SmartThings Community

Logitech Harmony and SmartThings Integration after Harmony "Control" Smartapp was pulled? (November 2015)

(Raeven Phillips) #1

Hello,

I’ve searched google and can’t find a current, simple description of what the SmartThings/Harmony offers at this point. I see lots of discussion of when it first came out and some tech support in the interim, but I’m getting into ST in earnest now and I’d really love to better understand this particular integration.

On the most simplistic level, it seems that the integration allows Harmony to control home automation devices from the same remote that a person uses for AV devices. Does it also somehow allow ST to control my AV stuff? What other possibilities does it open?

As for what is needed, obviously the ST hub and some Harmony equipment. I’m assuming the Home Hub is the bare minimum which one would use with their smartphone and an app. I’m assuming that because of the ST radios, the Logitech Home Hub Extender, which controls Zigbee, Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus, is not necessary. Is this correct? Do I need more than one Home Hub in my apartment or will I need more? Are the remotes used straightforward in what they can do or are there cool things that aren’t obvious?

If there is a link or wiki article that I just missed that explains this topic, please feel free to link to it. I just wanted to make sure that I understand what the current capabilities are and what to expect so that I’m going into this with realistic expectations and plans. It makes for much less disappointment.

Lastly, I do have two Echos which I’m also looking forward to integrating. I only mention it in case it affects what can be done with the Harmony and ST integration.

Thanks so much!

(Bruce) #2

Whatever it is, it’s broken right now. Their recent platform update hosed the integration.

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#3

Weird – my ST-Harmony integration is still working OK. I set it up with my new V2 hub yesterday.

Yes. So you can have ST shut all of your TV when you leave the house or go to bed…or you can have it play music when you wake up in the morning…or automatically switch to a Movie mode when you watch a movie.

  • Right, you don’t need to Logitech home hub extender…ST fills that function.
  • You’ll need one Logitech home hub per entertainment area you want to control, e.g., one for the living room TV and one for the TV in the basement.
  • Not sure I understand your question, but the remotes are pretty straightforward…and am sure there are cools subtle things too.

This is my favorite integration. You can use Alexa/ST to control lights, modes, etc. You can also use Alexa to start and stop Harmony activities.

For example, at home I can say “Alexa, turn on TSF Jazz” and Harmony will turn on my receiver, and switch source to my Sonos. ST will turn on power to my external amp and set Sonos to the TSF Jazz radio station. When I’m done, I can either say “Alexa, turn off the activity” or just wait until ST shuts it off when the house automatically goes into Night mode.

Some links:


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#4

Likely you were able to set up your harmony hub as a thing, but you were not able to set up having SmartThings activate harmony activities, because that’s the part that’s broken right now. (update: there’s a workaround that avoids the crash–details in the Harmony FAQ linked to below.)

When it’s working, you can basically have anything you can do in smartthings activate a harmony activity. Flip a switch, trigger a motion sensor, change the mode, change alarm status, run a time schedule, detect someone coming home, etc.

So what you can do in harmony is anything you can do in harmony, which is a lot. Controlled by any rules you can set up in SmartThings. So very cool. :sunglasses:

Harmony “Activities”

You do have a button remote with harmony and if you are physically able to use that, then that works great.

But the real power is in harmony’s concept of “activities.” These don’t even have to be associated with a specific button on the physical remote. They are basically like a “macro” or a “script” that let you pretty easily combine instructions for multiple devices. Some devices controlled by harmony, some devices controlled by SmartThings.

Then you can start that activity in many different ways. People who only have harmony can use a harmony phone or tablet app to start an activity. Or of course the Harmony remote. But you can also have it start because you do something with a different device, or even a time of day schedule.

The usual example is having a motion sensor trigger a “movie night” activity which turns the lights down, Closes the curtains, and turns the TV on.

Add Alexa into the mix and it could be a voice command: "Alexa, trigger movie night. " :sunglasses:

You might also have an air conditioner which can be controlled by harmony. Or a game box. Or a sound system.

So to figure out what you want to do with it, you start by looking at what harmony can do on its own with devices you are interested in. And then you add SmartThings as a scheduler. Or Alexa as voice control.

if the SmartThings integration is broken, what does work now?

The good news is that there is an official Alexa/harmony integration using the free IFTTT service which works just fine and doesn’t require SmartThings at all. So that gives you voice control of Harmony activities. :blush: See the first post in the following thread for how to set up the IFTTT method. It’s quite easy.

When you see people talking about “Alexa, trigger TV” they are talking about the IFTTT integration that doesn’t need SmartThings. If you see them talking about “Alexa turn on the TV” then they are using the SmartThings integration.

If, as is possible, the integration is not broken when you start from the harmony app, then you’ll also be able to add SmartThings devices into harmony activities, so you could still use sensors and have the lights go down from the harmony activity.

It’s possible that the only thing that is broken is using the SmartThings app to start harmony activities. or it’s possible that they fixed it today, I haven’t looked yet. Or it’s possible that it’s working for some people but not others. All of these have happened in the last week.

Here’s the FAQ that you use to set up the full two-way harmony/SmartThings integration once it is fixed:

Needed equipment

You need one harmony home hub within infrared range (I R) of the equipment that you want to control via IR with harmony. Because it’s also a universal remote, people typically get one remote for each TV. How many hubs you need depend on the layout of your home and whether you want to run wires to IR blasters in other rooms. That just depends on your specific layout.

You will not need the harmony hub extender if you are using SmartThings. The extender’s main purpose is to let those who only have harmony add motion sensors to their set up. But if you’re using SmartThings to control your motion sensors then you don’t need the extender. And a sensor can only report to one of these so if you do decide to add a sensor to the harmony extender you could no longer use it with SmartThings. But because the SmartThings hub and the harmony hub can talk to each other, you can have the sensor controlled by SmartThings and still use it to trigger A harmony activity.

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(Scott G) #5

Just to clarify this. ST is able to initiate (start/end) Harmony Activities only, not send individual commands to devices. If you aren’t familiar with Harmony: You combine your AV devices into Activities like Watch TV and Harmony automatically manages the power state and input of your various devices, so it will turn off unused devices and know to control volume via your soundbar, not the tv. Personally I think it works great, but it’s not as flexible/powerful as some universal remotes that let you dive deep into button sequencing/timing and such.

Harmony currently has 3 physical Home remotes that it sells bundled with the Home Hub. The Harmony Companion (previously Home Control) is a small non-touchscreen remote that has 4 dedicated home control buttons plus a +/- rocker for dimming type adjustments. You can only assign those 4 buttons to home automation devices. I use them mainly to turn on/off lights/fans or trigger scenes via virtual switches in ST. They also have two touchscreen remotes: The older Ultimate Home and the newer Elite. The Elite also has 4 dedicated physical home control buttons and rocker. The Ultimate Home has no dedicated Home Control buttons, but the touchscreen on either one allows for access to all your connected home devices via menus.

Of course with any of the above options or just the Home Hub, you can use the Harmony App on your phone or tablet to act as the remote. Like the touchscreen on the expensive remotes, you can access all your home devices via the devices menu in the app.

I have 3 of the Home Control remotes, and think it’s one of the best form factors Harmony has had in a while. If the buttons were backlit, it’d be perfect even if it meant changing the CR32 battery more than once a year. While 4 dedicated home controls might not seem like a lot, with ST and some ingenuity you can get a lot of functionality from them via virtual switches.

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(Bruce) #6

I can confirm that it’s working again. I just had Alexa turn on my TV, using ST not IFTTT.

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(Bobby) #7

JD, I restored my Harmony (connect) the new app, but didn’t select any of the “activities”. Instead I used the Harmony Trigger (old app from the SmartApps in Marketplace, under More category). It works just like before. What I didn’t restore, were the virtual switches, so not sure if there are problems there. I am using physical devices to turn on/off Harmony activities from SmartThings.

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#8

So it looks like they put back the previous version of the trigger app as a workaround, and as long as you know enough to not try to do the triggers in the hub app, the mobile app will not crash and you can then go and install the second triggers app and use that.

Which means the FAQ I linked to will work for people as long as you don’t accidentally wander into one of the fields that crashes. :scream:

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(Bobby) #9

There is always a work around that will not crash your system. The challenge is finding it before you give up!

#10

Speaking as an engineer, I can unfortunately say that I have not always found this to be true… :flushed:

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(Someday my dog will be automated) #11

It all depends on what you want ST and Harmony to do together. I don’t use the Harmony integration because it is just easier for me to say “Alexa, trigger Roku” and “Alexa, dim TV lights to X%”, than to have to go and create the specific routine, virtual switch and whatever I need to get everything in just one Alexa phrase or push of a button. AND, I don’t rely on the Harmony integration which fro some reason people report it keeps breaking.

#12

Am I right, it is only avalable for US hubs? Not for the UK ones?

(Kyle ) #13

If this is the case it would explain a bit as i have a us hub v1 but in uk but it thinks its in the us obviously

You dont need one per location in the home, i have one hub running a tv in living room with surround sound and one tv in bedroom and one tv in the home office aswell as a ir tvbed lift system and several other devices — took a bit of complex setup but runs seamlessly eventually haha

Helps massively if you have a tv that can accept ip commands for basic control (eliminates a few extra activites) but isnt essential

As for integration - mines still working fine after latesy update on harmony side . . . Id of gone mental on here if it had broke after its track record haha

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#14

Cool. How do you control devices that aren’t in IR/BT range with a single hub? I have a TV/surround sound in the basement and office and would love to have them all run off the one Harmony hub.

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(Kyle ) #15

I have an apartment // (this bit helps alot)

In the middle of the property is a cupboard which is now a media cupboards (holds all my hubs and units and setup for all rooms)

Hidden Ir cables run out from from the hub to the bedroom and office tvs and the hub can see the living tv directly…

The rest of the stuff is within the cupboard so is easy to operate as the hub can see them directly…

There is always a way though, ir over rf repeaters etc etc can deal with split floor properties (a friend has done this)

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(Hugh Ehrenberg) #16

Did something happen with the latest update and patch that shut this integration down? Mine was working fine until a few days ago. Admittedly I don’t often send commands to harmony through ST, but the “state” isn’t correct now. ST thinks my TV is still on.

(Hugh Ehrenberg) #17

Still having issues with this. I can turn Harmony on and off via the smartapp, but when harmony is used itself the app does not recognize change in state.

(Michael Hess) #18

When you same “harmony is used itself” do you mean the harmony app?

I’ve not had any issues since setting both my harmony hubs up a few weeks back, the harmony app, smartthings, and my Echo all work flawless. I have about 8 devices in the house that my family uses to control the harmony’s including one of the remotes, and they always show status correctly.

Maybe fully remove and reauthenticate to harmony?

#19

Best not to remove any working harmony hub right now–there is a recent new bug that makes it impossible to add more than one Harmony hub. So you won’t be able to add multiples back until that’s fixed.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Bug:_Cannot_add_second_Harmony_hub

I was told by support just today that the official harmony integration is “still in SmartThings labs” and should be considered a work in progress, not the final version. (Meaning it still has bugs.)

(Hugh Ehrenberg) #20

Good to know. I was about to remove and reinstall. I’ll hold.