Noob tutorial so stupid questions aren't asked?

So I’m like a dog on a sock and in the last week I’ve put in ST, Alexa, and various other items. I find I have a lot of random things happening and questions. At the same time, I don’t want to burden the forum. Is there a knowledge repository that someone can point me to so I can do some legwork on my own? Things I’m currently trying to tackle:

I seem to have presence issues (iPhone - if it happens it’s delayed) and maybe my perception is off. I envisioned rolling into my driveway, and my garage opens up, the bolt lock on the door opens, and the lights turn on.

I seem to have multi function sensors that seem to hang open in a state

I would love to integrate everything with Alexa, IFTTT, etc

You know, random stuff a noob should be finding out

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Welcome! This should help:

There’s also a community created wiki, although it’s just getting started and doesn’t have that many articles yet, but the ones that it has are often helpful. :sunglasses:

The FAQ subsection of the Devices category of this forum is also good:

And of course the official support knowledgebase:

Beyond that, you just have to search the forums and see what you find. But many people will be happy to help.


I’m fairly new (going on 4 months) and would agree that it would be great for tutorials. There is a 3rd party wiki, but since it’s user maintained, it’s at the mercy of the users to maintain it.

I’ve found that the message board here is one of the best resources in that you can ask your question and people will either answer it directly, or point you in the proper direction.

In an effort to help you out with the stuff you have now, a couple of things:

I find that the presence sensor and not my phone is more accurate especially if you have your phone switch to wifi when you get within range. I had both my phone and presence sensor as Smart Things, and I’ve gone to just using the sensor, and it performs exactly in the example you mention (without the garage door opener)

As to the sensors hanging, where is your hub in regards to your wi-fi

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There are two categories of stuck sensor problems.

The first one are the problems that can happen with any networked sensor working with any controller. There’s just a standard checklist of things that you run through. Here’s the FAQ on that:

The second ones are really weird things that only happen in a SmartThings environment, particularly the V2 hub environment, and seem to have to do with a failure to synchronize between the hub and the cloud account. They often involve multiple sensors at once, or randomly affect one of several sensors. These are a bear to track down, and you often have to get support involved.

So I recommend running through the checklist first, and then if that doesn’t fix the problems, contact support and get their help to look into the cloud.

Cool thank you for the quick responses, I’ll start reading :slight_smile:

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Presence, regardless of the device you use, is one of those features that works great for some people, not at all for other people, and is randomly flaky for still others.

It’s very much affected by local conditions. So some people will find that phone presence works much better than the smartthings-branded presence sensor. Other people will find the reverse. Still other people, myself included, find that they have to use a combination of two devices in order to get reliable presence indication.

So if this feature tends to work differently for different people, where do you start?

Well, since most people who have smartthings have a smart phone, it’s worth starting there. The following FAQ runs through the the usual troubleshooting steps for phone based presence:

If you’d rather use the fob device, or you think it might work better than the phone for you, see the following:

And if you’re just curious about the two device method, here’s the thread on that. I should say first that I had a very specific use case I wanted to solve. I use a wheelchair, and I had problems where my presence would be detected well I was still on the bus waiting for the driver to unload me. So the timing was just really off. I didn’t want to be detected as arriving until I reach the bottom of the wheelchair ramp at my front door. So this is a very specific, quite small area. The two device method worked really well for me for this. Other people have used it just to improve reliability.

Finally I should add that some highly technical members have added their own detection systems based on their phones connected to their specific Wi-Fi. Again, people who did this were people who found that the more general solutions just were accurate enough at their house. You can find a number of threads on this approach in the forums. But that’s more work than most people find necessary. Typically either the phone or the fob will work for most people, although which one works best will vary from house to house. And the two device method will improve reliability for anyone who needs a more specific zone. :sunglasses:

@JDRoberts is brilliant and makes my job easier, but Support is always around to help as well!


Agreed! No knock against ST support but the reality is if one reads through these forums @JDRoberts has helped me and countless others immensely more than anyone from ST staff. Not only with direct answers to my questions but reading the multitude of posts where he has helped so many others in the past has been a great personal ST learning experience. Thank you @JDRoberts :clap:


Thanks for the shout, but there are lots of people who help lots of people here. Including ST staff. :sunglasses: