Logitech Harmony and Samsung SmartThings
Today we are going to look at the Logitech Harmony Hub and Remote. Since I’ve had my Xbox One, I’ve been using it to turn my tv and soundbar on and off. It was never very good at it. It would randomly forget about my devices and I would have to re-sync everything with the Xbox. In looking for a solution to this, I came across the Logitech Harmony Hub.
The device comes nicely packaged up. Included in the box are …
- Logitech Harmony Hub
- Remote Control (depending on the model you picked)
- Remote IR Blaster
- USB Wire (not sure what this is really for)
- Wall Plug
The hardware setup was pretty simple. Simply plug the Harmony Hub into your wall. Then download the app on the app store of your choosing.
Here is mine sitting next to my Xbox.
As you can see, it’s not too big of a device. You can also see the Remote IR blaster sitting in front of my Xbox. I was able to use the device without the Remote IR blaster without any problems. I connected it mainly because I will sometimes put my tablet down in the spot right in front of it. That will end up blocking the IR commands that it sends out. By placing the Remote IR blaster where I did, it ensures that the IR commands are sent out each time.
Let’s take a close look at the remote before we install the app.
Not all of the models come with a remote. You also don’t need the remote. The entire device can be controlled not only from their app, but also from the Samsung SmartThings app (I’ll show you how to do this in a bit).
The 3 light gray buttons across the top are completely customizable. In a bit, we are going to create Activities that we will link to those buttons. You can also long press and short press them.
The other buttons act as you’d expect them to. What I really liked about this remote is that it’s smart enough to know that when I press the Volume Up button, it raises the volume on my sound bar and not my tv.
The remote has a good feel to it too. The back has a nice texture that is easy to grip, while the front is a nice gloss black color with rubber buttons. The remote communicates to the hub via RF (Radio Frequency), so it doesn’t have to be pointed at the hub to command it.
The remote uses a CR2032 battery, which it comes with.
Replacing the Logitech Harmony Hub Remote battery is as simple as sliding the bottom cover off and putting the new battery on.
Let’s get the app installed on our phone now. We’ll start by downloading it from your respective App store, be it Apple or Android.
Once installed, you’ll start off with this screen.
The app will initialize before we go onto the next screen.
If the device is new, click on Set Up New Hub to get started.
I recommend selecting the EMAIL option, even if it is for your gmail account. The reason is that there are issues integrating the device with Samsung SmartThings if you authenticate through gmail. If you already selected gmail and are having issues, this article will show you how to switch your account to EMAIL.
Once you’ve set your email, you’re going to want to let the device update. I believe this took about 10-15 minutes for me.
Now it’s time to get the actual device set up. We’re going to add our entertainment devices, such as a TV or soundbar. We’re also going to configure the Remote (if your model comes with it).
I chose to Set Up New since I didn’t have a previously set up remote.
The app then scanned my network to find compatible devices. In this case, it found my Chromecast.
After that, it was time to set up my actual hardware devices. I’m not going to go through this part step by step since it will be different for all of us, but here’s what my screen looks like when it’s all said and done.
Next step was to add SmartThings integration. I wanted this so I could dim the lights from the remote. We’re going to link SmartThings in 2 ways – first through the Logitech Harmony Hub App and then through the Samsung SmartThings app.
Let’s do the Logitech Harmony Hub App first. Click on Add Device and select Home Control -> SMARTTHINGS.
You’ll get to the next screen. Follow the instructions to link in your Samsung SmartThings.
When all is said and done, you’ll see SmartThings listed in your devices.
Now it’s time to test our devices. Going to the next screen, we are shown our devices and their states.
Use this screen to turn your devices on and off. Let’s make sure our hub actually works.
On the next screen, we are going to group all of our smart devices. In my case, I only gave the Logitech Harmony Hub App access to some lights. I want it to dim them if I watch a movie.
After finishing this, it’s time to sync everything.
On the next screen, you’ll start creating activities. Since this will be different for each of us, I’m just going to show what the end product looks like.
It’s now time to assign these to the remote buttons.
As you can see, you can assign any activity you want to the buttons across the top. I’ve yet to figure out how to assign commands to any of the other buttons.
Samsung SmartThings Setup
This is actually pretty simple. Let’s start with adding a device in the SmartThings app. Select Add A Device Manually and scroll down to Remotes & Buttons. You’ll find an entry for Logitech Harmony Home Hub here.
Click on Connect Now to link up your Logitech Harmony Hub account.
This screen just tells you that it’s all experimental. Fortunately, it still works very well.
After logging into your Logitech account, you’ll see the following screen.
Now it’s time to select the Harmony Hub you want to link and the Activities you want to expose to SmartThings.
I don’t need SmartThings to see my Dim Light activity since it already has its own, so I only linked in my TV related activities.
You’ll see the a similar screen when you’re done.
Once everything is linked, go to your Things list in the SmartThings app and look for your Logitech Activities. You can see my Watch TV activity below.
Clicking on the activity will take us to its page.
Clicking the button in the top left corner lets you start and stop the activity.
I noticed that if I turn the devices on through the remote, it will update in this app as well.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with the Logitech Harmony Hub. I haven’t had any issues with it. With my Xbox, if I turned it on and my TV was already on, it would actually turn it off. That was extremely annoying. The Logitech Harmony Hub is smart enough to only turn things on if they’re off. The Remote Control has really good range and the Samsung SmartThings integration is excellent. I would still enjoy the device if I didn’t have the remote, but it is a lot more convenient having that available.
The look of the device is also very nice. It’s small enough to fit in an entertainment center cabinet if needed and it doesn’t get overly hot. The Remote IR Blaster cable is very long, so you can put that a good distance away if your actual Hub would be blocked by something.
Logitech did a great job with this device and I look forward to keeping it integrated in my home.
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