Hopeless and aggravated


(Daniel) #1

I’ve had and been piddling around with this system for 8 months now. Pretty disappointing especially considering it’s from such a major manufacturer. How this is even legal to sell is beyond me. Full, and I mean FULL, of glitches AND false alarms. Automations are hopeless unless using the time to change them. Even then, only setting them up to do nothing else but change modes only sometimes works unless the app is running in the background on any device. If so, then it’s stuck between modes and everything does what it wants. If set up to control lights then automations don’t turn them on or off much of the time. Alarm won’t disarm because the hub runs so slow. I’ve had to run redundant codes in SmartRules to get the system to disarm only to have prox sensors go down randomly. Sensors not Samsung barely stay connected. Changing passwords doesn’t disable apps and devices still are able to control the hub despite not being logged in with the new password. This in it’s self is a major security flaw. Any ST apps running on devices in the background cause the hub to be stuck between modes and again the lights do what they want. Tvs sold as ST compatible aren’t, and the dongle to make it work unavailable. If you want a light sensor for say running a rain mode you have to go aftermarket, create or find code to load in to the developers website, then fiddle with the code for even a hope of proper operation. I personally never got any of them working properly. I’ve spent 8 months fiddling with this system online and in the app, reading and still no system I can rely on. Finally, customer service just reads you what’s in their ‘book of answers’ which doesn’t fix the inherent glitches in the system. Try fixing bugs instead of answering every review with your pre written script. I’ve been resetting the hub weekly over the past month due to random sensors becoming unavailable. I’m redoing modes, automations, and rewriting commands to try and get around all the flaws. Between ST, my 4K tv, and my room speaker, I’m really at the end of my rope with Samsung products. Does anyone have direct links to REAL fixes to these issues that doesn’t require me to be a coder? I’m constantly searching for fixes here but it’s mostly old posts that aren’t working in my cases. Anyone else having this much trouble out of their ST? Does anyone have one setup without glitches or needing to rewrite every aspect to get around them?

Thanks in advance.


#2

SmartThings is a very versatile and powerful system, but as you’ve noticed, it’s not particularly stable.

Since November 2015, I’ve yet to go more than 10 days without the system requiring some kind of hands on maintenance. ( and I use almost no custom code, these are just standard features.) A lot of times that maintenance just needs something really simple like popping a battery in a sensor or opening the app and saving it again, so some people barely notice the glitches. However, I’m quadriparetic and I have to pay someone else to do even the simple level of maintenance, so I notice it a lot. :disappointed_relieved:

For the last eight months, there’s been a major outage (big enough to make it to the official status page) in every month except January. Some of these get resolved in a few hours, some take longer.

http://status.smartthings.com

There are also a lot of problems that only affect some people and don’t get put on the status page, although you can see them on the first bug reports page in the community – created wiki:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Bug:_First_Reports

So it’s definitely not a “set and forget” system by any means. On the other hand, people do have it doing some pretty amazing things. :rocket: So it all comes down to your own needs and Preferences, and whether you’re willing to have a fairly high maintenance system.

There are also people who just set it up for a very simple monitoring and may not notice even the major outages because they’re waiting for the system to tell them that something happened. So the whole system could go off-line for several hours, and they might not even know it. Where someone who had the system set up to operate motion sensor triggered lighting would notice problems immediately. Both very simple set ups using official features, but they might report very different experiences.

There are a lot of alternatives you can look at in the low-end price range, but each of them have their own pluses and minuses. Because of my situation I require a MFOP (maintenance free operating period) of at least six months and preferably 12 for critical use cases. So I have had to move the essential automation off of SmartThings for now, until their reliability improves. I do still use it for convenience notification cases, like getting a notification if the guestroom window is left open, the guest is away from the house, and rain is expected. SmartThings just does those better than any of the competition, and if we miss a notification it’s not a disaster.

I do get at least a six-month MFOP from a number of other systems, including the Phillips hue bridge, Lutron lights, Logitech Harmony, Naran Prota, Amazon echo, Apple HomeKit. But each of these is a much more limited system and features than SmartThings. Still, it means I can meet my minimum needs.

If I had the money, I’d get a control4 system. It does everything SmartThings does and more and is very reliable. But you’re looking at costs of 20 or $30,000 for a minimum system, and typically around 10% of the value of the home plus an annual maintenance fee. It’s just way outside my budget.

So for now, I get along with a mix of different systems, including SmartThings, Covering different use cases, and I keep an eye out for anything new. So I do you share your frustration, but my own solution was just to find better reliability options elsewhere for the use cases that needed that. But there isn’t any one system available in my budget that I can go all in on yet.


(John C) #3

As @JDRoberts says, everyone’s needs vary. I have two locations and use the “simple monitoring” scenario when I am away from either. Temperature & humidity readings occur in an asynchronous manner and, as JD correctly points out, I may not “notice” occasional hiccups.

When I added control functionality (security lighting, air circulation), I had reliability issues: scheduled events missed. As it is, I monitor the “away” location daily to correct issues. But I should not have to do that!

When at home, I see the same kind of occasional hiccups everyone does. Luckily, it isn’t often and I have nothing being controlled that would cause a safety concern…

As JD says, when it is working well, SmartThings is great!


#4

Hi

Intrigued to know you are not using ST as your main system. I have read many if your posts and know you are very knowledgeable on STs. Have you tried any alternative hubs / control centres as an alternative to ST and able to integrate the various differences you listed? Any suggestions appreciated


#5

Yes, several. See the link I posted above.

I did use SmartThings as my primary system for over a year, but the stability was better at that time.

I will probably try the new Samsung home connect when it comes out if the stability proves better with that one.

When SmartThings works reliably, it is hands down my favorite system, I just can’t afford the ongoing maintenance costs until the stability improves.


#6

I have about 50 devices and so far all is working great. Been using this system for over a year now and haven’t seen too many real bad errors. For the most part all my pistons work reliably once I figured out how to set them up. Overall I would have to say that I’m pleased at how this works. Don’t expect it to be perfect either though. Looking forward to the Samsung Connect hubs.


(Nathan H) #7

I feel your pain. I’ve had an email thread open with (supposedly) the support lead for about 6 months now. It started because my Samsung (same company) robot vacuum wouldn’t work. Come to find out, the model number is slightly different than what is supported, but that’s probably only a color difference. They blamed everything but my hub. Then, come to find out, they communicate directly and don’t traverse my firewall, my router, my cable modem, or my Internet. Could be wireless or my switch, except my 20+ other IoT device work fine and they work fine independently, just not together.

That led to discussions of other issues, such has device that simply disappear and have to be rejoined to the Z-Wave mesh, presence delays using their app, but not 3rd party apps, and just general delays in running. At one point, it would take 10+ seconds to turn off a light when days prior it might be a second or two delay. A second or two is acceptable. 10+ seconds is not when you’re stumbling around in the dark.

Then add Smart Home. It’s like telling a teenage kid to do their chores. It might do what you tell it, but it might not. You don’t really know until you check and make it do it then and there. Door sensors (mine are configured as water sensors) will sit in one spot for months (on my desk where there is no water) and then will randomly trigger saying there is water. Nothing changed, but ST was bored.

How they ever expect to turn this into a decent HA and/or security system, I have no idea. As delayed as the V2 hub was I expected it to be more refined. To me, it still seems like a V1 product.


(pillock) #8

I can go 2 weeks or more without a reboot - the only things I fiddle with every few days are my CoRE pistons. Everything else has worked absolutely fine for over a year with very little lag.
I did have an issue where my hub went to a purple light and wouldn’t communicate over the network right back at the start of my journey - ST swapped it out within two days. Been fine ever since.

It pains me to read about the problems people have, but I do wonder why not everyone has these problems. Is it a compatibility problem with routers or ISPs? Surely if it was a platform or a code issue my system would be as much as a headache as I read about here.


#9

It’s just a little more complicated than that. It’s not like everybody has the same five or 12 or 48 devices. There are many different combinations, different protocols, even if you were only using the standard code features.

Then on top of that, there have been multiple times when the problem was in the cloud, but not a problem that affected everyone. Sometimes it was just a random database error, sometimes it was what’s called a “hotspot.”

Company representatives, including the CEO, have said multiple times publicly that they are aware of the reliability issues and are working to make them better. So it isn’t anything simple, but it isn’t user error, either.


(Ram) #10

@pillock
I had the same thought. I have been using this for over a year with no major issues. There have been occasional hickups, but nothing as serious as some of the posts. It could be that the specific combination of the devices I use and the wireless environment in the house are keeping my system sane.


(Kevin [Yorkshire UK]) #11

Even then, when you have the kind of money for Control4 / AMX / Crestron it actually comes with a significant downside - at least for ‘savvy’ users like yourself. You can’t program it yourself and hence it becomes very inflexible - but reliable. If you want to tweak it you need the installer to update it and that costs $$$ and often takes weeks to arrange. So you’d still be needing ST as well !

Many installers of these systems choose to hard wire most of the control aspects wherever possible, as that enhances reliability. Any systems that use wireless technology are exposed to all the downsides of radio, resulting in lower reliability, and once you throw in a plethora of different manufacturers and even different/buggy firmware versions within the same product it’s a tough task to make things perform reliably.

Then you open up a system to allow end user programming, user contributed device drivers and even a user contributed logic/scheduling app (something that ST should have integrated themselves) then instabilities are inevitable - but it is also one of ST’s key plus features.

Samsung as a major player is the first where every other manufacturer wants to be able to say ‘Works with SmartThings’ - Amazon Echo and Google Home now in the picture too. That’s all great news for stability. ST plays a key part in my system for exactly this reason (other major manufacturers devices will become supported … eventually).

Don’t even get me going on ST’s ‘cloud’ dependence… which introduces a major dependence issue. @RatManDan - for this reason alone I would never consider ST for an alarm system - despite ST’s promotion as such.

Like JDR I mix and match my controllers. I choose standalone systems for key areas that will continue to work autonomously even if all my controllers and Internet go down (Lighting,Heating,Security,AV) but become enhanced by the smarts my controllers offer. None of these are ZigBee or Z-Wave based.


(Daniel) #12

JDR, Instead of going to every sensor to reset it, I’ve removed the batteries from the hub so I can easily reboot it by pulling the power plug. Maybe this will help you cut down how much effort you have to put into this system. I’ve found that when sensors go down rebooting brings many of them back. I just don’t have time or energy (crohns) to keep looking for instructions to each sensor going down so rebooting the hub helps me with this. Besides, why have battery backup? If power goes out so does the router and web. Never understood that aspect of it.

I’m using ST for security mainly and am getting it going in a second location as well. Core pistons for the presence sensors not executing has been an issue however. I’ve got a whole slew of pistons in smartrules and that makes a significant difference in speed and reliability. Only when something isn’t quite right and you look under ,recents’ of a sensor in the ST app, it’s very difficult to figure out which smartrules executed the issue. Also, every time there’s an update, I’m rewriting pistons just to get around the new bugs.

Unfortunately, it’s not just STthat I’m having issues with. I went through 4 smart tv’s in five months from 3 manufacturers all having a mind of their own at times. Doing research it seemed Samsung had the most reliable electronics so I ended up on my 4K smart Samsung tv which also had use ability problems. An update finally fixed it 3-4 months after I bought it. My Samsung room speaker works fine as long as you’re not using their app. It’s also horrid. There just doesn’t seem to be any desire for manufacturers to make something at least function semi normally before flooding the market with these products. All I wanted was a ten year tv but I just don’t see that happening anymore. Even postin on here from a tablet is a nightmare! Computers were supposed to make our lives simpler so who’s in the wrong here?

As far as ST goes, it seems like I have to use only their ‘things’ and/ or take control away from the ST hub and give it to other hubs and apps to even have a hope of getting something remotely reliable.

I’m glad there’s so many knowledgeable people on here! Samsungs customer support is like everyone else’s now. Reading from a flow chart and responding from list of prewritten responses.


(Steve White) #13

JD, you’re an upstanding guy here but this is one area I have to disagree with you on. The CEO disappeared nearly a year ago from these forums and hasn’t been heard from since. SmartThings staff have made many claims and statements about how stability is the primary focus and great things are coming. So far there’s been little execution, aside from a new device here or a UI tweak there. I would argue in fact that stability, based on error rate percentage defined as actions failing, or delayed by more than 3 seconds, when measured between June 1st, 2016 through May 31st, 2017 has not improved at all.

The competition has improved while SmartThings stagnates. Lowes is still having issues with Iris, but they’ve made significant reductions to their error rates. They now have professional monitoring with cellular backup and have made rules and other features free… I wouldn’t dream of professional monitoring with ST, I still get false alarms almost daily.


#14

Sorry, what are you disagreeing with? I said my own MFOP has never been more than 10 days since November 2015, and I said the staff has posted that they are aware of the reliability issues and say they are working on them. I didn’t say anything had been fixed. :wink:


(Steve White) #15

Haha true. I guess a better choice of words would have been, taken exception with.


(John C) #16

[quote=“SteveWhite, post:13, topic:88540”]
The CEO disappeared nearly a year ago from these forums and hasn’t been heard from since.[/quote]

That was right after he publicly promised weekly updates, too. If he is still with ST, perhaps he was told by his management to stop behaving like a startup. He is no longer running the show, IMHO.

It also has been hinted there are larger, architectural issues being addressed. The platform as it exists may not be compatible with future plans, projected loads, and/or stability goals. This obviously takes time.

We shall see…


(Lee Florack) #17

X[quote=“Barkis, post:16, topic:88540”]
It also has been hinted there are larger, architectural issues being addressed. The platform as it exists may not be compatible with future plans, projected loads, and/or stability goals. This obviously takes time.
[/quote]

My personal opinion that if this isn’t what’s going on, it should be.


(John C) #18

Absolutely!

:+1:


#19

I suspect most of their efforts have been focused on the new Connect thing. I really does feel like the platform we have now is stagnating.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #20

I had this same problem with my ex wife. I upgraded to an Irish model. The last one was made in Mexico and had all kinds of crazy… Problems.