ST Presence Timeout


(Dave N) #1

I have a few issues with my wife’s presence sensor randomly announcing that she has arrived. I installed a motion repeater and powered it about 20 feet away thinking maybe this was the issue. Rebuilt the Z-Wave network in IDE. I also changed her fob battery. Still got a hit last night and today my son says the front door unlocked 3 times even though his fob hasn’t left the house.
All this leaves me a bit at a loss but did bring up a question. What is the impact of changing the default (1?) minute setting of the Presence time-out in the IDE? Could this help?


Zigbee repeater needed after moving my hub
(Greg) #2

yes this will help if the presence is leaving and returning for only short periods.

So if it says he is away but he isn’t, but it always corrects itself in less than 2 minutes. Then use a 2 min time out. However, this also means that when it is working correctly you will have been gone for 2 minutes before the mode changes or whatever you told it to do when the person left.

I use a 2 min timeout and it has worked out well. However I just use phones as presence sensors.


(Engelwood) #3

I had the same issue.

I changed the timeout to 4 mins and the false arrivals were cut down significantly. I think I’ve had one in the past week since I’ve changed it.

I think the fobs use zibgee, so I don’t think rebuilding the z-wave network would help (somebody correct me if I’m mistaken).

Regarding the impact of changing the time-out? The only thing I’ve noticed is that my lights, locks, etc take a bit longer to change states after I’ve left.

This page has some good suggestions: https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/articles/200751335-My-Presence-tags-say-they-re-leaving-and-arriving-constantly


(Dave N) #4

Thanks for the suggestions. According to Ben at ST when I added the USC motion detector (as a repeater) I needed to rebuild the network to incorporate the change.
I am at 2 minutes now so I will give that a shot. Tried using my phone as a presence sensor (as a test) but it took 8 minutes to say I was gone all the time yet worked right away upon arrival. Not good as I want my stuff to go to AWAY mode as soon as I leave the driveway.


(Chrisb) #5

Hey Daven,

A few things to comment on here:

First, the presence tags are Zigbee, not Z-wave… so you need to make sure you’ve got a Zigbee repeater (such as the ST Motion Sensor) to increase range.

Second, the ST Motion Sensor only acts as a repeater when it’s plugged in. Ben probably already mentioned that, but just to make sure.

Third, the big problem with the tags is that they use a very low powered radio in order to prolong the life of the battery as much as possible. So they don’t transmit well through walls/doors. They can lose the communication briefly. If possible, get the Motion Sensor as close to where the tags are when home as possible. For example, I put a motion sensor in my garage so it’s just 6 feet from my car and 15 from my wife’s with virtually nothing blocking the signal. The Motion Sensor’s stronger radio can easily and reliably reach through the garage wall, though my house wall, to my hub.

Fourth, Zigbee and Wifi sorta compete for the same freq. Try to move your hub as far from any wifi routers you have as possible.

Probably a lot of this you already know or Ben has already mentioned, but just to make sure the info get to you in case you didn’t know about it…


(Dave N) #6

Thanks for the check-list. The fobs are in a key bowl by the front door so 15 feet through 1 wall to the repeater. I am using the “Official” ST motion repeater powered by USB so that should be good.
ZIgbee,org says the Americas freq is 915 Mhz so I thought the WiFi would be a non issue. I have 5 GHz and 2.4 in the house but no more old 900 meg stuff.
I unplugged the repeater last night after 3 false trips so we will see if the issue goes away. If it does I will put the motion detector back on see if the problem returns.


(Chrisb) #7

Yeah, I don’t really see any issues with what you’re doing then.

I did have a problem with my motion sensor in my garage once… it just sorta stopped working… then that night I got the away/home/away/home problem. After I “rebooted” the motion sensor the problem went away. Maybe it just needed a reboot on the motion sensor??


(Dave N) #8

That’s possible. I also have a WiFi repeater in my living room only 2M away from my hub so maybe I will turn down the radio in that device as well and see what happens.


(George Sudarkoff) #9

From the systems engineering point of view, this type of presence sensor is not good for triggering the events. E.g.: somebody just arrived - open the garage door; somebody’s left - lock the door.

But it is fine for the condition-based actions triggered by something else. As in, everybody’s gone for over ten minutes (triggered by time), make sure the doors are locked. And so on.

I’m patiently waiting for the iBeacon support when presence-triggered events will become truly possible.


(Chrisb) #10

Well, I understand that it may not be ideal, but honestly I’ve been working with it as a leaving/arriving trigger for about a year now and it works well enough.

I use it to close my garage after I leave. I’d prefer to triggered faster when I left, but it still works well enough.

I also use it to open my garage and unlock my side door when I arrive home. The only issue I ran into here was range but this was solved easily enough with a plugged in motion sensor in a strategic place.


(George Sudarkoff) #11

I’m not saying you can’t make it sorta work most of the time. I use presence to open my garage door when I arrive from work myself. Just don’t be surprised if you find your door open in the middle of the night (as it happened to me). And about once every week I have to push the button because the sensor is too slow. And I can live with that. But I can’t live with an open door in the middle of the night.

To deal with the latter problem you need to understand the limitations and work around them. I clamped down the triggering window to 4PM-7PM Monday through Friday - the time I arrive from work. Any other time presence is used ONLY as a condition in other triggers.


(Stuart Buchanan) #12

I only unlock the doors when in home or away mode. if in night mode doors do not unlock automatically.