Several sensors unavailable, yet no notifications of this, and system says "everything is ok"

I turned off Device Health. Now all the sensors show “Dry” instead of “Unavailable”. I took one sensor and placed it on a wet paper towel, and I get no change in anything,

Sounds like a mesh issue. How far from the hub or nearest zigbee repeater?

Base is one floor above me.

I removed a battery and nothing changes, still shows “100% battery” and “Dry”.

One floor directly above? Wood framed floors?

Yes, it’s traditional construction. Can I change channels somehow?

Can you remove the battery, bring the sensor close to the hub, and then re-insert the battery? That would help rule out being too far from the Hub.

I replaced the battery while standing next to hub. the led flashed three times. i applied moisture, and the alert worked.

But now I can’t trust the sensors because earlier it was not alerting on moisture, but the app told me it was dry and was at 70 degrees.

Why would the app tell me that everything is ok, and that a sensor is at a certain temp, and is dry, if the sensor won’t alert on moisture?

I thought the app told you it was unavailable?

The sensor had lost communication with the Hub and was simply reporting the last known state which was dry and 70 degrees.

You may need to add a repeater if you find that once you move the sensor away from the hub that it isn’t reporting again.

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If it lost communication with the hub it can’t tell you anything other than what the last status was at the moment it lost touch.

Sounds like you have a zigbee mesh issue and need to add some repeaters.

Edit: darn it, @Brad_ST beat me to it :grin:

Ok but why wouldn’t there be a timestamp displayed on every communication? That way if it says “70 degrees as of Nov 11” then I know there’s a problem.

I don’t think anyone has attempted to the answer my original questions:

  1. why does the app say “Everything OK” when there are sensors that are in the “Unavailable” state? If a sensor goes unavailable due to signal issues, then I’m unprotected. “Everything OK” should be in that case more like “No known problems … but some sensors need attention”.

  2. why do I get no notification on my phone when a sensor goes unavailable?


What type of relay or range extender does SmartThings support? Is there only one option and if not can anyone recommend a particular brand?

Eventually I got my system working, but I had to restart the hub (at least I recall that made a difference) and I had to remove, wait, and replace the battery in every sensor but the one closest to the hub.

Basically any zigbee device that is mains powered will act as a repeater for zigbee signals, which is the protocol your water sensor is using.

Doesn’t have to be ST branded, but their smart power outlet would do the trick. There are other brands to choose from too, like Lowe’s Iris.

You’re asking reasonable questions, it’s just that you’ve encountered some limitations of the ST platform.

Unfortunately it’s not a set-and-forget or plug-and-play system, except maybe in very smalll homes with only a small number of devices.

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You can refer to the “works with SmartThings” list to see which devices are officially supported.

Community developers write code that you can load onto your hub (not that hard, I’m not a programmer myself) to get other devices supported too, if you’re interested. Also there are custom smartapps that can do what you’re asking (ie proactively notify you if it’s been x time since a device checked in).

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My concern isn’t that the system requires setup. It’s that after the setup, apparently I have to go around and trigger sensors once a week to make sure they’re still working.

I had the Wally system and that was extremely good at telling me if anything was amiss: batteries, range issues, etc. But the Wally had other issues so I had to abandon it.

Check out this smartapp.

And here are instructions for using custom code.

  1. If you had device health turned off, you wouldn’t see in-app warnings that SmartThings couldn’t communicate with the sensors.

  2. Currently device health doesn’t generate notifications but that is good feedback.

OP makes a great point that even when he did have device health turned on, SHM status on the dashboard was “everything is ok,” which maybe it shouldn’t be if at least one monitored device is unresponsive. It’s also not that helpful to report the status of the device but expect the user will regularly trawl the device list checking for the possibility of finding an unresponsive one.

I replaced all my water sensors with temp reading in them. This way I don’t have this crazy unavailable or long status update. I know this doesn’t answer your question but just something to keep in mind if you are replacing them.

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