SmartThings Community

Harmony Home Control

Any suggestions or to look where to start would be appreciated…I had to get away for a few days as integrating all the things was making a little cray.Now I have an issue I was wondering if anyone has any ideas.I was informed by ST support I had too many things going on.

I have a ST motion sensor that triggers my harmony home activity ‘Watch TV’,‘Activity off’, and a virtual momentary switch to turn all the things off also have added a lights off to this switch.

Now when I say to Alexa to turn all things offf.Sometimes it works and sometime it doesn’t.I was told by ST support that harmony is not updating the state to ST.

Is there anything that be done to solve this issue?

Are you using the Harmony SmartApp or the Alexa Helper SmartApp? Maybe you can try the other and see how it goes???

I am using Harmony Smartapps.I spent a lot of time figuring things to work:cold_sweat::cry: I just need to be sure its going to work i might be willing to try.But thanks for your input.

Remember that Alexa can now have specific trigger phrases via IFTTT. It is very easy to set up. Easier than creating virtual switches and going into the ST app. It won’t help for the motion detection part, though.

I was interested to know how are you guys setting up a virtual switch to control an activity. For example, i can set up a virtual switch to turn an activity on and off. Thats the easy part. But what if I use the harmony remote to start activity and then want to use virtual switch to turn it off. One way would be to update the virtual switch status within harmony activity as well… But what I’ve found is that sometimes Harmony goes crazy it goes into a never ending loop of starting and ending the activity. Has anyone observed this? Any solution to make rhis work reliably?

That will loop if it’s a binary switch.

Instead, use two momentary switches. One for activity on, one for activity off. That way each switch is always ready to use the next time, and no loops. Much discussed in the echo and harmony topics.

Same switch selection protocol applies no matter how you’re getting to the harmony activity.

So which means that if I had to use Alexa to turn off an activity, the actual voice command will be “Alexa! TURN ON Media Off”…something like that?

If you use the Alexa IFTTT triggers, you can use any trigger phrase you want. So you can say “Alexa, Trigger television on” and “Alexa, Trigger television off” if you want.

If you using the direct integration and the phrasing really bugs you, you can use one binary switch so you can say “turn television off.”

Again the thread I linked to has the full details of exactly what you have to put in every harmony activity to make that work.

Currently, I use

“Alexa,trigger television” for the on and

“Alexa, trigger shutdown” for the Off.

But it’s just a matter of what feels natural to you.

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Thanks for your response. I will check the Alexa thread out and see what exactly is being done. May be a smartapp to make this more intuitive may be a good idea, if thats even possible… I shall delve into it a little…

I’m a long-time ST user, and a fairly long-time Harmony Hub user. Love the integration (especially with Alexa added into it). Here’s what I’m trying to accomplish:

  1. I have a “Night Mode” in SmartThings that shuts off lights, activates the security mode, etc. I want it to turn on automatically. I had it tied to motion sensors but when we watch TV or are in an area with no motion sensors, it was thinking things had quieted down and switched to Night Mode.

  2. With the Harmony integration, my thought was to have ST set up so that it wouldn’t go into Night Mode if any of the Harmony activities were in use. I was excited to see that I could now add my Harmony activities directly in ST and that doing so created virtual switches for each activity. They work like a charm for turning devices on and off (between that, IFTTT and Alexa, I now have plenty of ways to interact with my devices, which is super sweet).

  3. Returning to the Night Mode issue, I figured I could tell ST not to activate it automatically if any of the Harmony activities were active. This worked like a charm the day I set it up. As I used the Harmony remote to turn activities on and off, the virtual switches reported their on/off status very close to real time. Unfortunately, as of the next day, they no longer seem to report correctly UNLESS I use ST to push the switch. Obviously, I use the remote most of the time so this is less than ideal.

QUESTION – Have others noticed that the on/off reporting of the Harmony activity virtual switches stops working after a period of time? Is there any way to remedy this? It reminds me of the issues we faced with the GE Link light bulbs, where someone created a special device type for those bulbs that does better reporting of on/off status. Is something similar possible here?

  1. My workaround idea is to have each activity turn its own virtual switch on when it starts and then turn it off when it ends. It seems like this should work and while it will be a pain to set up in the Harmony app, it would be a nice failsafe long-term, even if the issue described in #3 is eventually fixed.

Sorry this is so long – I’m hopeful others like this idea and can use it themselves!!

Are you using Momentary Switches or On/Off for your Virtual? I use Momentary for this very reason that they are difficult to track status with On/Off Virtual switches.

Neither. These are the devices that were automatically set up when I added the activities in the Harmony smart app. So the “Device Type” in the API is “Harmony Activity”. Inside the smart app, it said it was creating virtual switches to use with the Harmony remote.

To be clear, I had problems with “Simulated Switches” when I was using IFTTT to start activities (I’d get the endless loop of on/off signals), but now that I can do that directly through SmartThings (using the new switches) and Alexa (using the IFTTT triggers), that’s not needed anymore.

It may be a polling/refresh issue. I’m not sure how much has changed with the new Harmony Connect app. The old one knew if you triggered it in ST and could update if you pressed Refresh in the Hub device in ST, but it wouldn’t poll or refresh itself. You could try using Pollster to Refresh your hub to make sure it’s picking up the activity changes from your remote. Another option would be to add a step before your house can enter Night mode that would refresh your hub in ST, and then check for an activity, but that would require you to write a little SmartApp.

Thanks, Sticks. I’ve got absolutely 0 skills in the writing of smart apps area, so I’ll need to think of a crafty workaround. I think you are right that it’s a polling/refresh issue. Weird, though, that it worked for a day and then nothing. I’ll keep exploring ideas and report back if others are interested.

You could try opening up the Harmony Connect SmartApp and just clicking Done to re-initialize it. Sometimes that fixes SmartApp schedules and things after platform issues. Not a great long-term solution if it only fixes it temporarily, but might work.

Pollster is the other ok option, especially since checking every 10-15 minutes would probably be sufficient for capturing TV activities.

FYI, Pollster is a no-go – in the devices available for polling, none of the Harmony activities are listed. Back to square one…

I haven’t been following the developments around this integration, but did we lose ST -> Harmony control? I was under impression that once Harmony (Connect) was installed, it also created the corresponding “Media Device”…

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Right – now I see Logitech Harmony (Connect) and Logitech Harmony Trigger. Within Connect, you can add your hubs and then your activities. When adding the activities, it auto-creates some virtual switches that you can use to start or end the activity. Works great in ST but when using the remote or IFTTT to start an activity, it doesn’t seem to report the on/off status correctly.

Pollster won’t work, presumably because these device types don’t support Polling/Refresh. I also tried having the activity flip the switch as a step during the process, and I experience the on/off loop. And momentary switches won’t work because they revert to off right after being pressed.

Perhaps a combo could work, where I create separate momentary switches for each activity – so for TiVo, I’d have a TiVo on and a TiVo off momentary switch. Those switches would in turn be linked to a virtual switch (called something like “Entertainment Activity”), so that when TiVo on is pressed, it flips “Entertainment Activity” on and vice versa. Multiply with additional sets of momentary switches, all tied to the “Entertainment Activity” master switch (or separate activity-specific ones if need be).

Then my Routine would only activate if the “Entertainment Activity” switch is off. Hmm. Royal PIA to set up (both in ST and Harmony) but might accomplish the automation I’m looking for.

Sorry, I replied below but didn’t link properly to your note. I’m going to try my idea highlighted there to see if it works.

You wouldn’t put the activity switches into Pollster. In your list of Things, you should have a device for each Hub. That Hub device should be able to be polled, and it will update the various activity switches (on or off) depending on what activity is active.

I just checked the Harmony Connect SmartApp and see the code that should make this work.