This is in reference to Amazon Echo Alexa +Smartthings + Harmony integration. I’m an internet of things fanatic but new to home automation – and my boyfriend hates it, so I really need to get this stuff working so I can get him on board (I’m sure some of you can relate!)
Since you’re only allowed 1 favorite channel in the Harmony app, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how everyone was creating different activities for each channel, i.e. ESPN, History, Disney JR, so forth. What I finally figured out was to add the channel numbers as the last part of the activity sequence.
Works great - until Alexa. She doesn’t respond to any of these, and nothing actually happens. The weird thing is, I get a different response for each channel.
turn chromecast on - works
turn tv on - works
turn DVR on - "sorry, I couldnt find a device or group named “dvr” in Alicia’s profile.
turn history on, turn disney jr on , turn Nick junior on – she just plays a sad double tone and does nothing. I’ve tried renaming these activities “history channel” “disney junior” “nick” etc – no luck
turn nick JR on ( I actually say the letters J R) --(long pause) hmm…smartthings isn’t responding.
It seems that any of the activities that have “button presses” after the power on sequences dont work (the channels have 4 numbers and the dvr has a dvr button press.
Anyone else experience this problem? Or, can someone please advise of the best way to program specific channels in Harmony? I’m wondering if I’m doing it wrong and hopefully Alexa will understand the commands.
I’m sure that’s frustrating! See if this thread helps any. It also includes discussion of channel selection activities.
Also, just to be sure:
One) as you create new activities in Harmony, i’m not sure exactly how the virtual switches get created for them in the new Harmony/smartthings integration, but if you look in the other thread people there should know. But in any case, first check SmartThings to make sure that there is a virtual switch for each of the harmony activities that you want to control with Alexa.
once the switches exist, you have to authorize Alexa to see them. You can do that either through the Alexa smart app or through the Amazon app.
Three) once the switches exist and have been authorized, you then have to tell echo to discover new devices.
Once those three steps are done, when you open the Amazon app and you look under smart home, you should see each of the switches available. At that point, Alexa should be able to turn them on and off as Long as you didn’t accidentally use an echo reserved word.
One of the few user – unfriendly facts about echo is that they are continually adding new reserved words, and there is no list anywhere. You just realize you run into one because suddenly echo starts behaving differently. For example, when echo first came out I had to switch called “power” but eventually that became a reserved word so if I say power off, echo just tries to turn itself off.
See the following thread for discussion of naming quirks:
One of the ways to get around a quirk is to put the device into a group using the Amazon app and give the group a name that echo will accept. This is the fastest way to try different names by trial and error. A group name doesn’t have to match anything in smartthings. The group is just for echo’s own use.
Once you get everything set up so it is working, the echo/harmony integration is really great. But I know it’s annoying if you run into any roadblocks why you’re trying to set it up. Again, if you ask in the other thread, people there should be able to help with the SmartThings official integration.
These days, to be honest, I’m mostly using the direct IFTTT echo/harmony method. It’s true you have to say “Alexa, trigger ESPN” or whatever, but it seems to avoid all of the reserved word issues.
Some of my virtual switch names that worked forever all the sudden stopped. For instance “Turn on the Royals” always worked but now Alexa just plays Lorde :P. Turn on the History Channel worked previously as well but now Alexa just does her error ding. Some still work fine though. So something has changed recently but not sure where. I’ll probably just have to try renaming stuff until I can figure out the new working pattern.