How to : Start up with SmartThings, A Clear Introduction and Implementation

Hello World,

I’m really confused as to what SmartThings is/does.

Do I need to be a programmer to use it? What’s the setup process like? I’ve watched all the promo videos and such but nothing actually tells me what this thing is and how’d you set it up.

Is there any place I can get a clear introduction and maybe some examples of implementation?.

For example say I bought a few GE link bulbs and a smartthing hub. How would I go about making the magic happen?

With the GE Link bulb you need to put smart things into pairing mode, screw in the bulb and turn on a switch. The bulb is discovered by SmartThings and you are presented with some things that you can do with a light bulb/switch. Once in place there are lots of things that you can do with a light bulb that require no programming at all.

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So it just shows up in the smartthings app once it’s paired?

Also how would i do contact closures? let’s say I want to press a physical button the “Smart” way. Is there a way using Smartthings to make it open and close a circuit?

Last question: Is smartthing dependent on an internet connection? If so, why?

Hey Daniel,

Welcome to SmartThings and the community! Let me show you some videos that can help you pair up your system to SmartThings, they’re a little older, but it’s still very much the same way to set up : will show you a few more videos.



SmartThings is an inexpensive scheduler for in home automation.


Once you add a networkable device to your network, you can turn it on off whenever you want through the Mobile app.

You can also group several different action requests together, and then send them all with one choice in the mobile app when you want to run them. For example, I have a Bedtime choice that turns ON a lamp in the living room and the bedroom, and turns off the entertainment center power strip.

Then I have another “Good night!” Choice that I can use to turn off both those lights after I’m in bed.


In addition to requesting actions manually you can use the mobile app to automatically schedule them.

SmartThings comes with several dozen built in scenarios you can use, like turning on a networked lamp at sunset.

You can use these or not, up to you, and make different changes, like having the lamp come on at 7 pm every day instead of sunset.

You can also automatically trigger action requests when other networked devices change status, like having a hallway light go on when you open a closet door. (You would need two networked devices for this, the sensor that knows the door opened and the light that can be asked to turn on.)

And again, you can set it up through the mobile app so one trigger asks for multiple actions.

So far all of this can be done without any coding at all, just through the mobile app.


If you like coding, SmartThings also allows to write your own scheduler apps.

I myself am quadriparetic, in a wheelchair with limited hand function. I can code, but I don’t want to. So I only use the standard SmartThings mobile app. But it’s added a lot of convenience for me.

Anyway, others can speak more to your specific questions, but that’s the basics.

  1. set up the SmartThings hub. ( pretty easy)
  2. select a networkable device you want to use. (You’ll need to check before you buy to see if it’s one that will require custom code.)
  3. use the mobile app to connect the device to your network. Now you can turn it on or off from the mobile app.
  4. use the schedule options in the mobile app to group together multiple devices for manual Control, or to set up automatic schedules based on day/time or on other triggers.
  5. if you need a device that isn’t supported yet, or you need something more complicated than the built in choices, check in the forums here to see if there’s already custom code that does what you need, than install it per the author’s directions. (This can get complicated.)
  6. or write your own code.

But you can stop at 4, if you like. I do. :blush:

And I find both SmartThings support and the community here in these forums very helpful whenever I have a question.


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Also how would i do contact closures? let’s say I want to press a physical button the “Smart” way. Is there a way using Smartthings to make it open and close a circuit? [/quote]

SmartThings is just a scheduler. If you buy a physical switch from another company that can be networked, or a networkable actuator ( a physical device that moves another device’s switch), then as long as it can be added to a SmartThings network, you can use SmartThings to send the open or close action request to that device.

On the other hand, if you have a wire with current going through it and you just want a relay to cut the power flow or reopen it, there are networkable relays you can buy and have installed on the line and do that. Again, SmartThings doesn’t make most of the networkable devices, it just lets you schedule them.

The currently available version of the SmartThings hub, v1, does run almost all its code on its own servers (the SmartThings “cloud”), so does require a constant internet connection.

V2 was announced at CES 2015 and is expected to be available later this year. It will have more local processing, but no details yet.

The list of officially supported devices is available on the “Works with SmartThings list.” Make sure you read the notes under the little “i” for each device, as some are only partially supported.

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If you want to usea GE link bulbs, you will need to first request that ST support manually update your Zigbee firmware. For some inexplicable reason, they refuse to actually push this to all users, creating a significant amount of wasted time and counfusion for users.



A good FAQ response … dotcha think, @April?

I concur! @JDRoberts is the man!


I want to thank you guys. I was on the fence about buying a hub but the community seemed really cool so I went for it. This thing was supper easy to set up. It took me 5 minutes to figure things out and have my lights labeled and discovered. Really cool product.

My only concern is what happens when the internet goes down.


With the V1 hub, when the Internet goes down, pretty much all of your SmartThings network, whether manually controlled through the app or automatically scheduled, won’t work. But it’s the scheduler that’s broken, not the physical devices themselves. Some light switches will still work. A motion detector will still detect motion, it’s just that nothing will happen because the motion was detected. Most smoke detectors will still work, but they won’t do anything specific to the rules you set up in SmartThings.

More local processing has been announced for the V2 hub, but no details yet.