SmartThings Community

New to ST, what order to connect devices?

(Keith) #1

Hello,

I’m new to ST, in fact, my hub and devices will not be here for another day or two. I would like to get a little head start on things and was wondering if there was a certain order that devices should be connected to make things easier. Here is what I have on the way right now:

The Hub
3x Arlo cameras
1x Sensative Strip
1x Aeotec Siren Gen5

Another question is, how do I get the Strip to trigger the Siren? IS that something that ST will walk me though fairly easy?

Thank you for your time and help,

Keith

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(Robin) #2

Nothing to stop you installing devices ahead of time but you obviously can’t add them to ST until your hub it’s up and running.

I don’t suggest you install the strips early though as you need to see it in the ST app during install to ensure correct magnet / strip alignment.

Once you have the hub installed and connected to a new account / mobile app you can add all your devices to ST.

On the ST app you scroll down to the bottom of the ‘things’ page and click on ‘+ add a thing’. This puts your hub into inclusion mode.

You can then, one by one, put your devices into inclusion mode (refer to the manuals) and they should pop up on the ST app.

As corrected by @JDRoberts below, install mains devices (the siren) first as it will act as a repeater and strengthen your mesh prior to adding battery devices (strips).

Report back if you have issues and lots of people on here will be willing to help.

In regards to contact sensor sounding an alarm, it’s very straight forward. ST has a built in ‘Smart Home Monitor’ app (SHM) which will guide you through linking the sensor and assigning actions (siren, lights, notifications).

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(Robin) #3

How to add strips:

Ignore the Fibaro home centre bit (in ST you just go to ‘+ add a thing’)

Important part is placing and lifting the round magnet on the round end of the strip 3 times in 10 seconds. Should then pop up in ST.

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(Robin) #4

For the siren:

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(Robin) #5

For the Arlo Cameras… Looks like these have to be setup first with the Arlo app, so you can do that ahead of time.

Then follow this guide:

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(Keith) #6

Thanks for all the help Robin!

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#7

You’ve already gotten lots of great advice. :sunglasses:

The only thing I would change, and this is just because I’m picky about network efficiency since I used to work as a network engineer, would be to add the siren to the network before you add the sensative.

Both of these are Z wave devices. The siren plugs in, which means it can act as a “repeater” which helps pass messages along to the hub.

Battery operated devices do not generally act as repeaters, because it would use up too much battery life.

If you’ve added the siren first, then the strip will be able to use it as a repeater. It might not need to, depending on the physical location in your home, but it’s just a good practice. More about setting up an efficient network here (this is a clickable link):

As far as having the siren sound when the sensor detects the door open, that’s quite easy. There are many different ways to do it in SmartThings. most people would probably use smart home monitor, which has an " alert with sirens" feature. :rotating_light:

Here’s the official article on that feature:

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(Keith) #8

Thanks for the additional info JD. The strip and siren will be at opposite ends and levels of the house, so the siren will not help as a repeater to the strip… but that’ is still great info to know. I might actually order some light switches or plug to use as repeaters.

And now that I know about the repeater thing and how it only works for one protocol, I’ll be sure to include that as part of my purchasing decision.

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(Robin) #9

Great advice from @JDRoberts re: installing repeaters first.

I’m sure it’s noted clearly in the guide linked to above, but remember to buy matching systems if you’re getting plugs to improve your mesh.

For example, A ST outlet (Zigbee) won’t repeat a signal to a Zwave device, and Visa Versa.

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(Kendal Van Dyke) #10

Would kicking off a Zwave network repair after adding all devices rebuild the network by using the repeaters as efficiently as possible?

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#11

Yes, that’s also a recommended practice that’s mentioned in the FAQ I linked to above. It’s in point 9.

The only thing is it can take a while before you see the efficiencies from the network repair utility, so typically a field tech will tell you to wait until the next day to see improvements. Which can be really frustrating if you’re just setting up your network for the first time.

So it’s a little better if you go ahead and lay down the backbone first when you’re setting up your initial install. Also, it will tend to make you think about exactly where the repeaters are and if you might want to change the layout a little. If you do it this way, it’s quite common for people to say “oh maybe I should use a zigbee pocket socket on this wall instead of the Z wave one.” Same devices, just placed a little differently.

So as far as first time set up, if it was me, I would lay down the backbone first by installing all the repeaters first, beginning with the ones closest to the hub and working outwards. Then go back and install all the battery powered devices.

But there’s no harm done if you just install room by room and then at the end do A zigbee heal and run the Z wave repair utility. It’s just your network might be a little flaky until the next day, and again, I don’t like to see new people get frustrated over something that could’ve been easily avoided. :sunglasses:

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(Robin) #12

@JDRoberts

Amazingly I have never actually done a Zigbee heal or Zwave repair on my network, despite having 40+ Zwave devices and 4-5 Zigbee.

I’ve never done it before because:

A) I have a stable / reliable network
B) I have seen users on here reporting that repairs / heals had caused devices to stop responding (or something like that).

Would you reccomend running periodic heals / repairs anyway, or am I better off leaving it well alone as it’s working correctly?

Is point B above a real issue to be concerned about?

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#13

I’ve only seen one report in the forums from someone who said that after they did a heal none of the zigbee devices responded. But this was at a time when a lot of people reporting problems with zigbee devices, and I believe the person did the heal because they were having problems already. So I can’t say for sure, obviously, but I don’t think the heal was the sole contributing factor.

Best practices per the independent standard are to update the neighbor tables as part of regular maintenance. For example, some of SmartThings’ competitors do an automatic zwave repair every night. Others recommend one once a week. It’s just a way of making sure that all the devices are functioning optimally.

That said, at one point in the summer of 2016 some SmartThings support staff were telling people that a zwave repair could make things worse in some situations. There’s absolutely no way that should be true for a certified Z wave controller. It should always be a “can’t hurt, might help” kind of thing. So I can only assume that there’s something strange about the cloud-based platform architecture that can lead to this conclusion.

I will note that since the issue was first raised, support no longer seems to say that. (Which is good, because it was giving me a headache. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) but again, once you introduce the cloud and various sync issues, who knows?

So I can’t tell you what’s the best thing to do for a SmartThings account. You can check with support if you have any concerns. General best practices for a Z wave or zigbee system would be to include these updates as part of periodic maintenance.

One thing I can say is that if you add a new Z wave repeating device to your existing network and you don’t do a zwave repair a lot of the other devices are not going to know it exists. So that’s not going to help your network efficiency very much. :wink:

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(Robin) #14

Thanks @JDRoberts

Hmmmm… I have certainly added a lot of repeaters piecemeal over the past year. I have also moved a few devices (including the hub from one end of the house to the other), and even built a few walls!

I thought all the tables updated on every device during every new inclusion, I now know that’s not correct. (I’m therefore amazed it’s still working!).

I must admit that ‘all off’ / ‘all on’ commands can sometimes be a bit laggy / popcorny, but I always assumed this was just typical mesh behaviour for bulk commands… I’m generally very happy with overall performance.

On the basis that ST are no longer recommending against it and also their recent platform stability improvements; I’m going to take the (small) risk and run the repairs tonight before I go to bed… I’m sure it can’t hurt and may help as you say.

Fingers crossed!
:grimacing:

Oh, how long can I expect the initial process to take (system completely inoperable)?

(Sorry @Etoimos for hijacking the end of your thread!!)

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#15

How long it will take just depends on the complexity of your network. It’s really hard to say. Once you’ve run it the first time, you should know about how long it will take in the future. SmartThings support says it’s typically 15 minutes.

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(Keith) #16

Now worries man. At this early stage, all info is good info.

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