Switchbot - Simple “power on” for some TVs (IR blaster)

Woo hoo!

I got a cheap 32” fire TV At Black Friday. It doesn’t have as many voice commands as the fire TV cube, but I just wanted an additional TV for our guestroom. The TV is fine, the voice commands work fine, but… There’s no way to turn it on or off just by voice or turn it on/off with an automation. So it’s a lot like the very expensive Samsung smart televisions that way.

I knew it could be done by adding a Harmony, but I didn’t want to spend that much money and it seems like overkill since once the TV was on I was going to do everything by voice with the fire TV options. I just needed a way to turn it on by voice.

As it happened… I already had a SwitchBot “hub plus” which is used to control “robot finger“ actuators in other parts of the house. So I was thinking about just getting another actuator and adding it to the manual button on the TV.

But then I realized that the Switchbot hub plus model has an IR blaster built into it so I decided to try that.

(One of the reasons I like SwitchBot is that it already has integrations with echo, Google home, Ifttt, and as of November 2019, smartthings.)

So I tried it, and it works great! :tada: No special coding, no custom code, no “man in the middle server.” Just add the TV to the SwitchBot app, add the SwitchBot integration in the new V3 smartthings app, create a toggle scene in the Switchbot app, have Alexa discover the scene, and I’m all set.

Totally hands-free voice control through echo to turn the TV on and then use my fire TV commands. :tv:

Plus the option to do other smartthings integrations if I choose. The integration for this particular model for any other TV commands would be fairly clunky because it’s at the button push level, but it could be done. For a television which has a better integration, like the Samsung models, this should solve the problem of “I can do everything except turn the TV on!” problem. :sunglasses:

And again, to do this you don’t actually need one of the button pusher devices, you just need the cloud hub, which lists for $49 on Amazon, or the micro hub which lists for $39 (but you will have to supply your own power cord).

Available in multiple countries, including Japan and the UK:

And here’s what the device page looks like in the new V3 smartthings app:

And here’s the SwitchBot app, which has its own simple rules:

Thanks to @johnconstantelo , Who pointed out below that the newest model of the SwitchBot hub is smaller and sells for $10 less, although you have to provide your own power cord. As I mentioned, I’ve had mine for a while, and it’s the $49 model that has a nightlight built in and comes with a power cord. IR functionality is the same in both.

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Very cool @JDRoberts. That page says this is newer?

Any idea what’s different or better?

Anyway, last post for me. Merry Christmas!

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Yes, that’s a newer model than the one I already had.

Pros:

Smaller, $10 cheaper,

Cons:

you’ll have to buy a power cable so it may end up costing about the same.

No nightlight. Some people will be just fine with that, some might even prefer it. We do use it as a night light at our house…

From the manufacturer:

Hub Mini requires a 5V 1A USB adapter or an equivalent power source

The performance is the same as the Hub Plus, not compromised because of its compact size.SwitchBot Hub Mini is now micro-USB powered because the rainbow light is eliminated. It is smaller, square and white, which makes it blend more into the environment.

I’ve seen the Harmony Hub go for as little as $50-60 bucks at Walmart.

Props to @JDRoberts regarding the Switchbot Mini. I had been looking for a cheap IR blaster to turn on my cable box and TV via Alexa. This nailed it!

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Yeah, after I got the one set up for the new guestroom TV, my roommate liked it so much he got the Switchbot mini for the TV in his room, same issue. It’s a smart TV but there was no way to turn it on with Alexa.

There’s also the ST_Anything IR library. If you’re a fan of Arduinos or the ESP8266, this is a very good implementation. I use it in two rooms of my house.

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connecting my Switchbot with Smartthing, I can see the Devices Switchbot created in smartthings, but I can only turn them on and off with the IR blaster.
Has anyone gotten any further control through smartthings, like, Volume or input with Switchbot IR?

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You can get more controls through Alexa, which gives you two choices.

  1. Create a scene in the SwitchBot app. You can then activate that scene either through Ifttt or through an Alexa routine (not a smartthings routine)

  2. set up two Alexa devices and have one speak commands to the other. This may allow you to access some commands that are not available in the scenes. It sounds goofy, but it does work.

So just depends on what you’re trying to do.

In my case, as I explained in the first post in this thread, all I needed was on/off with voice control, so I haven’t really explored the other options available.

How to add controls in Switchbot to be used by smartthings other than ON/OFF.
So thanks to @JDRoberts I got this figured out.

Starting in the Switchbot app, under your hub, click “Add Appliance”
image
Select a random item from the list (I choose Fan) and add it.
Note: Do not use “Others”. It would not show up in smartthings for me.


Go back into the newly added Appliance and select EDIT at the top. Re-Learn the Power button to any button of your choice.
image
Click the checkbox and you are done.

Let me know if there are questions or if anyone figues a better way to do this.

EDIT: you need to go back into the smartthings app and add device by brand and re-add the Switchbot (dont delete)

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Can you post a screen shot of how it looks in smartthings?

Looks like any other on off switch

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Also, if you have Action tiles, you can use the method above to create a custom remote for any device.

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I have a big problem with my device TV and Amplifier emulated in smartthings by SwitchBot. The button for ON is te same of the button for OFF. In the app SwitchBot I have 2 separate button for OFF and ON. Can I use this in smartthings? :thinking: If I have the TV off, and I ask turn off the TV with my voice… My TV understands correctly and nothing happens becouse I make a routine in google home, that if I ask turn off TV, google turn off with the button OFF and if is already OFF, with the press an other time Off, TV not change status. But if I make a routine in smartthings that turn off the TV already off, it wake up On! :unamused: Because the routine use the button “on/off”. Can I change this situation ? Many thanks for your help

I’m sorry, I rely on text to speech, and I can’t understand your post. Hopefully someone else can help.

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Sorry JD. I’m Italian :it: and my English is very bad. Now with Google traslatore I have try to correct my past message. Please try to reload and tell me is now is Understandable

I add a custom projector (have 2 different button to power on or off),

and now smartthings create a device with only on button on/off visible, but in real the button is two different ON and Off.
With this, now in smartthings and in google home I can use this. Fantastic for automation in smartthings and for sólve the problem di power off TV when this is on and I ask power On with voice.
Many thanks for your help @JDRoberts and @granzy.

@granzy

Now this looks interesting. Mind elaborating a little please? I love actiontiles. At the moment it’s a cumbersome webcore ‘url link’ and/or a virtual push button switch approach. Not the best for multiple buttons.

@djh_wolf The Switchbot hub control through Actiontiles can be a bit slow due to it not being locally executed, but it is fast enough for me.
I placed my switchbot mini hub under my TV to control on/off, and then have a simple USB powered IR extender that sits next to the switchbot hub that relays any command down to the basement theater rack.
My TV is only connected to a PC so I only need it on/off. The IR extender controls my Receiver power, volume and input.
As you can see from my post 14 above, I have added created an actiontile panel for TV watching.

EDIT: If you are interested in controlling smartthings devices from a PC or the other way around, search eventghost. http://www.eventghost.net/


I use it to create keyboard shortcuts to control the PC as well as Smartthing devices, like lighting, and even the switchbot hub.

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