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

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.

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:

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…

Thanks for the post, Before I go through all the trouble did this work and stay in place I have three logictec hubs and it’s a pain to do all this once again.

Thank you

Still working ok for me. Try it with just one activity and see if it works. I tried it with one and when it fixed it, I proceeded to do all the activities.

Can’t seem to get it to work again any updates on what the fix is I have tried to reinstall and remove from Alexa AP no luck

Everything was still working fine for me last night. Maybe I just lucked out. Sorry you are having these issues. Did you remove the activities in the ST app and re-add them?

Reply from Smartthings CS

Hello Timothy,

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

Why does it seem so logical to me that they should revert back the firmware update until they resolve the problem on there end. Why hold us hostage for another software update that may or may not resolve the issue???

Smartthings please role back my update.

OK… several updates. A few days ago, I heard from Jason of SmartThings (similar to what you’ve seen in prior posts.) He said…

“Thanks for reaching out to SmartThings support. I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your Harmony Hub and Alexa integration. As you have stated in your email, we are aware of this issue and our engineers are looking into a resolution for this problem. I know that the Harmony Hub integration worked in the past, but I can assure you that these recent updates are not correlated with the current integration problems that user are experiencing right now. However with that being said, the best work around right now is to connect your Harmony Hub directly to Alexa to bypass SmartThings in order to actuate your Harmony activities via voice commands. I hope this information helps and I am sorry that this integration is not working right now, but as soon as we have any new information or a resolution we will follow up with you via email. Additionally if you have any other questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to let us know.”

And just now, I got an email from SmartThings about a firmware patch update to be installed on July 26 (two days from now.) It’s version 0.22.14. Unfortunately, the release notes only say the following:

This is a small release fixing a few bugs found in the 0.22.13 release. It will be going to a small number of users who are the most affected on Friday, July 20. We will roll the release out to everyone else at a later date (targeting July 26). The changes are as follows: Fix hub reboots caused by local SmartAlert Sirens. Fix Zigbee Siren reporting incorrect state (off when on and vice versa)

As you can see, neither of the issues addressed by the patch are related to this issue we’re having. I did write back to Jason letting him know that although one of my two Harmony Hubs is integrated directly with Alexa, my other Harmony Hub is integrated with SmartThings, and that we still need to get this issue resolved.

For all reading, if you haven’t already done so and are experiencing this issue, please contact SmartThings support. Strength in numbers!

(And, the last time this happened, it was due to some change at Amazon’s end… and SmartThings had to figure a way to make it work again. Not sure if that’s the case this time around, but, we really need lots of people to convince SmartThings that this is not only an issue, it’s an issue that deserves a trouble ticket to be opened and an announcement to the SmartThings community that there is an official issue… this is what they did last time we had this problem.) Thanks!

Just received an update from Jason at SmartThings. (Could be good news?)…

I have a bit of good news regarding this Harmony / Alexa issue. Our engineers have isolated the root of the issue. The problem was not from the recent updates, but rather from the server level regarding the device health feature. The problem is that the device health feature pings devices to ensure that they are online. If device health does not receive a response from the device, it becomes flagged as offline and can no longer function. The problem is that Harmony activities are not actual devices and when they get pinged, they never respond and thus get marked as offline and stop functioning.

I hope this information helps to explain why this issue is occurring and hopefully our engineers will have a quick fix now that they have found the root of the issue. Additionally if you have any other questions while we wait for the fix to be tested and pushed out, please do not hesitate to let us know.

So, that sounds like positive news for now. I did write Jason back again and asked if I could be contacted when the fix has been implemented (so I can test it.) I also asked if he suspects this will be a firmware update for our hubs? or something they fix on the SmartThings backend? As you see above, Jason indicates the problem wasn’t related to a recent firmware update, so I asked him, then, what changed that made this problem occur? Did they change something on the backend? I’ll await his reply.

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