Inconsistent operation of SmartThings

(Ryanwebb) #1

I’ve been using smarthings for a few months now, and am overall mostly satisfied. I’ve got quite a few devices, several GE/Jasco switches, Aeon Labs multisensors, ST Multisensors, ST Motion, etc.

Most of the time things work as they should, but there are many times when they don’t. For instance the ST Motion - I have it set in the living room and it turns on a ST outlet (with lamp) when motion is detected at night…sometimes it just doesn’t come on. Sometimes the Aeon multisensors sense motion upstairs, and the upstairs lights (with the GE switches) do not come on. Sometimes the ST or Schlage door/window sensors do not turn on their corresponding lights. Several times the Open/Close operation of either the ST Multi or the Schlage does not report status correctly. Occasionally an ST app will send a command to a switch to turn on, and then…nothing. No Off command (even though it’s in the app). Then the next day it’s working fine.

Like I said, most of the time everything works, but the issues happen often enough to be quite annoying. What really concerns me though, is if I were to install one of the z-wave locks (Schlage, Kwikset, etc)…what happens when those don’t operate 100% correctly? Will it leave my house unlocked? Not lock when it’s supposed to? Keep someone locked out when I want to let them in? I can see this being quite dangerous, relying on ST to secure my house.

Does anyone else have the same issues or concerns?

(Cory S) #2

These reasons on the primary reason I have decided I cannot recommend SmartThings to friends or relatives at this time. There is just still too much “jank” in the system. My personal opinion is that most of the issues are caused by their infrastructure being overloaded with queued commands, which really frightens me. If they are having issues keeping up with demand now…what will it be like when thousands more kits ship? Hopefully they can scale well.

(Chrisb) #3

I agree on a lot of these. Over the past week it seems like there’s been at least a few times when things “crap out” for a while and apps stop responding.

For the most part this isn’t critical for me. My biggest fear would be my Door lock being left open. This is one of the reasons I use the built in 30 second lock on it. This way I know it’ll never stay unlocked longer than 30 seconds.

However, I do worry about the garages as well not auto closing.

(Lucas) #4

All the more reason to let us have our own servers for most of the basic functionality :slight_smile: I feel Smartthings believes the business model is the cloud, however, I bet most of us would pay a monthly fee for improved features and functionality from the cloud on our OWN servers. Its like netflix of the video world. I have countless movies on my media server at home but I pay the extra so I can access a lot more on demand anytime. I would love to run my own server and when it called to check the cloud for additional information it can and will and that is worth a lot more that sacrificing performance now.

(Cory S) #5

@sirtaran I really don’t know how possible that is, as nice as it would be. It seems the hubs are little more than dumb terminals connecting to their servers, and the entire eco system is really designed to phone home. I know they have said they are looking into basic functionality offline…but I’m really not sure how that would work. The only thing I can think of is your phone would be able to send commands to the hub directly for simple on off type stuff (instead of to the cloud, then back down to the hub). But, that would be VERY basic…I doubt that would ever support even the simplest of apps.

(Solardave1) #6

I have an aeon and an st motion in my garage set to turn on the lights and the a/c and this stopped working yesterday. Rest the app and the hub, uninstalled the smartapp and re-installed, still don’t work.

(Lucas) #7


I never said it would be easy or cheap :slight_smile: I think clouds gets this magic vial tied to them a lot. They are still software running on some sort of hardware and yes it can be VM based but you get what I am saying.

(Lucas) #8

Not to ignore you @solardave1 but do you use the site? This provided a wealth of information about your things and logs so you can “see” whats going on!

(Cory S) #9

@sirtaran Hehe. That is why I hesitate to use the term “cloud” very often. They are really just glorified hosting services, and even then the term gets misused a lot.

I mean sure, they could probably easily load up a firmware on peoples HUBs that told it to try a secondary server (being your PC running a ST server) in the event of a communication failure. I just really don’t see them going there though. They have so far shown they are not interested in clunky solutions.

(Solardave1) #10

I’m on IDE all the time. The events don’t correlate to what’s happening or sometimes there seems to be events buffered somewhere or some other anomaly. It’s been hit or miss for a dew days now, re-setting the hub helps sometimes but not always.

(Jeff Hagins) #11

Hi all. I wanted to weigh in here and let you all know what has been going on. We have been having some issues, as Cory references, with our event queues “backing up”. Thankfully this is not due to our infrastructure being overloaded, but rather due to issues that we are having with the Amazon DynamoDB NoSQL Data Store that we use for events. DynamoDB has been “throttling” our writes to the data store and this, in turn, causes delays in apps firing, etc.

Our engineering team is working actively with Amazon to understand the root cause of this I/O throttling. As a short-term measure, we’ve raised our I/O limits on the affected data stores. We believe that this will alleviate the issues that we have been seeing until we can get the long-term fix in place. We know that the long-term fix is actually to move to a different technology for the event feed storage (to a technology called Cassandra), and we actually already have that running in a test environment. Until that is ready for prime time however (e.g. fully tested), we are closely monitoring the DynamoDB issue to ensure that this kind of variability in performance and responsiveness of our platform doesn’t happen.

It’s especially frustrating for our users when the platform doesn’t respond like it should, and it’s equally frustrating for the engineering team to have a third-party service like DynamoDB be the cause of the issue, when our own Cloud Servers are running very “cool” in terms of CPU utilization. We’ve put a lot of energy into building a platform that will scale to many millions of users, and I want to assure all of our customers that when things like this happen, there is an entire team of people that are “swarming” to resolve them as fast as humanly possible.


Jeff Hagins
Founder & CTO

Why can't SmartThings get simple schedules right?
(Carl Aydelotte) #12

Thanks Jeff…

I guess I for one am a little more easy going. My experience has not been flawless but its been good. Once in a while something may not work the first time for me either but it has really been rare. I could write about how my lights turn on and off like they are supposed to, and they do. So pretend I did.

I don’t think I need to remind anyone that the Android phone app is still a beta, and that this company doesn’t even have a year of us playing with the hardware in the real world yet. With all the time and money invested, I don’t think many of us are about to abandon the platform. Imagine what we will have in a couple of years. I like what I see now.

I look forward to the behind the scene upgrades mentioned by Jeff’s post. Things like that can only be a step up and in the right direction.

(Chrisb) #13

Thanks very much @hagins

This sort of information really helps me, at least, feel a lot better about what’s going on. It’s good to know that you know what’s causing the problem, even if you don’t know the exact issue.

(Pmsmaker) #14

@Jeff, Thanks for the info But these kind of Issues need more transparency IMO.

(Chrisb) #15


Well, I think he did provide some good transparency here. Granted, it was only after some people complained, but he did provide it.

It would have been better had it come without prompting, but it at least did come.

(Dave) #16

I’ll echo my appreciation for the explanation.

However, the fact that the Andriod app is still in beta is a problem for a environment that is in production.

(Solardave1) #17

Jeff should run for office - would bring some needed transparency to Washington.

(Solardave1) #18

Looks like my ST motion sensor just up and died on me. Use it with a smartapp to turn on the garage lights and last night I had to go out to the garage and nothing. Luckily I had my phone n my pocket and could turn on the lights. Anyone else have any issues with the motion sensor?

(Sorli) #19

Thanks for the update Jeff.

Sadly, my testing with simple (not so simple) light on and off switching controlling Arduino ST Shield and Relay Shield have been hit and miss lately, and now moving me to look toward other options to interface locally with my own server to control and interface from within my home or remote.

I’m not the brightest developer here, but I’m using ST technology for my Engineering research grant and if I can’t get consistency from your servers…ST technology will have to be “put on hold” till you come up with a fix that is reliable and out of beta testing. I can see why many developers would be worried about leaving doors unlocked or garage doors open. Either way, thanks for the information update Jeff and looking forward to more information. Sorli…

(Dave) #20

Speaking of inconsistent, the SmartNightLight I have installed stopped working. The Aeon motion sensor is working, but nothing from the app.

I also noticed my thermometer device stopped communicating, although I don’t know if that’s the app or the actual device.