My First Automation -- Didn't work as planned

To answer your questions, no I had both my Wink hub and my new ST hub both in different locations because I was in the process of switching everything over last night and thought it would be a good idea to physically separate them. I did unplug the Wink hub after I finished removing all of my devices. My plan is to move the ST hub to the same place as I had the Wink hub. I’ll do that tonight.

All of my devices are now on my ST hub and all are working. Nothing has been phsyically relocated other than the actual hub as I mentioned already. Nothing has changed on my WiFi network or router.

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Should I be using Smart Lighting or should I just use my own automation? Is one preferred over the other?

If the devices themselves are eligible to run locally, then smart lighting automations can run locally, which the other automations cannot at this time.

It’s hard to say how much difference that actually makes in practice, a lot of people say they don’t see any difference, but it does mean that if the smartthings cloud becomes unavailable your local automations can still run.

Okay, so I’ll probably just keep everything as is for now. Any idea what could have caused that one light to stay on? I ran home at lunch and moved the ST hub into the spot that my old Wink hub sat for the last three years, so I’ll have to see if the error happens again.

Everything else is otherwise identical to the way I had it set up on the Win hub.

As @Rboy said, The most likely thing is that the message to turn off didn’t reach that particular bulb.

Mesh Strength

There are several reasons that might happen. One is just that there wasn’t a good path to that particular bulb, which is why the physical location of the hub makes a difference.

I’ve previously told the story of the final exam I had in one network engineering course where we were given pictures of a home where everything worked perfectly when first set up before the family moved in. But once the family moved in, a lot of things stopped working, and we were supposed to circle everything on the pictures that might be a problem.

Some were obvious, like cars in the garage and the garage was empty previously. :red_car: But one that almost everybody missed had to do with a cast iron frying pan on a shelf in the kitchen. :fried_egg:

Kitchens are always problematic because there are lots of big metal objects in them. But in this case, the scenario was that when one family member did the cleanup, they would put the cast-iron pan on the left side of the shelf and when a different family member did the cleanup, they would put it on the right. And just that change in position was enough in that case to block some signal getting into the kitchen. :scream:

That’s just a hypothetical, but it made the point: if you don’t build a strong mesh to begin with, even very small things can cause messages to get lost.

Anyway, that’s one possibility.

WiFi Interference

Another common issue is that Wi-Fi will drown out Zigbee. They are in the same frequency band and Wi-Fi is a much stronger signal.

Both Zigbee and Wi-Fi offer multiple “channels“ and you can often avoid interference by shifting the channels so that you don’t have two overlapping. So it’s entirely possible that your wink hub was on a Zigbee channel that didn’t get drowned out by your Wi-Fi, but your smartthings hub just happens to be on a different channel where there is more interference.

See the community FAQ:

FAQ: What WiFi Channel is least likely to interfere with SmartThings?

And since you’ve had your Wink system for a while, you probably already know all of the following, but just in case you are interested in more details on repeaters. Start with post 11 in that thread, read it, then go up to the top of the thread and read the whole thing.


Thanks for the tips. I’m hoping that the fact that I moved my ST hub into the position of the old Wink hub will help make everything work properly again.

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If it doesn’t, then we can look at the Zigbee channel.

I didn’t see you mention it… are you still able to use the app to turn the family room lamp on and off?

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Hi Tony,

Yes, the app will turn the Family Room Lamp on and off.

Okay, so it happened again. Same scenario as last time. My automation turned both lights (Foyer and Family room Lamps) on as scheduled. But at midnight, my automation turned off the Foyer Lamp and again failed to turn off the Family Room Lamp.

The only difference in my set up this time was that I moved the ST hub to the same spot that my old Wink Hub occupied for the last few years to see if the hub location is a factor or not. Here’s the interesting part—the hub is in the Family Room, which is obviously the same location as the Family Lamp that fails to turn off at midnight using the automation.

I think what I’ll try tonight is swapping the Cree bulbs between the Family Room and Foyer Lamps to see if the problem follows the bulb. I suspect it will. But I have no idea why this is happening.

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If you open the device in the app, what does the activity show for midnight?

No activity at midnight. I went into the app at 12:07am and turned off the light manually, so that’s what appears in the history.

I would suspect something went wrong when the automation was created.
You can try to go in and edit (the pencil by the name), click next, then done, and it will save it again. (You might also try changing the time to something like 5 minutes from now and see if it continues to have problems.)

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I skimmed the responses and didn’t see anyone suggest this, but if both bulbs are the same one thing to try is swap the bulbs and see if the problem follows the bulb or stays with the location. It could be the signal, but it seems unlikely if it always turns on, but never turns off. It’s more likely that somehow there is another issue like an unmet condition or another automation.

Have you looked at the device history for the bulb in the app? It will show you every time the device is turned on/off or dimmer setting changed. This may shed some (pardon the pun) light on what is happening.

Is it one rule turning both bulbs on/off or two rules (one for each bulb)?

Do you have any other automations that may be affecting this?

Is the Family Room Lamp on a switch? Most smart bulbs will turn on after a loss of power, so if it’s on a switch and someone turns the switch off and then on it will turn the bulb on regardless of the schedule you have.

Hope this points you in the right direction.
Good Luck!

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Tony, I will try that tonight. I’m at work right now, so I can’t do any real troubleshooting.

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Hi John,

Yes, I actually suggested that myself just this morning. I thought it would be a good idea to swap the Cree LEDs to see if the problem follows the bulb.

I have looked at the history and nothing jumps out at me. It just shows the expected on and off times, with the exception of the expected off at midnight.

My automation was created to turn off both bulbs at midnight, so just one rule for both devices. There are no other automations that could be affecting this situation.

The Family Room Lamp is not on a switch.

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Okay, I just wrote two new automations to see if I can troubleshoot this while I’m at work. First automation was Foyer Lamp and Family Room lamp on at 9:15am. Second automation was Foyer Lamp and Family Room Lamp off at 9:16am.

Both automations appear to have worked perfectly. History shows both turned on at 9:15am and both turned off at 9:16am. Since I’m at work, I can’t see if the lights turned on and off, but according to the history, it looks like everything worked perfectly.

EDIT: I repeated my test again, this time I watched the app and I could see both bulbs turn on in the app and then turn off in the app one minute later. So I think I’m going to delete my original automation and rewrite it to see if something went wrong when I created the original automation as someone suggested earlier.

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I’m also having problems with automations (see What is up with timed automations?) and have a ticket in to SmartThings Support who are looking into it. Everything worked well for months and then things started playing up about three weeks ago. The bulbs that do not go off at midnight with my automation are able to be switched off manually through the app.

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So it happened again :frowning:

I deleted my “off at midnight” automation and then created and saved a new identical automation. When the clock struck midnight, the Foyer Lamp turned off and the Family Room Lamp stayed on.

This really doesn’t make any sense. Yesterday when I got home from work, I tested this again by creating an automation to turn on both lamps and then turn them both off one minute later. It worked perfectly. I cannot figure out why the Family Room Lamp refuses to turn off at midnight.