Presence sensors: how do you avoid smartthings from thinking you're home when you're not?

Hi there. A couple questions about presence sensors:

  • If I connect a presence sensor, does it automatically become active and set to my home once it gets connected? What I mean is, if the presence sensor doesn’t leave the house but my phone and I leave, then my house won’t trigger to be automatically armed based on location because it thinks there’s someone still home, yes?
  • Is there a way around this problem? The use case is that occasionally, I might give the presence sensor to my family when they’re in town. Otherwise, it’s usually at home and I don’t want it to interfere with the triggering of away modes since there’s actually no one home, but the sensor is still home.

I’ve set up my Goodbye routine to automatically run 10 minutes after my presence sensors leave, but you have the choice to set it to any particular presence sensor on your system - or all of them.

You could theoretically set up different modes and routines to execute them - just for when family is visiting. Ie - one that requires just a particular sensor - and one that requires all presence sensors.

Or you could just keep your extra one in your car, so it leaves when you do.

Also - I’ve found that Smartthings can be… quirky… with multiple presence sensors, so I’ve never relied on them too heavily. I’m sure someone else here using more geofencing can elaborate.

Try using this to disable presence sensors when you don’t need them

Each presence sensor is treated independently.

If you want the SmartThings arrival sensor to show as “away” even though it’s physically at home, the easiest thing is to get a “Farraday bag” ( typical cost less than $10 at Amazon) and just store it in that. The bag blocks the signals, preventing the sensor from connecting to the hub, so SmartThings will think it’s “away.” That’s what people who have Airbnb rentals or vacation rentals will commonly do. Have the renters put the the arrival sensor in the bag and leave on the counter when they’re ready to leave. The same thing works for guests at home.

There are many of these, the following is just one example. You’ll see some much more expensive ones, they’re just made out of nicer outer materials.

There also custom code options that allow you to turn off a presence sensor from SmartThings’ point of view. Those work fine and give you remote control of the device. There’s just the question of timing-- Will you know when to turn off?

You can also use both methods together if you like. :sunglasses:

How do you do the custom code options and the DTH customization? Thanks! Good advice!

Using custom code is generally just a matter of copying someone else’s code and pasting it into your account. It’s pretty straightforward. The following FAQ gives an overview of the process.

If after reading that that sounds like something that you’d like to try, you can find community created apps and device type handlers by using the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki. :sunglasses:

Possibly you could use this Smart App if your going to go the software route. I use this and it has worked very reliably for my household. @bridaus might be bale to help you since he created this app.