New User Advice (Vera lite to ST?)


(Bassett) #1

Greetings. I recently purchased a Smartthings hub, with plans to covert from Veralite. The Veralite has been rock solid and trouble-free. You might be asking, then why change a perfectly good HA setup? Well, it’s curiousity more than anything else (I like to tinker and play around with gadgets).

Why am a hesitant to try out Smartthings? Mainly the headaches I read about on forums like this. Yes, I know people rarely post on forums when things are working well. The forums give me pause nonetheless.

Here is a summary of my setup:

–Two Schlage zwave locks (current lock/unlock remotely: get alerted when incorrect codes are entered; get an alert when a valid code is entered like my son getting home from school: and get alerted while on vacation and any unlock code is entered…valid or invalid).
–MyQ garage door openers (currently controlled through MyQ app)
–5 window sensors (alerts when opened)
–Senors on 3 doors (alerts when opened during certain hours like 10pm to 6am and when opened while on vacation)
–Outdoor lights (on/off dusk to midnight)
–Indoor lights (for two rooms…basement and garage…turn on lights when entering the room: randomly turn on/off during vacation)
–A few motion sensors (alerts when not home)
–Three wireless IP foscam cameras (remote viewing only…for instance, when I get a motion alert while on vacation).

I am not looking for any tremendously advanced features. For example, I don’t need blinds to be opened/closed. No need to control a thermostat based on whether or not I’m home.

My question is this: Would Smartthings be fairly trouble-free for my needs? I get a sense many of Smartthings “issues” are related to more complex. setups.
Any advice you have is appreciated.


#2

Smartthings is extremely versatile and would allow you to use a wider range of devices then you are currently using with Vera lite, in particular zigbee sensors. But at the present time it is definitely not trouble-free.

I have very simple set ups. For example, I have one routine which does nothing but change the mode of the system from “asleep” To “home” every morning at a fixed time around 8 AM. It has failed two to three times a month every month since October.

I have another rule which does nothing except notify me when the front gate is opened based on a contact sensor. It also fails a couple of times a month.

When SmartThings is working well, it is absolutely my favorite home automation system. But it is not number one for reliability.

The company is aware of this issue and has announced that they are going to a completely new scheduler, which is supposed to go into beta in a few weeks. Hopefully that will improve the reliability.

So it all comes down to your own definition of “trouble-free.” It’s definitely not a “set and forget” system, but most of the problems are minor and can be fixed just by opening the app and saving it again, or by taking the batteries out of a device and putting them back in. So for many people that’s worth it in order to get the other advantages.

I have a different issue because I’m quadriparetic, which means I have to pay someone else to do even those minor fixes. So I’m probably much more aware of the glitches than most people would be.

Also, I don’t know if you’re aware, but at present almost everything in SmartThings has to run through the cloud. Local operations are very limited although they have said there will be more in the future. A lot of people won’t care, but it is a contrast with Vera.


(Bassett) #3

Thanks, JDRoberts. If I stay with Vera, I would likely buy a VeraPlus (which works with zigbee, Bluetooth, etc.). My current Veralite has been rock solid, with no glitches (except when I introduce user error).


#4

I agree with @JDRoberts on this, SmartThings is a Great when all automations are running as they are supposed to. However, on those time when things go wrong, you can get a mixed bag of unwanted side effects. I.e., Garage Doors opening, Lights turning on at 100% at night in your room, Sirens going off when Smart Home Monitoring is armed when the platform switches you to Away mode when you are home.

Of these few mentioned, I have experienced the Siren and the Away mode last October. But as a result, SmartThings did well by me. They got back to me ASAP. They gave me the opportunity to test the V2 hub. Which is by itself a big improvement on the V1 hub. I would not go as far to say that ST is a life saver and works Great all the time, but I get my money worth from it. And the entire ecosystem of devices which are and will be available to ST community is evolving on a daily basis.

In the end, the choice is yours. I like it with ST and can’t wait for the next integration.


(Dale C) #5

Then you are going to LOVE SmartThings! In addition to feeding your tinkering desire it will teach you patience for free! . . . or not LOL. :grin:
Seriously, I love SmartThings home automation concept and flexibility so I put up with the little hiccups trusting that things will be fixed . . . .Samsung can only put up for so long with getting their reputation and branding tarnished.

You got me interested though at looking into VeraPlus. Thanks!


(Meep Meep.....) #6

stay with vera if trouble free is what you want. ST requires a lot work. I’ve stayed with ST for the cloud to cloud computing that other platforms lack integration with.


(Jimmy) #7

SmartThings does not allow video streaming or capture via Foscams either


(Dale C) #8

[quote=“prjct92eh2, post:7, topic:41910, full:true”]
SmartThings does not allow video streaming or capture via Foscams either
[/quote] I do it with mine? Do you mean certain camera models?


(Jimmy) #9

You are streaming video from your Foscam in the SmartThings app?


#10

To clarify, the smart home monitor feature (SHM) in the official SmartThings mobile app will only work with a few specific camera models. And Foscam is not one of those.

However, many community members do have Foscam cameras and use indirect integration, most typically through the third party app SmartTiles. If you search the forums for “Foscam” you will find a lot of threads discussing various options.

@tgauchat


(Jimmy) #11

Yes, I’m very familiar with SmartTiles. This still isn’t native through SmartThings the way their white listed cameras are.