Should I persevere?


I bought my ST system a couple of weekends ago, together with a Philips Hue system and spent the weekend setting up a few motion activated lights, some timed lighting and some motion notifications to supplement my ‘non-smart’ alarm system.

Everything was brilliant for a couple of days, it all worked well. Then bit by bit, things started to stop working or became erratic. I now spend an hour every evening investigating and trying to fix the things that didn’t do what they were supposed to do.

That’s how I found this forum.

I have a question for all you seasoned ST’ers…

Is ST more of a ‘hobby’ platform that needs constant tinkering or will it ever be in a state where you programme it and it just works?

I’m torn between sending it all back (a good few hundred pounds worth of kit) or seeing how things improve over the next few months.

Or is ‘seeing how things improve over the next few month’ part of the fun?!

I bought this from a national chain that sells TV’s and fridges, so I expected it to be consumer ready, but it doesn’t seem to be.

(Matt) #2

at this point it is a hobby. One day I am sure it will be stable but who knows how far out that it in reality. Thank being said the improvements in eh couple of months I have been here have been huge.

(Matt Perva) #3

I’m a fairly new user (sensors, a few lights, thermostat) and have been using ST for about a month. I have had only a few minor issues, but functionally, my system has worked 99%+ of time. I plan to add a few more items, and like I said, I am new, so maybe my situation will change, but knock on wood, everything has worked pretty well so far.


I’ve been waiting for a year or more for Hue lights to be reliably integrated w/ ST. Native Z-Wave and Zigbee devices all seem rock solid, but the Hue integration still has occasional hiccups and as a result I’ve stopped buying Hue and stuck to devices ST can directly communicate with.

(Someday my dog will be automated) #5

It is more of a hobby platform, even though it is not advertised that way. If you like tech stuff and want lights to be automated and maybe a few other things, maybe it is worth the maintenance to you. Just keep in mind you will probably have to babysit it and make some changes when things crash.

I would advise not to put anything important into it, though (locks, garage doors).

(Chuck) #6

I concur on the above suggestion. I was sitting at home last night and all of a sudden I got a push message that my garage door was open. Went out and sure enough it was wide open. I was the only one home and know I did not activate it manually.

As of now SmartThings is unplugged sitting in a drawer. I have had other issues since I purchased it with my Schlage locks only wanting to autolock when they wanted and this was the final straw.

No where did I read that this system was for hobbyists or that it was half baked when I purchased it. I think SmartThings should offer to buy back peoples hubs that have been duped in to thinking this is a solid system.

(Chrisb) #7

As with others, I have to say it’s a hobby thing at this point.

Now, having said that probably a good 95-98% of my automations work how and when their supposed too. So, it’s pretty good from that respect. I’m okay with the 5% or so problems/issues cause I don’t mind being on the bleeding edge, and my wife and family mostly tolerate the occasional problems.

But if you need something that is rock solid, ST isn’t there yet. You will definitely run into scheduling issues. If you can live with some issues occasionally then keep with it. If having to tinker on a semi-regular basis annoys you, then drop it.

FWIW, to keep my family as happy as possible I tried to make everything doable manually as well. For example I replaced switches instead of bulbs so that if ST fails you can always still hit the switch. Or while I’ve completely abandoned my garage door opening letting ST handle it and pulling out my phone in the rare times it doesn’t work, I’ve keep my wife’s garage door opener in her car and the house.

On a side note, I do find it interesting how quickly my family (myself included) had begun to count on and expect the automations to work. A few weeks back my wife was complaining that her garage door wasn’t working like it was supposed to and she hated not having it reliable. I commented: “Doesn’t your garage door button work?” – “Well, yeah, but then I have to push the button.”

I’m no different… I’ll ask Echo to turn on my laptop outlet when I’m sitting in my chair and get annoyed if it doesn’t work right away. My life is sooo rough when I have to get out of my recliner and walk three feet to the wall to push a little button to turn on an outlet to run my laptop while watching my big screen HD TV in a warm house…
[insert 1st world problem meme here.]

(Rick Pittser) #8

Definitely a hobby unless you want to just add a few devices and then stop. It has become an ongoing thing for me, but being an early adopter, and hobbyist in this area is fun for me, so creating the right routines and figuring things out is mostly enjoyable to me. If you avoid scheduled or delayed jobs as much as possible you will have less frustration. Most of my automations are triggers off a manual event and that makes my stuff pretty reliable.

(Chrisb) #9

For what it’s worth I’ve got a lock and two garage doors on the system.

The lock I’ve got a work around on it… it’s a Kwikset which has a built in auto-lock feature. When turned on it automatically locks itself after 30 seconds. This is completely independent of SmartThings, so there’s never a concern here with the scheduling issues that ST has.

As for the garage doors, everyone has their own tolerances for safety of course. Personally there’s enough controls that can be put in place to prevent this from being an issue for me. My auto-opener has a built-in fail safe that prevents the doors from opening unless a sensor has been gone for 15 minutes (this eliminates the phantom coming and going issue). I’ve added Zigbee repeaters in the garage to nearly eliminate phantom leaving and arriving due to weak radio signals from the sensors. And I run smart apps that notify me if a garage has been open for more than 15 minutes. For me this is enough controls that I feel safe having my garage doors on ST.

But everyone is different… you level of comfort, your neighborhood, the value of things you have in your garage… I don’t blame anyone if they don’t feel it’s safe to have garage doors on ST.

(Someday my dog will be automated) #10

Agreed. I don’t own one personally. Not because I’m afraid of hacking or anything, just because I stopped purchasing HA stuff when I started to get scheduling issues and other stuff going on.
A lock is definitely in my plans, same as a garage door opener. Things about them unlocking and opening come from other people’s posts. Can’t say I personally experienced those.

(Different Computers. So happy with Indigo.) #11

I ask myself the same thing. Came very very close to pulling the plug and going with Indigo.

The only reason I didn’t is I realized the GE Link bulbs and some other stuff I have is Zigbee, not Z-wave, and I didn’t want to dive into an extra level of complexity with relatively new, unproven code to bridge from Indigo to Zigbee control.

I have given up on ST’s typical smart app model for everything I can. It is both too limiting and too hard to keep track of what was where and what did what. Instead I use a rules engine, though not the one most people do. I use @obycode’s SmartRules and things are getting better.

Though they still aren’t perfect, and it’s maddening to have to troubleshoot since logging is so bad and there are multiple layers I have to poke through to find the fault. Is it in my rule logic? Is it in the settings of the mode the logic calls? Is it in the communication from the hub to the hardware? Is it in the hardware? Was ST not communicating with the cloud?

At least from @obycode I have a strong sense of forward motion and improvement. I don’t get that sense at all from ST.


Yes, I have tried SmartRules for motion notifications and that’s the most stable part of my install, but I can’t use it with anything time based, because it simply does not work for me.


And Brice is extremely helpful and responsive.

(Brice; #14

Thanks for the kind words @mdawson and @Christoffa. Our goal with SmartRules is to enable anyone to be able to setup their automations exactly how they want with a simple, clear interface that non-experts can understand, yet still powerful enough for power users. The todo list currently has 82 items on it, so there is a lot more good stuff coming.

Regarding the scheduled rules, we rely on SmartThings scheduler, so when that has problems, your rules will have problems. If this continues to be a problem for much longer, we’ll consider adding some backup scheduling events to help out when SmartThings fails.

(Different Computers. So happy with Indigo.) #15

I try really hard to find some other trigger besides a schedule. It’s more flexible that way.

So for example, my Morning routine doesn’t start until there’s motion in the hallway AFTER sunrise. I’m not sure this entirely avoids the scheduling glitches in ST, but it is better.

(Matt) #16

I agree. I use lux on outside sensors and motion to trigger. I am also playing around with using Echo and have its timers/schedule fire my routines/events

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #17

I do not consider this “fun” at all. I am an HA/Smart Home professional, so I need to track the progress of the industry. That’s the primary reason I stick with SmartThings – it is the most configurable/extensible system. But it is not “fun” to waste 6 to 8 hours of 100+ Watts of power because the Scheduler fails to turn off the garden lighting system on random nights … though it is a tad fun to learn and implement workarounds like EventGhost, IFTTT, etc… – but you have to have the time and interest for tinkering.

It is also definitely not “fun” to deal with support emails for the SmartApp I support (SmartTiles), because users have been having more trouble lately due, ironically, to the tiny bit of native SmartThings scheduling that we run (and it’s certainly not fun to defer adding new features in order to try to improve basic reliability for our users first). But it is fun to be able to provide this SmartApp … something that would be more difficult or impossible with most other platforms.

And … with my 1000’s of posts here on the Forum, obviously I consider it motivational and fun to be a part of this diverse and amazing SmartThings Community!!! :smile:

(Sean Kendall Schneyer) #18

This right here! I was having a lot of fun coding up something that is useful to many people until I had to divert all my energies just to keep it up and running for more than an hour at a time.

I’m still hopeful that things will improve but I’d rather be building new stuff and adding features than fixing things the whole time!

(Todd) #19

I feel a bit cheated. I thought this was a consumer ready platform. I’ve had nothing but troubles and now I’m dead in the water and can’t get a reply back from support. I don’t have time to tinker. The more I read through the forum, the more discouraged I get. Seems a lot of users have their hubs in a box and waiting for some miracle to happen or the dream of a user friendly HA system that actually works to come on the market. There has to be a working option out there somewhere. If I could just get some of my things to connect once again I think I could hobble along, but I cannot even get that far. So disappointed in this platform. Buyer beware.

(Dean Smith) #20

This. Exactly this. If we had a stable platform, we could start to have fun again.