New user questions from someone used to Vera


#1

Well I am slowly moving over from Vera to Smartthings - at least that is the plan but a few questions

  1. is the smart things app the only one that can be used are there no 3rd party apps? can i not make shortcuts to devices in my home and place them on my android homescreen? this can be easily done in Vera and is going to make things inconvenient if not. but there may be better ways to do things with smart things. there is a ST widget for android with such things as Wake up, Goodnight, etc can more situations be custom added to this? in Vera i call them scenes.

  2. removing and adding Zwave devices - do i really have to have this hub plugged in and online right next to each Zwave device i have to first exclude from my old setup and then add to ST? i guess i need to buy a Zwave minimote or a 100’ ethernet cable. if i do buy the remote do i have to add it as a secondary controller to add devices or just add it as a normal zwave device?

  3. i don’t understand the whole app situation at all. for instance, i guess for some reason i cannot program access codes to my kwikset Zwave lock but i see many mentions of other apps that can be used in the forum search. but when i go to the market in the ST app i can’t find these apps anywhere?,.

i guess i’m just trying to decide if switching to ST is worth the trouble. there is no perfect system right now but i want the native Amazon Echo support (the hacked together system with Vera right now is a bit hard to setup) and i want to be able to integrate with Logitech Harmony, Nest and more easily. Plus there are some bugs with Vera that are driving me insane and i can’t get any help from them like this one brand of Zwave light bulb turning itself on nightly automatically when Vera does a network heal

ok, end rant. any feedback is appreciated.


(Ben W) #2
  1. I use SmartTiles instead of widgets. It is a webpage and provides all the quick functionality you may want to have in one location. I believe there may be other solutions, but I have all my automations on motion triggers and rarely use the app.

  2. Not really. I rarely pull my ST hub out to add devices. It is recommended because it remove the possibility of interference. I recommend going from closest devices to further devices from your hub. The minimote will not help with this since the device is searching from the hub. You do need to exclude from Vera before the add to Smartthings.

  3. Explore community supported smart apps. Nest-Manager for Nest and Lock Code manager are awesome (links below). They are a little confusing to install at first, but once you get the hang of the ide its super easy. Nest-Manager has good step by step instructions to get you started.

Logitech is a supported smartapp you can add under marketplace in the app.

Links!

This community is top notch, you will get your answers here.


#3

Android Widgets

You can do a lot of things with SmartThings and an android phone, including creating widgets, etc., but you may need both Tasker and another third-party app, SharpTools for some of the more complex options. It’s very popular, and the developer, @joshua_lyon , is very active in this forum and can answer any additional questions.

Transferring

As far as transferring devices, it’s complicated. Some people will add SmartThings as a secondary to vera as a primary which then gives you access to all of the devices attached to vera, but you won’t be able to add or delete new Z wave devices from SmartThings because it will only be a secondary.

Alternatively, yes, you have to individually move each device.

Custom Smartapps = Plug-ins

As far as using custom code, there are a lot of people who write custom smart apps which are similar to plug-ins in the vera system. Here’s the FAQs it describes that process, but it’s pretty straightforward. Basically you’re going to copy the author’s code and paste it into your own account.

To find these, you can use the quick browse lists in the community created wiki. There’s one section for smart apps and another section for projects. So you could look in the smartapps list for “locks” and you’ll find several smart apps there. The features will vary somewhat because typically a developer creates a smartapp for themselves and then shares it with the community. Most are free, but a few developers do charge a license fee or ask for a contribution.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section

You can also find additional smart apps that have been officially published in the “marketplace” section of the official SmartThings app. Even though it’s called marketplace, at present these are all free add-ons. The main difference between the ones in the marketplace and the ones in the community created section are that the ones in the marketplace don’t have to be copied and paste it into your account. You can just select them from the marketplace and they will install automatically.

Core

One custom smartapp is a very sophisticated rules engine. Set up is complex, but there are many community members will be glad to help.

Hopefully all that will help answer some of your initial questions. There are number of community members who have also used vera and I’m sure they will add more. :sunglasses:


#4

The following thread might also be of interest. Among other things it discusses the official android widgets option for SmartThings. :sunglasses:


#5

ok this is all very very helpful. one thing that i’m getting confused about then is the minimote. i see some threads on here via search that insist if you have Zwave it is the easiest way to add and delete devices because many Zwave devices you have to be within a few feet of the hub for them to work. For instance, my ST hub is about 25 feet from my front door light that i was trying to remove then add. no matter what i tried tonight it would not remove or add, so i assume it must be too far away since removing/adding the devices within 15 feet of the hub in the room it is in worked no problem.

this was one of the threads to use the remote for inclusion

and also there was a huge thread when ST owners of the v1 hub migrated to v2 which it was widely used.

so can i use it? i already ordered it from Amazon still time to cancel if necessary.


#6

Yes, the minimote is very helpful when adding new devices.

The minimote gets added to the smartthings hub as a handheld remote. It is then able to add most devices.

(Some locks and other devices using secure inclusion may not like being added to anything except the hub itself as the encryption key has to be exchanged. It’s just going to depend on the model.)

There was a problem when the smartthings hub v two was first released where the SUCID was not set appropriately and consequently the minimote wasn’t able to add devices. But that was fixed with a later Hub update.

So now you just need to make sure that you have added the minimote first before you try to include any devices with it.

One thing to note is that there are two generations of the minimote. They’ll both work, but if you got the first generation, you have to make sure the firmware is up-to-date. You can download the current firmware from the Aeon labs website if you do need it.

You do need to have excluded the device from vera before you can add it to SmartThings.

Usually the first troubleshooting step if a device is not joining to a network is to do a general exclude, which you can issue from SmartThings or from a minimote which has been joined to SmartThings.


#7

thanks so much. I successfully excluded then added to ST 4 devices that were very close to my hub, but as I moved further away it would not work the exclusion process with the exact same Zwave light switches - so i assume it was because the switches were too far from the hub? this is why from reading i ordered the remote. i’ll be sure to update firmware thanks for the great tip.

this is in some ways like learning a new coding language where you seem to be able to do more, but being so used to Vera there is going to be a ton of reading.


#8

does it take a long time for a custom app to show up in the ST app? i get to this step after hitting publish for me the code of an app i wanted

SA9) Scroll down to the MY SMARTAPPS section and choose it.

there is no my smartapps in the smartapps section.

does it just take a long time for it to show up after you click publish for me in your browser?


(Mike) #9

It should be in Marketplace/SmartApps/My Apps and then after you’ve set the app up it’ll show in Automations/Smart Apps


#10

i’m baffled. there is just no my apps section in smartApps.

i get this SmartApp published successfully.

its been over an hour now and i don’t have any my apps section showing up. is there something that has to be done to trigger it or something?


(Mike) #11

If you log into the ide where you added the app, in the smart apps section it’ll show you which category the app is in

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#12

ok yes, it is there and listed under the convenience category - just like your first app. but in your pic and on my screen i see no convenience section. man, so confused when this has to be so easy not sure what i’m missing


(Mike) #13

afaik all community created smart apps (published by yourself) will appear in ‘my apps’ regardless of the category, and all those categories on the smart apps Marketplace page are for apps that have been verified/authorised/whatever they do by smartthings. The only thing I can suggest is close & reopen the smartthings app and it may repopulate the list.


#14

i have no idea what the problem is but maybe it revolves around this

when i go here: https://graph.api.smartthings.com/

and i login it says when i go under “my hubs” there is nothing listed it says a hub hasn’t been added to my account yet - but it clearly has on the android app. also shows no devices. but the nest manager i added is shown under the my smartapps.

then when i login the android app as i said before it still does not show MY APPS in the marketplace - just stops at More


(Mike) #15

where are you located? in the UK/EU the URL is https://graph-eu01-euwest1.api.smartthings.com it sounds like you’re not logging into the correct server


#16

I’m in the USA. I finally got it though and that was the problem. i logged out, logged back in again and for some reason then my hub and all the devices showed up. after that it was simple. so weird, but i really appreciate the help and guiding me though this as it is so simple but just wasn’t working. got it now though.


(Mike) #17

Good :smiley: hope you enjoy using smartthings! it’s not without its annoyances but most can be lived with or worked around and you’ll always get help on here :slight_smile:


(Kevin) #18

Try searching forums for SharpTools by @joshua_lyon


(Christopher Masiello) #19

YES to Tasker/Sharp tools. I have an iPhone and an old Android tablet around the house. I wish that Tasker/Sharp Tools were available for iOS.
I created a few groups like “living room lights” “outside lights” etc. Then I made a button on my Android Home screen. One tap and I can toggle every room on and off. Not to mention the automations you can set up with them. How about hearing things like “wife arrived home” or “back door opened”? Not too shabby.


(Christopher Masiello) #20

Minimote plus velcro tape is one of the best ways to significantly improve the ST user experience. Now you have $15 light switches that can go absolutely anywhere and control 8 different scenarios. From a single lamp to a whole routine of events.
Oh yeah, that and Amazon Alexa. The only time I ever touch the ST app is when I’m adding or configuring things. Never as an day-to-day interface.