How are you ST's going?

Hi All,

I’ve been keeping up on the forums and it seems that ST’s are running ok in your homes. I’m curious to hear high level overviews of your setups.

I’m also really curious to see if any of you use Scenes i.e bedtime, morning, away etc…

My biggest concern with ST’s is that the control of all your things seem to be only through segmented apps. Is this the case for you all? How does it work for you? Especially if you have scenes…

ST’s said to me on Facebook that you will be able to control your house with scenes as well as voice control but not sure how this has (if it has) come about.



Joel, I haven’t really played with scenes/modes at all, though I know some people have. I tend to have, as you say, “segmented apps.” However, I personally like this better. I think it gives me more local control over things and I’m able to tweak them exactly how I want them. Your situation may be different of course, but that is one nice thing with ST: Do it how you want it.

And honestly, you can even merge the two really. How some apps work across all modes, while some only work in certain modes.

So far I have:

  1. My cat's crazy feeder (from hooked up to a SmartPlug. I have two Once a Day SmartApps set up, one for the morning and one for the evening. It's supposed to activate for five minutes and then turn off. It fails to turn off automatically about a quarter of the time, which is kind of annoying. If I manually turn it off it tends to work okay the next time.
  2. Two plug-in Z-wave modules that I got in a 2-pack from Amazon for $35 in overhead lights. In combination with a SmartThings motion sensor so that when I walk down the stairs, both turn on. This seems to work well.
  3. Three GE/Jasco dimmer switches operating overhead recessed lighting. I haven't yet messed with these beyond the basics, but they seem to work well.
  4. Upstairs I have another SmartPlug into which I've plugged a lamp that is hard to turn on/off, since the switch is in the middle of the cord. I have this one rigged up with a motion sensor to activate when I walk in the room, too.
  5. I have a fob in our car, and have my phone set up to get a push notification when it arrives in the driveway. This seems to work well.

I want to:

  1. Hook up more light switches and add some Z-wave outlets for more control of other devices.
  2. Get those Ubis I have on order to control all of this by voice.
  3. Rig something up to tell me when my washer and dryer turn off. I was hoping to do this with a vibration sensor, but I haven't messed with it yet.
  4. Find a button (or attempt to build one) so that I can operate that upstairs lamp. The motion sensor isn't really a long-term solution.
  5. Add a temperature sensor to the attic to tell me when it gets ridiculously hot. I haven't been super impressed with the accuracy of the temperature readings in the multi-sensors, though.
  6. And while we're installing deadbolts anyway, they may as well be Z-wave deadbolts, right?

And if I get all of that working, I want to build a panel using lights or a display to put in the basement to give me the status of everything: lights, presence of people, locks, doors open/shut (which I haven’t messed with yet), sound levels from the Ubis. I also hope to get my wife to buy in and use this stuff too. That might be the most challenging task…

Chrisb - Good to hear there are scenes built in… also glad to hear that you find the apps not so segmented…

Gray - I’m like you, I want to automate it all, to the point where the house just works on its own… and with tablets so cheap now you should be able to have a tablet in every room!

Mine are going okay. Both my presence tag batteries have already died, which is a little disturbing. SmartThings made it right, but it makes me wonder how well they will hold up. My Multi Sensors use to report temperature rather accurately, but are 10 degrees or more off most the time now. I say most the time, because sometimes they will be right on target…which would make calibrating by software hard/impossible I would think, as the variance isn’t constant.

@coryds: My temperature sensors have been pretty consistently not remotely close. Like right now, they’re side by side and giving readings that differ by four degrees, all of which are way off from a real thermometer.

So I guess I’ve given up on them being at all accurate.

both of my Presence sensors’ batteries died, a little quicker than I would’ve expected. Otherwise, everything is going about as well as expected (minus the occasional server-side hiccups).

I just wish there were more affordable options for motion sensors and compatible cameras so I could build the system I REALLY want.

So all in all you guys are really happy with what you’ve got so far and are confident in the ability to expand out and add lovely features like voice control.

Anyone have more insight into how scenes work now? As I mentioned above, it’s my understanding the apps are segmented.But as Chrisb says, he likes the segmented apps.

no more thoughts on this threat?

i’m worried about what i’ve been reading with many of the issues that are occuring lately i.e delayed things responding, presence tags falling off the grid etc…

I’m one month into my ST experience and overall I’m glad I made the investment. I continue to build a smarter home week by week.

Here’s a breakdown of my setup currently:

Motion Sensors(2) - In garage, provides motion detection for security when we are away and automatically turns on dining room light (via GE in wall switch) when motion is detected if we are home (at night), making sure you never walk into a dark house. Works perfectly. Wife loves it. I haven’t decided how to deploy second unit yet, just got it yesterday.

ST outlets(2) - One turns on lamp in family room every night from 6P-6A. Other does the same in addition. My wife loves having the lights on because I travel 3-4 days a week. These work perfectly as well and will eventually be incorporated into the full security system.

GE/Jasco Outlet(1) - Connected to heater in my daughter’s room upstairs. Again, using the Once a Day app - turns on the heater in her room from 7P-7A for comfort. Beats the heck out of remembering I forgot to turn it on manually while away from home. Works perfectly.

ST Presence Sensors (4) - one in each of our vehicles. Have had zero issues other than signal interference with ST outlet during first week of use. Moving the outlet to a new location solved the problem. The presence sensors have been extremely reliable but there is a delay. I’m usually into the garage with the door down before it detects I’m home. Not a huge deal but makes auto garage door functioning almost impossible. Just got another two sensors and haven’t decided how/if to utilize.

ST Multi Sensors(4) - Two of them are on doors (front, addition) to our home. One is on door of daughter’s room with the heater. No sense in turning on her heater if the door is open. Fourth device is on an accessible window. All are coded to sendPush message if contact opens based on home/away mode. I’m still coding but the functionality/reliability has been pretty good.

Evolve LFM-20 Fixture Module (1) - without question my favorite device. Hooked up to my garage door. Using our phones to open garage doors is extremely helpful for us. We were constantly swapping our openers with family who are coming and going, picking up kids, etc… Now each grandparent has an opener and we have our phones. Not sure I could ever go back to an opener. Once I get a sensor on the actual door (to detect open/close) the system will be complete. Absolutely love it.

And now for the not so good:

Multi Temp Sensor - horrible. Never been accurate, not even close. The sensor is my daughter’s room is regularly 5-6 degrees off in constant temperature environment. The other three are on vinyl windows/doors so I would expect them to be pretty inaccurate- and they are. Big time.

Mobile Phone Presence - hit or miss. My phone is accurate most of the time but other two iPhones are sporadic. Actually my wife’s is always miss. She has to open the ST app in order to update her presence tag.

The next step is to integrate more security features/automation but that’s a difficult task when presence detection is so inaccurate. I’m trying to solve that issue with personalized apps but so far I haven’t improved its accuracy.

I use the IDE to code daily and am trying to give our home a personality of sorts. I have most of the automation sendPush to phones so our home literally speaks to us when it does/notices something. It’s a lot of fun. I’m hoping the hardware accuracy improves as I become more familiar with the software. In the end, it could be ridiculously awesome.

I have been very happy with my ST set-up. My perception is that things have been improving not getting worse. A month or two back, I was having consistent problems with the Sunrise/Sunset app but I haven’t had any issues in weeks.

I am also using Keep Me Cozy 2 app to keep my son’s room (in the basement) a constant temperature by controlling the main thermostat (main floor). It has worked very consistently for weeks with only occasional (once a week) hiccups which is acceptable in my opinion. I use my temperature sensors more directionally so it doesn’t bother me if they are off. If I like the way the room feels and the sensor says 70 degrees, I just want to keep the room with the sensor at 70 degrees (it doesn’t matter if the room is actually 72,73,74…). For a while I put my ST multi next to an Aeon multi and they both consistenly read the same temp. If they are off, they are both off by the same amount.

I have a number of Notify Me When instances that work without issue. Even the latency between initiating an action with ST app (i.e. turning on a light) has gone from a 1-3 seconds to nearly instantaneous.

I don’t use any of the presence features though since my wife is home all day. I do have mobile presence set-up on my iPhone just to see how it works. It’s only been a couple of days but it has been reliable for me.

thanks guys i love reading these insights. I finally bought a house and get it Jan next year so hopefully I’ll be able to share what i’ve done then! :slight_smile:

I’m curious dawgonking - with your motion sensor outside turning on your loungeroom lights - do you have delay on this? otherwise it may give it away that it’s automated?