Trouble With Bulb Status Updates


I’m having 2 issues regarding missed or improper status updates, one vague about Lifx bulbs and one specific using Sylvania bulbs on a Smart Lighting schedule. This is happening on a v3 hub.

  1. Lifx - Bulbs do no seem to reflect changes in the apps for at least a few minutes, if ever. All other local and cloud devices normally show changes right away. Is this typical for Lifx?

  2. Sylvania + Smart Lighting - This one is strange. Different sunset schedules are turning on 7 or 8 bulbs. With 2 of the bulbs (2 different schedules) the SL local automation turns on the bulbs’ switches, but the actual light itself does not come on until manually flipped. Is this a Sylvania hardware issue, or is there something else that can be done to ensure stability?


Most smart bulbs are intended to always be on power. Then the bulb itself will Dim itself down until it looks like it is off when it receives a “off“ command. But the switch, if it is a dumb switch, should always be in the on position or the bulb cannot function.

Is that what you were describing? Or do you have another smart switch which does not actually cut current to the bulb?

I’m talking about the “switch” in the device’s history. That switch shows as turned on by the Smart Lighting schedule at 4:32pm (or whatever sunset is), but the bulbs themselves do not actually light up.

Power is on at the physical lamp switch/fixture, and brightness was 100% in both cases for both lights. It’s been happening for a few days, after working correctly 1 day before that.

So “manually flipped” means?

It means turned on by Google voice, ST app, etc., and not via scheduled Smart Lighting automation at sunset.

Thanks for the clarification. That does sound very odd. And frustrating. :rage:

Have you tried putting the problem Bulb on a separate automation by itself and seeing if that makes any difference?

Also, do you have the bulbs in a scene or just individually listed?

(I’m just wondering whether it’s a timeout issue or a problem with that particular bulb.)

One of the problem bulbs was running as part of a fixture that has 2 lights, and used a scene to set a particular color. The right light comes on and the left light doesn’t. The history for both lights shows “switch on” identically - at the same timestamp - even though the one bulb stays off until turned on some other way.

The other problem bulb is in a lamp that’s running a completely different Smart Lighting schedule.

The only thing they have in common is they’re both Sylvania Lightify.

As an aside, is it usual for ST to run sunset (or any time-based) schedules over 1 minute apart from other concurrent ones? I’d think they would be close to single digit seconds apart at most, and no greater than that.

As I described, one bulb already is on a separate Smart Lighting automation. Two in fact, because it comes on at sunset but off at a specific time.

Up to a minute apart is common, yes. It’s an artifact of mesh networks, Plus unpredictable cloud latency. But not more than that.

From the developer documents:

Execution time may not be in exact seconds
SmartThings will try to execute your scheduled job at the specified time, but cannot guarantee it will execute at that exact moment. As a general rule of thumb, you should expect that your job will be called within the minute of scheduled execution. For example, if you schedule a job at 5:30:20 (20 seconds past 5:30) to execute in five minutes, we expect it to be executed at some point in the 5:35 minute.

But with that issue, it should be random as to which one executes first. It shouldn’t always be the same bulb coming on last.


Even if you can’t solve the Sylvania problem…

Just wanted to say thank you for all your effort on the ST (and WC?) forums. I’ve been lurking since expanding from Google Home into ST about 2 months ago. What a world of possibilities!

As someone who’s worked closely with Google services for 20 years and just getting into IoT (buying first Wi-Fi bulbs) at the end of 2018, this is incredibly appealing. The benefits are endless for the 2 homes I’ve been doing this for.

I’m also a Samsung Android user for 5 years and former half-assed PHP programmer & web/graphics designer since 199X. Just picked up a Note 9 earlier this year, which was the first time I saw ST as an app. I’d have loved to have gotten started with this sooner, when I was married and in my own house.

Do you know of any live groups who communicate over something like Skype or WhatsApp to troubleshoot and work on WC or other ST automations? I just got WC running last month and finally connected Google Home speakers as output devices, which is also created a WHOLE NEW WORLD of potential.

Besides solving my own issues for family members, I’m recently disabled and out of work. That means time isn’t much of a constraint, and I am free to work together with pro DIYers or installers who could use some apprentice help (or whatever). This would be mutually beneficial, as I’m starting to get lost in expandability and naming/organizing conventions at this phase 2 months in, and could use some professional guidance. At the same time, I’m also able to offer help to other members less experienced in other areas of business & tech. I’m middle aged, but grew up when the internet came out and have been in small business for decades.

Anyway, this post wasn’t intended to be a bio, but I got carried away :smile:

Thanks again.


Always good to learn more about other community members. Thanks for the background. :sunglasses:

I’m not sure if there are live sessions or not. Most of the platforms are not voice friendly, so I don’t participate. There was a slack group at one point, but I don’t know if it’s still going or what its focus is.

@jody.albritton Or @tgauchat Might know more. You can also check in the webcore forum to see what they have going.

As far as the Sylvania problem, at this point you have a couple of choices. You can just report it to support and work with them and see if they find anything, they can see more than we can.

Or I can tell you what I would do next as a field tech and you can decide whether you want to do that. But that option will be a lot more work for you and still no guarantees.

The first thing I would do is physically swap the two bulbs that are sharing the same fixture and see what the results are. Does the problem bulb still have a problem now that it’s in the new position? Or does the problem Bulb now work fine and the other bulb now have a problem?

Make sure that you yourself are physically where you would normally be when you’ve been seeing this problem, not hovering over the fixture. The human body also blocks signal. :wink:

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It’s only been a few days, so I plan to continue monitoring the situation for any patterns. In the meantime, I’ll turn them on manually for another few days before tinkering. The problem may either reveal or fix itself.

Do you have any idea what kind of thing could even cause something like this to happen? I can’t even imagine a way for a bulb’s switch to change status without lighting up unless it’s a hardware issue inside the bulb. Since it’s happening with TWO bulbs at the same time, it’s fairly likely I’m wrong, and my imagination needs some educating.

I can think of a bunch of ways. :scream:

The first thing to remember is that smartthings is a mostly cloud-based system, and that introduces a bunch of interesting possibilities both good and bad.

The status is changing in the cloud, and it being changed at the time that the message is sent that should cause it to change. But that doesn’t mean it actually is going to change down here on earth. So the status being out of synch doesn’t bother me at all, like I said, there’s all kinds of places where something could go wrong and that would happen.

So now the question is what’s going wrong. Could be a time out issue, could be a local network issue, could be an RF interference issue, could be a local siting issue. Or it could be a defective device.

Since smartthings doesn’t give us as customers any network diagnostic tools, we have to go back to “observe and record.”

If you swap the position of the two bulbs, we can eliminate a couple of things potentially. I don’t know exactly which is which but for now I’m going to say that in the dual fixture the left Bulb works and the right bulb doesn’t.

Swap them.

If the left Bulb (Which was previously the right bulb) still works, we know it’s not the end device. If the right bulb (which was previously left bulb), doesn’t work We know it’s something about the siting and we can start investigating that.

If the left bulb (which was previously the right bulb) Doesn’t work but the right bulb (which was previously left Bulb) does work, Then it’s not the siting. It could be a bad end device. But it could also still be the network. Or the cloud.

The next thing I would do is a network heal.

But it’s just a matter of trial and error, observe and report.

Welcome to the community. I also sent you an invite to our Slack channel. It’s mainly developer focused but there is real time chat there about webcore, rules, etc.

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Awesome, thx!

I feel your pain on this one. I have a similar problem with hue bulbs.

5 lights, three scenes (Day, Night, Off). 4 lights are in a single fixture. When switching between Day/Night, one of the 4 lights will randomly fail to switch.

It is frustrating as heck.

It only happened with one of the bulbs at sunset today. The 2 in the fixture were attached to a virtual dimmer that got flipped on by the Smart Lighting schedule. I set them directly instead and they both lit up normally with their individual switches.

The single light unfortunately did not. The device switch was still correctly flipped by the schedule, but the bulb didn’t light up again. If it persists through the holiday I will try a heal next.

I think I may have found my problem, but I have no idea why it is happening. When I was playing around with automating scenes, it appears that some of the lights are intermittently loosing connection for very short periods. I could see them popping off the network for very short periods while working on the ST android app.

This is really strange, the network is fine (hue bulbs) in that room and they are all right next to each other. I even broke out a network analyzer to verify the single strength in the room.

Now I just need to figure out root cause and a solution.

So, the original issue turned out to be 2 completely separate things. Coincidences like that (or intermittent problems) are THE WORST to diagnose obviously.

The first bulb resolved itself upthread, after bypassing the virtual switch controlling that 2-bulb fixture.

The 2nd was an actual hardware issue with the lamp itself. We replaced the light socket and all is good now.

Thanks for everyone’s help.

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