Does ST work? My perspective

I just want to chime in on something – based upon the posts I keep seeing, someone browsing this forum could be forgiven for thinking that ST doesn’t work for anyone because there are so many posts about problems (not that people don’t have the right to complain if they are having problems). So I want to do a quick post to let folks out there know that I am generally satisfied with ST.
I have probably 20-30 devices – mostly light switches, the front door lock, plus a couple of fans and heaters and Nest thermostats. And based on what I see here, I am a pretty low-level user – I don’t have really complex rules or anything: sunrise/sunset and timing generally, some presence sensors, turning off the lights when I start the home theater, controlling a group of lights in the basement from a switch at the top of the stairs, putting in a door code when the cleaners are scheduled to come and taking it out that evening. Oh, and while I am definitely a technology enthusiast, I am not a programmer or an engineer or anything like that.
Hopefully I am not jinxing myself here, but ST performs as expected about 95% of the time. Do I have issues with the App sometimes? Yes. Do they negatively impact my stuff working as expected? Nope. Do I occasionally find a random light on? Yes. Am I positive that it was a failure of ST and not my rules or my son turning it on manually? Nope.
To be fair, when something doesn’t work it does have a tendency to mess several things up. For example, I just checked and for some reason this morning ST did not properly note that my wife’s cell phone left the house, and therefore ST still thinks someone is home and did not adjust a bunch of lights and the heat and whatnot (but I can fix that with a press of a button on my phone).
Bottom line – does it work perfectly? No. Am I satisfied? Yes. Is my wife satisfied? Yes (she has explicitly told me that she likes ST). Do I think it is really cool that I can control this stuff from a computer or my phone? Hell, yeah. Am I going to expand what I have? Yep (thinking about adding an Echo).
I would say that if you are the kind of person who can accept that something is working-ish (as in, “Hey. That light isn’t on. I wonder why. That is a puzzle I will have to tackle later on. But I am eating snacks and watching TV now. Oh, look … onion dip!”), then go for it. If you are someone who gets stressed out when things don’t work as expected (as in, “Dammit. I spent the past four hours trying to figure out how to make the damn thing do what I want and I will not rest until I have conquered this many headed technological beast!”) then I would say that you may not want to wade into the murky waters of home automation at this point.
Again, this is just me providing my perspective for the benefit of those who may be thinking about heading down the ST route.


I agree absolutely that different things work for different households, with many different factors affecting what is acceptable. And those factors include the household’s “resiliency” with regard to what happens when things don’t work.

Where I would have to respectfully disagree is the idea that it’s just someone’s personality that defines whether the degree of instability in SmartThings is acceptable or not. I think it depends very much on the exact use cases being automated and why.

A household with a couple of ablebodied teenagers might barely notice any issues caused by particular lights not coming on as scheduled. A household with newborn twins where everyone is lacking sleep may find a failure of lights to operate to schedule much more impactful. :sunglasses:

In my case, I am quadriparetic, use a wheelchair with limited hand function. I have to pay someone else to reset a device. And my plan B options when the door fails to unlock or the television starts changing channels randomly are very different than those available to an able-bodied person.

So while I think I have a fairly relaxed view towards life (and I am easily distracted by onion dip :wink: ), my standard for reliability in home automation is not simply a matter of personality.

I will also note that SmartThings is not the only home automation option available. There are many different systems, each with their own pluses and minuses. Some are committed to reliability, but may offer fewer features and little or no ability to customize. Some, like SmartThings, are committed to versatility first. So again, different people will find different solutions work best for them. SmartThings is certainly a good choice for many people. I’m glad to hear that it’s working well for your family.

Submitted with respect.


I think you’re just “fresh meat” :slight_smile: For the first three month everyone is like that: “Look ma, no hands!” It takes a bit of cooking before novelty wears off and it starts getting on your nerves. :slight_smile:


JDRoberts - You are totally correct on that front. I was highlighting that personality can elevate the stress caused by failures, but it is indisputable that what I will call “mission-criticality” can as well. I actually thought about pointing out that I don’t use ST for my home security or anything else where failure could cause more than a minor inconvenience. However, I have a reputation for being verbose, so I was trying not to over-do it.
Geko - Admittedly, I am worried that I am poking the great grizzly bear of karma by saying “Oh, hey. Sorry everybody else is having problems. Mine works great!” Then tonight I will go home and the recent update will have caused there to be ST shaped crater where my house used to be. There will be no onion dip for me. :frowning:


Today was the first time I honestly thought to myself, “Should I get rid of ST”? The thought of starting from scratch chills me to the bone. But I am losing sleep over whether or not a command is going to fire. I’m not OCD - But I’m starting to think maybe I am.

This was me when I first set up Smartthings:

Then I started putting it to work. Now this is me:



It’s called STS (SmartThings Syndrome), not to be confused with STD. :smile:


Yup I do think smartthings should change the name to MIFWThings, leave you to work it out, but the M stands for maybe

I am an engineer. I have done a lot of programming (not for home automation). I am very familiar with R&D where nothing goes right. Once Dean Kamen (sic) even told us its always darkest before the dawn. Believe me I don’t expect seamless integration and full functions out the gate; but come on this is a consumer level device that has not operated as advertised. I wish, I saw some of these responses before I purchased ST. I may have went in a different direction. I like reading and trying new things, but I don’t want to be quality or device development for Samsung. If their phones were like this, I would have an apple. Sorry, I am a little irritated. My wife is using the garage keypad again for the last couple days and this means I did not do well by my primary customer.


My setup is extremely simple. Door sensors and motion sensors. The default SHM setup was simple and easy.

This platform has been getting worse and worse lately and I’m in those last stages of frustration. After today’s update, I got home and the app had logged me out AGAIN. Support blames an iOS bug but I have other apps that keep me logged in for MONTHS (even years) across iOS and app updates. This app can’t seem to handle that.

Now while I’m freezing on my front porch going through the forgot password routing, I finally got it and SHM wouldn’t disarm (it just kept spinning). So I went on in. Of course all the lights came on and sirens sounded.

During the next ear piercing 30 minutes I fought to stay logged into the app while trying to update and reboot everything.

In the end I removed SHM (no easy feat) and sent some (probably regrettable) emails to ST support.

I used to be in that honeymoon “this is awesome and a few bugs don’t bother me” to “omg this thing keeps getting worse and is not a usable system any longer.”

The adding of Smart (dumb?) Home Monitor seemed to be a bad bad thing. Could I expect better results with Rule Machine or one of the other security apps? Or roll my own (yeah, I’m a developer so I could handle it). I just don’t want to waste time on a sinking platform and maybe I should cut and run to a proper home security system?


I bought one with the remote to goof around with and ended up buying a second one little over a week later. Supposedly a newer portable model is coming out soon and I might buy one of those as well. You will grow to love Alexa! She’s young and still learning but she’s very smart!


I’m 3 months in with v2. I get more depressed reading about all the problems noted on this forum than I do dealing with my setup. I consider myself lucky for now. All of my local lighting schedules setup through Smart Lighting have been 99% reliable (100% if I exclude the one day a month or so ago many of us had to reboot the hubs). The cloud-based stuff is another story.

Presence detection via Android… that’s 50/50.

Notifications that I left the garage doors open… those have been pretty good but I had one false positive alert.

I’m actually thrilled with what I’m getting out of Smartthings. I assume my day will come.


Really, you hooked up a siren to a ST hub? Now, that’s a good one and anybody that thinks different should get on outer here, as Larry the cable guy would say. Also, funny how the routines fired even if the app didn’t.
I’ve gotten use to the red banner in the app coming down all the time telling about the unexpected issues. Come on everybody ST is going to pull this plane out of it’s death spiral just in the nick of time.

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Well, I will tell you this much… I’m a very happy camper right now, especially since the most recent hub, server node, and today’s app updates/upgrades.

No more red banner
Things are working properly
Things are firing on time every time

I’ve seen a lot of forward progress…

Before I get called out for drinking koolaide, there is still a long way to go… But, if you’re on the fence about ST, I say go for it!

Just stay away from routines, mode changes, and SHM, they still suck.

Ha, ha, ha. ST without core functions. The patient is alive but we amputated his legs and hands

Actually wouldn’t it just be a pile of arms and legs…

No CORE functions! Lol

Mine’s working fine and I use all of that.

I can honestly say I stopped using SHM, modes, and the alarms in late Sept.

Recently I’ve thought about giving the modes another chance.

But I’m very skeptical until I am no longer reading any complaints about any of them.

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As someone that’s been hit by the recent time-based events failures, I would say keep away. As you said, it still has a long way to go.


I was actually trying it a little different. I set up rules in rule machine to change the modes at certain times. But even that is failing.

So, I’m just going to stick with the way I was doing it.

I have virtual switches that act as my modes. They are just conditions and triggers in my rules (which act as routines) to do different things.

Never had a problem with that way.

Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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