Routine advice needed

Hello Everyone,

I am new to smart things and finally got almost everything setup over the past few weeks in my new house. I am running into an issue however.

I am using my wife and my cell phones for a presence sensor, since i found the arrival sensors very inaccurate. I have a routine that runs whenever one of the presence sensors arrives that opens our garage door, turns on some lights on the outside as well as the inside of the house. I first have issues with it taking a decent amount of time detecting either phone. We can be sitting in the drive way and nothing happens. Do i need to extend the geofencing?

Second issue is last night we went somewhere in the same car, when we arrived home the routine ran for my phone (after we were already inside, because of first issue) we got in the house garage was closed and about 1-2 minutes later it ran for her phone saying she arrived. So the garage opened again and that is what i want to prevent.

I am looking for a way to prevent this routine from running if we are both together.

Next thing, is there a way to only turn on the exterior lights if it is after dark? i saw a sunset/sunrise setting but not sure where that pulls.

I tried to do a routine that runs in the morning and plays the weather for our given area but it tells me there is an error on the speaker and couldnt pull the zipcode. Not sure on phrasing since i only heard it once yesterday morning when it tried to run and i disabled it.

I appreciate any advice or feed back!


I would start by widening the geofence. For the garage routine, restrict it to only run in away mode so that it only open when the first person arrives. Sunset/sunrise times are based on the location you set your geofence.

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So the problem with running only in away mode is that when one of us arrives home it will switch to home mode, then when the next person gets home it wont automatically open the door.

Some notes for you

  1. Go to the IDE, select your location, and select the hub tab. Then select “view utilities” (middle of page just before the devices list). This setting determines when you are away. 5 minutes is default.

  2. Select the devices tab and select your arrival sensor (mine is a samsung). Again, go down and you will see “preferences (edit)”. You can change the default in minutes (the more frequent, the shorter the battery light).

  3. Read about setting the phone app up. In that app, you can set a presence area that, when your phone enters that area, a notification is sent to ST and your presence is detected. You can adjust that.

Although impressive, exterior doors and locks can open while you are at home due to spurious reasons (phone or arrival sensor problems). I personally do not recommend automating opening these (especially a garage door that is obviously open). They are good to disarm alarm systems, turning on/off lights, setting thermostats back, etc.

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Having multiple Routines:

One that Disarms, sets to Home and opens the Garage when any of the people arrive.

A second Routine that only runs in Home Mode that only opens the garage if any of the people arrive.

If you go with webCoRE, you could get into even more complex qualifications with IF / THEN / ELSE statements in your Pistons.


Use webCoRE
Use webCoRE
Use webCoRE

Widen your Geofence
Make sure your wifi is on

Did I mention to use webCoRE?

I know we LOVE Automation, but…Old school garage door openers works great!

In webCoRE

If Garage Door Opens
Person was home for less than x minutes
Do stuff

I have ST to close the garage if left open but I have no issues with pressing the button to open it when I arrive home.