Power outage – Big problem

poweroutage

#1

This last week we were out of town on vacation. I came home to a house with all the lights on. Anything in the house that did not have a timer or motion sensor to turn it off was on. It is a big problem if every time the power goes out all your lights turn to full bright.

It would be nice if the Smartthings Hub detected a power outage and set all the lights to the last known state. I am sure I not the first to mentioned this? Is there any other solutions?


Your experience with smart things?
#2

What types of devices do you have?

All of the smart bulbs on the market turn back on when power is restored. One solution would be to configure the “Good Night” routine to turn off all lights at a certain time.


#3

Yep, it’s a device characteristic. Much discussion in the forums. There are some smart apps that people have written to address this, but they require that you have a device that knows when it’s been restored to power.

People used to use the generation one smartthings motion sensor for this, because it would switch itself from mains power to battery power and back and you could capture those changes. I don’t know what devices people are using for that now but I would ask in the smartapp thread. (this is a clickable link)


#4

I have all GE Bulbs. They come on during a power outage.


#5

LED bulbs are a big problem during a power outage. One thing for them to come on when power is restored but another thing when you no longer can control them. This problem is not only with GE but the Wemo LED as well (maybe other I don’t know about). The power comes back on and one or more of the bulbs can only be turned off via the lamp switch. Fine if you or someone is actually there to do it but if you are away from home when this occurs you are snookered. The lamps will/may stay on till someone is there to fix the problem. This may be a simple as a hub reboot or (often) a complete reset of the LED.

I have 11 LED bulbs cause more headaches than they are worth. In the future I expect I will eventually replace them with either a z-wave socket,outlet or even a wemo switch.


#6

I have 3 Hue bulbs in my bedroom. We had a momentary power outage the other day at 5AM on a weekend. That wasn’t a happy experience :frowning:


#7

I have another question about this. If I have a Z-Wave switch in the wall and a GE Wink bulb in the room with the two linked will the light still come on a full brightness when the power goes out and comes back on?


(Fast, Good, Cheap...pick two.) #8

In addition to JD’s post above.

The biggest issue I’ve found is that the power outage can unlink your bulbs. The chances of this happening to all of them are slim to none, but if that does happen, you will not be able to control the bulbs any other way that manually turning off the switch.


(Eric) #9

@Judgless did your hub notify that it lost communication with ST cloud?

If it returns then that’s a good time to check in.

It would be nice if the hub could build-in a power-failure-return routine (or a communication failure return routine).


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #10

I think this is highly likely to be added. What is impossible to say is when. Don’t hold breath.


#11

Is this for the GE Link bulbs? If so, this is due to a firmware issue on the bulbs themselves. GE is aware and hoping to have a fix out before the end of the year.


#12

I did get a message on my phone that the hub lost connection. That was the first time it happen. I was gone for 9 days. All my lights were on the entire time.


#13

We have smartphones that do amazing things. We can send hundreds of HD 1080p feeds to a LCD display. That stuff is high tech.

I want a simple system that turns lights on and off with out issues. I am shocked in the year 2015 that is not available. Zigbee is almost 15 years old and they still have issues like this? Not the brightest group of Engineers. (excuse the pun)


(Ben Lebson) #14

The reason they are designed to come on when power is first applied to them is in order to act like a normal light bulb. If you have it hooked up to a switch or in a lamp it is possible for someone to try and use it like a normal bulb. When they do this they will expect it to come on when you turn the switch/lamp back on. In order to deal with this there should be some way of running a ‘when power is restored…’ routine, which it looks like the ST team is looking in to.


#15

Zigbee was designed to make it very inexpensive in terms of both money and energy to deploy a large network of battery operated devices without requiring human intervention to rebuild the network every time one was taken off-line to have the batteries changed.

It does that extremely well. That’s what it’s for. And one of the ways that it meets the challenge, which is a very big challenge, is by keeping each individual end device, including lightbulbs, pretty stupid. Very low processing power. Very little in terms of retained state. That’s why the batteries last so long in the battery powered devices. That’s why the lightbulbs can cost only a couple bucks more than their nonnetworked cousins.

It’s entirely possible to add a device to monitor energy going on and have it reset all the bulbs if you want. It can be done now. But it’s going to add cost and it’s going to require adding a device that sophisticated enough to keep track of the states.

If you want constant state monitoring with minimal custom work, go to Wi-Fi. Pay $120 for a lightbulb. Quadruple The network’s energy use over a month.

All 3 solutions are good solutions but they solve different problems.

Apple believes that residential home automation customers think with the Wi-Fi mindset. They demand constant monitoring. They’re willing to pay the extra in terms of dollars per device and energy use for the network. So Apple is using Wi-Fi and constant monitoring for HomeKit.

If you live in an area where your power goes out a lot, and you hate it that the Bulbs come on at full brightness, you have multiple choices.

One) don’t use zigbee bulbs. Use switches instead.

Two) add an energy monitoring device and a scene storing smartapp, and have it reset when power is restored

Three) use a whole house backup system

Four) while you’re away on vacation, run something that turns the bulbs off every once in a while.

All of these are possible. They have different costs. They have different pros and cons.

The manufacturer’s guide for every zigbee bulb says the bulb is intended to operate with constant current. If you’re going to use that tool, then that’s part of the operating directions.

If you need to solve a different problem, then you may need a different tool. But you’re unlikely to find one for $15 per device. So it all comes down to what your own priorities are. :sunglasses:


(Bruce) #16

It would be simple to put an automation (or 2 or 3) into SmartLighting that turns off every light periodically while in Away mode. It has virtually no cost. It works after a power outage. It requires no intervention. It doesn’t mess up any other automations, unless you are using something to make the house look occupied, in which case that automation does the job. By “every light” above, that could simply be the ones that have the auto-on problem after outage.


(Fast, Good, Cheap...pick two.) #17

@Tyler

Yes, G.E. Link bulbs


#18

I blame the Zigbee forum first for not figuring this out 15 years ago.

The Zigbee SIG should have a profile for light bulbs that once paired it allows you to configure how they react out of a power loss. You can either set them to turn on and turn up to full brightness when powered up or go to the last known state. This would fix the issue 100% and add zero additional cost.

Because the idiots of the Zigbee SIG cannot figure that out the Hub guy needs to fix the issue. The Smarthings hub knows the state of the entire network. It needs to store the state and when power is lost and restored it need to set all the bulbs to the last known state. This is not rocket science. It is a super low tech function. This should have been implemented the first year this product was out.


(Bruce) #19

Actually, the hub does not know the state of the system, the cloud does. And, if the zigbee light was off before the outage, the cloud doesn’t know if it was turned on by the power outage. Nor does the cloud have any deterministic way to know which devices may have been turned on by the outage. An internet outage also leaves the cloud system state in a possibly corrupted condition relative to the physical system. So any post outage attempt to “restore the state” of the system is as fraught with potential error as doing nothing.


#20

The hub and the cloud are one in the same. The hub gets its configuration data from the cloud.

I will call it ‘the system’ to make it clear. The system knows the state of the lights before a failure. The system knows when a power outage occurs. The system knows it came out of a power outage. When this happens the system should put all the lights in the last know state. Very simple.

The system also knows when the connection to the cloud is not good. The lights will stay at full brightness until a good connection is made. At this time the system should restore all the lights to the last known state.