General Unreliability of all things SmartThings

Yes, I am here to complain, big time.

  1. The SmartThings motion sensors are a joke. Everyday I get 2-3 false positives per sensor. The batteries are just fine at 87%. And the sensors are way away from any airflow. I’ve placed them at different places around the house without any discernible difference. The only recourse is to remove them from the hub, and throw them in trash. Bye bye $160.

  2. Things fall of the radar randomly (which means they become “Unavailable”) without any notice. You discover them in the app by having tiny red dots next to them. What happened? No one knows to be sure. The batteries seem to be OK. The only recourse is to take those things, take the battery out and pop them right back in, sometimes twice to make it work and then they become available only for few days. Then the story repeats. I don’t want to have a full time job around my house consistently making sure the things are in optimal shape, it does consume a lot of time.

In summary, the things are there to help me, not the other way around. Anyone has a better idea than to bag these crappies and throw it in the trash and get something real instead? I am all ears, as throwing away $1000 of this crappies would hurt.

Post your devices in the “for sale” thread for 2 dollars each. Seriously. If you’re just going to throw them away at least make some money off of them.

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I’m sure that’s very frustrating. :disappointed_relieved: There are two separate answers to this.

The first is just that smartthings does have a problem with their device health reporting. They’re supposed to be working on it, and you can hang in and see if it gets better. But there’s not a lot that we as customers can do about that other than turn off device health reporting.

The second is to do the same kind of troubleshooting that a field tech would and just start trying to improve your network backbone. However, this takes a lot of time and trial and error effort, and it can’t do anything about the first answer, so at best you get to situation where you know it’s not you. I’m not saying you should do that, but it is an option if you want to put some time in on it.

If you do want to do the second option we need to know a lot more specifics. In particular, we need to know the exact model number of the motion sensors, and we need to know what zigbee repeaters You have and where they are located.

You’ve probably done all this already, but if you are interested in doing more troubleshooting, start by reading post 11 in the following thread, then go up to the top of that thread and read the whole thing, then manually map out your zigbee backbone, make any improvements in location that jumped out at you, do a zigbee heal, and then let’s see where we are.

Again, I’m not saying you should do all that, I’m just saying that if you want to, there will be lots of community members who will be glad to help with suggestions as you go down the “strength the mesh“ path.


Ahhh… the voice of reason steps in😎


Hi JD,

Thanks for your helpful comments. I already have performed most of the steps. For SmartThings, I use a Netgear 4G LTE modem/router which has excellent signal strength all the time and plenty of bandwidth. The hub is directly connected to the modem/router. There are no wi-fi access points nearby which can interfere. The hub is in the open and though not exactly in the middle, it’s never 30/40 feet away from any sensors in the house. My house is small (under 3000 sq ft).

I DID NOT know that the battery powered sensors don’t repeat. Do you recommend any repeater then? I am using SmartThings open/close, motion and wet sensors.

Yes, I would definitely recommend having some zigbee repeaters. They take some load off the hub and generally traffic just moves much more smoothly through the network with fewer lost messages. Also, the hub has a fixed limit of 32 non-repeating Zigbee devices which can be directly attached to it, and that can throw things off as well.

I just use whatever zigbee pocket socket is the least expensive, but a lot of people like the iris smart plug which is a zigbee pocket socket which also has a separate Z wave radio in it, and so acts as a repeater for both zwave and zigbee.

Ignore this email. Just tried it and clicking on refresh does not seem to do anything.

For some devices clicking on refresh does get an updated status.

But these devices no

Also there are some scenarios in which zigbee does NOT really work too well, but zwave is fine.

My garage is one. Zwave devices work fine, but zigbee devices do NOT work reliably, due to metal or something.

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Also you should ignore battery percentages of Samsung Motion Sensors, they are almost always wrong. Whenever I get false positives it’s the battery, almost everytime. Replacing them fixes the issue, even if it’s listed as 100% in the app.

Hi Shinedown78,

How often do you change batteries? For me, it seems like a constant ordeal. They seem to go out every 2-3 months?

Also, what’s the point when these sensors are so unreliable? Let’s say on day 63 after the battery change, the motion sensor goes off. How do I know it’s due to low battery or a true intruder?