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Introduction to SmartThings

Frequent Contributor

Re: Introduction to SmartThings

Did they give it back in your gift card?  They gave me $800 for the water softener.

Tinkerer

Re: Introduction to SmartThings

Well, I went and did it. FWIW, I did NOT pay full price for any of it. 

 

I went ahead with the ADT Smarrthings Home Monitoring Starter Kit, a hub, 2 door and window detectors, and a motion sensor. I grabbed it while Amazon had them for $99.00, they shot back up to what looks like $149.00 now. I also found an ebayer that had the ADT Smartthings door and window detectors (sensors) for $10.00 each with free shipping.  So I took a gamble and bought into ADT Smartthings with a total of 17 door and window detectors and of course the motion sensor for $250.00

 

I am using it exclusively self monitored for now, so my Iris 2nd gen motion sensors and contact sensors are in use as well.

 

Something became readily apparent when I went to pair devices to Smartthings. It is MUCH and I mean MUCH faster than Iris ever thought of being. Adding an Iris contact sensor to Iris typically took 5 - 10 minutes. Adding that same Iris contact sensor to Smartthings took all of about 15 seconds. Likewise open / close of the sensors while not instantaneous is as close as I would expect for a magnetic contact type sensor.

 

There are some drawbacks, but I am not sure how to get around them.

 

#1. To get the ideal location, central in my house, easily accessed to both the front and back door to get access to the keypad, the hub had to be mounted immediately to the right of my WiFi Smart Thermostat in the living room. Not a problem, but the cable running down the wall isn't super attractive, and I couldn't figure out a way to get power to it in a concealed manner. The in wall outlet boxes they use for TVs are too big... So I went with the smallest paintable cable raceway I could find and tucked as much of the exposed wire as possible into it. I still need to paint it, but at least it looks a LOT better than it did. 

#2. Again no integration with keypads beyond the built in touch panel on the hub. I STRONGLY urge Samsung / Smartthings to integrate their own, as well as our Iris 2nd generation keypads, and others on the market.  The system is very smart phone oriented for arming / disarming, which is great, for those that have smart phones. My houskeeper is an absolutel luddite that refuses to go beyond a flip phone. 

#3. The ADT door and window detectors (sensors) are VERY sensitive to interference by nearby metallic objects. Usually not a problem, but I have side sliding window casements in several of my rooms, one of them has a metal framed top and bottom mini blind, I discovered after my wife placed a snuffed out yankee candle on the window sill that pushed the bottom frame against the sensor, that it will make the sensor read open until that metal is pulled away at least 1". 

#4. Samsuing on the smartthings website shows the Ring spotlight camera wired, and ring floodlight camera models as "works with smartthings" yet the only function I see on those showing up in ST is the motion sensors. I want to be able to trigger the sirens and lights with alarm events as well. Still working on figuring that out.

#5. So far everything has worked, aside from Ring, exactly as expected. The Iris devices that stated they would carry over, did with no hesitation. I am seriously wishing I had about 4 more of the Iris 3rd generation ZigBee smart plugs, at the price tags on them since Lowes isn't clearanceing them out, I might as well go with the official Smartthings ZigBee smart plugs...

 

Communication to support isn't exactly strong with them, but it's not like calling AT&T, DirectTV or Comcast customer service... You call, get in a callback queue, and wait for the return call, they are really good at making the call back within the promised time.

 

My only real concern at this time is with optics, there was a rush of cutting prices on ADT Smartthings, and then zero stock on them, now the stock is back and prices are back where they were... ADT has aquired a DIY home security company that is reportedly quite weak on home automation, so hopefully they aren't planning on bailing out of the smartthings partnership. 

 

At what I have invested, while I wouldn't be happy, I am not going to be broken hearted if I get say only 2 or 3 years out of this, although with self monitoring, I suspect it will be a longer lifespan...

Frequent Contributor

Re: Introduction to SmartThings

So I understand the built in siren won't work unless using ADT monitoring with that hub or have you figured out a way to  make that work with Smart things?

Do you still have to actually lock and unlock on the phone or does it do it automatically when it senses the phone leaving and arriving?

If you need another keypad how about actiontiles app  on a tablet https://www.actiontiles.com/

Overall would you recommend the ADT/ST hub, reviews are pretty dismal but I think a lot of it is user error, and I did see Iris buyers that are loving it.

 

 

Tinkerer

Re: Introduction to SmartThings


@AliBali58 wrote:

So I understand the built in siren won't work unless using ADT monitoring with that hub or have you figured out a way to  make that work with Smart things?

Do you still have to actually lock and unlock on the phone or does it do it automatically when it senses the phone leaving and arriving?

If you need another keypad how about actiontiles app  on a tablet https://www.actiontiles.com/

Overall would you recommend the ADT/ST hub, reviews are pretty dismal but I think a lot of it is user error, and I did see Iris buyers that are loving it.

 

 


I haven't set up automatically arming / disarming with phone presence. Between my wife, myself, and my brother in law who stays with us, I saw too many issues iwth it arming when one of us left. Maybe I'm not smart enough to figure it out.

 

I set up the Utilitech siren before I tested, and it is close to the hub, so I am not sure if the siren in the hub works self monitored or not, I just know it is LOUD inside the house when I trigger it. I can offline it and intentionally trip an alarm event tonight to test for you. I suspect it does work self monitored.

 

As far as my implementation is concnerned, I am covering a 2K sq/ft house, with a flow through design, while the doors are offset from each other, there is almsot a straight shot from front to back doors, my hub is mounted on the wall haflway between, so no real need for a second keypad. just walk in the door walk to the panel and input the pin to disarm if need be. This also puts the hub at almost perfect dead center of the house. Almost but not quite. Maybe within 5' of perfect dead center. So actiontiles really isn't necessary for me. Since I am doing self monitoring, if I needed a second keypad for example, I would probably just use the DTH and set up my Iris keypad instead of worrying about maintaining a tablet on top of everything else... 

 

My only point of comparison is between Iris and ADT Smartthings, so keep that in mind. So far I am impressed, and somewhat befuddled. Impressed that everything that is labelled as directly compatible has been brain dead simple, easy, and fast to set up. Befuddled because there is so much that you can do with this, that is what I can tell so far beyond what Iris was doing that it's kind of mind boggling. There is so much third party support via custom DTH and smartapps that will make your head spin, unfortunately this comes at a cost. Let me explain.

 

Setting up my system was super simple, for the simple stuff,  except I had to do it in 2 different apps, mostly because the documentation is all over the place and I didn't know at first I could do it with one app.  The folks at the Smartthings forum, community.smartthings.com have been in a word awesome. Super helpful to my many idiotic questions. Most of them were me wanting to be certain I had a decent enough handle on the differences, how to use it etc...

 

Once I got into the system, with the documentation that IT ships with, combined with the forum information, and the documentation for the ADT Security Hub on support.smartthings.com I had the information I needed to set up. With that, it set up super fast compared to Iris, I can not overstate this. The sensors shipped with those battery isolator tabs you yank out to allow the battery to make contact, and sticky backed foam tape mounting tape. Once I began pairing, I didn't have enough time to between pulling that isolator tab, and removing the sticky back mounting tape before I had to input info on where I was mounting the sensor and naming it. And the adhesive backer was super easy to remove!

 

Some gotchas,

#1. I might have missed it, but I didn't see anywhere in the printed documentation on what the default PIN was or how to change it and manage users. It's on the support site, and done within the hub touchscreen.

#2. I had one window sensor that kept showing open when I knew it was closed. It turns out my old metal window blinds were being pushed into it by stuff my wife had sitting on the window sill in a decoarative fashion. Keep ferrous metals away from the magnet part of the sensor. It sticks out further than the 1st gen Iris sensors i was using and I am figuring the steel piece to the blind was messing with the magnetic field...

#3. Like I mentioned above, ring cam support isn't 100%. At least directly, my research shows that via some custom smartapps and DTHs I can get the function I want. 

 

SO let's boil it down to soup and nuts.

 

Would I reccommend the ADT Smartthings system?

In general I would say yes, with a caveat. This goes for the entire Home Automation / DIY security field, understand that your investment today may turn into Iris results, or worse down the road. It seems to be the nature of this beast for now. 

Do I recommend it for paid / professional monitoring? Monitoring services for ADT, are higher than with say Ring, but ring doesn't offer any automation at all, and very little third party support for things like external sirens etc... So if you are willing and able to pony up the extra bucks for full ADT monitoring, it might just be worth it. Only you can decide that.

For self monitoring? I get text messages and push notifications. I have an app rules set to forward incoming text from a specific sender to email, so with a triggered alarm / alert event I get notices NOW, and can quickly look to see what is triggered and respond appropriately. I have every confidence that function will be stable for the foreseeable future, but again, risks with the industry...

 

I jumped on the bandwagon while prices were low, they have shot up again. I have $250.00 invested in my ADT Smartthings system. (I am NOT counting the Ring devices in this total!)

 

Right now, the base kit is $149.99 and the sensors lowest I have seen them is $16.40. So my $250.00 becomes $395.00. Still not horrible. That is current Amazon pricing, which fluctuates wildly.  I see Best Buy doesn't appear to carry it anymore, but I don't judge products based on them anyway... I have been in a Best Buy maybe 4 times since 2001. Each time to deal with Cell phone issues.

 

So long winded explaination, yeah I like it. Am I 100% comfortable with it? No, not really, but with the way pretty much every vendor in this market space is behaving, I am the most comfortable with this setup compared to any of its competition. I was left with the choice of going with the platform I was most comfortable with, or not going with anything at all.

Tinkerer

Re: Introduction to SmartThings

Oops. Delete this...
Tinkerer

Re: Introduction to SmartThings

Update. Pre Built-in siren does work with self monitoring mode.

 

UPDATE: Something changed in the Classic App, and the documentation that I linked to on GeoFencing is no longer relevant.  Sorry, I tried.

 

So status thus far. Everything works, as expected. I managed to mess up and allowed my Ring outdoor camera motion sensors be used for my alarm (do NOT do this). Long story short, I found out that not only do my sirens work, they get LOTS of attention when the neighbors cat accidentally triggers it. Lots fo heads popping out of neighbors houses to see what is going on...

 

Adding Lightify bulbs to my front porch light and a couple of indoor fixtures later this week due to a lightning deal on Amazon. Pretty close to done with this phase.

Frequent Contributor

Re: Introduction to SmartThings

That is to funny, I can just imagine the shok when the siren went off outside

Frequent Contributor

ed.Re: Introduction to SmartThings

That is to funny, I can just imagine the shock when the siren went off outside.

Maybe the cat will think twice about getting to close to your hiome in future.

catgif.gif I apprectiate all your informative updates., but this one made me laugh out loud at just the mental picture of the chaos

Tinkerer

Re: Introduction to SmartThings

One of the Utilitech sirens is in the garage, and apparently even after I had spent a bucket of time and money in insulating  the garage for climate, AND sound, it is still stinking loud outside!

 

So another update, and a bit concerning. 

 

The Smart Home Monitor, that is configured and was working, disappeared on me this morning. I called Smartthings support, that lists on their website as open from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Eastern time zone, acccording to the voice message, doesn't open until noon eastern time... But I digress. The first agent I talked to said point blank that Smart Home monitor and Iris sensors absolutely would not work from within the ADT Smartthings Security hub which is contrary to the published documentation. It honestly ticked me off, bad... I was almost ready to rip it all out shove it back in the boxes and ship it back to Amazon. I called back and got a hold of an actual customer focuesd agent, who assisted me to get my error fixed. I am reconfiguring though. Smart Home Monitor is being decommissioned, I am using the ADT branded sensors for the Home Security app, so I can control it from the app, AND from the hub console. The Iris sensors that are very few, are going to be used as I had stated before, for automations to alert me when certain cabinets are opened / closed, and when the cat gets into the workshop. Think of it as cat protection automation. 

 

The schedule works fine, Iris integration is working great, etc... 

 

For those considering the system, again weigh the pros vs. the cons. I fully expect with any new technology to be some glitches in setup, and a learning curve, and ADT Smartthings certainly lived up to that!

 

What I have left to do right now is this.

 

#1. Un-pair and re-pair 2 of the ADT branded door and window sensors to get them into the ADT panel. Failing that, get an RMA and get replacements from Amazon for them... 

#3. Receive, pair, and install the 3 remaining incoming ADT branded sensors to close up the envelope of the house.

#4. Figure out how to access the siren, and camera / video functions on my various ring cameras. The lights and motion sensors work as expected, even when I have them accidentally to a rule I didn't mean to. Apparently use ALL motion sensors means ALL. My mistake.

#5. Figure out how to integrate my Iris OC821 cameras to Smartthings.

#6. Add smart bulbs to groups, 2 for front patio, 2 for master vanity. Alexa turn on the porch light stuff..

#7. Set the following actions with an alarm event.

- All sirens, both utilitechs, all 3 Ring, and the one on the hub triggered.

- Al lights turned on.

- All cameras begin recording.

 

I am, for now self monitoring. Once I get done with the home remodeling, I am planning on going with the paid monitoring plan. I am however hopeful that the ADT branded smoke / CO detectors stop being the only option for alerting, and since ADT is supporting Alexa Guard on ADT Pulse, they might allow it with ADT Smartthings. I rather prefer my dual sensor dual power Kidde smoke alarms. I believe the ADT models are single sensor battery powered only...