Devices and Sensors Status

(Nico) #1

Hello, first of all I’m sorry if this post break the community rule.

I just want to know about the ‘things’ status.

I wonder, how do I know my sensor and other things is turned ON (active) and working properly.

I do some test, I remove the battery of my open/close sensor. I can’t get
information in the app that tell my sensor is not working or not
connected anymore.
The app just tell the last status of my sensor. I think is not good not knowing the status of my sensor at my house. Is there any way to know it ?

For the things that can act as actuator is the same, in this case is my
SmartPower Outlet. I do have shortcut to control my SmartPower Outlet to act like light. In the shortcut menu I can turn it on, and when I click, it show “turning on” and when the device is not ON or connected
anymore, the status is still on “turning on status”.
With this, we can know the device is not working properly, which is good. But, when I turn the SmartPower Outlet Via “Things” menu on dashboard, it give ON condition if I click it. The status is false,
because it the actual condition the SmartPower outlet it not working.

We can’t tested the device or sensor is working not everyday. We need to know whether our device is working or not because of battery power failure, broken or maybe the sensor have been stolen.

For example, I place my motion sensor on the ceiling near the door, and
then the sensor is fall and broken, and make the battery disconnected. I will never know my motion sensor is not working anymore, until i see it.

This is not good for security reason. If I can’t make sure all my device and sensor working properly, it will make me worried about my house when I’m away.


This is just a fact of life in mesh networks. Any mesh network, not just SmartThings.

The scheduling explanation may help:

Mesh networks assume any given device will be unavailable occasionally, if only to have batteries replaced. So the network is designed for resiliency as a whole, not for dependency on any one device.

There are two options if you don’t want to rely on potentially sleeping or busy or even broken devices:

  1. set up zones with multiple devices. This is how most professional security companies handle outdoor motion sensors, for example. Using 3 or 4 motion sensors to cover the same area from different angles and then a centralized assessment for when only some go off both reduces false alarms and allows for the possibility that one may be broken or offline or even just asleep.

  2. hardwire critical devices. Or use some other direct topology. Keep the mesh for the bulk of the installation, but give emergency notifiers that have to get through immediately different access through a different system.

I’m quadriparetic, wheelchair dependent with limited hand control. I use devices on a mesh network for convenience situations, and I’m very happy with them. I turn on a group of lights, I have a switch that lets me unlock the deadbolt to let a helper in so I don’t have to physically turn it. But my door is self locking independent of the network. I never have to worry about whether it’s unlocked–it’s always locked and no network misfires can leave it open.

I also have an emergency panic button that goes direct to 911. Not on a mesh network.

So it all comes down to your particular needs. You may find you need to set up different devices differently. Or use zone deployment.



One more practical note:

If you have one particular device that seems to always be out of synch, you may need to strengthen the signal in that area or rebuild the network routing table, or both. This can greatly improve the situation where the app takes a long time to show the correct status.

The following article from the ST Blog may be of interest:

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #4

Add Answer to FAQ? Please?

(Nico) #5

Give multiple devices is for redundant and backup. This is another way to make sure our home is safe and sure all of our security things is there, connected and working.
But adding more device is more costly.

Another way to check my devices and sensor is see the activity of every ‘things’ installed, but it’s not practical. And of course it’s contradict with convenience that smart home offer.

Moreover with presence sensor, in activity menu there’s nothing information except presence sensor has arrived and left 3 days ago. This thing make me wonder, whether my presence sensor is work or not.

Let say I set my presence sensor to lock all my door when I am leaving my home. I just can’t trust this because I don’t even know my presence sensor is working.
If only I just left my home, and knowing my home is not locking and armed the alarm after i arrive at my office, something could be happen in the meantime.

It’s not about the wireless range and kind of coverage problem. It’s about method and how it’s work.

I think it’s important to us to stay communicate in several time to make sure all of our ‘things’ is there an do what they must do.
It’s all for convenience and peace of mind.

Can you explain more about this ? about direct topology.


Different people have very different “peace of mind” levels. It’s hard to make any specific requirements just from Internet conversations.

Because I’m quadriparetic, I have pretty limited options when emergencies hit. I can’t even dial a phone easily.

My life-threatening-emergency alarms aren’t anything special, but they meet my 3 core requirements for this category: 1) works even when the power goes off, 2) cellular (not wifi), 3) professionally monitored.

In fact I use two different monitoring services, one that triggers automatically based on sensor events and a separate panic button system with GPS and two way speaker communication so that I can use it when I’m away from home also. (Remember I can’t use a phone.)

But I’m OK paying a monthly fee for this category. A lot of people aren’t.

The following article, although it’s from 2013, gives a lot of detail about security systems which still applies. It’s a good place to start researching, anyway.

I also don’t have a personal requirement that everything run on the same system. I’m fine if one system handles life threatening emergencies and a different one handles convenience situations.

I use SmartThings for convenience needs. I’m very happy with it for that purpose, and it was well worth the money I spent. I don’t personally use it for fire or intruder detection, or critical barrier integrity.

For example, we have a guest room off a narrow hallway and my housemate’s friends sometimes stay there. I can’t get my wheelchair into that room, and my service dog can’t close the window. So that’s a perfect place for me to put a SmartThings window sensor. If the guest leaves the window open, I can bug my housemate to go in and close it when he gets home. But even if it stays open for a day or two, no big deal. So for me, that would make sense to use via SmartThings, not a more expensive professionally-monitored system.

But this is why a lot of this comes down to personal preference. I’m willing to pay a monthly fee for professionally monitored items that address life threatening emergencies. I’m not willing to pay a monthly fee for items that just solve convenience issues like turning off the lights in multiple rooms at once. I don’t care if the two categories (real emergencies and convenience) run on different platforms. I’ll pay extra to get plug and play solutions. I’ll also pay a little extra for a well engineered solution with good battery life for the battery powered devices. I really like having one touch and voice control options. I don’t care much about aesthetics, or if the devices come in different colors.

Someone else might refuse to pay any monthly fees, want everything on one system, and care a lot about aesthetics.

And a third person might be happy to pay substantial monthly fees for a professionally installed and monitored all in one system with beautiful aesthetics.

No one right answer. But very different price points and fee structures, because different solutions do have different costs.

(Manish Kumar) #7

Hello Friends,

I am new to SmartApp development , I just want to know How to control my 4 different Zwave switch using Restful Web service API
so that I can control Switches belongs to Different Vendors.