SmartThings Community

Smartthings is USELESS (for UK Security)


#1

I’ve had the system for about two weeks now. I primarily bought it for security and its totally useless. I have 8 smart sensors dotted around the house on doors and windows, 4 motion sensors, ST power outlets and Hue bulbs.
I have an alarm also.
I can’t arm the security because a door sensor is always unavailable and stuck in the open configuration. There is ALWAYS at least 3 devices that are unavailable. I had thought it was because the mesh wasn’t adequate so I’ve ensured that the powered ST devices are suitably located.

As far as I am concerned the system is entirely unfit for purpose. So to that end I have a number of questions;

  1. It seems that the ST devices are useless. Is this the case? Should I be opting for better kit from other providers?
  2. Has anyone had any joy with Samsung support? Are they worth speaking to?
  3. Should I have more powered devices to increase the mesh, although some of the sensors which are sh*t are located within metres of the hub
    (excuse my language but I’m getting angrier as I type!)
  4. Does the system suffer badly from interference from other items in the home?

Any help would be appreciated because right now I want to punch a few devices in the smart sensor.


(Ron Talley) #2

Seems like you have already made up your mind that ST is useless…

What sensors are you using?

I use Iris Motioms mainly as they are fast, reliable, run locally, have 30 second retrigger time and excellent battery life.

I use the Iris Contacts for the same reason but the Visonics are just as good with a little shorter battery life.

I do not use SmartThings sensors as they have proven to be unreliable for the most part.


#3

Hi Rontalley. I’ve made my mind up to an extent I suppose, but the concept is great so I’m desperate and SO frustrated it doesn’t work.
I’m using the Samsung ST sensors so in a way I’m glad to hear you confirm my suspicions.

I think I’ll ditch Samsung and go to Iris then assuming they’re available in the UK!


(Mike) #4

If you go with Iris Sensors make sure you get the V2 and not the V1 sensors, you can still get the V1 sensors cheap here and there but they will not work with a ST hub. If you go with a Iris Hub then the V1 sensors are okay, in fact they are pretty good.


(www.smartukhome.co.uk) #5

Did you add the powered devices after the other sensors? You might need to do a zigbee repair which you need to unplug the hub plus the batteries wait 30 mins and plug it back it

Yup, you have Wifi, SmartThings & Philips Hue they all use 2.4Ghz
you cant change ST but you can change Hue and your home wifi
https://support.metageek.com/hc/en-us/articles/203845040-ZigBee-and-WiFi-Coexistence


#6

Before you go ditching anything or throwing things through the wall (that can be more expensive), follow @tmleafs post above. In addition to the mesh, there’s a real possibility that you have Network interference between the channel your WiFi (router) is set to and what the SmartThings Zigbee channel is set to. There are a ton of threads related to this. I’m not saying that’s your issue, but someone who has several ST Motion and Multipurpose sensors, I have never experienced anything like this or even remotely close. So before you go tossing the existing devices and replace them with Iris, you need to troubleshoot everything first so you don’t end up with the same issue with a new set of devices.

Short blurb from the 2nd link above:


(JIm) #7

I am a former IRIS user. I ditched IRIS for ST about a year ago. IRIS was ok, but very limited. I can do so much more with ST, with the routines, Webcore, etc. I was able to use some of my IRIS sensors with ST.

Having said all that. I have had less problems with ST over the year than I had with IRIS while I was with them. I very rarely have any devices disconnect and when they do it isn’t for very long. My hub is sitting right next to my router but to my knowledge I have never had an interference issue.

I read on this forum where people have all kinds of disconnect issues and I’m sure they do. So maybe I have been lucky so far.


#8

Thanks guys. Your help is really appreciated!


#9

Warning - long meandering post to get to a point. I’m VERY new to ST in general, but this is solely my experience:

I’ve had SimpliSafe in my home for 3 years now. I have no major complaints, but it gets a mixed bag on these forums, so it’s probably not for everyone.

I started the smart home journey with Wemo + Echo. Hate it. I used 3 Wemo dimmers to “zone” my living room lighting. When I ask the Echo to turn on the living room lights group, the latency was sometimes up to 20 seconds for all three zones to turn on, with the occasional zone failing to respond entirely. My 60Mb ISP connection is pretty solid, so I’m not sure what the issue is there.

The master bedroom and kitchen were next. Found a Lutron Caseta starter kit on clearance. These do NOT work for everyone’s switch/dimmer use case. However, if it DOES fit your use case, I highly recommend the product. There are polarizing opinions on the styling of the switches, but I happen to like them. Even though Echo or ST need to communicate via the cloud through the Lutron hub, latency is almost never more than 1 second for me, I have never had a failed command, and the compatibility with disparate products is unbelievable.

Enter my first use case where Lutron wasn’t feasible. In the master bedroom, there is a tiny “hallway” of sorts leading to the master bath, with a closet on either side. The smaller of the closets (mine, because wife) has a light, but due to the size of the closet, the switch for that light was actually on the other side of the wall, in the master bath. I always found this annoying to reach around and feel for the switch, turning on/off the bathroom lights and fan in the process. Not to mention my wife getting ticked because I’m barging in on her bathroom visits every time I need something from my closet. Because of this, I decided to try a Z-Wave sensor. This is where SmartThings came into my life - because I wanted to turn on a closet light while my wife was on the toilet.

One cheap Z-Wave sensor, a cheap used ST hub, and a not so cheap Lutron switch later, I had about 40% reliability automagically turning my closet light on and off. Why? My router and hub are stuffed in a closet on one end of the house, and this closet is on the other. The Lutron was rock solid in all my test commands from the app, but the sensor wasn’t reliably reporting its status to ST. I had a distance issue.

I ended up moving my Lutron switch to another room where it better fit the use case, and replaced the closet switch with a Jasco/GE Z-Wave switch. I then added another sensor and switch to my wife’s closet. Once the Z-Wave network had a couple of good mains-powered devices, reliability was 100%. Latency was rarely more than 1 second, and at most 2 seconds, but reduced to 1 second or less once I added some fan controllers elsewhere in the house.

The latest phase was integrating SimpliSafe with ST. I had to use some custom code provided by the community, but the automation works fine for me. The only thing I don’t like is that while I can view the status of SimpliSafe’s CO, smoke, temp, and flood sensors, I can’t view the status of its door sensors - and it doesn’t work with non-SimpliSafe sensors.

My TL;DR - Based on my experience, the SmartThings HUB is rarely the problem. However, since I have never used their branded sensors, they could be total crap. SmartThings is a great medium between the inflexible simplicity of a hubless setup, and the super-flexible, but complex world of HomeAssistant. You may need to return a device or two to switch it out for a different brand/type, but don’t give up on the ST platform. It’s a great option once you get it tuned.


#10

The iris kit is not available in the UK and moreover it would be illegal to operate there as the pocket sockets include both a zigbee radio and a zwave radio on the US frequency. So those are not going to help. (Lutron Caseta, Jasco/GE zwave devices and simplisafe are also not available in the UK.)

If your primary needs are security, it is unlikely that the SmartThings system based on the Samsung SmartThings hub is going to be sufficient. :disappointed_relieved: There are literally dozens of threads in the forum discussing why this is and the specific issues involved, so you can just look for some of those if you like.

Just a few of the issues are that it has almost no local processing, which means if the Internet goes out you will not be able to arm or disarm it, you will not be able to control it from the mobile phone App, and you will not receive any notifications. In addition, SmartThings can and does Force the hub off-line occasionally for maintenance and customers are not given any option to delay or refuse these updates.

There are other issues as well, again there are at this point certainly hundreds and probably thousands of posts in the forum describing the various issues.

In the US, SmartThings has addressed these issues by partnering with ADT to create an entirely new system, using entirely new devices including a new panel controller, which correct most of the security – related deficiencies in the home automation system. If you go to the US website now And click on any of the security links you will be taking to information about the new ADT/SmartThings panel.

As yet there is no similar system for the UK, and they haven’t said whether or not one is in planning.

If your primary need is security, my own suggestion would be that you look for a different, purpose built system. I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with specific brands in the UK in this area, but hopefully others in the UK can comment.

Prior to the ADT/smartthings system being available, many community members ran a separate system for security. If you still want smart things for home automation or convenience notifications, if the security system happens to have an IFTTT channel on the free IFTTT Service, you may be able to get some integration that way.

By the way, SmartThings is brilliant at convenience notifications, so it does have its uses for many people. For example, we use it at our house to get a notification if the guestroom window has been left open, the guest is away from the house, and rain is expected. It does that much better than most of the competition at a similar price point. It’s just not well matched to security. :cloud_with_lightning_and_rain:

I’m trying to think of which UK members have mentioned security projects in the past. I’m tagging @RobinWinbourne @bobbles @PailOckenden @a4refillpad @bridaus in case they have anything to add about low-cost security systems available in the UK.


#11

( I have taken the liberty of moving this thread to the UK section of the forum in the hopes that you will get more responses that will be specific to devices that are available in the UK. If you prefer to move it back to the general area, feel free to do so. It just seemed like you were getting a lot of suggestions from US members about devices that are not going to be available to you, which would be frustrating in itself. )


#12

Hi JD,

Your input is greatly appreciated. I took Samsung at face value when it came to deciding which system to purchase and SECURITY is one of the four tenets of their website “promise”, alongside MONITOR, CONTROL and CONNECT.

I’m frankly amazed that its not fit-for-purpose and will have to decide whether I battle for a refund or enhance security by bolting on a more robust system.
If anyone has any advice in regards to bolting on a system that would be much appreciated also.


(Shaun Reinson) #13

I wouldn’t use it as an ‘alarm’ system for securing a house, I’d get a purpose build one of those, as you already have. However it should be okay if for warnings about the house status (windows open, leaks etc…).

I never really have problems with my sensors, and I’m using a combination of ST, Fibaro and Aeon products, all working fine on Zwave or Zigbee

Battery failures seem to be my only issue with device connectivity, and you can usually predict that -ie. 12 months since installation etc…

Sounds like you might have a more fundamental problem if 3 of the 8 sensors are unavailable - and its more than likely linked to radio signals.

Useful things to consider are keep the ST box away from your wireless router, repair the zigbee/zwave meshes etc…

If you’re near a TV/radio transmitter, or Jodrell bank is in your bank garden, you might not be able to do anything about that, but definitely search this forum for peoples resolution to mesh problems in general.

S


(Tsori) #14

For what its worth, it became pretty obvious very early on in researching smart things that it was not in a position to work as a traditional alarm system. I get where your coming from that they advertise it as a security product, and you can use it as such but not as a first stage alarm system.

What i ended up settling on was using it to compliment a completely separate alarm system. Smart things allows you to expand on a close eco-system alarm setup by working alongside it. For example, im going to head down the yale smart security route, primarily due to my workplace selling it (which means a nice staff discount) but also because its a modular system that can be added to very easily.

Yale have their own app, which can work as a presence detector and operate door locks (should i invest in smart locks that is) however it is a completely locked down system that does not allow me to “shop around” per say for things like cameras, or sensors.

So thats where smart things steps in, Smart things can handle the camera side of things, it can handle the recording side of things, it can handle detection of open doors/windows when im leaving the house and help me to make sure the premises is secure. You cant rely on it to tell you when there is a proper intrusion due to many reasons already discussed.

The only thing i wont rely on it to do is to sound a siren upon motion detection, which is the age old job of a proper built in alarm system, in this example , the yale app would also alert me that the alarm had been triggered.

Not only that, dont forget that its now policy (certainly here in the midlands) that the police will no longer respond to phone calls regarding burglar alarms sounding, due to the fact home insurance will pick up the slack, unless you are directly at the property with visable sight of an intruder. Most traditional alarms dont allow for this directly (although yale do have a range of cameras), Smart things steps in here, allowing me to check the cameras, record and be in a position to directly inform the police in essence with a “live view” even away from the property.

Finally the other biggest concern for myself was that even if smart things had a brilliant track record for stability (one day right?) and the tools to make smart home monitor the equivalent of a fully featured alarm and security system, your still relying on that unit not to be disconnected from the internet, either by coincidence or by direct intention of the intruder. By splitting the duties of home security amongst two completely separate systems your building in redundancy’s.

The beauty of the example above is that with the presence detection from the yale app, the actual alarm system just works in the background, much like it would if it was automated with smart things, meaning you can ignore that its not integrated and just let it do its job.


#15

I too have found the ST motion and multi sensor’s to be very unreliable. When I first installed the ST hubs and sensors I had to take out the batteries almost daily as they stopped responding. I tried the suggestions which have been mentioned above regarding changing the wifi channels etc and it didn’t make a difference.

I purchased some xiaomi door/window and motion sensors and not had any problems since. They are a bit fiddly to pair and I had to install the custom device handlers created by a4refillpad but they have only dropped off once after a recent ST hub firmware update. They have worked flawlessly for 9 months. I suspect your problems are due to the ST sensor’s being problematic and suggest you try an alternate brand.


#16

Hi Spadge,

I moved the hub away from the repeater last night by about 1000mm and unplugged it for 30 minutes. The consequence was that even more ST devices became unavailable. This morning I knocked off the 2.4ghz signal on the main router and I’ve still got three devices unavailable and new ones as it happens. The system is SO flaky!


(cjcharles) #17

I did an ST integration with Visonic who make a good number of alarms in the UK and US and that way ST can add the smart stuff while Visonic do the important bits which need high reliability.

I was actually commenting to a friend that it is my favourite integration in ST since not only do I get a level 2 alarm (ie it reduces house insurance bills) but I also get to use all of the sensors as motion and contact sensors in ST with no noticeable delay (ie my alarm front door sensor triggers lights, and the disarm action triggers photos to be taken etc).

Just to give you one other option since they sell Powermax systems from Visonic for £300 including 4x PIRs and 2x contact switches.


(Kim) #18

I’ve had Smart things being flakey for a while and dismissed their devices… and started buying others. I’ve however gone for one last ditch attempt and put Panasonic batterys in all the sensors. and I’m 3 days in with zero issues. With duracells I was getting triggers all the time, devices dropping off the network all the time etc.

What batteries are you using?


#19

I haven’t changed them but…I did buy a bargain load of smart sensors from a reseller on Amazon and the batteries are different. Thanks for the tip. I’ll give it ago.

To all you lovely contributors on this thread apologies for the silence. I’ve been busy saving up for Fibaro’s and CJCharles Visonic stuff (thanks dude!) so haven’t had a chance to post :wink:


(cjcharles) #20

Oh cool! Did you start already? Or just looking to get started? Any questions let me know but I think its pretty easy to setup now!