Harmony Home HUB – the Missing Link

Harmony Home HUB – the Missing Link

Harmony HUB Universal Remote

After playing around with several of these universal smart remotes, I think it’s safe to say the Logitech Harmony Home HUB is probably the best in the market. The remote feels great in your hand, button location is very intuitive and it comes with an impressive & comprehensive list of compatible devices…

Harmony Home Hub & Remote @Amazon Harmony Home Hub & Remote @eBay

* Prices / availability may vary – check both Amazon & eBay before purchase 🙂

 

 

BUT what happens when you have a device that it not on the compatibility list ?

 

computer-device

Controlling your Media Center / Computer using Harmony HUB

I have a media center setup in my living room for watching movies and shows, but since it does not come with remote – there was no way to make it respond to commands from the Harmony universal remote…

The solution I found costs around 5 USD and it has a range of options, but most importantly it allows me to pause / resume any show playing on my computer – using the Logitech remote. It’s a simple USB receiver and a basic remote that once you setup you can put away and never look back.

pc-remote

  • The 18m Distance USB Media Remote Control Controller For PC Windows XP, works for windows 8/10
  • I connected the little USB Receiver to the media center computer and made sure it’s within sight of the Harmony HUB
  • I than added a random device “Emerson VCR”
  • Than using “Add / Fix Command” option, overridden the pause button by teaching it the command sent from the USB Media remote
  • And that’s it – I can now pause / play the video played on my computer!
USB Media Remote For PC @BangGood USB Media Remote For PC @Amazon

* Prices / availability may vary – check both Amazon & BangGood before purchase 🙂

 

orvibo-wimo-s20-switch
belkin-wemo-switch
sensibo-smart-thermostat

Other Devices Incompatible Harmony HUB

Controlling other devices that do not come with IR (infra-red) receiver you can teach to the Harmony HUB, proved more challenging… Wi-Fi  based smart devices, with no built-in compatibility are a sad fact in the ever evolving reality of IoT. (I can’t imagine why respectable companies like Belkin with the WeMo brand for example, do not bother to integrate with other leading IoT devices around).

Using Home-Assistant to Connect Devices Otherwise Incompatible with Harmony HUB

home-assistant-raspberry-pi

Anyway, the solution for that came with the installation of Home-Assistant on my Raspberry Pi.
With existing plugin components for the Belkin WeMo & Orvibo S20 Sockets, the only thing left to do was add the (also built-in) emulation of the Switch components to “Philips Hue” and the Harmony Home HUB could finally detect & control them…

I was also able to do the same for my AC smart thermostat – Sensibo, by creating my own custom Switch component based on its API. And from that point turn on / off the AC using the “Home Control Buttons”.

You can find the code for my Sensibo custom components here on GitHub.

There is extensive documentation on https://home-assistant.io/ and an active community to help you setup almost any scenario you can think of… I found the following blog and excellent starting point for installation tutorials as well as video and great tips – http://www.bruhautomation.com/

Once you install Home-Assistant:

  • Add the relevant switch components you have around the house
  • Consider creating your own custom components (if you have the skills), or pitch them to the community so that someone may create it for you…
  • Install the Hue Emulation settings following this link
  • Go to your Harmony Home HUB App and search for Hue components
  • Setup the home control buttons on your remote
  • And that’s it !

Home-Assistant is free, but if you don’t own a Raspberry Pi to install it, here are a few links to get you started:

Raspberry Pi 3 @Amazon Raspberry Pi 3 @BangGood Raspberry Pi 3 @eBay

(Be sure to pick up a microSD memory card, a nice case and cables if you need them too!)

* Prices / availability may vary – check both Banggood, Amazon & eBay before purchase 🙂

 

I wholeheartedly recommend getting some Orvibo S20 Sockets and connecting them in this way. The same process will also allow the Switches you setup to be added to the Amazon Echo and other IoT devices that are compatible with the popular Philips Hue.
Orvibo S20 Socket @BangGood Orvibo S20 Socket @Amazon Orvibo S20 Socket @eBay

* Prices / availability may vary – check both Banggood, Amazon & eBay before purchase 🙂

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