SmartSense Presence Sensor FAILURE

Thanks for helping the community.

I agree with you, that would irritate me and my wife (which is worse) and I would find that unacceptable. Have you tried using a cell phone as opposed to the sensor? I know you wanted it for your dog but maybe a $15 keyfob would be a better bet for the dog.
Not trying to tell you what to do but personally I would contact support, but I understand why you don’t want to. You may have found a bug that could be fixed and help others.

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A lot of different things converging here…

First, ST has never, to my knowledge, advertised microlocation uses for their presence sensor (like knowing who’s in the bedroom). It’s for crossing a geofence boundary. So I’m not sure the lights in the bedroom example applies.

But as far as stabilizing it in general, this works quite well:

As far as tolerating random lights coming on…with the exception of things triggered by presence detection, I’ve never had a problem with things randomly coming on. I have had multiple issues with things randomly not working, as have many people. So I always have a plan B option for anything run by ST.

ST solved some important convenience use cases for me and I’m happy with that. In particular, I have decent voice control and an IFTTT channel, both high value features for me.

If you want a home automation system under $3,000 that has always made stability and reliability their top priority, look at Staples Connect. Their Target market is small businesses, so reliability was their big issue from the beginning. They got there by avoiding cloud services, not using Geopresence, not having an IFTTT channel, not allowing user-developed code, and offering a much more limited selection of generally more expensive individual devices. Basically they threw out anything that might cause instability. If you look at their forums, you’ll see that most of the complaints are about devices that they are not supporting yet. Not about instability in the system that people already have.

SmartThings chose to offer a much more open platform and chase a lot of the hottest, newest stuff, even if they didn’t offer full integration to begin with. That comes with a different set of issues.

It may well be that ST isn’t the right fit for you. My personal guess (just a guess) is that by summer 2016 we’ll see several reliable plug and play home automation systems. Apple Homekit/insteon will be one. I fully expect Samsung/SmartThings to be another. So I’m putting off my big HA projects until late 2016.

For now, ST fits my interim needs best. I like the vision, I like the community, but I’d jump ship in a heartbeat if a competitor had a solution that was a better fit for what I need right now. But for right now, ST is solving some things I want solved. Your value calculation may be different.


That’s what motion sensors are for. I’d never use presence sensing for something like that. And even there, to give you a more realistic use case - the lights in the hallway and bath come on, at night, if off, when motion is detected. If it’s LATE at night, they come on dimmed. Since they’re controlled by the wall dimmer smart switch, the human can always override that.


Thanks for helping the community.

I’m doing this from the road, so I apologize if I miss anything…

You can adjust the presence time out (the difference between when a tag drops off the network to the platform running a SmartApp) by going to>View Utilities>Select the new time>Update. The dropdown does not automatically update, but you can view the timeout setting by selecting Get Presence Timeout. This should reduce false positive location events, especially if they are typically 1-2 minute flip-flops.

For more cool tips, glamour shots, or just procrastinating at work… and troubleshooting, I recommend emailing


I do hope you find something that works for you. I’d love to read the blog post, what’s your blogging site?

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Thanks for the suggestion…

Will this delay all legitimate useful “Goodbye Home” automations, too? (Such as activating Alarm arming, warning of unlocked doors, open garages, high power usage devices left on (clothes iron, space heater), etc.)?

Yes it will. Since it will delay the detection another minute or two. This would have solved the OP’s problem, but support didn’t even get the chance to fix his issue. (Was that too snarky?)

I have mine set to the max, because my hub is not ideally positioned and depending on where my keys are, my presence sensors were leaving the mesh. Since adjusting it, I’ve had no issues with presence working flawlessly.

Still wouldn’t unlock my doors, disarm my security system or open my garage door based on any presence detection alone. However, I use it to trigger person specific events based on those actions by anyone.

“que sera sera”

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Support had me do this a while ago when my presence fob was showing as coming and going multiple times a day even without being moved. It’s basically a “debounce” for crossing the geofence. The only thing that is delayed is ST deciding the presence fob has left the area.

So of course anything that gets triggered BECAUSE the “person left” condition was met is delayed. Nothing else.

That’s a handy tip! I don’t have one of these but can see where this would help.
Also just want to point out, unrelated to this, @Aaron has always been extremely helpful to me :smile:

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Thanks for helping the community.

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That’s a bit of a value reduction, unfortunately.

If I use “Terry left home ccondition” to warn me that my garage door failed to close (it happens… The door gets s little stuck or I forgot to hit the button), then the extra few minutes delay before notification means I could already be on the freeway instead of just down the block.

All true, and support walked me through that before we made the change. I just meant that if you had anything else running at the same time, triggered by either clock time or sunset or another device, those other events would not be delayed.

In my particular use case, the delay of an extra minute or two during the “away” use case was not a problem.

But the delay still didn’t solve the teleporting altogether. Really do think it’s interference from one or more neighbors’ Wi-Fi. There are 7 detectable WiFi networks inside my house, and I only control one of them.

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Maybe, but I doubt it. I have 5 zigbee mesh’s in my house (well 4 active now that the nest is off the wall) and can detect over 30 wifi ap’s around my house (4 of which are mine).
Zigbee interference with wifi is only on a few wifi overlapping channels. See this for details:

If your hub is hardcoded to 14 and the wifi AP’s are using channel 3-4 then maybe. Same for the other overlapping sections.

Ideal zigbee channels are 15, 20, 25. I was lucky enough to get my ST hub on 20 and my C4 mesh on 25 (I can set the channel on C4) and nest just takes whatever is available. My c4 development controller uses 15 and my zigbee test rig uses a random channel not in use.

Zigbee interference can mess with the mesh, I suspect those having issues with zigbee senors are probably seeing that with hubs that have hardcoded channels in the same ranges as nearby wifi channels.

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I’d be curious to hear why you have such a verse network at some point. My nice ASUS AC router covers my 3000sq ft house, garage, and yard!. But that’s off topic…

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I too read your first post, and 10 times over almost just sated “Good bye” (and then a bunch of “…” to meet char length requirements.) We are a very mixed group, but most of us are very passionate about the IoT’s, and a lot of us have been long-dealing with SmartThings growing pains. Whether you continue to work with the group, and SmartThings or not, I just ask as a guy that is (overall) happy with the product, given what it can do, its price, and its young age----that if you do reach out, please make sure to be a bit more positive, and please utilize support in addition to this forum—both approach things differently, and usually result in a solution in one fashion or another.

We have plenty of “OMG WHY ISNT THIS WORKING MY WAF JUST KICKED ME IN THE SHIN OMG THE SKY IS FALLING” posts. And as crazy as it is, we still have dedicated people here willing to help even the crazy ones. :smile:

So, in a change of pace— what is the end result of your testing, discovery, etc? What action are you intending to take now? Re-evaluate how you implement? Or…continue to diagnose your issue in hopes to resolve it, meeting your expectations?

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Lol, yeah, its overkill, but I like wired like speeds on wifi. The further from the AP, the slower the speed.

I like having wifi AP’s in the rooms nearest to where I use devices. Max signal, max speed. Also, I use a VOIP solution for my touchscreen intercoms and incoming/outgoing home phone system tied to my office.

Zero handoff across those AP’s is critical as I like to walk around while talking on the phone :smile:

Then I have a separate vlan for my wireless cameras and the wired ones too. Like to keep the traffic separate.

Plus my sony tv’s all broadcast wifi now, thanks to their built in directv RVU’s and that likes to fight with my neighbor’s roku wifi peer to peer remote features…

Combine that with my neighbors signal amplifed wifi (big houses) the wifi spectrum is pretty full, even at 5ghz.

Combine that with 2 kids on their wifi devices, a guest wifi ap and a bunch of IoT wifi devices, sonos setups, and more. It’s a crazy wifi mess, but it works.

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I tried to cleanup your community by editing my posts. Not sure where to find the account removal button, so I will contact support. One of the most exciting aspects of the product was operating incorrectly at a tolerance level I could not live with so all items are being returned tomorrow.

Well I guess thank you for helping the community?