I keep the power quite low and the channel bandwidth is at the lowest 20MHz setting. All my high throughput wifi devices are on 5GHz ISM band where they can get a bit more of my 1Gbps ISP speed.

This may help you with figuring out whether your networks are suffering from interference:

https://www.metageek.com/training/resources/zigbee-wifi-coexistence.html

Keep in mind that interference may come from other devices too… your microwave also operates at 2.4GHz and if poorly shielded it can knock your other 2.4GHz devices out while operating. Many years ago my Wifi connection would go out when the microwave was running. I now have 4 Ubiquiti Unifi APs around the house and use all 3 of the main 2.4GHz channels (1, 6, 11) without any perceivable interference.

I’ve read many postings about bulbs either not working well as repeaters and if any of those are used as regular bulbs where power to them is turned on/off then that might be causing issues too as they can only operate as repeaters IF powered. I prefer using in wall dimmers/switches to control lights so I only have Hue/LiFX in areas where I want color otherwise it is all done via in wall dimmers/switches. I also avoid products like Osram Lightify as I do NOT want to add more mesh networks to my already crowded airwaves.

I just had a case of this… I occasionally have very annoying blackouts that last a fraction of a second. Might be brown out but it seems more like a total loss of power. Some random devices, such as Enerwave outlets, tend to lock up totally or partially when that happens. When it is total they are just frozen, while when partial they seem to operate (turn on/off remotely) but they are likely causing havoc on the mesh network causing other devices to malfunction. The latest occurrence was this weekend… I was running network repairs to try to fix issues with devices and very large numbers of devices were reporting issues. While many of those devices were still responding, things were either slow or not working right (sorry for vague description). I used the Zwave Toolbox to troubleshoot the devices and found that many of the devices showing up in the network repair as having issues were marked as “not responding” on the toolbox, or had a high number of failed frames. While I did not figure out what device was causing the issues, my suspicions were with an Enerwave metering outlet that has frozen with momentary blackouts many times before. I therefore resorted to powering down that area of the house (breaker) and powering it back up a few seconds later. When I ran the network repair again, and the tests with the Zwave Toolbox, all issues in that section had gone away and things were responding much faster and reliably.

As many have told you in this thread, turn “Device Health” off. It caused me so many issues that all went away with it permanently off.

I recently migrated to SmartThings Hub v3 and ran into quite a few issues setting the networks back up. A couple issues that caused device reliability issues were due to:

  • botched includes where the device appeared to be working but it was erratic (most common on GE Motion Switch in my home)
  • VERY chatty power reporting devices… the biggest offender is the Aeon HEM that spams my network with tons of messages. It may also be causing other issues, not sure, as once I excluded and reset it, all my issues in that area of the house seemed to go away as well.

While this might be a shotgun approach, it might resolve the issue but I am not sure you would find out what was causing it as you tore everything down. I would first try to isolate the issues to a particular set of devices and network. If the issues are spanning across ALL mesh networks then you either have multiple issues or an issue with the common denominator (the hub). If you can narrow down the issues with a set of devices that share something in common (ie all zwave, all osram, at whatever…) then I would tear down any devices that seem to have the most issues if you want to try to minimize the work and possibly figure out the troublesome device (although if you exclude a device having issues and once re-included it works, it might have been the device or simply it found a more reliable path to the hub…). Another approach is to rebuild the network starting with wired devices closest to the hub and moving out so that you can build a strong mesh network backbone. I would run network repairs to propagate the new routing too a few times during this process.

Good luck!

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#15

Osram bulbs Connect directly to the smartthings hub, you cannot use the gateway with a SmartThings system. (It’s a pure zigbee coordinator, not a Wi-Fi/zigbee bridge like hue).

Zigbee bulbs Connected directly to the smartthings hub, including Osram, can mess up your zigbee mesh by losing messages which they are given to repeat. :disappointed_relieved:

Official knowledgebase article:

Note: SYLVANIA bulbs have a known firmware issue that can occasionally cause them to fail as ZigBee repeaters. This can potentially cause other ZigBee devices to fail to update and/or respond.

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(Jimmy) #16

For the bulbs, are you leaving them constantly powered? i.e. not turning them off at the swtich

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(Broderick Carlin) #17

Understandably you have a lot of device, but can you share the make/model of all the devices you are using? This could help us to possibly point out any known problem devices. As others have mentioned, there are devices that will act as repeaters in your Z-Wave and Zigbee networks but they can do a fairly poor job and wreck havoc on your home network. When these repeaters ‘malfunction’ the issue can seem sporadic and manifest in ways similar to what you are describing with seemingly random devices dropping off the network.

There are also devices that don’t adhere totally to the Zigbee or Z-Wave spec and they can have poor reliability when connected to a router device. Xiaomi devices are a common example of a device that does not follow all aspects of the Zigbee spec and can struggle to stay reliably connected to the network if it is not connected directly to the hub.

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(Steve) #18

Sorry for the delay in replying. I do not have any Xiaomi devices, even though I was looking at them because of the price… I just heard way to many things about them to deal with them.
Same thing with the GE Link Bulbs. I took them out because of people saying they flood the network with garbage. I also just decided to remove every WeMo bulb (I had six scattered throughout the house) this past week and replaced them with Hue bulbs since it was long overdue.

Here is my SmartThings inventory.

2 - Aeon Minimote (ZWave)
1 – Fibaro Motion Sensor ZW5 (ZWave)
5 – Monoprice 10796 Z-Wave Motion Detector with Temperature Sensor
6 - Monoprice 15902 Z-Wave Plus PIR Multi Sensor, Temperature - Humidity – Light
3 – Bosch Motion Detector (ZigBee)
1 – Crap Samsung Arrival Sensor (ZigBee)
6 – Osram Lightify RGBW (ZigBee)
1 – Osram Lightify White (ZigBee)
3 – Osram Lightify Gardenspot Mini RGB (ZigBee)
3 – CentraLite 4257050-RZHAC Plug (ZigBee)
3 – SmartThings Outlet V4 (Zigbee)
7 – Iris 3210-L ZigBee outlet w/ZWave+ Repeater
3 – Samsung R1 Speakers (WiFi Cloud)
4 – SmartSense Moisture Sensor V4
4 – Monoprice Z-Wave Plus 15270 Door/Window Sensor
8 – Visonic Window/Door Sensor (ZigBee)
4 – GE Z-Wave Plug-in Smart Dimmer (Z-Wave)
5 – GE Outdoor Plug-In Module (Z-Wave)
3 – Schlage Z-Wave deadbolt
1 – Kwikset Z-Wave Lever
4 – Aeon DSC06106ZWUS Smart Energy Switch (Z-Wave)
2 – GE In Wall Paddle Rocker Switch (Z-Wave)
4 – Monoprice Smoke Detector
4 – First Alert 2-in-1 Smoke/Carbon Detector (Z-Wave)
3 – Aeon Labs Water Sensor (Z-Wave)
4 – Dome Water Sensor (Z-Wave)
1 – Dome Water valve (Z-Wave)
8 – Sengled E11-G13 White lightbulbs (ZigBee)

Outside of Smartthings
24 – Hue Bulbs
2 – EcoBee3 Thermostats
6 – EcoBee Sensors
1 – Rachio Sprinkler
3 – Logitech Harmony Hubs

I did the Z-Wave repair which found orphaned modules and I was able to delete those manually, so now that is clear. Thanks for everyone’s help and input. I will say, after replacing those Wemos the system does seem better…

Thanks again.

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(Steve) #19

I would just like everyone to know that it has been about two weeks now since I replaced the WeMo bulbs with Hues and I can report I have not had one problem. The WeMo bulbs were my longest “running” devices in my home so basically, it has been causing me issues from the start, I just didn’t realize it. The more devices I added the more problems I had. I figured by adding ZigBee plugs that I could strengthen my network and fix it. Well, it seems that whatever devices used the WeMo bulbs as a repeater then it would just drop. I do wish there was an app that allowed us to see what devices were piggybacking off of the repeaters. I also wish there was a way to turn off repeater mode on devices. Oh well.

I would like to thank Broderick for his help. Now, as I hit reply I’ll be anxiously hoping my system doesn’t start crashing lol. Thanks everyone.

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#20

Although relatively more expensive, I do find that Hue bulbs seem to be the most reliable. I replaced 10 of my Ge Link bulbs with Hue and Sengled bulbs. The Sengled bulbs are better than the Ge Link bulbs but even they have dropped off my network occasionally. The Hue bulbs, however have been rock solid.

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