Zigbee devices (bulbs, sensors, switches, outlets) randomly failing beginning March 2016

I am seeing a number of reports in many different threads since the March meltdown and the subsequent implementation of the new scheduler indicating random problems with a number of different zigbee devices, including smart bulbs, motion sensors, pocket sockets, etc.

Most people are reporting this as a failure of the device, but I’m not sure it is. It may be a failure of the cloud to properly record the events, or database corruption, or local flooding.

It may be devices using a device handler that has the known millisecond problem. The new scheduler which was rolled out in March has a missing converter and treats milliseconds as seconds, so device handlers with programmed delays will wait 1,000 times longer than they should. This might cause a timeout, or what appears to be a failure to respond that then results in a mysterious execution some time later. Again, not a device failure.

For example, people are reporting that zigbee bulbs are not able to be controlled from SmartThings, but if they rename the device, then it works again. OK, that’s obviously not a device failure.

Other people, including me, are seeing zigbee bulbs (including Cree and GE) randomly turn on. Dropping off might be a device failure (the GEs are known for this) but randomly turning on isn’t, usually.

Several people, including me, Have zigbee motion sensors which appear to be being ignored by SmartThings. Or zigbee contact sensors reporting only open or only closed for a period of time – – and then fixing themselves. Granted, there are many reasons why sensors might not be reporting correctly (we have an FAQ for that) but these are devices that were working just fine, then seem to stop working for some random period of time, then start working again. Yes some of this gets disguised because many people would just go ahead and pop The batteries on the sensors immediately. I don’t do that because I have to wait for someone else to change the batteries (limited hand function), so I see them come back.

Reason I’m posting this now is there was a really bizarre incident here yesterday. At about six in the morning two of our five zigbee sensors, both smart things branded motion sensors, began to be ignored by smartthings for motion. However, their temperature reports continued to be processed all day. This continued until this morning, when both reports were again processed. As it happens, we didn’t do anything with the sensors in between except to verify that the reports are being ignored. We didn’t move them, change the batteries, rename them, re-– pair them, nothing.

If this were a controller failure, I would expect all the zigbee devices in the Home to be affected. I’m quite sure it’s not a device failure, particularly since two showed exactly the same fault behavior at the same time and they are in different parts of the house. And others zigbee devices in the same area continued to work fine. And both sensors came back at about the same time. :ghost::ghost:

So it seems like it must be some kind of Cloud issue.

Anyway, if you are seeing weird things with Zigbee devices, I would encourage you to Report it to support. I suspect this kind of problem would often be misidentified as a device issue, and therefore support would not get as many notifications as they would for schedule failures. So even if there is a cloud problem going on, they might not be aware of it.


Hi @JDRoberts, I’ve reported this on a couple tickets. I’ve had motion sensors stuck showing motion while temp reports were fine, open/close sensors stuck, and a smart plug fall off. All are zigbee devices, and while I can’t 100% prove it, this happens every time I reboot my hub. I can almost always guarantee I’ll loose a zigbee device after a reboot.


Any chance this is related to the Zigbee insecure rejoin implementation? I haven’t seen any problems (knock on wood), but my zigbee devices only consist of 5 Iris v2 contact sensors, 3 Lightify bulbs and a Sengled Touch bulb. Of those, only 2 contacts and 2 bulbs are used every day. I’m using the standard device handler for the contacts and the GE link handler for the bulbs. I have insecure rejoin turned off.

This is interesting considering back in January/February we had 3 or 4 ST employees posting on here recommending ONLY using zigbee devices rather than a combined environment.

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I wonder that too, if only because we know they were making some changes to the zigbee platform in March. It’s not just the join issue because then we wouldn’t be getting temperature reports from the motion sensors while the motion was getting ignored. So it could be a fault in the implementation of the rejoin, or could be some other unintended consequence. Or it could just be a coincidence. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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You know me, I generally prefer zigbee devices except for fixed location Devices like light switches and door locks and window covering controls where I worry about Wi-Fi interference. If nothing else, I like having more hops to work with. :wink: But that’s just me.

Zigbee is a good protocol. Zwave is a good protocol. Bluetooth is a good protocol. They all have their uses.

There are some SmartThings – related issues that only affect zwave, like the strange Sonos problem where adding two or three Sonos devices can crash Your zwave network.

So it’s not that one protocol is safe and another is not. Weird stuff happens. :sunglasses:

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Do we think this issue is primarily constrained to Hub V2?

Hub V1 firmware (and hardware) is quite different and, frankly, I haven’t had any new ZigBee specific problems.

Good question!

I don’t know, I only have v2.


Are you on a v1 or v2 hub?

Does this sound familiar? This is from the day the Poltergeist started messing with my v2 hub.

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I haven’t had any dropped devices since last October (see above thread). Occasionally I am running into ‘stuck’ devices when I reboot my hub. However, I noticed that they get stuck and require power cycling when the device changes state while the hub is rebooting so I only reboot the hub when I am alone in the house and I am not walking around for 30 minutes. This practice has reduced (if not eliminated) the stuck state. Maybe is pure superstition, but it has worked for me for 6 months.

@JDRoberts the absence of issue with my devices doesn’t negate your problems. I’ve been there. Could it be that the issues people have is regional only on specific servers?

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I continue to have zigbee devices freeze every day. Different ones, some farther from the hub, some quite close. These are primarily motion sensors, but also contact sensors. They will freeze in either state, active or inactive. Popping the battery, sometimes twice, brings them back to life.

I never saw this with V1 hub, and unfortunately I migrated to V2 right before everything went really bad.

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That’s an interesting observation. I could certainly see that happening.

That’s not what I’m seeing with these new problems, however. This just happens randomly at any time, nothing to do with the hub going on or off power.

As for regions being an issue, it certainly could be, it has been with some cloud problems in the past.

I understand. I shared my observation for @johnconstantelo maybe he can avoid some of his problems.

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This has gotten so bad, all around, so many failures every day, that it is certainly starting to look like pulling the plug is the way to go. It would be nice if this system worked, but the inability of this team to put out any new software without totally breaking it has worn really old. Every single day…


I’m on V2.

I’ve had problems with two particular motion sensors. They’ve been doing this same thing. Normally popping the battery for a couple of minutes brings them back.

I’ve written it off to their location. They are the farthest away from my hub with a lot in between them. All of my zigbee devices are battery operated, therefore no repeaters.

I’m thinking about getting a zigbee repeater too see if it improves, but after reading all of if this I doubt it will help.

I’ve been having more trouble with two that are the furthest from the hub. I just added a repeater; will see if it helps or not.

Let me know. What’s weird is these two are iris motion sensors. They are two of three motion sensors I have in my master bathroom. I have never had a problem with the third one, and it’s in the shower.

I wonder if a zigbee mesh rebuild would help with this? It would at least help remove the devices from the list of suspects.

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