Harmony Smart Control Toggle Lights Activity?

I am losing my brain trying to get this working:

Goal:
Program an activity button to toggle on/off 3 plugin dimmers.

What I have tried:

  1. Have the Harmony activity (set to be independent from other activities) manually turn on/off all 3 dimmers.
  2. Have the Harmony activity (set to be independent from other activities) manually turn on/off 1 simulated switch, with routines that turn on/off all the real dimmers in SmartThings.

Both of these had the same result… remote would turn on the lights, but I could not use the remote to turn off the activity… remote off or subsequent activity presses did not turn off the lights

  1. Simulated button press:
    failed miserably as Harmony failed trying to read its “state” on add even though it is a button :frowning:

So, is there any way to get a Harmony Smert Control (note this is not the home control which I now wish I had) to toggle lights on/off with repeated activity presses? I was hoping a button concept that would trigger some smart code that would smartly turn on/off…

Any help would be great.

Thanks,
Todd

I thought this was going to be the easy thing… turns out the smart functionality, turning lights on with presence after dark, etc was simpler to figure out.

Harmony activities don’t have an off. You can only turn them on. Even though SmartThings represents them as a virtual switch, Harmony doesn’t treat them that way.

A similar thing is true in reverse of the harmony button remote itself. The power button is labeled “off” because it literally does nothing except turn the current activity off. It’s not a toggle that you would press a second time to power the TV back on. It’s just an off.

So probably you need to have two separate harmony activities, one that turns the lights on and one that turns the lights off. Then you just choose the one that you want each time.

https://support.myharmony.com/en-us/understanding-harmony-activities

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BTW, The harmony home companion button remote doesn’t toggle either. It’s just that the added home automation buttons each have two states: short press and long press. Most people set up short press for on and long press for off, although you can do whatever you want. But if you hit one of the buttons with two short presses in a row, it wouldn’t toggle the lights. It would just repeat whatever command you had set for a short press.

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If you want lights to turn on with an activity and stay on with all activities, then you have to add the “on” command to the startup sequence for every activity you have, and the “off” command to the shutdown sequence for every activity. Since it’s a smart home device this has to be done through the mobile app. Harmony sees every A/V component and every light as a device, and when you change activities it turns on the devices included in the activity, and turns off every device that is not specifically called out as being used in the activity.

Thanks for the info. Bummer there is no ‘trick’ to make this work as I don’t have an extra activity slot to be the off activity (unless there is a long press for the off button I dont know about).

Interesting that the Home Remote is not a toggle concept either, just really adds more activity options… although the thermostat control ones cant really be activities can they?

Thanks for the quick replies so I can stop searching :slight_smile:

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The “turn off it’s not required for the next activity” is true for what harmony considers AV devices, but it is specifically not true for what it considers home control devices, which would include lights.

Home control devices stay on until you specifically turn them off. They don’t turn off when you switch activities the way AV devices do.

Also, there will be a limit on the number of AV devices you can add to your harmony remote, but there is no limit to the number of home control devices.

So lights are treated differently than televisions or sound bars or playstations. And once you turn the lights on with harmony, harmony leaves them on unlesd you specifically turn them off. :sunglasses::bulb:

That will be true of any device that you added through the home control process.

My experience has been different, I have two lights that I wanted to turn on any time the entertainment center is on (regardless of if it’s the Fire TV activity, Blu Ray activity, Chromecast activity, etc), and the only way I have been able to keep them on is to specifically add them to the startup sequence for each activity. I started with them being switched to on with a single activity, and as soon as I switched activities they turned off. The only way I found to correct this was to add the “on” command to the startup sequence for every single activity.

Something’s off, then, because logitech specifically exempted home control devices from turning off when you switch activities for exactly the reason you gave – – otherwise you would have to list every single one in every single activity and even then it would be hard to coordinate it the way you want it to be.

If these devices are listed under the home control category, then I would check with Logitech Harmony support to see why they’re turning off when you switch activities.

Since he only wants them on when a AV Activity is on, it has to be per each activity. Otherwise it wont turn on/off with the activity/remote off button.

The lights I started the thread with are meant to be completely independent from any other activity… so that is the main difference.

He wants them on with several different activities, Blu-ray, fire TV, etc. so you’re right that he would need to add a turn on light for each of those activities to make sure that no matter which when he starts with, the lights come on.

But he also said the lights were turning off when he switched from one activity to another, and that shouldn’t happen with a home control device. It should turn on when it is specified to turn on and only turn off if it is specified to turn off. Just switching activities shouldn’t turn off the Home control devices, but it will turn off any AV devices which are not needed in the new activity.

But maybe the reason they’re in every activity isn’t to keep them on when switching between activities, but rather just to make sure they come on regardless of which activity starts first. That would make sense. :sunglasses:

Sorry to get off topic guys, I was trying to help OP instead of troubleshooting my setup, but it sounds like my workaround isn’t applicable. Mine is working as intended, so no need to fix. Back to you @ToddW :slight_smile:

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Moved my activities around so I now have a short/long press of the same button toggling on/off my Xmas lights. Even added one more that turned on Xmas music at the same time to win some brownie points…

I did learn that I was setting the ‘off’ events of the activity originally which caused the activity to have state and the activity shown as ‘on’. Not assigning end events causes the activity to be called and forgotten… Ie not shown as powered on… Which makes a whole lot more sense for this use case… So now it effectively is just a button press, which I still feel must be able to be turned into a toggle concept… But not worth my time to figure out for now.

Thanks for the help,
Todd

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Hi Todd,
I did try the same settings but it didnt work for me. I skipped the End Activity option as default and then tried with remote which just turn on the lights but Off or Same activity button is not turning it off. I also noticed that now i can not turn off the lights using the mobile app. The only thing work is adding additional action to turn off lights while turning off my TV.

Thanks,
Fahad