SOLVED...My increasing ST frustration

Pardon the rant. I cannot possibly be the only one with this issue.

A couple of weeks back, I began to lose the ability to control some of the 14 Cree bulbs I have using Alexa. Zero issues previously.

I started to notice as many as 75% of my Cree bulbs would go on and offline.

Opened an ST ticket and was advised to disable device health. This made no change.

I noticed the ST app became slow to update the status of a device when turning items on or off.

I relocated the hub at tech support request to within <10 feet from 7 Cree bulbs…and 15 feet ftom 6 more. Online and offline made no improvement.

Control is unreliable with Alexa, and at times ST’s own app.

Am I the only one stuck on this island?

I don’t have any Cree devices but my smartthings has been nothing but rock solid aside from a few lighting automations sometimes not firing for about a year now.

Thats the odd thing. My hub worked no issues…in a 100 year old 2 story house full of plaster and metal lathe.

I move 3 months ago to a 15 year old house with an open floor plan…a RANCH…in a less densely populated neighborhood. No issues up to the last 2 weeks.

I cannot possibly have 15 bad bulbs. Even the mobile app has issues on 2 different devices.

Sounds like zigbee mesh issues. How far is your hub from your WiFi router? Have you checked for WiFi and zigbee channel interference?

ST hub was maybe 20 feet from ceiling mounted AP. Moved it at ST tech support request to maybe 10 feet away.

Have not checked channels in use. I suspect my TP link AP would be easier to change.

Funny though, how everything was fine up to a couple weeks ago.

That’s not “rock solid”… It’s more like sponge solid. Lol

I’m going to disagree. If you think it’s not reliable because I’ve had an automation issue maybe 3 times in a year…idk what you expect.

How many automations are you currently running? How many devices? What are the complexities?
Is there a lag and is it the same every time, or does it vary?
Do the lights turn on every single time?

I expect it to work reliably. I guess I expect too much.

I have over 50 devices and easily 30 plus automations including ones from CoRE. Next to never get lag. And lights turn on every time. Maybe just accept that I’ve not had issues?

Lol I’m not trying to argue… Just stating the obvious. I’ve got 200 + devices and more automations than I can count.

There is definitely a lag. Though ST has made incredible improvements offer the past two years, their reliance on the cloud has been and always will be the biggest weakness of the system.

It’s just not reliable.

Yikes! Please don’t tell me that smartthings support told you to move a smartthings hub closer to a Wi-Fi access point! That would make interference worse, not better. :scream:

They might tell you to move individual zigbee devices closer to the hub, but never a Wi-Fi transmitter. Wi-Fi and zigbee operate in the same band and Wi-Fi is much more powerful so it can drown out zigbee transmissions.

Meanwhile, this is probably too obvious, but have you tried forcing a zigbee heal just to make sure the network is running efficiently? Make sure all your zigbee devices are on power. Then take the hub off power, including removing any batteries. Leave it off power for at least 15 minutes. That will cause the others zigbee devices to panic because they can’t find the hub. Then when you put the hubback on power, all the other devices will rebuild their neighbor tables. That will make sure everybody is using the most efficient routing. This process takes a while, so you might not see improvements until the next day, but it’s one of those “can’t hurt, might help” things that’s always worth trying.

The next issue, after you have done the heal, for devices that used to be fine and now aren’t, is to look for new sources of local interference. Unfortunately smartthings doesn’t give us any tools to do that. But begin by just thinking about whether you have added any new Wi-Fi transmitters. They are the most common source of interference with zigbee. If you live in an apartment, it might even be that your next-door neighbor got a new Wi-Fi booster. It doesn’t have to be your Wi-Fi network, just transmissions in that range.

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Sorry, but that statement says that your system, just like everyone else’s, is not reliable.

“Reliable” means different things to different people, so it’s helpful to first get a definition. :sunglasses:

In my own case, I consider a system reliable if it has a maintenance free operating period (MFOP) of at least six months. But different people have different requirements.

As far as lag, again different people have different requirements. Many people are OK with the lag of up to two seconds, which is called the “conversational pause” in systems design. But others find any lag beyond 500 ms intolerable, particularly for lights coming on when you enter a room. So Lutron engineers to that standard, which is one reason their switches typically cost more than the ones that are engineered to two seconds.

As the saying goes, “all home automation is local.” :sunglasses: Different people will have different measurable experiences and different psychological experiences depending on the local set up and their own preferences.

As long as someone is happy with their set up, that’s good. If they are unhappy, we have to go beyond a amorphous words like “reliable” and “lag” and start applying some measurable numbers in order to see where improvements might be made.


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Lag - an understanding result of a cloud based system. If the past was the same every time, if it was consistent, it would be more acceptable. But 500ms one time, 2 second the next, and occasionally 30 sec delays are incredibly noticeable to the user.

Reliable - giving the expected same result every time. See lag above as to reliability.

Yes, some things are more acceptable to some than others. We both know I’ve had my ups and downs with ST, but as you’ve pointed out in the past @JDRoberts, I’m a tinkerer and have actually programmed around the unreliability of s ST to the point that my system is amazing . But I’m sick of programming around a never improving problem.

An example of having a work around…

Modes are notorious for failure. I have my modes triggered based pin times of day. My automations are mode based in that they are triggered by mode changes and are dependant on them. So, if a mode changes fails to occur then the entire system is out of sorts.

I’ve created an automation that runs every 15 minutes. It checks the current mode and compares that to the time of day, as well as the order that my modes are in. If it finds that the mode has failed to change for undocumented reasons it will attempt to update the system to the proper mode. It will do this three times. If it fails to change the mode, that is four mode failures. It then sends me a message telling what has occurred so I can manually correct the problem.

The fact that I get a message at least once a month is more than enough for me to say the system is unreliable.


Thanks, all. I believe I have resolved the issue.

Incidentally, ST support asked me to move the hub to be closer to my bulbs…not my access point.

My TP Link access point was set to auto set WiFi channel. By manually setting the channel, the issues disappeared. Apparently, some planetary alignment caused the TP Link to choose an annoying WiFi channel. Thanks to all, and those who brought up interference.