ZigBee device unavailble -> ZigBee Repair causes batteries to die in multiple devices?

I’m really not sure whats going on here and although the problem seems gone I’d like to post in case there is something else rearing its head.

This past Saturday I noticed a automation using Smart Lighting didn’t fire. It’s pretty simple, if there is motion on my Kitchen motion sensor and its between sunset and sunrise turn on the light over the kitchen sink. I checked SmartThings and the “Kitchen Motion Sensor” was unavailable. Its a gen 1 SmartThings sensor. I recently replaced the battery, not even two weeks ago, and it “died” reporting 100% battery. So I opened it up and hit the button, it blinked blue but wouldn’t come back. I was busy with other things so I just turned on the light manually and forgot about it.

Next day (Sunday) I was making dinner and something in the oven spilled over setting off the smoke alarm. My smoke alarms have kiddie relays that go to Konnected which through a custom SHM rule is supposed to turn on all the lights. It didn’t. In fact the inputs on Konnected never changed state (or they did but didn’t relay to SmartThings). So at this point I’m thinking somethings up with the hub. I unplugged everything network related in the house (router, modem, SmartThings hub, etc). I also for good measure pulled the batteries (glad I did…they were getting corroded) from the hub. I left everything sit for 20 minutes and plugged everything back in sequence. Modem, 5 minutes, router, another 5 minutes, hub, 5 minutes, Konnected panels, etc.

I gave it about a hour and checked the app. 9 of my ZigBee devices were showing the red health dot, 3 leak sensors, a couple temp/humidity sensors, 3 multi purpose sensors, a arrival sensor, and my kitchen motion sensor. I know that it can take some time for the ZigBee network to rebuild so I attempted to be patient and left it do its thing.

By Monday night (24+ hour after reboot) all the leak sensors, temp/humidity sensors, and the arrival sensor were back but the three multi purpose sensors and the Kitchen motion still were unavailable. The Kitchen motion was my most important so based on the help documents it says to go into “Add a thing”, remove the battery, and put it back in. I did that and the motion sensor came back and my automation ran turning on the light. Great! So I tried the multi purpose sensors. None would light up, all three magically had dead batteries. I thought that cant be right so I looked at the last reported battery level for each: 78%, 78%, and 89%. Just for the hell of it I put in a new battery into one of them and sure enough it lit up, started working, and reported 100% battery. I don’t have two spare batteries for the other two but I’m sure that will fix it.

So first why would three working sensors that reported good batteries all go dead after a ZigBee repair. These were all relatively new batteries and other devices which have been in much longer were fine. Did the ZigBee repair somehow kill them? Secondly is there anything I can look at to see why it did this in the first place? I’m assuming this is a isolated issue since I haven’t seen any other posts.

Side note - I’ve never had ZigBee or Z-Wave mess issues in my house. My hub is in the basement on one side and I have a SmartThings ZigBee outlet on the other side first floor. I have 17 battery powered ZigBee devices (all SmartSense sensors) throughout and never had a issue like this before.

Strange; it’s like whatever kind of route rebuilding activity that happened was enough to drain the batteries in the multisensors, and completely flopped in the motion sensor requiring the battery replug and rediscovery. None of that sounds characteristic of a ‘self healing’ Zigbee network. But that’s been typical of the way mine has performed whenever it gets ‘perturbed’.

I’ve got 44 Zigbee devices, 12 of which are repeaters (Iris plugs and a couple of Osram & Cree Zigbee bulbs). In general it works great; no performance issues whatsoever when it has stabilized. Great range (including a few outdoor devices anywhere from 60-70 feet from the hub) and excellent battery life from the sensors; at least the Iris devices. But the last few times I’ve had to remove power from the hub, I’ve always had two or three battery powered devices that failed to reconnect (I have never had a similar issue when the hub has rebooted after a firmware update; those go off without a hitch).

I usually give up after a few hours and replug the batteries. Waiting a day one time made no difference. Once I had to initiate a re-pair as you did with your motion sensor. Unsecure rejoin is enabled on the hub. No 2.4ghz wifi interference; I doubt that hardware or environmental issues are a factor. I can’t imagine how a commercial installation with a thousand Zigbee nodes would ever stabilize after a power disruption if it performed as poorly as my tiny network whenever its routing needs to rebuild.


I also had problems with the battery of two zigbee devices recently. A motion sensor and a multipurpose sensor that were reporting about 75 ‰ of battery power were unavailable. I had to change the batteries to get them working again.

I’m sure that’s very frustrating. :disappointed_relieved: Usually this symptom is caused by one of the following:

One) a zigbee repeater that was acting as a parent to all of the battery operated devices died or was physically removed from the network and now the battery operated devices are having a very hard time reaching the hub and have to continually re-send messages

Two) excessive polling

Three) Some problem with the zigbee implementation on the platform, like continually sending out “firmware update available” messages when there is no firmware update available.

I would start by having support look at it, and at the same time look at any custom code that applies to those devices to see if you’ve got runaway polling somewhere.

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i’ve never had good luck with Zigbee healing/repair… there would always be a few devices that failed to re-connect to the network, which required pulling the batteries and sometimes even a unpair/pair process…

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