Please help. New to smartthings and I’m not sure what to do first

Hello. I am tech. Sab but not sure where to start. I purchased a smartthings v2 hub about 2yrs ago and is still sealed in the box. I would like to have door and window contacts, light switches since I wouldn’t want kids shutting off power to a smart bulb, maybe a smart door lock and thermostat. Please any help would be great. Sorry if I am posting in wrong location.

you’ll need to be a bit more precise on what help you need.

is it to decide what devices to buy and what the best brand is
is it to install the hub
is it to add devices to the hub
is it some of the more advanced features like automation, SmartApps, device handlers etc

there is so much to this ecosystem that no one will really be able to answer such a generic and ambiguous question.

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Also tell us what country you are located?

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This FAQ by @JDRoberts may help (see the links in Inspiration and Ideas section near the end):


I am in the US


Rizlah. I would say to start what devices to buy

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In that case. Any of the works with SmartThings devices available in amazon or other retailers are your best bet. If you stick with SmartThings own devices to begin with at least it’ll make life a little simpler until you get your head around it all.

Most people start with bulbs then extend their stuff to include sensors (motion and/or door) then usually plugs.

From there it’s really a personal choice depending on what you want to achieve. With SmartThings hubs you’re really only limited by your imagination and technical ability.

In saying that people with little to no technical aptitude can still achieve plenty.

If you want to add voice capability to your devices then an Alexa or google home will hook up perfectly and allow you to say “Alexa turn the light on” etc.

Hopefully this gives you some food for thought. Let us know if we can be of any more help.

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The other getting started tips I’d add:

  1. don’t do too much too fast. Focus on and finish one project then move on.
  2. Pick good devices. Good devices aren’t cheap. I’ve seen way too many people struggling with thier install because they wanted to save a buck.
  3. build a STRONG mesh. SmartThings can support cloud connected tech like wifi switches but it was designed with ZWave and Zigbee in mind. So pick one of those two and stick with it unless you have a good reason not to. That said within Zigbee and ZWave, the biggest issue most of us see is someone in denial on a signal strength issue. We know the spec says 90-100 ft. That’s a best case in the clear scenario. Cut the expectation by 4. Plan on 20-30 feet between powered repeating devices. Start at where you put your hub and work outward to where your project is. (see why number 1 is so important?)

Thanks guys. Keep feeding me lol. So would it be a good Idea to start with a light switch in my room where hub will be located since my room is a conversion from a garage to master bedroom and has 4 concrete walls. I failed to also mention earlier I do own Alexa dot and multiple fire devices so voice control is all around.

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That’s a fantastic first project… Good luck!

This might also be of interest:

Bulbs, switches and sensors, oh my....what to buy (device class features FAQ)

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I strongly recommend not putting the hub in a room with four concrete walls. Unless your entire house is concrete. It’s going to be challenging to get signal out of that room.

Read post 11 in the following thread and then go up to the top and read the whole thread and it should help you understand how to lay out your network. :sunglasses: (The topic title is a clickable link.)

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Yes whole house concrete even the roof.

you might want to invest in a number of Zigbee range extenders as well.

Keep in ming that most constantly powered devices also act as a repeated (extender) so plugs and bulbs will allow you to extend the range of your Zigbee network. But I have found, even in my relatively small, standard built, terraced family (UK) home that I needed a few extenders as well, just to strengthen the network and help keep everything connected.

You will likely need something like an extender or a bulb both immediately outside and inside each room you want to have smart devices in.

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That definitely makes it harder. How’s the Wi-Fi signal throughout the house? Do you have dead zones? Have you had to put in Wi-Fi boosters to avoid dead zones?

Jd I actually ran an ethernet cable around the outside of the house back in the other end and plased a router or there. So I have my modem wifi on one end of the house and a router broadcasting another ssid on the other end

OK, but what’s the signal quality in each individual room?

No issues at all with signal

Start with something simple. Of the things you listed, I’d rank them as follows from simplest to most complex

  1. Door and window contacts. The challenge here will mainly be getting a strong mesh. Start close to the hub, plan for powered devices (battery operated devices don’t relay messages)

  2. Switches. My experience is Z-wave, but if you’re doing a lot of Zigbee door and window sensors, using Zigbee switches will greatly help your mesh. If you don’t own one, buy a “non-contact tester” for working with 120v wiring! The age of your house will be a factor, most smart switches need a neutral wire accessible in the box. Older wiring may not have that.

  3. Thermostats. Avoid Nest if you want to control your thermostats with SmartThings. Google has recently shut down the “works with Nest” API without providing a replacement. Beyond that, I’ve got no advice.

  4. Smart locks. From what I read here, these seem to have a whole host of their own challenges. If you end up with mostly Zigbee devices, stick with Zigbee for any locks.

What’s the difference between zigbee and z wave?