Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

Posted on
Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:55 pm
dduff617 offline
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Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

I'm experimenting with LIFX bridge to provide a means of controlling some devices through Harmony remote, including some devices that are basically on/off devices. They don't dim and they don't have color associated - for example window shades or fans - but Harmony treats them - at least in terms of the UI - as though they are color bulbs. Am I doing something wrong? Is this a limitation of LIFX protocol? of Harmony? Or could the bridge somehow handle this better? The on/off toggle button does work, btw.

Posted on
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:18 pm
FlyingDiver online
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

Are you sure about that? I export the pseudo-LIFX devices as either type 22 (Color 1000) for devices that advertise they support RGB or as type 10 (While 800) for any other device. LIFX doesn't have a non-dimmer device type. So using a real LIFX controller you shouldn't get color controls for non-color devices.

But it's quite possible the Harmony doesn't have a non-color control type. So you get what you get.

There's an open issue with dimming not working properly anyway. Commands that specify a specific brightness level work, but the Harmony always tries to do delta dimming and that doesn't work properly.

Personally, I only use the plugin to do on/off type commands.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:46 pm
dduff617 offline
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

I believe dimming and color control could be quite useful. However, for my first few experiment using LIFX Bridge, I'm trying to control some window shades (technically, z-wave "motor control class A") and a Virtual Devices>Device Group device. The shades do seem to allow dimming in Indigo (though not in reality), but no color. The device group has neither dimming nor color in Indigo.

When I add these devices to the plugin Manage Devices... dialog, then on my Harmony remote, I select Devices>Lights>MyShade, I get a full-screen interface with two choices at the top labeled "warm/cool" and "colors", a screen consisting of a continuous color gradient and a cross-hair selector. At the bottom, is a slider for brightness, and then in the bottom left corner there is a square button that toggles between On and Off. The On/Off button works.

Posted on
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:52 pm
FlyingDiver online
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

Most shades actually do support dimming. 50% brightness would be half-open. At least, my Lutron shades do so.

Anyway, I expect this is just the Harmony being annoying. There's no way for an LIFX device to NOT be a dimmer, and I think the Harmony just defaults to a color setting screen.

If you're controlling individual shades (and not a group) you might want to change the type of the device group, or possibly use the Masquerade plugin instead.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:37 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

dduff617 wrote:
Virtual Devices>Device Group device. The shades do seem to allow dimming in Indigo (though not in reality), but no color. The device group has neither dimming nor color in Indigo.


Note that those devices are ON/OFF devices only (not dimmers). Not sure if that's adding to the confusion or not.

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Posted on
Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:54 am
FlyingDiver online
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

jay (support) wrote:
dduff617 wrote:
Virtual Devices>Device Group device. The shades do seem to allow dimming in Indigo (though not in reality), but no color. The device group has neither dimming nor color in Indigo.


Note that those devices are ON/OFF devices only (not dimmers). Not sure if that's adding to the confusion or not.


I don't think it matters.

I really wish I could figure out how to emulate some other device that the Harmony Hub knows how to talk to, to get true switch control or other device types. But it's a really short list. I might look into what it would take to write a SmartThings Hub emulator in a plugin. That would much better. But I'm having a really hard time figuring out what protocol the Hub uses to talk to SmartThings.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:10 pm
dduff617 offline
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

jay (support) wrote:
Note that those devices are ON/OFF devices only (not dimmers). Not sure if that's adding to the confusion or not.

Yes, that was the point of the original post. Somehow either through limitations of LIFX protocol, limitations of LIFX-bridge plugin, or limitations of the Harmony interface, the Harmony remote ends up portraying every device as though it were a color-changing dimmable bulb. It still works (because it does support on/off), but is kind of inelegant to say the least.

Looking at some of the LIFX docs, it appears that there is at least some mechanism for devices to represent their capabilities (attributes like "has_color", "has_variable_color_temp"). It appears the range of supported device types seems pretty narrow, at least for the examples they show in the docs. I don't know if ILIFX-bridge is populating these attributes, nor do I know whether Harmony would pay any attention to them if they were there.

I mis-spoke in my earlier post when I referred to behavior "on the Harmony remote", but I was actually describing the UI on the Harmony IOS app. On my Logitech 950 (remote with screen - same one that comes with Harmony Elite sets), I see a dimmer-slider control on the top half, color slider on the bottom. So the same basic issue applies, but it's slightly less egregious, since the color control is not so prominent.

FlyingDiver wrote:
Most shades actually do support dimming. 50% brightness would be half-open. At least, my Lutron shades do so.

If you're controlling individual shades (and not a group) you might want to change the type of the device group, or possibly use the Masquerade plugin instead.

Yes, a few of my newest Autoview shades support "dimming" (z-wave Motor Control Class C devices) which moves the shade proportionally, but my older shades (z-wave motor class A devices interfacing via Somfy ZWRTSI interface) show as dimmable in Indigo, but the device itself acts as a simple on/off (= open/close) device.

I am checking out Masquerade plugin - looks like a very cool idea that will open up some interesting possibilities - thanks for the pointer and thanks for sharing your efforts in the form of plugin!

Posted on
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:17 pm
dduff617 offline
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

FlyingDiver wrote:
Are you sure about that? I export the pseudo-LIFX devices as either type 22 (Color 1000) for devices that advertise they support RGB or as type 10 (While 800) for any other device. LIFX doesn't have a non-dimmer device type. So using a real LIFX controller you shouldn't get color controls for non-color devices.

But it's quite possible the Harmony doesn't have a non-color control type. So you get what you get.


Thanks, FlyingDiver. That actually explains it pretty well. It seems that Harmony is not tailoring the UI to the device, and instead just showing treating every LIFX device as a variable color and color-temp bulb.

Posted on
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:19 pm
FlyingDiver online
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

dduff617 wrote:
Somehow either through limitations of LIFX protocol, limitations of LIFX-bridge plugin, or limitations of the Harmony interface, the Harmony remote ends up portraying every device as though it were a color-changing dimmable bulb. It still works (because it does support on/off), but is kind of inelegant to say the least.


Oops. Posted at the same time. ;)

Partly (1) and partly (3). Not (2) unless there's a bug.

(1) LIFX doesn't have the concept of an on/off only device.
(3) The Harmony app seems to show color controls for devices that the plugin is advertising as white-only.

It would be useful to see if any other LIFX client apps do the same thing. Other than the official LIFX one, that is, which doesn't work at all with my emulated devices. I expect I'm not handling some undocumented part of the discovery process that app uses. I don't have time right now to try doing that.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:41 pm
durosity offline
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Re: Harmony thinks all devices are color-changing bulbs

FlyingDiver wrote:
I really wish I could figure out how to emulate some other device that the Harmony Hub knows how to talk to, to get true switch control or other device types. But it's a really short list. I might look into what it would take to write a SmartThings Hub emulator in a plugin. That would much better. But I'm having a really hard time figuring out what protocol the Hub uses to talk to SmartThings.


I think that would be the absolute ideal. Especially if it could also define things like blinds as blinds rather than lights.


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