If it is so smart why can't it tell me why it isn't working?

Of course, had some people over tonight, as they were leaving I wanted to show off my new system, “Alexa, turn off the pool light” nothing. Again, nothing. Again, nothing. A couple people chuckled as they left. It was working fine, now it is not and I am faced with hours of searching through forum posts for troubleshooting tips and jerking around with reboots and recycles. How much time does it take to walk over and flip the switch, only a few seconds. The X-10 switch I replaced it with had fewer problems.

Could someone save me some time and point me to the definitive troubleshooting steps I need to take to unfoobar my “smart” home?

Nope. :smiling_imp:

Seriously, how long have you been using SmartThings (oh… Joined 2 weeks ago on Christmas! Welcome!)? This is a sophisticated, very complex system that takes time to learn. It’s definitely not “plug-and-play” despite marketing efforts by SmartThings.

To trouble shoot:

  1. Start by isolating one issue at a time.

  2. Learn to value the event logs in the app and IDE, and Live Logging too. https://account.SmartThings.com

  3. Once you have one issue identified, then search :mag: the FAQ and the Forum for existing discussions on that one issue. e.g., ZigBee network problems, or Z-Wave Repair, … Wiki - SmartThings Community

  4. Repeat with the next issue.


Not just Alexa, it would not turn on/off from the app. I tried again this morning and now it is working.

Last night I got nothing, it just didn’t work, clicking the app said it was on/off but the light stayed on. Am I wrong, is it just a dumb system with no acknowledge sent back from the switch?

Isn’t there some kind of acknowledge step in the automation? I picture that when I click on it will send a signal to the switch, and the switch will send back an acknowledgment to the app. An error should pop up saying the switch didn’t acknowledge. The error message should have a hyperlink pointing to detailed instructions on what might have happened and what to check first.

I took the X-10 switch out and put the z-wave in, replacing the metal box with a plastic box. I have a z-wave plus plug that I put in the backyard first that works fine and should be repeating to the switch. I guess I will go through the z-wave repair process. Is it just guesswork to determine if I need a closer repeater?

What brand / model of Switch?

  • In the SmartThings App, most (but not all…) Switch Device Type Handlers will change from “on” to “turning off” when tapped. The Switch should send a state change event “switch = off” and then the SmartThings App will show “off”. If not, then the SmartThings App will either be stuck in “turning off” or revert back to “on” if you exit and return to the Thing page.

  • Some DTH and most SmartApps don’t use the “turning on” and “turning off” state because these “interim states” don’t officially exist as valid device states. I think Hue bulbs connected via Hue Bridge don’t use the transition states because they do not report their state changes directly to SmartThings. Instead these are logged in the Bridge and SmartThings takes an extra long while to get the message. Thus, the App immediately assumes that the light is off as you describe.

  • To me, Alexa is inconsistent in this regard. Sometimes she says “the device you requested is not responding”… And so you don’t know whether or not your request was successful.

In general, the design of SmartThings is to send the Command to the Thing and forget it. If the Thing sends a new state event or not is entirely separate operation. This is described in the Developer Docs https://docs.smartthings.com

That’s why a Sensor that drops off the network may never show a correct state in SmartThings, because SmartThings assumes (in general) that a Sensor (which usually accepts no Commands) not sending an Event is normal… e.g., the door just hasn’t opened in a while… no problem; there isn’t any smoke… no problem.

SmartThings added a “Device Health” background checking feature (enable/disable in the SmartThings App), but it’s not recommended because it tends to assume Things are “offline” far too aggressively, and then they malfunction.

How to avoid the above problems:

  1. Have healthy ZigBee & Z-Wave networks. Lots and lots of posts giving advice on this, but it can be very, very hard and inconsistent.

  2. Diagnose by tracing Live Logging in the SmartThings IDE web page https://account.SmartThings.com

  3. Run Z-Wave repair.

  4. Force ZigBee heal (fully unplug Hub power including removing batteries for 15 to 30 minutes).

…that’s a start…

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It’s an Inovelli toggle switch.

I just used the handler that came up in the app. Is there a custom DTH for these?

Okay, understand there is no acknowledge or state in SmartThings, that it just sends out commands and gets no feedback.

Will try z-wave repair, then if it happens again buy a plus/repeater and rebuild.

You can search :mag: the forum quicker than posting this question. :wink:


Sometimes, things don’t work because of stuff we have done… but don’t necessarily realize we have done.

A couple days after NewYears, an Alexa routine I use to play fireplace videos on my Bravia failed. It is dependent on an android control tablet… I had unwittingly put the tablet in ‘airplane’ mode when moving it, which of course turns off WiFi. And of course the fireplace routine failed.

It took me a few moments, after testing other functions on that device which also failed, to realize the issue was WiFi had been disabled.

Sooo… I would look around at the other rules and routines you’ve configured. One might be knocking out the ability of another to run. You know, before blaming the system… you never know, it might be working exactly as you have accidentally programmed it to work.


This is the reason why I don’t show off no more :grin:
The best way to learn here is to read posts of people having the same issues. You will find multiple solutions in there and there’s also support from ST as well. Sometime they are busy after an upgrade or outage otherwise they are super helpful.


I have been checking. Everything bugged out the other day and a quick look here found that ST server was down. Thanks everyone for the tips and sorry if I sounded snarky (though I can’t promise it won’t happen again)


Stopped working again, looks like I have more jerking around again just to make it do the simplest thing. Where is that box of X-10 gear again?

It’s possible that Alexa is still a little shy being new in the household and especially around guests. I would try this in the Alexa App under Settings and change from “Shy” to “Life of the party” or “Flirtatious”. She should then be more responsive with your devices around you or guests.

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I think the best you can hope for with this is that most of the stuff is going to work most of the time. There is nothing that is going to work 100 percent of the time.

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Okay, this is weird. It works fine in the morning, not a night.

The forum has a lot of great information, but the search sucks. :disappointed_relieved:

Fortunately, the community – created wiki has quick browse lists for many different topics, including device type handlers.

In this case, I would just check the list for “lighting” and you’ll probably save yourself considerable time over doing a regular forum search. ( you can still go ahead and do a forum search as well if you want to, but the quick browse lists are there for a reason. :sunglasses: )


And for that specific device, you could also tag the company owner, who posts here occasionally. @Eric_Inovelli

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With regard to the day versus night problem, I would wait until it was night when it wasn’t working and then run a zwave repair and see what you get.

Also, how far is it to the nearest Z wave repeater? Weather could be a factor with message transmission, in particular zwave has some issues getting through rain, snow, or heavy humidity. (this is why the Z wave “weather station” devices typically only use zwave for the base station, but use other protocols for the individual sensors.) and often times those are worse in the cooler parts of the day, which also means night. So just one more thing to look into. :umbrella:

I get a “failed to update mesh info” on the pool light switch, ran twice same error. It is 20ft away through two exterior walls from a z-wave plus plug. How can I confirm if it is a range problem without having to buy another repeater?

Why can’t developers put a hyperlink on their terse error messages pointing to detailed information on what I means and what to do

Now I get to search through dozens of forum postings trying to figure out what it means.

Now I am getting somewhere. Took z-wave plus plug and plugged it in on interior wall right behind exterior pool switch, ran repair and got no error message. Put plug back where it was and got mesh error. I think that means I need another plus at that closer plug.

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Hey @PalmParrot – looks like @tgauchat and @JDRoberts gave you some very good advice (as usual – thanks guys) and I think you’ve figured out the issue, but let me know if that toggle switch continues to act up.

Judging by the thread here, I would say the mesh needs to be stronger. I have some extra repeaters as well if you want to reach out to me, I can definitely send you some to build the network out for you.

Keep me posted – you can always reach out to me directly as well. I’m happy to help!

As for the custom DTH, feel free to grab it from our site. We have an entire section for all the handlers created for our devices.

I couldn’t tell if you had the On/Off or Dimmer Toggle, so I’ll list links for both:

Have a great day!

Founder | Inovelli


Just ordered one of your dual plugs. You should check your search terms in Amazon because it is hard to find.

Thanks @PalmParrot

What search terms were you using? I just typed in, “Inovelli” and it was the 2nd one that popped up.

Amazon also unfortunately makes us group all our plugs together in one listing. While this had good intentions (so bigger companies couldn’t individually list every product they have and take up the entire first page of the search result), it adds to the very confusion I’m sure you (as well as others) face. They type in Z-Wave Plug or Z-Wave repeater, and whatever product in that master listing that sells the best, shows up.

In our case, our 1-Channel sells better for those terms, so it will show up and our 2-Channel does not. It’s not until you click on the 1-Channel listing that you’ll see the variation.

Anyway, probably way more info than you wanted to know – my background is in marketing, so trust me, you opened up my biggest grief with them :slight_smile:

Have a great day and thanks again for your support – it really does mean a lot.