Is there a trick to using Switchbot as an IR blaster?

I just received my Switchbot mini that I wanted to use to control a TV/cable box, and so far am very disappointed:

  • doesn’t support channel numbers > 2 digits (confirmed with support) == ridiculous!
  • has only a very basic/limited set of remote buttons that can be supported/emulated
  • SmartThings integration is limited to only an on/off switch - ability to change channels, volume, etc. - nope
  • Buggy: can’t go to any channel that has duplicate digits (11, 22, 33, 44, etc.) - only first digit is sent

If there’s some secret to making this thing work, I’d like to hear it, otherwise it’s going to be returned.

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I’ll write more later, but some quick notes:

  1. as I’ve posted Previously, I have a smart Roku TV which isn’t smart enough to turn on by voice. The SwitchBot has been great for that.

  2. scenes in the SwitchBot app seem to solve a lot of the problems that you’ve run into. You can definitely get to channels above 99 that way. However, the scenes are not exposed to smartthings. You have to get to them through Alexa Routines or ifttt. :disappointed_relieved:

SwitchBot's triggers, queries, and actions

  1. device control through the integration is at best “wonky”, which is being charitable. Only the power button gets sent through the integration. So you have to end up creating a lot of proxy devices on the SwitchBot side and then just use the power button icon on the smartthings side. People have done it who couldn’t get integration any other way, and it works fine Once it’s set up, it’s just that setup is really annoying.

——-
So it’s definitely not the kind of integration you can get with Harmony, for example. But it is a generic IR blaster, it doesn’t require a smartthings/Aeotec hub, and in most cases, you can get down to the individual buttons if you’re willing to do some really tedious set up.

In my case, what I wanted was to be able to turn on the TV by voice, and that was really simple since I only needed control of one button through the SwitchBot.

But I understand if it’s not what you were looking for.

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We have a SwitchBot mini hub and have not been able to get it to change channels on the cable box. I contacted SwitchBot customer service 2 or 3 years ago and they also said it was not possible.

I have not recently tried using scenes to change channels, but a couple years ago I couldn’t get that to work either.

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I’m playing around with it this afternoon trying to get it to work, and as @JDRoberts said, it appears that if you create a scene it is possible if you don’t mind it being very slow. You can configure it to go to channel 529, for example by defining three separate channel button presses ‘5’ + ‘2’ + ‘9’. Then execute that scene through Alexa. My ultimate objective is to be able to say Alexa, turn on TV to the news. But that may not be achievable, as you’d need to be able to include a pause between the power on and channel change commands, which doesn’t look possible. But two separate voice commands like “Alexa, turn on the TV”, and then once it’s on, “Alexa, news on” to execute the scene that goes to the news channel.

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You can do this by defining two different devices in SwitchBot mapped to the same physical television, having one scene that turns it on, and another scene that does the channel change, and then using ifttt or Alexa routine with a wait in between the two devices. Or having the voice command turn it on and also turn on a virtual device timer in smartthings, then have that timer counting down trigger the second Alexa routine for the channel change scene.

Like I said, supertedious to set up, but it does work. :thinking:

If your cable box works with a generic IR blaster then you should be able to make it work, but it will be tedious.

However, some cable boxes use a different protocol for their remotes, and in that case, it probably won’t work.

Todd, I agree with it being a letdown and my “needs” are more in line with JDs than your own.

I have a tv with my Blue Iris streams and it’s 2 routines in Google Home and 2 in ST just to have it go on and off. I don’t even use the device in ST integration because it can’t even track the on/off state correctly. At least they are cheap and still a sold product but if I could, I’d buy another harmony hub for a reasonable amount.

Here are my routines:




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i gave up on my switchbot mini and bought a cheap ir blaster

and flashed it with tasmota, when its used with the tasmota edge driver you can see the codes received when you press a button on the remote and add them to a virtual button etc but ive not tried multiple codes (channel numbers)


hope it helps
martin

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Not switch bot… but …

These are crazy cheap from aliexpress and work with smartlife
You can create scenes and the scenes are exposed to SmartThings.

Also works well with Alexa,
Eg
Alexa turn tv volume up 5
Will increase volume from x to x+5
Alexa turn tv to channel 233 works too
I also have a scene called tvtime which
Turns on the tv (by pressing a channel number rather than power button)
Waits 9 seconds for it to boot up
Then changes to 233 (sky news)

£2.25 74% Off | Tuya Smart WiFi IR Remote Universal for Smart Home Control for TV Air Conditioner Works with Alexa Google Home Yandex Alice
https://a.aliexpress.com/_Ew6f4pf

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That is interesting, thanks.
If I wasn’t actually using bots as well as the IR functionality I would definitely give this a punt. Might try this in another room anyway and see how I get on

Just stumbled across this & thought I’d offer my 2 cents. I think SwitchBot IR feature was intended more for appliances. That being said Harmony although not being churned out by Logitech anymore is still supported to a degree. I just received an update to the app not more than 3 months ago. I think Harmony Hubs are going to continue to work for quite a while. Also BroadLink has been making universal remote hubs for years & are a solid option that’s more than affordable. It’s not supported by ST but is supported by Google Home. BroadLink is the way I would go if I needed an IR hub/blaster at this point. As it is my Harmony Hubs work great & have never really needed to use my SwitchBot as a remote.

Switchbot’s IR feature is definitely designed to be an app that replaces a tv remote, and it works quite well for that with its own app. The learn feature is decent and you can map any buttons. However, that functionality just isn’t included in the smartthings integration: you’re pretty much limited to scenes.

In the Switchbot app:


Same device in the SmartThings app:

So, yeah, definitely not the best TV control option if you want to integrate with smartthings. :thinking:

Hi is this feature updated to provide more control than just on/off. I would like to use switchbot hub 2 ir blaster control in automations in the smarthings app to control a mini split ac

I did end up keeping mine and since then have gotten rid of the cable box that it didn’t work well with. It’s works 90% of the time to turn on the TV and adjust the volume.

I use Alexa routines/scenes to control it. You could tie it to SmartThings via virtual switches and contacts.

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Alexa routines and scenes tend to be slow. I have the older smartthings hub to control the ac on/off and temperature. I would like to upgrade to hub 2 if it gives faster local on/off and temperature control in the smartthings app with matter