Smart things generally flakey

(John Morrison) #1

I have had smarthings in my home for a few months mostly to control lights and I have noticed that some lights randomly stop working. eventually they will function again, but i might have to turn them on and off in the app 5-6 times.

at first i thought it was the position of the hub and i moved it to be more central in my home. but that did not help. I am trying to figure out why this happens, and how to get it to stop. I am interested in using smart things for more home automation, like for Locks, and Thermostat. But, if it is this unreliable with lights i really down want to put locks on it, where i think it is locked, because the app says it is, but it is wide open. Also controlling heating and cooling concerns me as well.

I travel 2-3 days a week and leave my home empty, i use ST to turn lights on and off. but i have found i come home every light in the house seems to be on…

What has been most users experiences? when it works it is great, but when it does not work it is annoying,

(sidjohn1) #2

i would highly recommend going through the the App, device, hub and live logs located here It should shed some light on why things are “flakey” or not doing what you expect them to. I’m not sure what type of lights you are using, but if they are hues or lifx, due to the cloud it is going to be flakey for a while. With stuff like this it really helps to know exactly what devices you are having issues with, make /model never hurts.


For other community members’ experiences, see also:

(John Morrison) #4

i had Hue lights, but did not like the requirement to have the Hue Hub so i ditched them. Right ow i am only using Cree Connected and GE Link lights

(Ash ( / Ashutosh Jaiswal) #5

What kind of lights are you using? If they are Z-Wave and you have moved the location of your hub, I would strongly recommend a Z-Wave repair - That will re-build your routing tables and will improve reliability.

(Joe) #6

To be perfectly honest, I’ve run into the same thing with Hue bulbs and the bridge. The only way I’ve been able to get them working again is to remove everything and add them again. It’s a painful process and support can’t explain to me why it happened. The stated interference in my home could be the culprit and sent me a link to how to reduce interference. You can always try to open a support ticket. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

(Marc) #7

I have a few GE Link bulbs and they are also extremely flakey. The ZWave switches are way more reliable than the bulbs.

(John Morrison) #8

i have run the zwave repair multiple times, and it does not seem to do anything, Also when you run that it looks as if there should be some output in the interface when it runs, i have never seen anything. and i have waited the 10 mins it states it could take. It maybe doing something, but i see no output or changes in lights functionality


I’m sure that must be frustrating! Cree Connected and GE Link are zigbee devices. A zwave repair will not affect them in any way.

It could be the scheduler issue I linked to above; you might check that topic.

It could be interference between zigbee and wifi: can help you look into that.

More commonly than network interference is a matter of network layout. It usually means there aren’t enough zigbee devices to relay messages effectively, or there is a bottleneck somewhere. This appears to be a particular problem with GE links. I suspect they may have slightly less powerful antennas than the more expensive brands, although some people have suggested they may be more prone to overheating slightly, with the same result.

To test this, take any one of the bulbs that has been prone to drop off and put it in a simple table lamp, no enclosure, about 10-15 feet from the SmartThings hub and at least 10 feet from your wifi router.

Turn the hub off for 15 minutes, then plug it back in. (That’s how you do a zigbee repair, there’s no separate utility like there is for zwave.)

Ignore whatever happens the first day. After that, if the other bulbs drop off over the next 10 days or so and the test bulb doesn’t, it’s probably network layout. (I’m guessing it’s not overheating since the Crees are also affected, but you could also consider fixture style.)

If the test bulb flakes out with the same frequency as the others, it’s more likely local interference or Sudden Scheduler Death Syndrome.


One last thought: you mentioned that sometimes you come home and all the smart bulbs are on. This typically happens after a power outage, however brief. If it’s after a power outage, it usually has nothing to do with SmartThings, it will happen with most smart bulbs regardless of controller.

Did you happen to notice if there were any other signs of a power outage, like a blinking clock on the microwave or receiving a “hub offline” notification?

You can search the forum for “power outage” to see how others address this specific problem if you think this might be a common issue for you.


The lights on thing happens to me all the time when using ST, and power outages are not the culprit. I have experienced this problem consistently using Hue, WeMo and GE link. Disconnect it all from ST, and everything works near 100% perfectly. Delete my ST settings, start fresh and once again actions are terribly intermittent.


Good to know, thanks. My bulbs work fine with everything except ST, including the Hue native app, IFTTT, Echo, Beecon+, and a couple of third party apps. But in my case it’s schedule failures, I haven’t had the lights coming on full problem.

(John S) #14

I was fortunate to go with swapping out physical switches for zwave switches, since my home has a lot of built-in lighting. The zwave switches are always powered, so they act as repeaters, which makes the zwave mesh in my house pretty solid. They reliably turn on/off via SmartThings, and they also are just switches humans can throw. I don’t see a lot of issues with reliability other than when the cloud stuff fails, which (thankfully) seems to have stabilized a bit this past two weeks.

[quote=“John_Morrison, post:1, topic:19025”]
I travel 2-3 days a week and leave my home empty, i use ST to turn lights on and off. but i have found i come home every light in the house seems to be on…
[/quote] In addition to your other automation, adding a “guard” smart things app which turns all lights off at a fixed time early morning can help put things in a known state should something go wrong with the “sunrise/sunset” events. There are a lot of other workarounds in the thread linked by @JDRoberts, but none of those will help if you’re seeing zigbee networking issues. You can “repair” the zigbee network by powering down your hub, waiting 15 minutes, and then powering it back up. It may take a few hours for the zigbee network to fully rebuild, so you may see flakiness until then.

(Scott Windmiller) #15

I too, like @schettj have all switches (only 2 though) and they seem very reliable. I need physical switches to keep the WAF.
Sorry this does not help your issue but atleast to know you are not alone :smile:
I would love to be able to add hue bulbs as they are so cool so I really hope the integration gets better.

(Eric) #16

GE Links are not reliable for me. I have 4 in service, and I expect 2-3 issues every week (excluding those that my wife turns off manually). Usually I ignore them and they start working again.

So I choose to be pleasantly surprised when they work.


@ero4444 That was my experience with the GE links until I connected them through the Hue bridge and dropped ST integration. Using the Hue app the Links have been 100%. No failures whatsoever with daily use.

(Eric) #18

thanks for that. Then the hubless-GElink reliability sounds like a SmartThings device problem. Or have you noticed the Hue hub positioning to be important? I’ll try increasing the ST hub height and varying the orientation.

Hue (color) is a pretty expensive domain so I have avoided it and other hubs for now. Craving programmable color signals, but still resisting the cost. Echo honeymoon has me re-evaluating the hubs.


@ero4444 and @pd_, For what it’s worth, my GE Link bulbs (all 8 in lamps) have been rock solid. We control them manually, through the ST app, and with SmartApps tied to motion sensors. No Hue bridge/hub either…


My AC router covers my house, and I haven’t noticed any positioning issue with Hue or Echo. The Echo controls my GE link because it’s connected to the Hue hub.

Let me know if you achieve any success beyond a week with ST after repositioning the hub. I moved mine all over the house, and it never achieved solid performance with my devices longer than a few days. For some stretches it would perform at a higher rate of success, but it eventually fails miserably after some time.


@johnconstantelo Yeah, I’ve read feedback from others here who’ve had the same success as you. Unfortunately, I’ve been in the hard luck crowd. I think that’s why some have suggested the issue must be within my own network, but I get solid 120Mbps down and 25Mbps up wireless throughout my home. I’m running multiple HD video streams, gaming and almost never miss a beat with my connected devices outside of ST. My issues with ST are not a product of my LAN.