Amazon Echo -> SmartThings -> Harmony; Worked for a year, now doesn't work (July 2018)

So , just received a response from Samsung/Smart Things, Finally!!!

They acted as if they had never heard of this problem (go figure)…So it was the usual response, take the batteries out and hard boot the ST Hub,and reset skills,Yada Yada…Still NO workie!!!

I think I am just about done with this ST Hub thing and going to go back to my Universal Devices ISY994ZW.

Which seems to be working flawlessly by the way,!

Universal Devices got back to me to help in just hours vs Samsung’s 3 days to get back to me!!!

You have to make up your own mind, but in my opinion you’ll be exchanging one set of problems for another. ST does some stupid things and/or breaks stuff from time to time but you generally have enough flexibility in the platform design to work around these problems.

(Although I have a funny feeling Samsung is about to fix all that flexibility…and I mean fix like you fix a dog)

So how did that go?

All I can tell you regarding using the ISY. I have been using it already for a couple of years, and it has wored flawlessly!

I just recently linked it with Alexa and again no issues. I just need a bit of help in the IST Portal process and UD was quick to answer!

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It may not be a SmartThings issue. Has anybody talked to Logitech or Amazon?

Pretty sure it’s a SmartThings issue, since people report everything is still working with Google Home and there hasn’t been more of an outcry on the other forums.

There was a similar issue last month ST where simulated switches were being reported as “scenes” to echo rather than as switches. If I had to guess, I would guess this is related, but I don’t know.

Odd since the work around I employed uses virtual/simulated switches.

The point is that there are multiple different types of virtual switches, SmartThings has been changing the DTH for some of them on the platform side, and this has been causing some problems with Echo integrations. Se the thread I linked to for examples.

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delete . . . . .

Please start a completely new thread under connected devices and call it “how to set up a fan using Harmony and SmartThings?.” People will be happy to help you once you get that new thread set up.

https://community.smartthings.com/c/devices-integrations/connected-things

Yours is a good question, but, as you noted, it’s completely off topic for this particular thread. :sunglasses:

It’s been 3 days since I contacted support@smartthings.com and linked to this thread. Still no response. I contacted them again today. @MiTim or anyone else, what is the support number to call?

I think the main reason this issue isn’t getting more visibility is because I think most customers with Harmony and Alexa have installed the Harmony Alexa skill. That still works and uses many identical voice commands compared to when executing the commands via ST. But that skill only works with one Harmony hub and I believe many of us here are here either because we have more than one hub or we have lighting tied to Harmony activities. My gut feel is think that’s just not as common ans linking Harmony directly to Alexa and that’s why SmartThings isn’t seeing the issue reported as much. But it’s still a very frustrating issue for those of us affected by it and it needs to be researched and corrected.

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I suspect you’re right, that most people who have only one hub are just using the Harmony/echo skill instead of throwing Smartthings into the mix unless they’re also trying to do something with sensors.

The support link is at the top right of the first page of this forum, or you can go directly there

https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us

You said you wrote to them: did you fill out the form at that link? Or did you try to use some other address?

If I recall, the Harmony Skill requires you to say “Alexa tell harmony…blah blah blah”. I hate this, so I’ve avoided the skill. I’d rather say “Alexa turn off the TV”

If more people we’re as picky as I am it might help your situation.

They’ve changed this over time.

The original red harmony skill did require the phrasing you indicate.

The Newer blue harmony skill does not. :sunglasses:

https://support.myharmony.com/en-us/harmony-experience-with-amazon-alexa

You can also say, “Alexa, turn off my TV”

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This was in my email…

[SmartThings] Re: 588194 | Harmony activities + Alexa issue
SmartThings Support
To
Jul 20 at 12:54 PM

In replies all text above this line is added to the ticket

Jason (SmartThings)
Jul 20, 9:54 AM MST
Hello Tim,
Thanks for reaching back out to SmartThings support. I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your Alexa and Harmony Hub activities. This is a known issue and our engineers are working on resolving this problem. Additionally, this issue has nothing to do with any of the recent updates. So with that being said, I have gone ahead and flagged this email with the associated problem ticket our engineers are using to track this issue and when we have any new information or a resolution we will follow up with you via email.

A potential work around for this issue, would be to connect your Harmony Hub directly to your Alexa to bypass SmartThings in order to activate your Harmony activities.

I hope this information helps to clear things up and if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Kind Regards,
Jason

I tried deleting then adding harmony skill in alexa. It did not work… i can control lights through alexa/smart things i believe.

Going on 2 weeks here people…

Smart things huh? Why is this system so fragil???

I want a backup/ load hardware config file capability. Now… make this a priority right after you get alexa fixed.

I want a backup/load program file…Now… make this a priority right after you get alexa fixed.

When you spend so much time programming a fragile thing, you should be able to load files to recover. If i wanted to start a smart home automation install company Smart things does not make this feasible… Get to work PEOPLE!!
If i told the automotive field they couldnt build cars any more because of my machine for 2 weeks. Do you think I would still have a job/career? Nope, eat, sleep here until your making cars again. What happen to the customer is right? What happened to taking pride in your work and staying until the job is done? You hapily took my money for your product, and then it no longer works.

Get your smart things tush in gear people!!!

Got tied up with other stuff, did not follow through. Guess i will see if i can get it working this weekend… lol. I am ready to through this thing in the garbage… i wounder how hard it would be to integrate all this stuff to a allen bradley or siemens plc??? Wish it worked like a plc and control was local, not in the cloud…

I just wanted to share my recent experience regarding this issue. I have four Echo devices and three Harmony hubs connected to my ST hub. For the last 2 weeks approximately I have received the same “Hmmm, I’m having trouble reaching smartthings right now” from Alexa regarding the TV operation on two of my three Harmony hubs. Alexa has been giving my that message regarding activities on my living room (also controls the office) and garage Harmony hubs. Oddly enough, my Master bedroom Harmony hub has worked the entire time. Yesterday I finally called Amazon tech support. We went through troubleshooting for about an hour and a half. We disabled and re-enabled the Harmony skill in the Alexa app, reset one of my Echos, and removed my “Office TV” scene from Smartthings and then added it back. We tried all of these things in different sequences. Each time nothing changed. I still received that message from Alexa.
A few hours later I just randomly asked Alexa to “turn on the office TV” and it worked. I then asked her to turn on the living room TV (on the same Harmony hub) and she said “Hmmm, I having trouble reaching smartthings right now.” This time I just went into the Smartthings app and removed my Living room TV scene fom smartthings and then added it back in via the “add a thing” section. I tried it immediately afterward and got Alexas message. However, today I asked Alexa to turn on the Living Room TV and it now works. The garage TV scence that I haven’t removed and added back yet still doesn’t work. I’m going to try that one next. It seems like, for me, removing the scene from smartthings and adding it back in the “add a thing” section is making them work again. However, not immediately, but a few hours later they work.

Your post inspired me to try something new this morning and it seems to have worked. Not sure how long it will work but now all my activities are now working. This is what I did just now:

  1. Open Smarthings app, manually remove each activity that isn’t working in Alexa
  2. Go to the Harmony smartapp and uncheck the hub and all activities, click save
  3. Repeat, this time re-checking the hub and each activity, click save (this should re-add the activities back to ST)
  4. Open the Alexa app. Manually delete each broken activity in Scenes
  5. Click Discover new scenes. This will discover the Hamony activities again
  6. Re-add the activities to any groups you have in the Groups tab

This worked for me and is working for me right now. No telling if it will break again but I’ll keep you posted. Prior to this, my Apple TV was the only one that worked. I only added it to my system about 3 weeks ago. ST may have changed something that requires older devices to be re-associated with Alexa.

Great post Rob! Thanks for sharing your detailed solution.

On the other hand VERY BAD smartthings! Funny how smart things cs said there software update did not cause this problem. Like I said, Role back the firmware update immediately until you resolve the problem on your end. Users should not be required to delete then manually load bqck in there configurations. Too time consuming.

Smart things you need to add 4 functions immediately!!!

  1. Ability to role back software updates.
    2 User software/firmware push block.
  2. Backup/Load hardware config file that can be modified off line through text editor.
  3. Backup/Load sorftware config file that can be modified off line through text editor.

Thought crossed my mind to do a 3 way call with amazon,logitch, and st cs. But why should i waste my time debugging there software? When they broke it. They should be reverting back to previous firmware until they have a fix. Then they should go to there lab, recreate the problem and figure out how to fix it.

Now if amazon, logitech, and st things want to pay me to trouble shoot there problems. I charge $200/$, and would be happy to solve there problems with a P.O./check/cash.

Let me know when you want to pay me to troubleshoot there problems…

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