and here i was thinking that it was a huge advantage that all the electric in the house was being rewired and it would be no additional effort to hardwire devices. but instead its possibly tying myslef down to something that may not work.
It really depends on your usage type. If you were buying it to automate things for health reasons or as a major security system, I’d say it isn’t reliable enough. If you’re doing it for fun/as a hobby (which is more what it sounds like), you need to know that there will be hiccups at times.
That being said, my wife was on the fence as well when I first started. However, she’s more than happy to tolerate it now that things are setup and working. Sure, sometimes there are problems, but I personally have not had anywhere near the problems that others seem to have (all my door locks work just fine, my lights turn off and on when I hit the switch or button on SmartTiles, etc). The key is that I have manual control at the switch when something doesn’t automatically turn on like it’s supposed to. And in a lot of cases, think about it this way - if it was something that was manual before (ie, no timers, etc), if an automation fails, all you do is turn it on manually. Which means that when it works properly, great! And if an automation fails on occasion, you’re no worse off than before you tried to automate it. Just remember not to be using it for mission-critical applications.
So, it seems like it can be hit or miss. For us, it’s been a hit, but then again, we haven’t had any of the terrible problems that others have reported in the forums.
I guess i am really thinking about it in 2 ways. If a routine fails and some lights need to be turned on or off manually, its not a big deal, but if a bedroom light randomly goes on in the middle of the night or my front door unlocks for no reason while I’m on vacation, the consequences are much worse.
Its making me think about only installing things in places where a failure doesn’t cause big problems. No lights in bedrooms, no exterior door locks, no security siren. Maybe someday, but not today.
Makes sense. Personally, I’ve never had something turn on (or unlock) when I didn’t want it to. The only failures I’ve ever had were where something didn’t turn on.
I use smartthings mostly for convenience features. Turning on lights (switches and bulbs) and fans and if a door opens (contact sensors). If it does not work, the world does not end for me. I do have water sensors as well and would be upset if all a sudden my basement is flooded and my sensors don’t send the message. I am taking that risk, but I look at it that I have a better chance of knowing with SmartThings than knowing with nothing. I am getting ready to add a lock from my garage to my house. I felt it was a good safe way to start and get the feeling of reliability since if it does not lock, I still have my garage door as somewhat of a extra barrier. I am with @JDRoberts regarding security. I go with a professional service that I have had for 9 years. One false reading. Then of course, I have a couple echoes that just add to my laziness! Said best - a hobby.
Here’s one piece of advice I’d give to take advantage of your situation: whether you choose to include smart switches now or not, plan the wiring for them. Code now requires neutral at all boxes, so that’s one problem taken care of, but another issue is three-way lighting – there are may ways that can be wired for non-smart switches, but only some of those ways will work for smart switches. See the discussion here for an example.
I personally would probably put z-wave switches in at most if not all positions, even if I don’t plan to network them right away. It’s an established protocol, that most systems support, and I don’t think there will be any major changes that affect switches in the immediate future. But it’s an investment. If you don’t do it now, go for the cheapest switches you can, so you don’t feel bad replacing them when you upgrade.
edit to add: my understanding is that z-wave 3-way switch configs, with a master switch and accessory, will work even without the z-wave being setup. That is, the accessory tells the master what to do locally, not through the z-wave network.
not sure at what stage you are at with remodeling, but at the minimum I would install the biggest/deepest versions of electrical boxes you can get. Smart devices tend to take up a lot of space in boxes. Most switch problems seem to happen with lack of neutrals and/or power into light fixture scenarios, so avoid those.
If you want the apex of:
App looks good, seems with the times.
Lots of integrations through IFTTT or custom device code.
Custom code flexibility
Community support and help (although I’m getting a little depressed being in this forum lately…)
then this is the place to be. It has some problems, but I think this was a necessary kick in the pants to get the platform nice and stable before Samsung makes ST put Samsung device integration before platform stability. In other words, their back on the case and chompin at the bit to get it working smooth again.
The problem with that is that the CTO promised stability would be the number one corporate priority in March last year.
Yet since last October (6 months after that stability pledge) my system has yet to go 10 days without an impactful ST failure.
When ST is running as intended, it is absolutely my favorite HA system. It has amazing flexibility and versatility, and I really like the vision. But it requires a lot more patience and tweaking than any other system I have, including harmony, echo, the Phillips hue bridge, my security system, my sprinkler system, and my medical monitoring system.
I know there are many people who are willing to put in the time and effort of the maintenance that SmartThings requires in order to get the value of that versatility. But I will believe they have made stability a top corporate priority when I see the system run for 60 days without a failure that requires customer intervention.
Yea. In the moments it stops being a good little platform I shake my fist, do the action manually and forget about the platform for a week or so. Then I resume my hobby when I think of something cool to try.
I wasn’t aware of that pledge… I haven’t been paying as much attention lately since the community has gotten so big / overwhelming which can be a good thing.
Long story short. Whenever I take a step back from my frustration or evaluate other options available I always come to the conclusion that my eggs are in the best basket. That being said I only have plastic eggs, none of those fragile, critical, has to happen eggs.
One really hard thing to recover from is alienating your household members to automation. You are always on a losing foot then, even when it’s working. ST will unfortunately do that pretty immediately in its current state.
However I’m sure ST will get there with a dependable , albeit still Internet dependent product. My advice would be to hold off for a (length_of_a_piece_of_string) weeks until the feedback in this community shows things have been fixed. They are working really hard on fixing it right now.
You should be scared - this is a hobby and not a production system. I trusted it once. I got my family hooked on the benefits of home automation and now when things don’t work (50 per cent of the time) they blame me. I just want it to work with odd better than flipping a coin!
If all automations were as trivial as this, I wouldn’t be interested in home automation at all.
Well if there’s something you’ve setup that doesn’t have a manual way to do it then it’s just asking for trouble. That’s why I don’t buy “smart” lightbulbs.
Smart lightbulbs work just like regular lightbulbs when the home automation isn’t available.
If you hotwired the circuit you have a problem, but you’d have a problem with dumb bulbs, too.
There are plenty of other ways to use smart bulbs without removing the ability to use them like dumb bulbs.
As for Plan B, we don’t all have one available. Before we started automating, when I went to bed at night I just left the lights on in the kitchen and the living room and hoped that my housemate would remember to turn them off.
Is there a manual way to turn out a light when I’m asleep?
Is there a manual way to cycle lights while on vacation?
Is there a way to slowly ramp up a dimmer over 30 minutes in the morning?
I mean, these aren’t asking for pie in the sky. And they work perfectly when your software isn’t broken.
It’s easy to get upset about all this stuff but aside from needing assistance due to medical conditions most of these situations are just in the “nice to have” category.
Bottom line is if anybody reading this topic who cares about the topic title needs to be aware that it’s not 100% reliable at the moment. They should also be aware that there are options out there that are much closer to that level of reliability but they don’t support as many integrations nor are they as “open” seeming. The ones that are very open are a little hard to approach like OpenHAB. If I expected the amount of reliability that some people in this forum expect I would spend thousands of dollars on a professional home automation system, but oh wait I don’t have a budget for that, so here we are.
I’m more satisfied than dissatisfied. I disagree with the system architecture, but it works most of the time for most of the scenarios I wish to accomplish.
We are a little over two weeks in with owning a ST hub and we are happy with it. There has been a few quirks along the way but it has made our life easier.
Give it a shot.
You’re scared? You should be.
I would only recommend this system
-to someone who has a lot of time to play with it on a daily basis.
-to someone who does not depend on the system
-to someone that wants a remote control system not home automation
-to someone that wants a new toy to play with
-to someone that wants a cheap alternative to a true automation system
6 months in and there’s rarely a day that everything works. I pretty much gave up on the automation part and use it as a toy now. That is after tons of issues and Smartthings Customer Support telling me they had bigger issues to deal with then mine and they didn’t support Smart Lighting because it was a 3rd party app. (it’s a ST app)
My ST presence sensors have never worked reliably/consistently and when I go to get support I’m sent a link on the sensors FAQ’s. Night before last the senor was reporting me leaving every 10 minutes or so when the fob was only 3 meters from the hub.
Again this morning simple time based routines are not working. Yesterday it was lights coming on for no reason. Day before Modes were not changing. Monday all connected Philips hue bulbs were dropped from the system.
The mobile app will crash 20 times every time you use it.
Just keep in mind they are working on it a one day they may come through everything the promised. Till then, keep a big bottle of Valium handy.
The good news is that I qualify as 3 out of the those 5. And I think it won’t be up and running for a couple months, so here’s hoping a miracle happens between now and then.
But just in case, I’ll look into that valium…