October 2017: Are the Poltergeists back? (Devices randomly turning on)


So back in October 2015 there were a lot of problems with what people in the forum took to calling “poltergeists,” meaning devices randomly turning on at strange times. Doors unlocking, light coming on, sometimes multiple devices at once.

Most of those seem to be cloud issues and eventually it settled down a few weeks later.

There have always been a few random occurrences reported, but in the last week there have been three separate reports of multiple device poltergeist incidents.

As always, if you do have this going on, contact support by using the link at the top of the first page of the forum, as they can see things from their side which we can’t see as ordinary customers.

Also, as always, the most common reason for this one if it just affects one account is because someone has an arrival rule set up and whatever device it is that triggers that arrival temporarily goes off power, or the hub itself goes off power, and then when the network get reestablished it gets treated like an arrival event again.

But the ones reported recently feel different than that to me. Since there’s a long-standing joke in the forum that when this stuff happens it’s because @SBDOBRESCU let his pet poltergeist out of the box again, I’m just going to mention that, but that’s just a forum joke don’t pay any attention to this paragraph. :wink::ghost: We do understand that if this is happening at your house it is both unnerving and annoying. :rage:



How do I stop these false alerts?
Fireplace Setup for Smartthing...ready to proceed!
Hub Firmware Release Notes - 0.24.11

Also note that there is a current known issue of events being lost, but in that situation the device doesn’t change state when you expect it to.

That’s different from a poltergeist, which is just a device randomly turning on.

The two can sometimes be related if the problem is database corruption in the cloud, or even if it’s that a scheduled event ends up being delayed for a long time, but they don’t always occur together.

(Amauri Viguera) #3

There have always been… ghosts in the machine…

Lucky for me, I’ve only had one instance of the garage light turning off out of the blue, but maybe I’ve been lucky or I haven’t been paying enough attention.

(John C) #4

For a while now, I’ve suspected an issue of spurious events being generated — but haven’t yet proved it. To wit:

(Ron S) #5

It’s too early for him. Bobby unleashes it around 12th or 13th October. @SBDOBRESCU is 2-3 days early this year.

(Mark) #6

Figures this might happen when I’ve been out of town for a week and relying on ST to adjust temp setpoints on my window a/c’s (with @brutalboy’s sensibo integration) so our cats don’t get heatstroke with the unseasonable warmth we’ve had, as well as turn lights on/off in the evening with @slagle’s vacation lighting director.

It’s crap like this that causes me to never actually arm SHM when we’re away on vacation. My neighbors (in an apartment building) would kill me if my aeotec siren repeatedly went off at random in the middle of the night with no one home to disable it.

Fingers crossed my First Alert ZCOMBO’s don’t send false alarms for smoke or CO while I’m gone. That’d end up being an awkward call to the fire department.


I think, although I’m just guessing, it’s also probably why the new ADT/SmartThings security system uses a completely different networking protocol for its security alert devices than the SmartThings hub. Also, another guess: I’m betting that protocol runs completely locally, no cloud, and probably not mesh. All of which would be designed to improve reliability and reduce the possibility of false alarms. We’ll see for sure once it’s actually released.

(Mark) #8

Yeah, I really wish that’s the product they had released instead of the V2 hub. I actually bought my V1 hub only a couple months before the V2 hub came out.

At the time I probably would have considered upgrading the devices I had. But two years later there’s pretty much no chance.

I even ordered a V2 hub over a year ago when it was on sale. Still haven’t changed my system over to that one since there’s no migration tool.


My poltergeists never went away. I’ve opened a few tickets with support, and had a different “culprit” each time. From drilling down to the Hub events whenever it happens (which can be hard to find), I usually have a ZBJOIN event immediately before a false event. No events turn up in any of the logging suggesting an app has turned on the smartbulb (or opened the door), and I’ve ruled out voltage fluctuations (happens to a single bulb within a 3 bulb fixture). I’ve built webcore rules to help manage the problem (I have a virtual switch for each light so that if a single bulb deviates from the virtual group, it gets reset back to join the group), but that doesn’t stop a light from turning on and off randomly. The most annoying ones are the garage door suddenly deciding its open, and the bedroom light/lamp turning on.

I also have not been arming my system, as my ST multi-sensors will randomly die, with the only notification being from simple device viewer noticing that there hasn’t been a check-in in 24-48 hours. Sometimes, the sensor comes back afterwards, sometimes it doesn’t. My 2 EcoLink Motion sensors seem to be working fine, but my Xiaomi motion sensors are way too sensitive (cats set them off). Between the inconsistencies with the multis, and motion sensors, and the random I’m Back executions (I think my neighbour reboots his super-wifi every night, which pushes me in and out of my geolocation), I haven’t been able to get the system to actually stay armed through the night. I keep saying I need to scrap my automations, and start over, as my system is built over a layer of bug fixes, but I’m also afraid to discover more bugs.

Status of Hub Replacement Tool?
(David Aguero) #10

This happened to our system last night while I’m away at a conference and my pregnant, easily scared wife is home alone - she hates the smart home :frowning: . Needless to say I’ll be submitting a ticket.