FAQ: SmartThings international function


#1

Hello all. I am fairly new to the HA field, and I have been extensively researching and settled upon smartthings as my number 1 choice for a smart hub. However, I live in the Caribbean and I am just curious about one thing in particular.

I realise thst there are US, UK and other z-wave frequencies etc. so my question is : if I buy a US version of the smarthub and all US accessories (sensors etc), will it work even though I am outside of the US? I know that buying UK “Things” won’t work with a US hub, so I’m just curious. Do I need to be literally in the US or can I just buy all US components and expect the system to function as advertised.

EDIT : Also where I am from, we have the same specs as the US (110-120 v 50-60 hz).


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#2

ZWAVE VARIES BY COUNTRY

Zwave frequencies are different in different countries because different countries use different frequencies for things like ambulance communications, cordless phones, and mobile phones. Zwave frequencies are licensed for ranges that will not interfere with these local communications.

For this reason, it may be illegal to use US Z wave frequencies in a country that reserves those frequencies for, say, ambulance communications. So it’s not just a technical issue.

All of that said, much of the Caribbean uses the US frequencies anyway. And in 2015, a number of South American countries also adopted the US frequencies. This was a change from their previous assignments.

So if your region uses US frequencies, you’re fine with the regular smartthings version.

If your region does not use US frequencies, you need to check locally to see if there are any legal restrictions against using the US frequencies.

If there are no legal restrictions, and nothing local that will interfere with the communications, then as long as the hub and the devices use the same frequency so they should be able to talk to each other.

When the initial kickstarter manufacturing run was done there were a few units sent to initial backers in Europe that used the European zwave frequencies. Since November 2015 the hub has only sold with either a US frequency zwave antenna or a European frequency antenna (currently sold only in the UK).

There has been some discussion that future ST generations may include versions for other Z wave regions but nothing official yet.

In part because of the legal issues, each hub is manufactured and certified with a single Zwave frequency which cannot be changed later.

SO IF IT’S LEGAL TO USE US FREQUENCY ZWAVE IN MY COUNTRY AND I HAVE A US FREQUENCY HUB, CAN I FIND OTHER ZWAVE DEVICES TO WORK WITH IT?

Maybe, but if your country uses a different voltage, it May be hard to find a device with, say, European voltage and US Zwave, although there may be some made for the Latin American market. And some US voltage devices can work with other voltage through a transformer. So you may have to check with the device’s manufacturer.

If you have a European Zwave frequency SmartThings hub, many devices certified for European zwave should be OK. Aeon Labs is a good source for devices offered in zwave frequencies for several different regions. Again each single device will have only one frequency and can only be used with a hub that exactly matches that frequency, so check what you’re buying when you place the order.

ZIGBEE IS THE SAME FREQUENCY RANGE WORLDWIDE, BUT COMMUNICATION PROTOCOLS MAY VARY BY MANUFACTURER

Zigbee, on the other hand, uses the same frequency range everywhere. However, different manufacturers use proprietary communication protocols on that frequency. So in that case it’s not a country to country issue but rather one of different manufacturers’ devices not being speaking the same dialect.

SmartThings is certified for the Zigbee Home Automation protocol. But not Zigbee Pro, although it may work with some pro devices.

Some smart bulbs use the Zigbee Home Automation Protocol, like GE Link, and those should work with SmartThings directly. Smart bulbs that use the Zigbee Light Light Protocol like Philips Hues will work best if there is an integration between SmartThings and their “bridge.” Hues integration is currently in Beta.

Hues are made for most countries; check the Philips website. Osram Lightify is also made in multiple formats.

In addition, different countries set different regulatory maximums on signal strength from zigbee devices. The US allows for “boosted zigbee” which is a signal strength of up to about 20. Europe however limits signal strength maximum to around 12. This means that many American-made zigbee devices, including some of the SmartThings branded US models, are illegal to operate in the UK, for example. So you also need to check those limitations before importing any zigbee devices from another country.

WHAT DEVICES SHOULD I GET IF I LIVE IN A COUNTRY THAT USES THE US ZWAVE FREQUENCY BUT 220v POWER?

This may be The most challenging situation until home automation becomes more popular in South America. The US version of the SmartThings hub can run on USB power, so you will probably be okay with that.

There are some smart bulbs made for that market; check with Philips or local home automation resources.

Battery operated devices, of course, will work fine.

The challenge is door locks, switches, and mains-powered appliances. Zigbee doorlocks do exist, but as of this writing do not work well with SmartThings.
For switches, zigbee devices using the HA 1.2 protocol are probably your best bet. Aeon Labs, a major zwave switch maker, has expressed an interest in the market, it’s worth contacting them to see what’s available.

For more discussion of 220v power with the 908 Zwave frequency, see:


FAQ: All in one place--is there a single comprehensive list of all Devices that work with SmartThings?
#3

God bless you for your timely and very informstive response. one final question. The US z-wave frequency is listed at 908.4 , 916mhz correct? On the link provided my country (trinidad and tobago) has the following values

908.4 MHz, 916 MHz

Is it therefore safe to use the smartthings US hub where I am?

Thanks a lot again :smile:


#4

“Safe” is a big word, but in terms of zwave it should be the same for you there as if you lived in United States. I don’t know about the electrical connections.

The most common source of interference with zwave in United States is standalone baby monitors, which usually use the same frequencies. This has become less of an issue as more people switch over to Wi-Fi baby monitors but I just thought I would mention it.


#5

Thanks a lot
I asked around and it’s completely fine to use z wave here so long as it follows the US frequencies.

I guess I’ll be picking up a smartthings after a bit more research…thanks a lot for your help! :smile:


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

Thanks, @April, for reminder that SmartThings is having a UK-centric open “Developer Conference Call” on May 19th. :gb:

Excellent opportunity to discuss Questions related to this FAQ … and more, I presume.


#7

See also the following topic on 220 volt devices:


#8

From September 3, 2015 news about the release of Hub 2.0:

But the hub and the sensors are now available for purchase on shop.smartthings.com and Samsung.com and will be rolling out on Amazon.com and retail stores across the U.S. In the U.K the products will be available at select Currys PC World stores and online at Samsung.com. Next year they will become available in more European countries, as well.


(Garth Austin) #9

Hi.I have been trying to get smartthings to work from Trinidad and Tobago for several months now with no success.The app (android) does not recognise the hub as active or online eventhough the indicator light is solid blue.Contacted support and they sent me a replacement hub already with latest updates about three months ago but same issue.They werent much helpful after that when they realized where i was trying to operate from.They said their system was not designed for our region but could not site a specific reason why the hub was not being recognised and that i should wait until they officially role out to the caribbean.I am stuck with a hub and seven different sensors.One more thing.Smartthings said that my hub however was showing up as activated from their end!!


(Ed Ford) #10

I bought the hub, 7 switches and a couple of sensors and a smartcam hd pro.

I installed them all in Panama and everything works just fine.
I dont see why you cant run the hub since it connects directly via ethernet cable to the router and creates a zwave - zigbee signal around the house.
Zigbee works internationally however zwave uses different ranges that may differ from one country to another so I would do a double check in that item


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(Trevor) #11

From this very helpful post, I have concluded that a Spruce Irrigation Controller sourced from the USA would communicate satisfactorily with my European (UK, used in France) V2 ST hub using Zigbee protocols but that I need to check the maximum signal strength does not exceed that allowed in European law. The answer to this issue is not clear to me having browsed the Spruce website so I have sent in a message to Spruce Irrigation asking them what is their maximum signal strength used by Spruce.
Anyone else tried using Spruce Irrigation in Europe? Their FAQ says that they are working on certification outside the USA and Canada but I imagine that isn’t fast.


(Gnomolx) #12

Hi!
I have recently bought a STv2 kit on Amazon and am using it happily for almost one month on 220V.
I have been also using original 2 Samsung Smart-plugs (the same plugs included on current US STv2 Kit). One is linked to a 40w corridor table lamp which is triggered by battery powered Smartthings motion sensor. Other, as master to all my Media center stuff TV, STB, BLURAY etc to give me real time power consumption… a
No problems or overheating problems what so ever… working just great!
Is it possible that these new US Smartthings Smart Outlets are (as some Aeon devices) auto-switching 110-220v? Or Am I just being lucky and should unplug these 2 outlets immediately??


#13

http://products.z-wavealliance.org


(Tyrone Murray) #14

Gud day, was reading your post and wanted to know if the smart things hub worked in Trinidad


#15

The list is definitely wrong, I have seen another list.


#16

You may have seen another list, but that list is from the official Z wave alliance site. It’s possible something may have changed since the time of posting.

Occasionally, the assigned frequencies do change, there was one change a couple of years ago, as some countries may wish to adopt the frequency of another region, most commonly that of the EU.

But the current frequencies are used for the official product catalog which shows all of the product certifications:

http://products.z-wavealliance.org

So if you think something is wrong on that page, write to the Z wave alliance and ask them about it.


(Dadrian Wilson) #17

Hey Rajiv did it work for you… I’m in Jamaica :jamaica: and want to know if it is compatible here


#18

Hey yes it did. It’s still working perfectly for me a few years later


#19

One more note about Shopping for zigbee devices: