ST + Logitech Harmony Riddle


(Justin) #1

I am trying to get the best of all worlds. I have linked my Echo to my Harmony through Smartthings to achieve the goal of “Alexa Turn on My Bedroom Apple TV” Works Like a Charm.

Because of this, I rarely actually need the Harmony physical remote any more because I find the appleTV remote does just fine by itself. BUT if I want to use the appleTV remote to turn the TV off, the Harmony (and consequently) ST does not know that I turned off the TV so now the Harmony and AppleTV are out of synch so to speak.

I am trying to figure our a way so that when I turn off my Apple TV using the Apple TV remote, ST will recognize that the “Bedroom Apple TV” activity has ended and turn off Bedroom Apple TV.

Any ideas?****


(John) #2

I don’t think it is possible. I do something similar, and ST only knows if Harmony or a switch tied to Harmony is in the used.


#3

I’ve mentioned before an interface we did a long time ago to link two systems where we had system A turn on a fan which set off a motion sensor detected by system B.

You can do something similar, but a bit more elegant, by plugging the tv into any energy monitoring device that is compatible with SmartThings.

Now whenever the tv is turned off, the energy monitor will go to zero and you can use that to trigger an OFF command from ST to Harmony.

That will synch everything up again, although depending on how you set it up, harmony may turn the tv on again and then off immediately. And it does require buying an a additional device.


(Justin) #4

Do you have any recommendations on an inexpensive one to test with?


#5

The Aeon Labs “smart energy switch” is s plug in that usually sells for about $30 new or $20 refurbished. A lot of community members use it.

If you shop around you may be able to find it for $25 new but with a more restrictive return policy or a minimum purchase level for free shipping.


(Sander) #6

Solution is actually simple. Use a virtual switch to trigger the harmony activity. Put a power allowance on it (5 sec). When it turns off make it end the activity using IFTTT. Setup the harmony so that it has different buttons for on and off. Set the off button to be a fake button in the harmony app, direction up or whatever so that it doesn’t actually turn of the device.
This way you can always use a voice command to trigger your devices on and off. You can do the same thing for other commands using a extra fake device in the harmony.


(Justin) #7

Yes but you do have to use a device to measure power.


(Sander) #8

Why is that? When you automatically end each activity you start, you could just send out commands with whatever remote you like. Aslong as it doesn’t try to power it first, so it would be easier to stop using the harmony remote.


#9

You may have missed that the issue the OP has is that the television is being turned off with the Apple TV remote, NOT the Harmony remote or Echo. So Harmony thinks the activity is still active. This is the same issue as turning the tv off with its own original remote. The Apple TV remote is not programmable, so you can’t make it do anything extra with other switches or IFTTT.

This is a well known synchronization issue with Harmony, with or without SmartThings. Logitech tells you not to use the original tv remote or things will get out of synch. But people still do, or use alternate remotes like the Apple TV remote.

Your suggestion assumes that it is the Harmony remote being used to turn off the TV. That is not true in the OP’s case which is why the synchronization problem is occurring.

Using the power monitoring plug provides a workaround because it is measuring an independent state, the energy drawn by the television, regardless of which remote is used.


(Sander) #10

With all the respect @JDRoberts but my suggestion assumes that he’s only using original remotes and the echo to control the hub. I have being using this setup for a month now and it works flawless. You don’t rely on the state of a activity anymore as they are always turned off.
So when I say “Alexa, turn on (Apple)TV” it triggers the activity on, Apple TV comes on, IFTTT triggers the activity off, but the device actually stays on. So next time I turn it on again, harmony doesn’t think it’s still on.


#11

I see what you’re saying. If you do it that way, the buttons on the physical Harmony button remote won’t work correctly within that activity, because, as you say, Harmony will think the activity has been turned off. So it just depends on your use case.

At my house, I use voice controls and my housemate uses the Harmony button remote, so your method would not work for us. But if you aren’t using the Harmony remote at all, I can see how it would. Different things work for different people. :sunglasses:

For the OP, Hasse is suggesting that every Harmony activity (except, I assume, the shutdown) be set up to immediately turn itself off but without turning off the physical devices. Again, that will also mean the Harmony button remote won’t work within that activity, but if you’re not using it anyway, you shouldn’t care.

It will also mean that if you have multiple input devices, like, say, a cable set top box, the DVD player, a Roku streaming device, and an Xbox, then they will all stay on even as you change from one activity to another until you shut everything down. That’s not the way harmony normally works: it turns off any device which is not needed for the next activity. So when I switch from watching roku to watching cable, my Roku is turned off. Using Hasse’s method, the Roku will have to stay on until the entire entertainment center is turned off. Unless you use some other button remote to individually turn it off.

At my house, because we use solar power, we try to really restrict the draw from unused devices. But if you’re not switching between multiple inputs, that won’t be an issue for you.


(Sander) #12

Correct @JDRoberts it works actually like the original remote with the benefit of having sequences of buttons ‘being pushed’. To use extra commands I have 2 remotes setup in harmony. One to turn the tv on and off (with a fake off button) and one (with fake on and off) to control the rest of the buttons. I only have a settopbox plugged into the tv and leave it on, but I could also have ST trigger it on and off along with the tv using a sequence of firing activities. I agree having multiple devices would be a lot more complicated.


(Stuart Buchanan) #13

@JDogg016 may or may not help, but rather than buy hardware, if your TV’s are smart TV’s that connect to you wireless network (and you are running a WRT compatible wifi router) then you can track your TV’s on/off state or indeed any device that connects to your wireless network say your apple TV or xbox etc… i use this intensively in my automations and works like a charm. i just have virtual switches that this turns on/off

https://github.com/fuzzysb/SmartThings/tree/master/SmartApps/fuzzysb/AsusWrt%20TV%20On-Off%20Check

the instructions to set this up are pretty much the same as described in my other release for Wifi presence

this may help? if not because there was a large number of if’s above then move along nothing to see here :smile:


(Justin) #14

I’m not following this at all. I know what a VS is sell as ifttt.

  1. I can create a VS called kitchen apple tv
  2. When I turn in the VS the harmony app turns on the kitchen apple tv
  3. When your day “put a power allowance” do your mean a delay in the harmony app to allow everything to turn on?
  4. Create a fake off button? For what? My TV my apple TV, my receiver… All of them

This is where I get lost.