Question How to add existing room lighting to Harmony Elite control?

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by AlanX, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. AlanX

    AlanX
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    I recently acquired a Logitech Harmony Elite, and have got it set up to control my AV set-up.
    I'd now like to add some lighting control in the same room, either as separate Activities or included in the AV switch-on/off sequences.
    I can see that I can incorporate Philips Hue products. But I really want to use existing lighting. I have a 6-bulb (incandescent) chandelier on the ceiling, so I really want a remote dimmer control to replace the on/off switch, rather than six Hue lamps.
    Is this do-able with Harmony Elite, or do I need to run a parallel system? It's not clear from the Hue website what my options are. Perhaps there's an alternative to Philips Hue. Thanks.
     
  2. d10brp

    d10brp
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    Its possible but unless you go down the officially supported smart lighting products, which I know little about, it is a bit of a pain.

    I have cheap strip bias lighting behind the TV. I only want it on when the TV is on so just added the remote commands as missing commands for the TV. I then mapped the lower buttons to the commands I wanted for all the activities with the TV on. I guess you could do something similar and also add a separate dummy device (a TV), mapping the commands so you could add an activity to control the lights when you don't want the TV on.

    There may be easier ways.
     
  3. AlanX

    AlanX
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    Thanks. Like you with bias lighting, but mine is triggered by the USB voltage from the TV to actuate a relay to power a 12v LED driver. So I didn't need to do anything 'smart'.
    What I need is a control box (wall switch replacement?) to drive my ceiling lights - so not a smart bulb, but a smart controller for 'dumb' bulbs! And then it's got to be compatible with the Logitech range of supported appliances. Probably easier to get up and turn the goddam light on or off at the wall!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  4. AlanX

    AlanX
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    d10brp, I should have read you posting more closely. You must have a 'smart' wireless interface box of some sort between your Harmony hub and the bias lighting strip. Can I ask what you are using to do this?
     
  5. awentford

    awentford
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    If you want to control lighting you either need a smart bulbs such as hue or smart light switches. With smart light switches you will probably need a hub of some sort. Do your research with light switches as many aren't compatible here but work in the USA.
     
  6. AndySmith

    AndySmith
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    I've done what you're asking for, but it wasn't plug-and-play unfortunately. Logitech could do a lot more to add compatible products to their ecosystem. In the absence of that, you have to patch it together yourself.

    One thing Logitech do support is Smartthings. Because you'll be needing some sort of hub to act as a middleman from Harmony regardless of which solution you choose, you could do worse than go down the ST route. It keeps your options open, and the hub can be 50 quid or so.

    Once you've got the ST Hub, you can then buy z-wave modules, wired in behind normal wall switches. These are a lot easier to wire in if you have neutral wires going to your switches at the moment. I've used Everspring AN179 modules all over my house. Once you add them to ST, they form a z-wave+ mesh network to help with connection distance issues. These just switch things on and off while leaving the manual switch working as well. Or can get dimmer modules, 2-way modules, and so on.

    From there you have many, many options. In ST, you can set up a lot of automation stuff (switch on 15 mins before sunset, off at 11pm, add a motion sensor, etc etc), you can add Alexa for voice commands, but crucially for you, anything ST exposes can be picked up by Harmony so you can add items/groups to buttons / activities. Harmony has some limitations in how you add home automation devices to activities, but it works well enough.
     
  7. 494930

    494930
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  8. jfinnie

    jfinnie
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    The Varilight units work well enough; but if you do go with the Varilight units, fit them into as deep a back box as possible. They run fairly warm.

    I got tired of the one in my lounge breaking (it wasn't anywhere near overloaded, but the modules would melt or fail occasionally), so I went with Rako controls. These are separate dimmer modules which can have "scenes" set. I then have a Rako RAVIR module which takes IR input and sends out Rako scene commands. I have 4 scenes plus dim up / down set on the Lighting buttons on the Elite remote in the various activities I use.

    Fairly pricey though - a Rako dimmer + wall keypad + RAVIR probably sets you back about £400 (perhaps more these days). I've usually picked up my Rako bits via ebay where you can get some good deals. You can do a lot with them especially if you add the bridge which can do macro / timed events / etc - but it gets quite complicated quite quickly.
     

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