Home security without using SHM

I’m starting this project because of the instability of the SHM and alarms platform of ST.

I plan to post updates here so that others can both contribute and make the best use out of what works really well in st.

The idea
I live in a two story house with a whole lot of Windows. I really liked the idea of the SHM and security aspect of ST when I was first looking at it.
But with the incredible instability of that concept in ST, there is no way I am subjecting my family to an alarm going off at 3am. Plus, the first time it happened and I couldn’t turn it off my wife would ensure it never had a false alarm again…
So, sitting here tonight holding my baby I think I’ve come up with a basic idea. This is it:

The hardware

  • Android presence sensors (everyone in the family has an Android device).
  • Door/window sensors for every door and window. (I will use zwave sensors only. I have both Zwave and zigbee now and have trouble with the zigbee sensors)
  • Android devices with external speakers connected
  • Iris keypad
  • Iris key fobs

Rule Machine
Virtual switches
Big talker

I’ll update as this takes solid form.

Edit 23 Aug 2016 - This never took form… I still feel that ST is way to unstable to trust to even the most rudimentary security.

Smart Alarm is great. Check it out.

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I do something similar. I use SHM, but I do not have it tied to Sirens anymore. This started because SHM won’t trip the sirens anyway! 60 Days in on that ticket.

Anyway, for Away Alarms I have Rule Machine Trip the Sirens and and a whole series of other actions.

For STAY Alarm I do something entirely different - I use use contact sensors and a host of motion sensors - inside and outside. I won’t put contact sensors on my windows, too many. Plus they can always break a window.

For STAY Alarms, I use a series of beeps and announcements verbally alerting me to where the problem is with specifics. “Motion Outside Patio” or “Front Door Open, Front Door Open, Front Door Open, Front Door Open” That are kicked off by Rule Machine.

I don’t trust landroid for this, due to the complexity. It can be a neat convenience, but for an alarm and other things I want something engineered with simplicity. I use the Aeon Doorbells with pre-recorded messages, paired with Expert Features / Custom Commands in Rule Machine,

So far so good, couple weeks in on the announcement methodology and it works great. I have several disable switches setup so I can disable certain announcements depending on circumstances - guests, parties, et al .


I knew others had thought of this already!

I’ve tried it…

SmartThings itself does not provide the kind of uptime most people expect from a security system. The fact that they push out updates that take your system offline for anywhere from 25 minutes to a couple of hours, often with no warning, takes them out of the security category for me. (Just this week there were no notifications for a couple of hours one afternoon.)

But if you are going to use it (different people have different requirements), most people who don’t use SHM use SmartAlarm… No reason to reinvent the wheel, when a great one already exists.

Don’t waste your money and effort, get a real security system that is reliable, has cellular backup and no annual commitment for self monitoring. PM me if you want to know which one I’ve been using for 2 months and am extremely happy with it.

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I’ve tried this one before with very little success. I just looked at it again and realized why.

It has nothing to do with the app, it’s great.

The problem is modes. I do not uses ST modes at this time n they fail to often to be reliable.

The last time I used it I couldn’t disarm because my mode wouldn’t change.

Thank you though, it is appreciated.

I know which one.

It looks great. I already have a alarm panel with cellular backup. But I may consider the system you are using to replace yet another separate alarm system in the IoT space I have as things progress.

My ST at this point is an overlay, and trying to build it to be more intuitive than the alarm panel or Abode can be - i.e. the announcements. So several systems working together.

One day, if I can get cellular back and reliability out of a more flexible system I may start reducing depencies on other systems.

OH and @bamarayne I also use Centralite Keypads and minimotes in my car, so basically what you are talking about with iris keypads and keychains - to effect the status of my alarm rules.


I know that for a security company is not a world record if it doesn’t skip a door chime, or if the modes don’t get stuck or if the devices don’t fall off the mesh in 2 months, but in ST world be a major achievement, which in over a year I am yet to see…So I am very happy with my security system.


I understand.

I have to admit, though, the week in which all my SmartThings-controlled Zwave devices stopped reporting and I had to rebuild my entire network is not the week in which I would find myself holding a baby and thinking, “Hey, I should set up a security system based on SmartThings-controlled Zwave devices!” Unless, you know, I wasn’t all that fond of the baby.

Just sayin’… :wink:


That is a great point, but motivation is not for a security system as the name implies. There are other motivating factors that require a system if that nature. I’m not in the least bit concerned about criminals breaking into my home.

Think of it more as a self monitoring safety feature that has nothing to do with a criminal aspect.

I also have motion detectors outside that cover all ground floor entry/exit possibilities - which is another reason I don’t have to rely upon contact sensors on all the windows. This isn’t easy to do as PIRs don’t typically do well outside, but there are some features at my home that make this doable, so I did.

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Even so, SmartThings notifications were off altogether for a few hours this week. So probably fine for “left the guest room window open and it looks like it might rain.” For “kid climbing out the window,” not so much.

Basically if there’s any question of personal safety, I wouldn’t be relying on SmartThings. But that’s just me. :sunglasses:

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And this is why I posted this in the first place. Good advice from those in the know.
I agree with you.

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Mine is setup as essentially supplementary information / additional actions. If they fail, they fail and I rely upon the information I do have from my reliable security system.

Hopefully ST will get more reliable over time.