"Pollster" - A SmartThings Polling Daemon

What is the difference between refresh and poll? I may have missed it but which devices need polled and which refreshed? I’m obviously on the lower end of the competent user.

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poll is is called by SmartThings background polling engine every 10 minutes or so.
refresh is typically called when you tap “Refresh” tile in the device details.

Some devices implement either poll or refresh, while others implement both.

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This is also what I want to ask before because I don’t know which devices can implement poll or refresh… Where I could look for it… I saw the the ge link bulb there is a refresh. Thanks.

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Just FYI, during the last Sunday’s (3/8/15) outage Pollster stopped working among other apps that rely on schedule() API. It you notice that Pollster is not working, just open the app settings and tap ‘Done’ button to restart it.

I have 2 GE Link Bulbs that I’m also controlling via a virtual switch and the big switch app.

The virtual switch always seems to get out of sync from the lightbulbs. Meaning… If a Hello, Home phrase or another app kicks in and turns on the lights, the virtual switch won’t reflect the change. It’ll say off. I’ll have to flip the virtual switch twice to get them in sync again.

Does Pollster attempt to solve this problem?

Pollster is primarily intended for polling IP network devices that don’t have other ways to report their status changes to the hub. It is not intended to be used with Z-Wave or Zigbee devices. Those have other mechanisms for updating their status built-in into their respective protocols. In fact, excessive polling of Zigbee and Z-Wave devices may result in degraded performance due to network overload.


I use pollster on 1 z-wave outlet every minute and it seems to be fine. It’s more just a wrapper for me to execute code every minute. :frowning:

Look at the message traffic in the Events log for your hub.

If polling is more than 25% of your total messages, than the odds are high that:

  1. you are significantly reducing the battery life of any battery operated devices being polled
  2. you are significantly increasing the energy usage of your entire network
  3. you are likely getting more message collisions and drop outs, increasing both overall lag and the chance that any given message will get lost altogether
  4. you are significantly increasing the likelihood that there will be a bottleneck at the hub, with unpredictable results

Ideally in commercial installs we like to see polling limited to 5% of network traffic.

All of the above is why network engineers say “Polling is evil.” (Put it in quotes and Google it.)


As a general rule, polling in a mesh network should be reserved for maintenance and troubleshooting, then turned off again.

But it’s your house and your money. If you’re happy with network performance, you don’t mind changing batteries or bulbs more often, and you don’t care if your home automation network is using 50 times more energy than it needs to, it’s up to you. :wink:

On the other hand, if you do have meaningful code that needs to run every minute, not just, “Hey, buddy, you awake?” then you haven’t increased energy cost for no real reason. But you have still increased the likelihood of collisions and dropouts, so I’d have to ask whether a mesh topology is really the right choice for what you’re trying to do. If you have critical actions that need to run near continuously, a star network is usually a better choice.

Luckily the only device I’m polling is an outlet and the main reason I had to implement it this way is because my two triggers required are time and powerMeter. Since ST doesn’t have a decent rules engine and the two that are out there don’t include powerMeter I made my own SmartApp with Pollster.

I come from the world of industrial automation where we poll everything in measures of milliseconds so for this system to be buggered by a poll per minute is pretty lame. Hopefully one of these rule engines will soon include powerMeter or ST’s April release will have a nice rule engine.

Sure, I understand. My first commercial install was at a nuclear power plant, and we polled all the time. But that wasn’t a mesh network. Polling is fine if the topology supports it, but that’s not an ST issue, that’s a zwave issue.

Yea I understand. No shame was meant to by cast upon ST by my last post. Other than their lack of basic rules creation that is.

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Definitely, the rules and schedule management is a current ST shortfall. Drives me crazy. I literally have spreadsheets taped to the door to keep track of the schedules. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Haha wow I’m sure I’m not seeing Z-Wave traffic issues because I have nowhere near that much stuff.

The rules engine would fill a hole for the middle level users like myself, not satisfied by the cutesy hello home functions and what not but also not familiar enough with groovy to make the most efficient SmartApps possible.

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@JDRoberts I agree man - polling is indeed evil. I removed mine because of the toll on batteries which negated the whole point of a smart home. Thanks for opening my eyes.

I thought pollster was recommended for z-wave devices which are not working because ST doesn’t poll correctly.

I have three ZXT-120 IR senders which also read temperature. The device code for these has capability polling but it never works.

Is there another way to fix these devices ?

Does anyone know why Pollster just dies once in awhile? I have it set to poll or refresh devices like MyQ and RainMachine every minute and I noticed it stopped last night. If I go through the app and re initialize the settings, it starts to work again. Any ideas?

Yes. See this discussion:

Thanks. Looks like it’s still an issue :frowning:

I have a question. I am using @copyninja’s RainMachine device type (RainMachine) to monitor my sprinkler zones. It has refresh and polling capabilities in it and in the Service Manager I have it set to poll every minute. This doesn’t seem to work as when I run my sprinklers, their status doesn’t update. However, if I go into the zone tile and click “Refresh”, it updates properly. When I hit the “Refresh” tile, the logs indicate it’s actually polling though.

I figured I would use Pollster to fix this. When I use Pollster to poll, it still doesn’t update. However, when I use Pollster to refresh every minute, the inactive and active state keeps flip flopping from active to inactive. Any ideas? The logs are below which don’t indicate any sort of errors, but I notice it’s polling every 3 seconds which is weird.

4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:08 AM: debug Current Device Status: 1
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:08 AM: info Polling…
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:08 AM: debug Current Device Status: 0
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:08 AM: info Polling…
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:06 AM: debug Current Device Status: 0
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:06 AM: info Polling…
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:03 AM: debug Current Device Status: 0
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:03 AM: info Polling…
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:00 AM: debug Current Device Status: 0
4fb5c4f2-815b-4f92-9a1d-3fd523c80643 7:45:00 AM: info Polling…

Pollster keeps shutting down on me. I have to open the smart app and reconfigure to get it polling again. Better then ST polling which doesn’t work either but not working all the time.

Bummed me out for my ZXT-120 IR senders which have temperature readings but they don’t auto send updates so I need to poll.