Alexa + SmartThings + IFTTT + Harmony to turn TV on and off by voice (2015 version)

The momentary switch toggled too fast for ifttt to handle. I turned the switch to regular then used a modify power allowance app to toggle the switch 10 seconds later… Works perfect :smiley:

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Is anyone else still having problems with IFTTT? My tv continues to power down randomly to the point my wife told me to turn it off LOL not a good first impression :(. As you can see, it’s run 189 times in 24 hours!!! I am also showing activity log from my momentary button.

No problems here, my log shows only two activations in 24 hours.

I am wondering why your log shows all the activity from the harmony connect smart app. Mine shows no activity between the harmony connect app and the virtual button. The only activity is between the echo smartapp and the virtual button.

Or are you in the harmony beta? Did somehow you set that up to send something?

Here is my log, you can see the difference:

It looks like maybe you have a loop where the Harmony power off activity turned off the switch which, because it is a momentary, does its on/off trick and that triggers that same recipe? But again I don’t know why the harmony connect smartapp is involved at all.

Also notice that in my protocol, I use IFTTT to send an “end activity” for the power off. You are sending a “start activity.”

My protocol has one IFTTT recipe for each regular Harmony activity like Watch TV. Those each send a “start activity” when their momentary button is pushed.

Then I have one extra harmony activity, with one extra IFTTT recipe for it. That’s the power off. Unlike all the others, that IFTTT recipe sends an “end activity,” not a “start activity.” (See post #23 above.)

So a couple of differences between the way I do it in the way you’re doing it. I’m not sure what the exact problem is.

But I definitely think something in your steps is looping that momentary switch

Thanks @JDRoberts. I switched my IFTTT recipe to End Activity from Start Activity. I am not home to look at my Harmony Activity, but I believe it’s set to Power Off all Entertainment devices. Not sure if I need to do anything in that activity to make sure the End Activity works right?

I will test later.

Mine is super simple: it’s the end sequence in the harmony activity that does the power off. If I start that same activity, it would just power on the TV if it wasn’t already on. See the screenshots in step three in the very first post.

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@Mbhforum Your issues sound similar to what I was experiencing when I first setup a momentary tile to test. In my setup all my video is routing through a receiver so my TV never switches inputs and this is what worked for me:

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Hi everyone! I’m a Newbie to Smartthings itself as my first Smartthings will be the V2 that I pre ordered last week.

The reason I ordered one is because I already have 2 x Echo’s(Alexa’s) 4 x Sonos Speakers, The Harmony Ultimate remote and some Hue Bulbs.

From what I thought since these all integrate thru the Smartthings Hub once I have them activated in the Smartthings Hub I could just issue voice commands to my echo and it would just work.

For example.

Right now one of my activities in my Harmony is watch DirecTV.
This turns on my TV, Turns to the correct input, then turns on my receiver, sets the correct input and turns on the DirecTV.

I thought once all setup within the Smartthings Hub all I would have to do is say “Alexa, Turn on DirecTV”

But from what I’ve been reading here is that is not true. I’ll have to setup some IFTTT recipies and some things within the Smartthings app.

I’m not slamming at all I just want to know what I will need to do after setting up the Smartthings Hub once it get’s here.

Thank you for any insight, it is most appreciated.

You are correct in your second assumption.

Amazon echo can ask SmartThings to perform specific actions, like turn on a switch.

Harmony can ask smartthings to perform specific actions, like turn on a switch.

But in the current general release version of the harmony/SmartThings integration, Smartthings cannot ask harmony to perform a specific action directly.

So there is no way right now to flip a switch controlled by smartthings and have harmony react to that.

However, both smartthings and harmony have IFTTT channels. So IFTTT can react when a switch controlled by smartthings changes from off to on, and IFTTT can then tell Harmony to perform a specific action.

This is why we call IFTTT "the man in the middle. "

It may be that in the future we have more features in the direct harmony/SmartThings integration to allow smartthings to make requests directly of harmony. If that day comes, we won’t need IFTTT in the middle anymore.

But for right now, we do.


Thank you JD, I really appreciate the fast answer! :smile:

So basically I would need to build my activities from scratch in the Smartthings app?

Is this the same for Sonos?

Example: I have a playlist called “Stuff” I would not be able to just say… Alexa, start playlist Stuff on Sonos in the Office?

To make the archives easier to use, we try to limit each thread to one topic.

I have started a new topic for you to discuss Sonos integration. Hopefully you’ll get some good answers there.

Not exactly.

You have all your harmony activities already existing in harmony.

Using the current integration, what you need to do is add one virtual switch to smartthings for each harmony activity that you want to control from Echo.

Plus one more switch as a power off option.

Then, you add one IFTTT recipe for each of those new switches, to tell Harmony what to do when smartthings turns that switch on.

So you tell echo to turn an activity on, like “turn the DVD on.”

Echo tells smartthings to turn on the virtual DVD control switch.

Smartthings turns on the virtual DVD control switch.

When IFTTT sees that the virtual DVD control switch came on, it tells harmony to start the “watch DVD” activity.

Harmony starts the “watch DVD” activity. The same “watch DVD” activity you had before you ever started setting up smartthings.

It sounds like a lot, but you only have to set it up once, and after that when you tell echo to do something everything typically happens in a second or two. Seriously, my TV comes on faster with the voice command than it does if I try to press the button on the Harmony remote. :sunglasses:


That sounds very do able.

I do hope that they become more integrated but what can you do!

I’ll try this once I receive my hub. In the mean time I’ll keep reading.

Thank you again for your help!

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Got this working perfectly. @JDRoberts, you’re awesome! Thanks

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Ok @JDRoberts, so far so good. I mimicked your setup exactly now. Now, we just need to get “Alexa, put on ESPN” working! (I know we can do this by having an activity for each channel, would be way too much configuration and work).

I could definitely see setting up two or three favorite channels with their own harmony activity, and their own voice command. I did that before when I was still using Siri. it would also be really good if you had kids: “Alexa, turn on the Disney Channel” or whatever. :sunglasses:

@JDRoberts You have guided me towards the path of having hundreds of recipes and activities, but it is pretty damn cool. Just setup “Alexa, watch Nick Jr.” for my son. Now for ESPN, and all my channels :smile: This is by far the best integration to date with SmartThings. It uses 4 different technologies all seamlessly working together. IOT at its finest.


"Alexa, watch Nick Jr"
Are you able to use that exact command?
What does the “watch” command map to?

I know ST does Turn On or Switch On but was wondering what “watch” went to.

Sorry, I meant “Alexa, Turn on Nick Jr.”

Lol…no problem, I thought I missed something.
“Watch” would be awesome if they had it!

After spending the last 90 minutes programming about 8 Harmony Activities, IFTTT recipes and virtual switches, I came across a Harmony bug where it loses it setting for the starting channel. The first one worked (Nick Jr), but now all of them are gone. I’ve tried to re-add them to each activity and sync after each one and they lose their settings all over again. Very frustrating!

EDIT: To get around this bug, instead of using the “Starting Channel”, just add a command to the start activity with the channel number. It now works great! See my things screen for this setup as well.