Echo-ST-Harmony Love it/Hate it

I agree, but I don’t think it’s hard for technology to solve this. All I need is the echo to push virtual buttons with no memory like a normal remote. So if I only could get echo to talk to the remote in the harmony app instead of activities my problem would be solved.

I’ve five remotes, two tablets and three phones. No matter what is on, or how it was turned on, if I hit the master off button on any of them, everything is turned off. Likewise if I tap “watch bluray”, amps are turned on, TV, bluray player, and pre/pro, set to bluray, and everything else is turned off. Again, regardless of what may have been on or how it got that way… all due to discrete on/off codes.

It’s simple… Ons are sent to every component that needs to be on, and Offs are sent to everything not being used. Doesn’t matter what was previously on or off, the correct stuff is powered up, and everything else is off.

Discrete power commands are essential for reliable IR control for all the reasons that have been discussed in this thread. If your device doesn’t have such codes available, then you are out of luck and Harmony isn’t going to change that. Harmony currently offers the largest single database of IR codes in the world, so chances are they have your codes if they exist. If they don’t have codes, and you have a remote that can send the codes, you can learn the commands and update your remote yourself. The only reason you’d need to contact Harmony support to have them enter codes for you would be in the situation where you found codes online somewhere (RemoteCentral or whatever), and where you don’t have a way to play those codes back from a device for Harmony to learn from. In that case, you can simply email Harmony support with the codes you’ve found online and they’ll put them into your Harmony account with no problems, usually within a day or two.

I’ve been using Harmony for ages and currently have 4 Harmony Hub devices. There are a few things I could complain about (Harmony-ST integration hasn’t always been great), but lack of IR codes has never been on that list.

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In regards to living with devices that do not offer discrete codes:

This is exactly the correct solution! You need to make sure nobody is controlling that device from outside of Harmony. Because the device offers no way to tell it to turn on or turn off (just “toggle power state”), Harmony must be able to track on/off state itself. If you start sending commands to the device outside of Harmony then Harmony’s own state will get out of alignment from the device. No other device is going to solve this problem for you (iTach or anything else will have the same problem).

If you do find yourself in this state, the “help” command on the touchscreen remotes should fix the issue for you. If you don’t have a touchscreen Harmony, hit the desired activity button again and it should attempt to toggle the power to resolve the disconnect.

Another tip: use stick-on IR emitters wherever possible. With an IR emitter stuck over the receiver it’ll be nearly 100% reliable in receiving commands, and it should help to block out any other commands from physically reaching the sensor. Again, you want to be sure that no commands are touching the device that didn’t come from Harmony. This is less of a requirement when you have discrete commands for all of your use cases.

edit: full disclosure, I’m not a Logitech employee but I should probably own some stock

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Thanks for your replies, i think this solves it, will try it later on, otherwise i’ll buy a harmony remote.

One last thing while we’re on the topic of hunting IR codes: you don’t need a LiRC or an iTach to blast out codes for learning with a Harmony. You can pick up Media Center remote transmitters on eBay for about $10 and drive them with tools like EventGhost. Then you can paste in hex dumps of learned codes found online, spit them out with the transmitter, and learn them with Harmony.

Until I get new TVs that are truly “smart” (state enabled), I leave the entertainment system off of Smartthings. My Harmony remote causes enough heartburn with my wife. She barely tolerates Smartthings, and hates Alexa (but gotta admit…Alexa screws up alot).

Ok got it done :), no matter how or with what the tv was turned on or off it does what I tell it to do.
Setup 1 harmony activity to turn tv on.
Make sure your power button is set to ‘toggle’ and tell harmony you use different buttons for on and off, the off button should be a false one, for instance direction up. This way it shuts down the activity but not the tv.
Create a harmony trigger in ST and assign an “On/Off Button Tile” to it with a power allowance app set to 5 seconds. Tell the button to trigger the harmony trigger when in on mode. Get IFTTT to tell Harmony end activity when the ST button is off. IFTTT ends the activity but the TV will stay on. Because of the power toggle mode it will turn on when it’s off and vica versa.
The credits for this go to johnosstyn. You saved my marriage!

I dug into the Anymote skill on Alexa last night, and honestly it works pretty good.

I’m using an old Galaxy S4 With LANdroid as a speech device with ST, so I didn’t need any special equipment.

Any smartphone with an IR capability built in should work with this.

The setup is rather lengthy and tedious, but once it’s done it’s just a matter of remembering the names of your buttons.

You can input a remote that is specific to each of your devices, this is what I did.

You can also build a custom remote to act as a universal remote, which I also did. You are basically using macros to build this remote.

It’s not the greatest as far as natural language is concerned, but it’s not too bad.

You say, “Alexa, tell Anymote to watch TV on my living room remote”. The “watch TV” and “Living room remote” parts are customizable. The keywords are “to” and “on” for this skill.

I use the harmony one+ remote currently and the family likes it a lot. I’m going to set this up as a backup for those times that I can’t get to the remote (like when the kids leave the remote on the couch and I already sat down in my recliner! ).

Overall I think it’s a pretty good skill for Alexa. It works really good, there is pretty steep learning curve on it, and if you do not have a compatible smartphone you will need to purchase an IR blaster.

I give it 4 out of 5 ST mode changes failures. I’m deducting 1/2 point for lengthy set up and 1/2 point for needing extra equipment (some people will).

I think we misunderstood each other. The OP was asking for a way to input discrete codes HIMSELF. My point was that he shouldn’t need to, for all of the reasons you mention in your post.

If you tell Harmony to turn a device off, it turns it off. Tell it to turn it on, it turns it on. His issue is that if someone picked up the OEM remote and does something, that his Harmony then doesn’t work. To your point, that’s because his programming is wrong on his Harmony. Each device required for an activity needs to receive an ON, and any devices not needed for an activity need an OFF. It’s how you design the activities that makes it work.

You should always be able to pick up your Harmony, select an activity, and have it work. No matter what state your equipment is in. However, IF the Harmony is already in an activity and someone has turned the TV off, and you expect it continue working in that activity, then discrete codes aren’t going to help you. You need to go select the activity you want, so the Harmony can re-establish “control”.

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I’m not using harmony, but I am using Anymote with Alexa. I was running into this problem. When I used Alexa to do something, them my harmony remote was out of sync.

I believe that is because in Anymote I’m use toggle for on/off…

I think… . I thought I had it… But now that I’m typing I’m seeing it might be something else…

I’ll be back…

I understood you perfectly. I have been a Harmony user since day one and it has always had the following problem…

If you tap ‘play bluray’, it turns on all of the necessary components. But if you then turn off the TV manually via its power button, and later tap ‘play tivo’, it does not issue a command to turn on the TV (because it thinks it is already on).

Are you saying this is no longer the case?

Actually, I’m very happy with the Harmony Hub. Just ordered a third one for my home. I use the Echo to send a command to the Harmony Hub via IFTT tho. We don’t even use the Harmony remote anymore. If anyone wants to actually use a remote, I tell them to use the Harmony app on the phone.

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What I was saying is that if you add discrete on commands as button presses when the activity starts, then it will compensate for the fact that something changed it.