Getting Started

Greetings fellow users.

First time posting. I am both thrilled and saddened by my recent bitten of the “internet of things” technology and the Smart home concept. For years, I’ve done things in my home before. I ran telephone line to every room, stereo speakers through the extra telephone wires ( don’t do that in lighting plagued Florida). I had televisions that played whatever was on the main cable box in the living room and could watch my favorite movies in the bedroom. This was in the 1980’s.

I Just purchased my post divorce home after four years of renting and I started looking into security when I discovered the “internet of things”. I always knew it existed but it never really applied to me. Boy was I wrong.

I’ve done weeks of research to find that Smartthings is the most recommended and seems to be the most accommodating for other brands to work within its platform. So I started there…with the Hub and four light bulbs.

I discovered that switches and motion sensors are more versatile. I hoped to find a guide on some of the best practices to design and “start small” when first implementing a smart home system. I didn’t find that but I did find a wealth of information on similar topics right here. I’m not a developer, just a regular Joe getting started.

Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge here…I’ve certainly enjoyed it so far.


The following might be interesting for you. The great strength of smartthings is, as you mentioned, its flexibility. But that can make it a little difficult to know where to start. It’s not just a matter of unpack the box and set up the seven things that came with the kit. So lots of choices, which is good, but not a lot of guidance.

When you start exploring you should find a lot of ideas that sound intriguing, and if you have any questions or want any more details, just ask. The following thread is a good discussion of different features of different devices and why you might choose one over another. That can be helpful when you’re just starting to think about what you might want to do. It’s mostly focused on the hardware choices. (Each topic title is a clickable link.)

Also a new thread that was started just this week where people are just listing how they are using automation right now. So this one is not about specific device choices, but more about what rules people might want to set up and why. Again, different people will want different things. Anyway, Lots of good ideas there. :sunglasses:

Have fun!

p.s. It sounds like you probably don’t need the following thread, but just in case, I’ll add it as well:

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Welcome to the forum, and to SmartThings!

I don’t think I’ve seen many posts on that general of a topic. It would be interesting though- “The Definitive Guide to Getting Started with SmartThings”, likely authored by @JDRoberts

You’ll find that most people are making specific comments, or come searching for specific solutions. This forum is very good at helping you with these solutions, but the design of your system, selection of your compatible devices, and implementation is so individual that creating a starters guide may prove to be problematic.

I find that it’s easiest to think about the devices in terms of input and output. Input devices provide information into the system, such as the presence sensors on your phone, wall or fob switches, motion sensors, window/door open sensors, tilt sensors, water sensors, contact switches, etc. Output devices take this information and do things in the real world. This would be devices like light bulbs, micro-switches, valves…

Really, you just need to decide what you want to start playing with and there is a very good chance that there is something similar that someone has worked on. If not, start a topic and people are more than happy to give their opinions.

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I just wanted to note that I hadn’t seen that post by @JDRoberts before I finished mine. He really is that nice of a guy!

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I’ll go look for it Thanks !!

I’ve had to re-think my “plan” a few times after learning stuff from this forum. I haven’t seen it put that way in the input/output but it makes a lot of sense. With so much thinking and planning, I learned that at some point, I needed to just get started. So, I bought bulbs. As soon as I did, I learned about switches. LOL.

So, I’ve asked myself a few questions and really got down to the PURPOSE of the system I’m assembling and for WHO. Those questions really got me going to the next steps.


  1. Keep KW usage under control.
  2. Security (Girlfriend is deaf)

For Who:

  1. Me

The bulbs were great for me but may not be great for guests or my girlfriend who is sometimes there when I am not. So I started looking at devices that I can control or monitor ( KW usage) and let the girlfriend be in the house harmoniously with the devices. At this time, I don’t want to provide another smartphone in the mix. I want full control ( first my home then the WORLD !! :slight_smile:).

I think I am off to a great system plan with sensors and switches. I’ll probably stay at that level for a while until I get things sorted out. I’m excited and looking forward to getting started.


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I don’t know if this would be of any interest (the community member who started the thread does a lot of his own electronics) but these are some of the ideas that have been discussed for people who are deaf:

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My main interest for home automation was setting up alerters (flashing lights) that would signal events – like the doorbell or smoke alarm. I am also Deaf. I quickly found that SmartThings was not reliable enough for something like this. JDRoberts introduced me to Indigo (runs on a Mac) and I just happen to have an unused Mac lying around. Indigo was a much better fit for my needs.

I have set up an Aeon doorbell to trigger flashing bulbs which I have plugged in to mains (wall AC) socket adapters located throughout the house. I also have a Z-Smoke smoke alarm which I have set to trigger a different set of lights plus a bed shaker if it goes off. The bed shaker uses a mains plug-in Aeon switch to power a 12 Volt “wall wart” type power supply which drives the bed shaker.

I also have three motion detectors which trigger mains switches to control room lights.

Everything has worked flawlessly for almost 6 months with Indigo. Response time to event triggers is almost instantaneous because everything executes locally.

I hope this generates some ideas.