Mobile Presence Issues?

Hey everyone. As someone that has been waiting for quite some time for the smart things store to open, i started looking elsewhere for some items Ive been wanting - like presence sensors. Silly me, until last night, I was completely unaware I could actually use my phone as a presence sensor.

I have been using the mimolite for my garage door opener. I have been wanting to set up a geofence around the house so that when my wife gets home the garage door will open for her. Tonight, I decided to test this with my phone using the “Ridiculously automated garage door opener” app. I set up a pretty wide geofence around my house. We live in a housing development, so I set one up that goes all the way around the corner and to the main road. Here is how my settings were set up…

Garage Door
Sensor: Garage Door (Multi being used for axis)
Switch: Mimolite
Warn When Open Longer Than: 10 minutes

Cars Using This Garage Door
Presence Sensor: My phone
Car door sensor: I selected the garage door for this, but honestly have no idea what this means???

So I configured this and started to walk downstairs to hop in the car. Immediately after getting downstairs, my garage door started to go up. Weird, i dont think my wife should be home yet. She wasnt, and to top it all off, the garage door stopped at halfway, released and then slammed down hard. Weird? Ok. 10 seconds later - repeat.

This literally went on for 5 minutes non-stop until I deleted the smart app configuration, which was easier said than done because everytime I tried it wouldnt let me since a sensor was in use. VERY aggravating.

Has anyone else had any experience with this that can provide feedback/tips? I am not sure if something was set up wrong or what - but this doesnt exactly give me confidence to use it now much less if I leave my home.

No one has any thoughts?

Ok, I have had some similar issues. It has to do with the way SmartThings handles the phone as a presence sensor. The GPS doesn’t check often enough to determine if the mobile presence is in the house or not. Then there’s a bug that will immediately contradict whatever the app says. Mine works like this: “Paul is home” … (one second later) … “Paul has left” and it does this almost every time either my wife or I leave the house. Sometimes it works great, but not very often. When it does work, my garage door opens and closes when I leave and arrive, but that is less than 10% of the time.

Now about the app itself. It is extremely over-done. I actually had to rewrite the code for the Automated Garage Door because it was a little overly complicated and did more than I wanted in the first place, which may be part of your problem too. It depends on if you’re using the “Interior Door Sensor” variable. This will wait to see when you’ve entered your house (via interior door) and will close the garage door behind you. I didn’t want this feature so I removed it. It also has an issue when you are tracking multiple presence sensors and they both arrive at the same time. I had my door stick halfway because the app sent two open commands almost immediately to my MIMOLITE which caused the door to stop halfway down.

Nevertheless, if the presence sensors would work properly, the majority of your problem would probably be resolved. Make sure you set the delay (false alarm) command to be a minute or more so that if your GPS gets pinged around to different towers, it won’t start opening and closing your garage door. Also, I’ve found that the only way to force the app to discover your location is to go into settings and click on your location (where you set the geofence with the map and pins). This forces SmartThings to locate you and properly display your location. This is helpful for testing purposes in a “what this should work like if it worked properly” scenario.

Don’t know if I answered your questions, but I will be glad to offer any other advice if you need it.

In this app the “Car Door Sensor” would meant a multi sensor in your car door sensing acceleration. So if you selected your multi thats in motion from your garage moving, and the app thinks its your car door swinging open/close then I could see this constantly going opening and closing your garage :stuck_out_tongue:

Not to bump an old topic… but my phone was sporadic at best as a mobile presence. So I ordered two sensors - one for me and one for my wife.

I cannot proceed at all and set up the app unless I set the car door sensor. Are you telling me after buying two mobile presence sensors I will now have to add two $50 multi sensors to my car door to get the app to work??? Surely there must be a way to set up something as simple as opening and closing a garage door without needing a mobile presence AND a multi in my car??

No, multi sensors are not required for use with presence sensors. The car door sensor is just an app that is one way of many of telling SmartThings that you have left your car and it is now okay to proceed with another action.

I cannot complete setup of the garage door app however without entering something into that field. If I try to, I get an error stating that all fields except nickname are required.

I tried going into IDE and setting up a fake multi and selecting that, but no dice. In fact, there are two fields that i must use: Car Door Sensor (which I don’t have) and Interior Door Contact Sensor. The latter is listed at optional, yet I can’t complete the installation without adding something to it.

I contacted Smart Things support and was told that as far as they know, the app will not work without adding something to those two fields, which I find pretty outrageous.

@y2hbk – The “Ridiculously Automated Garage Door” SmartApp was written for a very specific use-case that senses when the car door is opened (which is why the Multi is required there) and when the interior door is opened and closed. Without those sensors, the logic for the “Ridiculously Automated Garage Door” SmartApp won’t work which is why it requires that those sensors be selected.

Not having followed the full thread, it sounds to me like what you need is a new SmartApp that opens a garage door when the presence status on a presence device changes from “not present” to “present”, and closes it again when the presence status changes from “present” to “not present”. Is that accurate?


Hey Dan. Yes, that is exactly what I am looking for. I have the geofence set to the end of our housing complex, so I would like the garage door to open for us when we break that barrier. Closing it when we leave likely won’t be necessary, simply because I may be outside doing yard work and I don’t want the garage door to close on me because my wife leaves.

Hi all,
I’ve been having consistent issues with mobile presence not working at home until I actually open the ST app. This is on both my wife’s and my Samsung S5’s. I’ve verified that high accuracy is turned on and we use wifi at home (obviously). I do see some correlation of the Hello Home actions (MyQ garage opening) with connecting to wifi. Does that matter? If so, would something as simple as a wifi range extender in the garage help?

I know others have problems, but I can’t find many solutions in the other threads. I’ve spoken with ST CS in the past, but never could get anywhere.


PS - As an experiment, I’ve purchased a ST presence sensor to try since my wife is about done with ST. Does it perform better than mobile presence?

A few quick questions. Have you recently moved (and moved your router)? A wifi range extender may help, but I have seen this myself too.

Thanks @Ben for the move. I have not moved my router (Fios stocker). So were you able to make improvements? How does mobile presence really work? I’m starting to get concerned that the presence sensor is going to have the same issue. Does zigbee have a better range than what the presence sensor would provide?

Edit - I will say that mobile presence has never worked flawlessly. I’m not sure that something has changed per-se as opposed to a consistency issue getting worse.

We agree with this. It is hard and there are some phone hardware and software dependencies. That said, we continue to try to crack it. We think Bluetooth may really help this in the future.

The ZigBee presence sensor will work entirely differently. It’s range is closer to 100 ft and so should work better for applications like unlocking your door when you get home, etc. Also, if range is an issue it can easily be extended with a plugged in ZigBee device such as a switch.

These two articles from the support knowledge base may be helpful:

@eicher_ian does samsung/android have any app location settings like ios, i know that my ios devices sometimes have issues with presence if the settings for the smartthings app dont allow location, i have no idea why as im presuming it just aknowledges you have joined the wifi network and assumes your home, but i played around months ago and realised this was a quick fix, i opted to get presence tags instead as having the locations services turned on for any app on ios makes the battery drain quicker :slight_smile:

I have an “okay” relationship with presence tags, i have the odd " drop off the mapb" moments and if i go downstairs for a cigerette (i live in a first floor apartment) i sometimes register as away but other than that it works very well compared to mobile - im looking into iBeacons as they seem to be the way forward (doubled up with presence tags) to eliminate any false drop outs etc :slight_smile: (each covers the other arse sort of situation)

You will find many discussions in the forums about presence detection using both phones and the Zigbee fob. Both work well for some people, both have problems for some people, some find one better than the other, but it varies which one.

There are a lot of things you can do to try and improve the situation. I ultimately ended up using two devices working together but it took several months of trial and error to get everything the way I wanted.

I am happy now. Presence detection was one of the things I wanted from smartthings to begin with, and now it is working. But it was sort of a twisty road to get here.

I kept getting 403s on Friday and wasn’t able to post. Thanks for the links, I’ll check them out. Figures when I complain it works perfect over the weekend. I’ll have to just bump this thread with a complaint every week I guess :smile:

If the issue comes up again, I’ll try the wifi extender/repeater. It would be good to have better signal in my garage anyway…

Thanks all.