Zone inactive for x minutes doesn't work with variable... How to troubleshoot

Hello - I saw some older posts about this, but none as of recent.

According to the Homey tutorials what I’m attempting is native functionality, but when I introduce a variable into my flow, the trigger does not work. Here is my flow example showing the variables I’m using. The trigger with the static value in zone inactive after x works, the one using the number variable does not trigger, however.

It works with a manual test, but it’s not evaluating on its own. Is there a log of some sort that allows me to see each step and why, for example, the variable is causing an error (which does not trigger an error)? Otherwise, is there an official known issues log maintained by homey that lists which “native” features are broken with Homey Early 23 so I can avoid using them?

The last post said it was broken with FW10.0.9 and I’m on ver 11.0.0.

Hello and welcome, Dexter,

In most triggercards, you can’t use a variable as value, but as you’ve noticed, there’s no warning and the card can be saved.

I prefer to use a Chronograph timer:

  • You can use a numeric variable as timer value
  • It survives a power outage / Homey restart



Not to my knowledge. You happen to have used an invalid input method.
Pls write to Athom support why there’s no warning / why you can save the card (


Thank you, Peter. That was my first approach and while it was more complex it worked fine until I tried to add variables to the timers :laughing: Despite being an integer, I would receive a “time is not valid” error, or the likes of.

Variables are appealing to avoid updating every instance of a timer or trigger and I know homey recognizes this by implementing them.

I noticed there are some cards which do not allow selecting variables. It seems homey is either inconsistent in ensuring variables cannot be used when they won’t work, or perhaps don’t realize this is an issue.

How would a user understand this caveat before creating flows which are broken from the start?

You’re welcome, Dexter.

For me, the ‘zone is inactive for x minutes’ card is unreliable, I was too many times left in the dark, literally :crazy_face:. Other users reported it works fine.

The ‘zone is inactive’ card works fine, and combined with a Chronograph timer it works flawless.

Like you did, by finding out the hard way, and ask here what’s wrong with the flow(card)…
But believe it or not, from what I’ve seen the past few years, very few users reported this flaw here at the forum.
I’m under the impression variables in triggercards aren’t used much
– or –
variables in triggercards, wich happen to not support it, aren’t used much.

1 Like

Thanks again, I sent Athom a ticket, as suggested.

There’s more what goes unnoticed, unless you add an error tag in a log card (the Simple Log app is very nice)
Like when the timeline or push notifications gets flooded by flows, it gets rate limited (read: disabled) for 24h


Btw, the pre-Pro23 models did not have a free value input field for the zone inactive for … minutes card, so Athom ‘forgot’ to add a warning so it seems for this card @ Pro23

This rudimental dropdown list values were also a reason to me to use Chronograph’s more flexible time values (any number of seconds/minutes/hours/days goes)

This will certainly help keep track of and troubleshoot flows. Thanks!

1 Like

Especially with new flows, or complex flows, it’s much easier to troubleshoot.
F.e. actioncards are ‘fire and forget’; even when zigbee and zwave devices normally report their status back, the flow does not check that acknowledgement, and just says “I turned on device X”.
Now, the log action card gets triggered along with the device action card > you now know the flow works, but there’s some issue with turning on device X.

There’s even a script available to add SL cards to all flows

1 Like

Great comments. Perhaps we should do a topic on it for the benefit of all

It’s not the first time you’re commenting this.
With 20+ motion sensors I’ve been using it for years without problems and it’s so much easier and efficient to use built in timers that run anyway.

Is your experience recent or from a while ago?
Perhaps we can test it out and find the culprit?

1 Like

I have also been left in the dark, after the sensors have “said” "zone inactive"and i do enter the room again. Solved it by adding “Zone active” card after the “zone inactive in xxminutes”. Never been left in the dark since that. I guess the timer starts at first “zone inactive” report, and again at next, and so on.

Nice idea, I have a question about that, but to not hijack this thread I created a dedicated one.