Demystifying Modes & Hello Home Actions

Okay, so think I’ve finally figured out how to properly use Modes & Hello Home Actions. Please correct me if I’m on the wrong track.

Modes are states that your home is in. It is used as an if statements for SmartApps and such. E.g. if Mode = Away, turn off internal lights and turn on porch light.

Hello Home Actions are used to perform actions during certain conditions AND set the Mode. This took me forever to figure out.

An example is the I’m Away Hello Home Action. This can be used to set the Away mode when all presence sensors are not present.

Actions can also be used with the Hello Home Actions.

BTW, in the Android app 1.6.3, the Mode status can be checked by hitting the “hamburger menu” in the upper left. It should read "Currently, mod is set to ". Modes can be changed, added, or deleted by going to the


Yes, you’re correct. I wish there was a SmartThings wiki to keep all the answers in one place.

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+1 on the wiki idea. I love it. Community contributions that could be curated and approved to keep things in check.

Any post on this site can be turned into a wiki post. I am hesitant to have yet another system or site to point people to at this time but we can all figure something out.

I hear you. I’m all for simplicity. However, I think the wiki could be an extension of the support site, though. It can be hard to research things in the community because threads get off track, some aren’t labeled well, etc. A wiki can be better controlled while still receiving the assistance of the user community to populate it. It’s too much for ST alone to do. But, ST could have control over revisions, etc.

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Ben - again what about sticky threads that retain the ‘How-To’ for this site. My guess is you LOSE many users who give up after buying Wemo or Smartthings devices because it takes so much frickin time to self-educate… Just my 2 cents.

We will sure make them sticky when we have those How-to’s written. The time to write them just needs to be made. Have you checked out the Knowledge Base for some of these sorts of things?

I am still confused by Modes. Let’s say I create a new mode called Vacation. How do I let Smartthings what is the state of “Vacation”? I would like to use Vacations as a more aggressive mode than Away. For example, turn off all devices, turn on all cameras, etc…

Have you used Hello, Home phrases to define what occurs in Vacation mode? I would check that out by tapping the gear at the bottom right of the Hello, Home screen. (get there by tapping the little speech bubble icon)

Ok, so if I get this right, mode by itself doesn’t have any attributes until you define them in Hello, Home, is that right?

More or less. Yes. You can also change modes from SmartApps and many of the dashboard rules and triggers.

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I’m trying to get a handle on the difference between Modes and Phrases and I think I have it sorted out now.

Here’s an overview of the state changes between each of my “big” modes:

  • Good Morning! only triggers in mode [Night] and sets mode [Home]
  • Good Evening! only triggers in mode [Home] and doesn’t change the mode
  • Good Night! only triggers in mode [Home] and sets mode [Night]
  • Goodbye! only triggers in modes [Home] or [Night] and sets mode [Away]
  • Hello! only triggers in mode [Away] and sets mode [Home]

My Good Morning! phrase currently looks like this:

  • If the Time is [Sunrise -01:00H], If there is Motion in the [Main House], If the [Kitchen Door] opens
  • Then set Smart Home Monitor (SMH) to [Disarm]
  • Then set mode to [Home]

My Good Evening! phrase currently looks like this:

  • If the Time is [Sunset -01:00H]
  • Then Turn On [Central Lights]
  • Then set Dimmers To [50%]

My Good Night! phrase currently looks like this:

  • If the Time is Between 23:45 And 05:45 If there is No Motion in the [Main House for 30M]
  • Then Turn Off [All Lights]
  • Then set Dimmers to [10%]
  • Then set SHM to [Arm [Stay]]
  • Then set mode to [Night]

My Goodbye! phrase currently looks like this:

  • If Presence is [Everyone Leaves]
  • Then Turn Off [All Lights]
  • Then Set Dimmers to [50%]
  • Then set SMH to [Arm [Away]]
  • Then set Mode to [Away]

My Hello! phrase currently looks like this:

  • If Presence is [Someone Arrives]
  • Then set SMH to [Disarm]
  • Then set Mode to [Home]

I have a couple of questions.

  1. My Good Morning phrase is never going to execute, is it? It’ll “AND” each of those statements, and won’t ever trigger. Anyone got any ideas how to best fix this, to switch between Arm [Stay] and [Disarm] SMH modes?
  2. What does the “Set dimmers to this level” actually do? Does it mean that when I switch on a dimmer, it’ll be set to the previous version? Does it work?

Thanks for any feedback on this!

I rely on text to speech so unfortunately I can’t help walk through your diagrams.

However since this thread has been resurrected, I did want to mention that there is now a community-created wiki. It’s very new, just a few weeks old, but will grow over time and all community members are invited to help populate it. Hopefully this will help address some of the concerns that were originally expressed in this thread. :sunglasses:

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The one thing I did want to mention it it’s really important to understand that mesh can bounce messages around the network before they reach the hub and you do not have guaranteed sequencing. It is almost impossible, therefore, to say “if there is motion at 7 AM.”

If the routine or smartapp that you are using allows for range, then set the range wide enough to allow for events to occur in different sequences over a period of several minutes.

The lack of serial processing also means that no matter how the wizard is constructed, it is not a then… Then… Then sequence.

It is a single trigger which executes all of the then requests at once, but you can’t be certain what order they will complete in.

Some people use a virtual switch to force a serial sequence, which can work.

In that case you have the first routine do something and turn on the virtual switch.

You have a second routine which subscribes to that virtual switch going on. Or maybe custom code which fires five minutes after the virtual switch goes on. Or have the first routine turn on the virtual switch for five minutes and fire the second routine when the virtual switch goes off.

There can still be a little bouncing around, but it least you do get some sequencing. And if you use the turn on and subscribe to the off event logic, you can get pretty good sequencing.

@bravenel is a grandmaster at these kind of overlapping chains, he may have some ideas.

And from a completely direct different direction:

You may have skipped the following topic because of the title, and it’s clear that you’re very comfortable with logic flow, but there are a couple of third-party rules engines that might let you set up what you want very simply. Worth taking a look at anyway.

Thanks as always, @JDRoberts - excellent points. I simplified my “Good Morning” to trigger:

  • If the Time is Between 05:45 And 09:45 If there is Motion in the [Main House]

And it seems to be working very well so far.

I’ll check out those rules engines links.

I still don’t know what the “Set Dimmers to” function in the Hello, Home phrases do.

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If you have lights which are dimmable and say if you have these lights turn on based on your hello homes, you can use that to set level. This is just one basic simple example. I use it pretty much for my good night routine where it sets the level of couple of hues to 10% and when Good morning triggers it sets it to 100%.

Here is a sample for Good night…