Mostly a ST rant, but I'll accept advice


(Sam Roza) #1

OK, I’m hot. Really hot. I will have to edit my clenched-teeth responses before I submit.

I’ve had ST and Google Home since Christmas of 16. It installed easily, integrated perfectly with no complications. I have a second-gen ST hub and security system. I’ve done pretty minor things with my setup:

  • Front room lights auto on, auto off
  • Garage lights enabled via ST motion sensor using an ST outlet
  • Thermostat controlled via presence and schedule
  • Philips Hue dimmer control for front room lighting

I have integrated CoRE, and as of last week I also integrated with webCoRE for my Garage light control (haven’t yet followed up with new routines to match my CoRE stuff).

Everything worked brilliantly for MONTHS. No weird issues. No failures. No unpairings. No changes to my local infrastructure, wiring, network or anythjing like that.

Then about 2 months ago, the Philips unpaired. I fiddled with it, removed it, changed device handler, re-added it and it was all good again. A week or two later-same thing. Unpaired and useless. Still unpaired and useless because it pisses me off to think about messing with it more.

I had no issues with my CoRE control of the garage lights, but needed better control and was directed to webCoRE. Installed someone’s backup and configured it with my devices and it worked-one try. Perfect.

Come yesterday, I walked out and the light didn’t come on. The Outlet seemed to not be working any longer. I fiddled and fiddled and brought it inside. I re-paired it and removed and re-added it to My Home. Re-added the new device to ST and the webCoRE routine, and still-nothing.

I then brought it inside again, and could not get the device re-added to the ST setup. It just can’t find it.

WHY have these issues creeped in? All of my devices worked perfectly. This spring saw a bunch of updates to the hubs and one-by-one I’ve seen worse and worse performance and stability. I’m basically ready to go to a “dumb home” over these issues, because I need reliability.

What the hell, Samsung?


(Jimmy) #2

no clue about Hue, but you know there was an outage yesterday, right?


(Sam Roza) #3

Shit. Uhh. No?

If there is a ST outage, it will impact local performance? Shouldn’t the hub have a local repo of devices and routines? (maybe ignroant newb question…)


#4

As @prjct92eh2 mentioned, there was an outage yesterday that affected a lot of people, so you may have been hit by that.

https://status.smartthings.com

As far as reliability and things changing which used to work, there’s no question that that’s an ongoing issue with SmartThings. The company is aware of it, they are working on improving it, but they aren’t there yet.

In my own case, over the last year I have moved all of my critical automations to HomeKit, because as someone who is quadriparetic, reliability is my top requirement now. Even if the glitches are “minor” and just require popping a battery or opening the app and resaving it, I have to pay someone else to do it, so I’m very aware of the frequency.

I was still using SmartThings for convenience notifications, like being notified if the guestroom window was open when rain is expected, but about two months ago they made some changes to the mobile app which make it no longer navigable by voiceover. I’ve been told are looking into fixing it, but that was a classic case of “worked fine on Monday, totally broken on Tuesday.” :disappointed_relieved:

Every system has pros and cons. SmartThings is a very powerful, very flexible low-cost home automation system with a great vision and an excellent community. But if reliability is your top priority, it’s probably not going to be the best match for you right now.


(Bill S.) #5

local repo of devices and routines

Yeah… local processing is nowhere near where it should be. Even my devices (of which 40% are locally executed) didn’t work during the outage because the mobile app is completely dependant on the cloud. So, while it can be said that local processing works, it STILL has a requirement on the cloud.

As @JDRoberts said, moving to a platform that does support 100% local execution (such as HomeKit or Vera) for critical devices makes sense.

Perhaps ST will improve reliability sometime soon, but until then, it’s the nature of the beast.


#6

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: Smartthings is primarily a cloud-based system. Hardly anything runs locally. Routines don’t. Webcore doesn’t. No custom code does. The only things which don’t require an active connection to the SmartThings cloud account is some stuff in the official smart lighting feature and a little bit of stuff in the official smart home monitor feature. And that’s it. Your phone app will not work if the cloud account is not available even if you’re on the same LAN as your hub. You won’t be able to arm/disarm smart home Monitor if the cloud account is not available.

On top of that, The company can and does push out firmware updates from time to time which you can neither delay nor refuse which can change even local operation. :scream: Sometimes we get A few days advance notice of these, but not always.

There are some mostly local home automation systems which are generally more reliable, but they may have many fewer features and integrations. So again, each person has to choose for themselves what the best match will be for their household.


(Dave Gutheinz) #7
  1. From what I read, problem could be SmartThings or Hue. Have you looked at the Phillips Hue blog?

  2. Within this forum, have you looked at:


(Chris Means) #8

Hi Dave,

Thanks, but I am familiar with my own threads :slight_smile:

The solution…for me…was the newer Hue hub.

-Chris


(Sam Roza) #9

Yeah, I read through that thread a few weeks back. I implemented the newer device handler, but still eventually as mentioned, it’s disconnected and just flashes red when pushed. I’ll re-read that thread to see if there is anything new in there.

The fact remains: It worked perfectly for nearly 6 months and then turned to crap in June. Since I haven’t updated the device, device handler, and don’t have a Hue bridge, I can only assume ST’s handling of Zigbee is the issue, and some change croaked my setup.


(Sam Roza) #10

UPDATE:

After re-adding the outlet and putting it back in as a device in webCoRE, My garage light issue is resolved.

Still haven’t dived in to fix the Philips dimmer pairing issue because I don’t remember what bit of wizardry was required to make it work again.

My points are still valid:

ST platform changes have introduced new bugs that have led to instability and lack of reliability. Please stop doing this, or at least increase technical presence so that bugs are caught and fixed quicker.


#11

What device handler are you using for the Hue dimmer?

I ask because technically the hue dimmer switch is a ZLL device, not a ZHA device, So smartthings doesn’t guarantee it will work, and we might have to let them off the hook for that one. Neither Phillips nor smartthings say it will work with the SmartThings hub. There are some experimental device type handlerS that people have been trying with it, but it’s not the same thing as if, say, a ZHA pocket socket stopped working.

I do use the dimmer switches at my house, but I use them as a parallel means of control, I don’t try to get SmartThings to recognize them.

It doesn’t change the basic issue of instability , and trust me, I know that as well as anyone, but sometimes SmartThings is not at fault.


(Sam Roza) #12

Thanks for responding. the handler is called Hue Switch, and I believe it treats is like it’s a ZHA. Fair enough to note that it has no guaranteed compatibility, but there was a pushed change which broke the functionality, and that’s my core point and frustration.

Happy to note that the light issue I was having appears to be due to remote conditions, so the larger amount of trepidation is gone, and it’s more pointed to this ZHA/ZLL drama.


#13

I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon, but I would really like to see more details published on the firmware updates, a list of the specific stock device type handlers that are changed and a list of the coordinator/controller changes as well.

None of that should be proprietary since you can view the handlers and groovy anyway and since the hub itself is a third-party certified device and we’re just talking about meeting the published standards.

But like I said, I don’t think it’s going to happen. But I think it would definitely help reduce some of the frustrations when changes occur. :sunglasses:


(Sam Roza) #14

ST has given users in the community lots of access to things. I just wish they’d push closer to true open source.


#15

I don’t expect them to be open source. There are other options which are open source if that’s what you’re interested in. But I do expect that as a mass market consumer product they reach a MFOP (maintenance free operating period) Of at least six months, and preferably 12. To me, that’s what a mainstream brand label should imply, even on relatively inexpensive products. :sunglasses:


(Sam Roza) #16

Though I work for probably the largest open-source vendor on the planet, my goal was actually primarily stability and features, combined with reliability and security. That there was some community development here was an awesome addition. I just wish that the next 6 months of service could be like the first 6 months…

I hope we can get more stability soon.


(John C) #17

Something reached a tipping point w/r/t stability. I’ve also experience some “mysterious things” for which there is no explanation given, so understand your frustration.

Kind of reminds me of the Whack-a-Mole game in an arcade sometimes :laughing::yum:


(Ron Talley) #18

Whenever things in my setup fail to work, I take a deep breath, drink a beer or 2 and wait at least 2 hours before I even think about addressing it. I’ve chased way too many ghost! First step for me is to go into the SmartApp and then to the Device and click on Recent Events…

As much as I love ST, the reliability is just not up to what it should be.

Saying all that, I had a pretty good run considering I have over 200 devices.


(John C) #19

Wow! I guess so!

Sometimes two beers & wait until the next day fixes lots of things :beer::beer:


(Sam Roza) #20

Certainly very good and learned advice. I will be mindful of that in the future.