No "Things start happening" option when creating a Hello, Home action?

Hello all, I am having an issue with the Hello, Home actions. Hopefully I’m not overlooking something simple but its entirely possible (I’m brand new to ST, just received my hub starter kit yesterday). First, some background info:

Phone: iPhone 6+ iOS 8.2
SmartThings app: v1.6.8
SmartThings hub firmware: can’t find, but the app says it’s up to date
As far as I can tell, everything is fully updated.

The issue:
I’m trying to create a new Hello, Home action that only runs when a motion sensor (ST brand, included in my starter kit) senses motion. The motion sensor is paired with the hub and in Things I can see that it is tracking/reporting when motion starts/stops and sensing temperature. It runs perfectly fine in conjunction with SmartApps and 3rd party apps. However, when creating the Hello, Home action, I go to ‘Automatically Perform “Night Light”’ and I don’t see an option for “Things start happening” as countless ST setup guides suggest there should be. See screenshot below:

Interestingly I did notice that when I tried editing an existing Hello, Home actions (ie. “Goodnight!”), I did have the “Things start happening” option. However, being a lover of customization, I deleted the three or four stock actions and tried creating a new one from scratch, which leaves me here.

Has anyone else had this issue? How did you get the option to show up? Otherwise, does anyone have any suggestions for me to try?

Thanks for any help.


I’m not sure exactly what’s going on when setting up a new Heelo
Home Action, but there’s a work around.

A completely different way to do it, is to use a lights and switches shortcuts group. You will have to set up a short cuts group even if it only has a single light as a member. Then you will have a lot of options including when there is motion.

The following link explains how to set up a lights and switches shortcut group.

shortcut groups are very powerful and will give you a lot of other schedule options you can use as well. If you love customization this is the most intuitive and for many things the most powerful scheduler available in smart things that does not require actual programming to create custom code.

Welcome to the community!:blush:

Having said all of that…

@Tyler @April , I just went to check and saw the same thing in my IOS app. If I go to set up a NEW Hello Home Action, there’s no longer a “when things start happening” option, and I know there used to be, I have several existing hello home actions using it.

What changed when, and is this a bug or just a new UI structure?

Nothing has changed.

Certain automations are only available in Hello, Home if you’ve specifically chosen for that action to also change the mode.

Choose that you’d like to change the mode, then take a look again.

There was a reason we chose to do it like this… but my memory is failing me.

Weird. I have hello home actions that I’ve been using for months that do have a motion sensor trigger events of different device classes, but don’t change the mode. Maybe I had them set up to change the mode when I first started and then removed that event?

There are lots of reasons why you would want to do this without changing the mode.

For example, I have the deadbolt unlock and the light turn on when I’m letting the dog in from the yard. Can’t do it with shortcut groups, because the door and the light can’t go in the same group. But I’m not changing the mode. I was home, I am home, I’m just briefly opening the door to the backyard.

I tried to set a test phrase up by starting with the mode change, which did let me use “when things start to happen,” and then after it was saved unchecking the mode change. It did let me save that a second time. However, that hello home action is not triggering at all. And I’m afraid to change anything else in the configuration I have.

I’ll see if I can borrow another motion sensor from a friend of mine and see if I can get any new hello home action to work with the new motion sensor trigger. But that may take a couple of days.

Re: “When Things Start Happening” and “When Things Quiet Down” specifically: these two criteria require that you change mode when executing the action. Going further, these conditions are currently coded to not execute the phrase if the system is already in the mode being changed to by the phrase. Confusing enough? :stuck_out_tongue:

We do this to avoid a situation in which the phrase(s) keep triggering over and over again. If you set the action’s “Change the mode to” field then these criteria will appear. @Tyler is right, It’s been like this since it was introduced as an option, so I suspect the mode change was in your configuration previously. Not sure how else you could have done it. Off the top of my head, I don’t think you can set up the particular use case you’re looking for without a mode change. A custom SmartApp could do the trick.

OK, I went back to my notes and found why the new HHA didn’t fire.

When you set up a new HHA to change mode and use a motion sensor, it also sets a default time restriction for (wait for it…)

6 AM to 12 PM. Which is noon, not midnight, which I suspect was the intended range.

First time around I changed this from 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM. Or all day except for two minutes around midnight.

I changed the time and now the new one works, so at least that part makes sense.

The undocumented “must change mode” though, is somebody’s kludge based on their assumptions about how someone else would use motion sensors. It’s a clever kludge and I like it as a solution for some use cases. I just don’t want it to be mandatory.

My motion sensors are set up as touchless switches. (I’m quadriparetic.) inside a box on a shelf. Or someplace similar. They don’t trigger unless there’s an intentional hand wave. So I don’t want a mode change and I don’t need to be protected from repeated triggers.

And I can code, but I don’t want to. Even cut and paste is a pain when you’re doing everything by voice.

Yes, motion sensors require careful deployment to get the desired results. But don’t cripple the scheduler because you think someone might get themselves in a loop when they first set things up.

Put a warning on the set up wizard if you want. But let the user match device capabilities to use cases.

“All home automation is local.” :blush:

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All, thanks for the replies. I can confirm that I get the “Things start happening” option when setting the action to change modes. Coupled with the fact that an action won’t run if it’s already in the mode that the action is set to change to, that really limits their capabilities.

@JDRoberts, I agree, the current implementation of Hello Home actions are pretty confusing if you don’t already know theses gotchas. Maybe the actions weren’t designed to handle what I was trying to do (turn on/off lights at 10% based on movement during night mode), but they certainly look like they can.

I was hoping to use these actions as a sort of rules engine rather than having to find a different 3rd party app for every function that I need, but it sounds like that won’t happen.

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There IS a workaround here… you set up the HHA you want with a dummy mode change, then remove the mode change. Things Quite Down… and Things Start Happening… both keep on working once you’ve removed the mode change.

I’ve been doing this for a few months with absolutely no crazy endless loops… so I’m not sure what ST is trying to save us from.

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