I've given up on presence sensors

I do the OK Google integration using SharpTools along with another plugin called AutoVoice. Check out the following article if you want to try it out yourself and feel free to email me if you have questions:

Are these joined directly to the SmartThings hub or are you using the Philips Hue and GE Link hubs as well? If you’re using the other hubs, then the bulbs are in separate mesh networks to the SmartThings zigbee mesh and will not be repeating the presence sensor back to the SmartThings hub.

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the bulbs are still on the hue bridge. im not sure I want to give up the hue bridge since the hue app is so nice, plus I use lightbow too.

this zigbee mesh is something I have read quite a bit about, but guess it never occurred that they were in separate mesh’s.

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My Presence Sensor is totally unstable. It will be fine for day then all of a sudden it starts going crazy by leaving and coming. It really doesnt make any difference where it is in relationship to the hub. Hell, I can lay it right beside the hub and it still keeps leaving and coming. Only one solution I found so far. Remove and re-insert the battery. After that it will behave until the next time which may be days or more.

I have a solution for you and it is the best of old school and HA on the ST platform. I have already gotten it for the wife and the WA factor went to 100% ! And a seceond for me. AS both my Android and IOS SUCK on telling my home that I am still there and did not go out at 1AM. LOL!

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The Securifi alarm fob is a good solution for a lot of people, just be aware that it is really tiny. About half the size of the Aeon fob. Buttons like that are too small for me to work (i’m quadriparetic).

I was having a lot of issues getting the presence detection to work with a small enough zone to solve a couple of specific problems. One I called the bus stop problem. Since it can take the driver a couple of minutes to get the wheelchair lift lowered and get me off the bus, the timing was off. Also, I have the same problem that some other people have with the zigbee fob randomly connecting and disconnecting from the network.

I solved both these issues by adding an additional device like a contact sensor or motion sensor and combining it with presence. It’s a little tricky to set up, but is working well for me:

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Regarding zigbee mesh:

Zigbee lightbulbs may use either the the ZLL (zigbee light link) profile or the zigbee home automation (ZHA) profile.

Most lightbulbs that use the ZLL profile, including Phillips Hues , will only repeat for the other lightbulbs on their mini network. This is in part a security feature.

There are some Zigbee lightbulbs, including the Osram Lightify, which use the ZHA profile, and will repeat for other ZHA devices provided they are drawing current. ZHA handles security differently because there is a central controller.

The following FAQ explains more about range and repeaters:

I added a range extender for ZigBee and now don’t have that issue. My Dad is also handicap with a can and I gave hime the ST presence sensor. After the extender was added, I have range well away from my driveway. Both the Keyfob and the ST are a lot better than the Phone solution. As phone locations drift according to the GPS spatial drift principle.

As far as what gets controlled automatically and all that, there’s a saying, “all home automation is local.” Meaning everybody has different needs and different priorities and different devices. :blush:

If someone has a habit of leaving a location device at home, then that particular device is not going to be a reliable presence indicator.

I have friends with a son on the autism spectrum, and they have a GPS tracker device for him (nothing to do with SmartThings) and they ended up putting it into a button pocket on the back beltline of his pants. It was the only place where it was likely to make it through the day.

For people who want to have the indicator but just have different patterns, you have to look at some common denominator. In my occupancy protocol, I have a hat that I almost always wear when I go out. I put a motion detector under that hat, and it going off is what starts my leaving sequence. I can also trigger the same thing by just waving a hand over that motion sensor, or by manually changing the mode in the smartthings app.

If your house has door keys and your wife is unlikely to leave without the keys, then you could attach the smartthings presence fob to that keychain. For other people, leaving a fob in the car’s glove compartment gets most of their situations.

If you’re willing to have a more complicated rules set up, you could set up rules so that if the keychain fob or the car fob leave, then a virtual switch gets flipped as having left and then run everything off of the virtual switch. So instead of “everybody left” it becomes “any of the following leave” but like I said more complicated.

So there are lots of different ways to approach it. The securifi alarm fob is a good solution for many adults because it’s pretty easy, but requires actual physical presence. No drop off problem. And you have total control of the timing. But it doesn’t work for me, because I physically can’t manage that device.

So sometimes it’s just a matter of reading about how different people have approached the issue and then coming up with your own protocol that accounts for your specific preferences and requirements.

Good luck!

The zigbee mesh was strong at my house, that wasn’t the issue. And the battery in the device was fine. SmartThings support worked with me on it and we tried several things.

We finally ended up deciding that it was probably Wi-Fi interference from one of my neighbors. Inside my house there are six detectable Wi-Fi networks, only one of which I control. So it might even have been a case where it took two of them at once. No telling.

The ST fob has a slightly different setup than their other zigbee devices, which is why it was the only one being affected.

Anyway, my presence sensor still drops off the network a couple times a week, but the occupancy protocol ensures that doesn’t trigger anything anymore. :blush:

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The biggest problem I had with the presence sensors is them falling apart. I was using two of them and they both came apart. According to support; the new presence sensors won’t fall apart like the old one. One of the circuit boards was lost and the other was being held together with shipping tape and no longer used.

I have been using the Smartthings Labs Life360 and I have had no issues.

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I’ve deactivated all of our presence sensors and just went with simple push button keyfobs. They are zwave and I have an extender in my garage. So they work past the end of the driveway. This way it’s specific. Pushing Away means we are leaving, pushing Home means we are home. No way to get that confused and no way for it to go off when we are walking around the block.

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:hankey: Say what???

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I just bought a ST presence sensor and had it about two days before I had to use Electrical tape to hold the battery in place. Inside the device the battery is held in place by a tiny piece of plastic that snaps off when you remove the battery. I didn’t force it at all, I thought I remove the battery just fine when I tried to put it back in it would not stay. I then realized the tiny tab was broken off. So I had to wrap electrical tape around the board to hold the battery in place. I was still able to assemble the sensor and the outside is fine so far but this is a very cheaply built piece of hardware.

It does however work well for me. I have it in my car and it detects well when I come and go.

Double check your zigbee firmware on your hub. i noticed some serious improvements when i got up dated to 1.5.4 from 1.3.x. Support ran the upgrade due to some other unrelated zigbee device weirdness. It certainly can’t hurt :wink:

I have completely given up on presence sensors too…

I’ve had 1.5.4 for awhile, it isn’t that. Like I said, I’ve been working with Support on this for awhile.

I’ve now switched over to using iBeacons, thanks to help from @DavGlass who wrote a proof of concept SmartApp for me. Working very well, although it does require an iOS device and the $9 Beecon+ receiving station app. I have the iBeacon turn on/off a virtual SmartThings switch, then use that for my presence indicator. I especially like the fact that I can limit the range to just a few yards, which fits my use case very well.


my wife’s android worked fine for her presence sensor, but mine never showed me leaving, no matter what i did. Life360 did not fix the problem either. I finally fixed it by installing the IF app by IFTTT and having it trigger a smartthings switch when i connect to my wifi. this switch is actually a virtual switch/presence sensor someone else wrote. so when i enter my home’s wifi, it triggers ifttt which sets my presence to home. A second ifttt script reverses this when i leave. I hope this helps someone.