Newby looking for some guidance (UK)

Hi everyone,

I’m a complete newbie to all thing ST and pretty new to smart home and automated living apart from a few light bulbs here and there. After a pretty poor experience I moved from Alexa to GA and so far OK until I stumbled upon ST. Well a few weeks later, I’ve spent a small fortune on gadgets etc and found your forums to of been a great help, however, there’s a few things I’m still a bit unsure of and would appreciate some guidance:

  1. is it worth creating my own system such as home assistance. From reading their guidelines I feel semi confident I can get it up and running
  2. now here’s a really stupid question about smart apps, what are they and how do I access them. I’ve used the standard apps for our locks, speakers, lighting etc… but the more in depth ones such as creating virtual switches,. I seem to be hitting a blank wall. It’s probably something really simple, but is there a walk through guide maybe?

Also, being in the UK and living in an apartment block our whole apartment is electricity only. We are upgrading to electric underfloor heating, I’ve seen a few z-wave plus controllers, any recommendations on the best one that could work almost like a central heating system?

Anyway thanks in advance, I’ve been driving the other half crazy with my tinkering and experiments :joy:

Just to address part of your question - Home Assistant would be a good fit for you if a) you like messing about with tech and b) you are keen on the idea of not being internet dependent for operating your smart home. It’s harder (but possible if you limit yourself and buy lots of buttons) to be offline with SmartThings.


Thanks for the reply, I’m retraining for a career in OT, so seems a good way to get a bit of tech experience and have a play. I like that ST is almost foolproof so to date most of our appliances are ST compatible.

Hey Kayn,

Welcome! I got on the smartthings train a couple of months ago and it’s been an enjoyable ride. Home Automation is an expensive hobby that’s for sure. Especially living here in Australia where it takes so long for things to be released here and you spend around $100 on wifi plugs years ago when now you can finally get smartthings zigbee energy sensing plugs for $50! Anyway…I wont rant i’ll try and help you.

There is plenty of tinkering you can do with smartthings, I wouldn’t necessarily go looking at Home Assistant just yet. It sounds like you haven’t looked at the IDE yet. if you go here: then click ‘my locations’ up the top left after signing in. You then click my home which takes you to the appropriate smartthings web address for your location. After that you can check out your devices and configurations. This is also where you add device handlers, smart apps and virtual switches.

I’ve had other members recommend not going with zwave products, it seems when you have a lot of them you run into problems. It seems zigbee is the way to go. I would suggest going to youtube and watching some video’s there, maybe specifically search for how to install webcore, that should be one of the first if not the first ‘smartapp’ you should install. ‘The Bearded Tech Guy’ is one that comes to mind…he is doing a series on webcore.

Enjoy sending your mrs crazy! :slight_smile:

That link will not work for most people in the UK: it’s the wrong shard. :disappointed_relieved:

When posting to the Forum, please use the universal URL, it will automatically direct people to the correct shard for their account.

Welcome! See the custom code FAQ for an explanation of terms and what a smartapp is.

FAQ: An Overview of Using Custom Code in SmartThings (SmartThings Classic)

That said, these days you probably don’t need them. Between WebCoRE and the new Rules API you should be able to create any rule you need. See the following:

How to Get Started Creating Complex Rules in SmartThings

There aren’t many people using both Home Assistant and SmartThings unless they’re doing a lot with MQTT, and there’s a new SmartThings MQTT interface in development that should handle that. :sunglasses:

Rubbish… I’m in the UK and use the same link, even clicked your link and took me straight to IDE

Well I spent 7 hours last night having a play around, accidentally created duplicates and then triplets of devices but created my first virtual switches. Even managed to get my hearing working with ST, can’t even remember how I did it, but it’s working. I did however set the house alarm off a few times

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Maybe they’ve become more joined up lately. The other advice I keep seeing repeated is that only the SmartLighting automations run locally. It’s not been true in my experience, since both SmartLighting and normal Automations run locally if and only if all the devices affected also run locally. Though I want to distance myself from the first word in your post. I’d not reply to a person who goes out of their way to help, in that manner.


There are some UK accounts on the original shard, so I’ve edited my post above to say that most UK accounts are not. This has been a common issue in the forum, you can find many posts on it. It’s easier to just give the universal link, which is

The URL:

That should work for everyone, regardless of what region they live in or what hub they have. :sunglasses:

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Hello @Kayn_Matthews! Welcome to the Community! as @JDRoberts says, nowadays you won’t need to create an SmartApp with everything ST is providing, I strongly recommend the Rules API for complex rules, as it allows you to create rules with multiple conditions.
I also encourage you to share what kind of things you would like to do, so we can recommend the best for your case.

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Hey there, thank you. I’ve already decided I’m going to stay put with ST. It’s a much more user friendly system than Alexa, which is great for my technophobe other half.

So a couple of things that I’m looking for help and recommendations with really if you wouldn’t mind? I currently have two roller style blinds on the Tuya platform that I’ve managed to bring over, but I’m looking for companies that offer the twist/Venetian style blinds. So far I’ve only come across Somas that offer that functionality?

I’m only very basic when it comes to computing etc (for now) so I’m taking it at smalls steps. I’m just getting my head around the smart apps. I spent a whole day searching the app store and Google play a couple of weeks ago until I realised they were internal apps :see_no_evil: I am however thinking what’s the best way to get my security system setup with automatic rules and conditions as I’m not the best at remembering to set the alarm. Currently I have Simplisafe inside the building and Arlo cameras in the garden and out the back. Arlo has been pretty simple to setup but I’m getting conflicting information about Simplisafe.

Thanks for all your help!

Hi, not sure if you are still around Kayn as this is several weeks old now but just wanted to add my 2c. I would actually go down the Z-Wave route as opposed to Zigbee which was mentioned above. People have different views of course and I am speaking from personal experiences.
I have been on ST for years and in most of my experience Zigbee devices apart from the actual SmartThings own ones have caused me nothing but headaches and lots of Device Handler editing. It may not affect you being in an apartment but Zigbee devices have a limited range to the hub whereas Z-Wave devices that plug into a mains socket actually act as repeaters so create a sort of mesh network with the devices. I have also found the far more stable and they seem to reconnect back to the hub if there is an issue whereas with Zigbee I have had to jump through hoops and even reset devices on occasion. That being said Zigbee devices tend to be quite a bit cheaper than Z-Wave so this may play a part in your choice of items.
Be wary of the cheaper Zigbee devices from Aliexpress/eBay etc. and always search here for compatibility and Device Handlers for any device you may be looking to purchase. Again, from personal experience I have had very few issues with cheap Z-Wave devices from China compared to their Zigbee counterparts but that is my experience and others may feel differently.
Also, you mention in your last post about staying with ST and it being much more user friendly than Alexa. These two ‘systems’ are not really comparable, it is really intended that they both work together and compliment each other completely. You link your ST account to Alexa and most (possibly not all) your devices are now also voice controlled. You hopefully know all this by now but just wanted to mention it just in case you still had the same view.

With regards to security, ST is not really marketed or even designed/intended as a security system but with the right door and motion sensors etc, a decent loud siren or two, some tinkering and good routines you can have something quite adequate.

I used to use Arlo fully and still have a few dotted around but moved onto a grown up 24/7 4K system. Am sure you have already but if not then add the Arlo Cameras into ST. Not sure if you have heard of Bink, they are small battery powered cameras which connect over WiFi, the two AA batteries last for at least a ~year depending on the amount of times they are triggered. We used to be able to add these to ST but Amazon pulled the plug on that when they bought the Blink Company, however, I have heard rumours that this may be coming back soon. Point being, these a pretty good little cameras and if we get ST integration back they really cannot be beaten. I have them all over the place for extra security to compliment my wired system. I just got fed up with Arlo as it lacks major features like telling you if camera is offline, crazy lol. not to mention the battery life relly sucked, oh and the subscription fees. Maybe some of these issues have been sorted now but people were screaming out for years and Netgear did nothing about it (little rant over lol). Just take a quick look at the Blink XT2 cameras.

Soma do offer a Venetian Blind box as you say. I do not have one but have several Soma roller/vertical blind ones here. Soma opened up their API last year and I have them nicely integrated into ST with a custom Device Handler which I started to write and another talented member ripped apart and worked magic with :slight_smile: Soma just released a version 2 device which is much faster than the original but this is probably of not much benefit with your type of blinds. Also you have no direct ‘manual’ control over the Soma units so it cost me another £24 to buy a ultra slim battery powered Z-Wave double toggle switches to control them with via ST. The costs add up unfortunately but am pretty happy with them. For Venetian blinds though I would look for units that actually fit in the top aluminium housing of the blinds. That way you can still use the rod as normal and they are also automated. Some of these are also Solar Powered/Rechargeable so you stick a panel to the top inside of your window and no need for power cords etc. Not much on here about blinds for some reason (well was not when I searched a while back) but do have a good search on here and also google for any advice about V Blinds and ST etc. Will add though that as there is not a huge market for these types of devices they are not cheap as you have seen with the Soma ones. Let me know if you do find a decent V Blind unit that works with ST, I could do with a few.

As mentioned, have been here a pretty long time with the occasional break and all on here (bar a few lol) are great people and more than happy to help so just keep reading and more importantly asking questions if you need help with anything.

There ya go, had a little time just now so spent it here. Hope a little of it may help you. :slight_smile:

Hope you all stay safe and well out there in these crazy times!!!