Why do smart home devices have to be so frustrating?
So I have to vent for just a minute. I am not sure why everything can’t just get along and work as it’s intended lol. Lately I have been having an issue where my SmartThings keeps losing connection to my Hue account.
I link my Hue account through SmartThings and then Smart things to Google. I do this in order to have the SmartThings ZigBee devices available on Google. If you link Hue straight to Google and you have SmartThings link it ends up duplicating all of your Hue devices. Then all of a sudden I have 196 lights instead of the 80+ that I actually have.
Some smart devices make it so complicated to get working, it’s frustrating. The device itself works great but getting it properly connected to your network can be difficult sometimes. My YouTube video below talks about one of the frustration I just had in adding a new smart plug to my network.
The Device is a GHome smart plug by Gosund. The device works great and has a nice small form factor, getting it connected to my network was frustrating. It only connects via the 2.4 Ghz band, and while that’s great since all WiFi routers support that, it will not let your device be on a 5 Ghz band.
The product page says “Set your Wi-Fi as 2.4G Wi-Fi for successful pairing”. A lot of routers and devices don’t let you force one or the other. Some routers will let you turn off your 5 Ghz band but some do not. But why should you have to just to connect a device?
I use an Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Tri-band router in my home and it doesn’t let you disable the 5 Ghz band. I was able to login and reconfigure some settings to get the device connected. But when I did, it caused issues with my entire WiFi connection in my home. I then had to go back in and reset everything in order to get my home back online. Yes the new smart plugs were still connected as well.
What’s the solution to this issue?
You shouldn’t have to do that. The issue is not with the physical device, it’s with it’s programming and the limited protocols it supports. They can add Bluetooth connection, which will allow your phone to connect and then push the required WiFi information to the device. There are a lot of products that do that.
Once I got it added it works great and I also like that it works with multiple apps. I already have a device that uses the SmartLife app and so I didn’t have to install another app and create another account just to use them. Since my SmartLife account is already linked to my Google Home it automatically showed up in my Google Home app and works with Google Assistant.
You can find the device here – GHome Smart Mini Smart Plug if you are interested in taking a look at it.
How to ease the pain.
This mishmash of devices and logins is the most frustrating part of the smart home process and why good planning is so important. If I had planned things out better, I could have minimized these problems.
Some devices have their own specific app’s that you have to use to control them. Some can be added to an existing product, such as adding a ZigBee device to my existing SmartThings Station.
Either way it’s pays good dividends later to do some of this planning and research ahead of time to help with this issue. I promise you it’s much harder to undo and fix it later than to do some leg work ahead of time and not rush it.
What’s the fix?
How do I fix it you ask? Well for this one particular issue I am going to have to remove my Hue account from my SmartThings Station. Then remove my SmartThings link in my Google Home. Then I’m going to have to add my Hue account to my Google Home.
I know what you are thinking, “that’s not that bad”, but it’s a hassle. Once I remove the SmartThings link from my Google Home account, all of my devices that are connected through that will disappear. Then all of the devices that are connected to my Hue account will appear in the app.
Then I’ll have to go back through and re-assign every single one to the correct room that they belong to. Otherwise Google Assistant won’t be able to control them correctly. Not to mention all of the automations I have setup with geofencing and phrases. If any of the names are different they won’t work either and I’ll have to go fix that.
Now, any devices that were connected through the SmartThings Station won’t show up. I know what you are thinking again, “why not add it back”? Well in the past, unless I completely rest and delete all settings in the SmartThings Station it still likes to double up.
There have been several firmware updates since the last time I tried that so I might give it a try. If I can’t add it back it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be. I only have a handful of devices that I can only manage with SmartThings now.
So what it all boils down to is preparation and planning. Even if you have to write the items down you want to use then see how they all talk to each other, it’s worth the time.
These types of issues is what Matter is supposed to solve, but until all these different manufacturers can get on the same page and get it rolled out it won’t go away. Also some of the existing smart devices aren’t matter capable so you will have to buy the newer/updated device to take advantage of it.
Well thanks for listening and I guess now is the time to go fix it lol. I’ll document my steps and I’ll be posting video content on my YouTube Channel once I can get it all together. I’ll also be posting more content on how to avoid this and some of the devices and configurations I recommend.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know in the comments section below. You can also email me from my Contact page. Thanks for reading!