I've given up on presence sensors

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:

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

:hankey: Say what???

1 Like

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.

I have 4 locations in 2 cities and yesterday my wife was flying through them at the speed of sound, it seems.

mine keep disconnecting. I have to go back and rediscover it in the hub. I’m pretty convinced this is a hub issue not the presence sensor issue. I just have to rescan, nothing else, and sudden I get a toast saying my keys have arrived.

I’m considering giving up the presence quest too. Phones as presence devices only work if they are cell-enabled, and the ST key fob device chews through batteries. And when the battery starts failing, in the middle of the night the thing starts flaking out and causing havoc as it repeatedly triggers its routines…

The ST device definitely needs redesign, to either recharge via usb or perhaps get an on-off switch. Else it eventually becomes a source of frustration.

you have a couple of guaranteed presence sensor options with your phone. The easiest way that doesn’t require root is to use two ifttt triggers. One detects when your phone leaves wifi and triggers a virtual switch off. The other detects when your phone enters your home wifi and triggers it on. Yes leaving will require data on your phone but 2g is plenty. This requires the ifttt app installed. If just flipping a virtual switch isn’t good enough, i wrote a custom device that was a virtual switch that also reported as a presence sensor. Worked perfectly for me. Tasker can also do this instead of ifttt. Also, there’s an old thread somewhere about a guy who had an app running on his pc that detected his phone on his wifi and he was triggering location that way with oauth.

Can you elaborate on using iftt as you’re describing?

For those that have had nothing but issues with their Mobile presence within ST might want to consider looking at using the webCoRE Presence Sensor. I believe it’s still in beta for both Android and IOS.

I am an Android user and have never had an issue with my mobile presence, so I guess that I am one of the lucky people. Anyway, over the last 48 hours I have been testing the webCoRE version side by side with my ST Presence and for me it’s already more solid.

The Geofence setup for a location consists of 2 rings, the inner ring is the Arrival Geofence and the outer ring is the Departure Geofence. The really cool part that I am finding is that you can setup multiple places (locations) within webCoRE and then can run a bunch of different Pistons based on arriving or departing any of those locations (places). Why would I want to do that. An example would be when I have left the Geofence of Place 2, turn my thermostat on and set the temp to xx degrees so that by the time I get home, the house is comfy.

From the posts in the threads, many people who have reported issues in the past about their Mobile presence in ST, whether on IOS or Android ate not having those same issues in webCoRE.

Just a thought as some of you I know are on your last breath with presence:

yeah it’s pretty easy. ifttt android app has some interesting abilities that use a channel called “android” One of the abilities is to create an action based on whether you connect or disconnect from a specific wifi. That’s what i did. I had it trigger a smartthings switch which flipped a virtual presence sensor. There is a “presence toggle” device handler by impliciter available in this thread: Presence Detection using DD-WRT Router Script . It is a virtual switch that also shows up as a presence sensor. easy peasy.