Harmony Hub alternative?

Hi, I currently have a Harmony Hub, which controls my home cinema setup (SetTop box, amplifier, TV). I used this in openHAB with success. Lately the hub starts acting weird, being offline a lot and not responding to commands. Unfortunately Logitech discontinued the Harmony Hub so I’m unable to replace it with a new one. Does anyone have experience with alternative hardware? Minimum requirements are:

  • send infrared commands to multiple devices;
  • database with device types and commands, or learning mode from existing remotes;
  • openHAB integration, preferably by local wifi;
  • wired infrared transmitter (so the device itself can be placed inside a closet).

current usage:

  • openhab: when scene becomes “watch tv”
    • openhab: set some lights
    • openhab: set harmony activity to “WatchTV”
      • harmony hub: turn on 3 devices by IR and set the in- and outputs to the right values

so I’m looking for replacement hardware for the last step, it’s ok if the device does not have harmony-like activities and I have to program extra steps into openhab rules.

regards, Iwan

Look at the Broadlink RMx series of devices.

I dont own or use one so I could be wrong but…
TICK to learning from any remote
UNSURE I know what your last one is asking. IR blasters usually can be placed anywhere in a room and the IR light bounces around the white walls and roof so that it covers all gear in that room.

Your not going to find an exact replacement.

If your using an ANDROID based TV, Plex, HTPC, KODI, xbox, or anything that can take a USB keyboard or remote, then you can look at using a FLIRC which allows you to use any old remote you have laying around.

Flirc: Controlling my Plex HTPC with an XBox One Remote - YouTube

The good news is that both of these are cheap compared to the Harmony so worth grabbing them to have a play with.

My approach.

I use a now very old Harmony One for the control of the media devices. When selecting, for example, the movie activity, I also shout at Alexa, “Its movie time.” Alexa replies. “OK, it’s movie time,” and the lighting scene is set via Alexa routine and the openhab Alexa skill.

I could actually use the Harmony to send IR command to IR receiver connected to my automation BUS to set the light scene too, but I like the voice command.

Hi Iwan,
I had a very similar behaviour with a very simple fix:

I simply replaced the power supply! It seems that the power supply got weak over time causing frequent resets of the harmony hub.

After that, it started working reliably as before :wink:

Good luck,

Hmm, I do have one, never used, never opened, means somehow brand-new

I planned to use it but decided differently, so when you need it…

That’s interesting, since the OEM charger is just a 5V with a built-in MicroUSB cable. I’ll keep that in mind in case my hubs start to flake out. Definitely worth trying since any USB charger will do.

If that doesn’t work out, I agree with @matt1 on the Broadlinks. I bought one recently to play around with, and it’s a great little device. I don’t think the RMs have jacks for wired IR transmitters, but the Mini is tiny and doesn’t look bad at all.

I also really like that Broadlink makes a temp/humidity sensor that’s built into the USB cable. They sell the RMs both with and without it, and it’s totally worth the cost.

I don’t intend to replace my Harmony Hubs until I have to do so, because I love the remote control.

thanks for your input!

Because 2 devices are in the closet with the hub, and the TV is outside the closet, the IR signal does not reach the TV. The Harmony Hub has a small wired external transmitter, which I placed outside the closet to get to the TV.

I found those too, but seems they are not really available either (in The Netherlands?), at least not in stores I normally use for hardware.

An exact replacement is not needed, I just need a device that can replace the functionality I described in “current usage”, basically: be the bridge for IR commands from openHAB.

Cool device! But not yet available and seems a bit overkill, I’m not interested in a remote control, I do not use it. I use a custom OpenHAB panel on my home-automation-tablet to switch channels etc. using the Harmony Hub addon. In my experience the addon has a more stable connection to the hub than Harmony’s own Android and iPhone Apps.

Did not think of that, definitely worth the try!

Certainly interested. I’ll try to replace the power supply first …

Then buy 1 for the closet and if it works for you, buy another for the TV. They are cheap compared to the Logitech. You can also get IR extenders to copy and reproduce the IR into a second location, but probably the same cost as buying another Broadlink device. Check on ebay, amazon, aliexpress and any site you prefer. My guess is these are not simple to use devices that a bricks and mortar store likes to sell, it requires some setup and they are niche devices.

Be careful with that :wink:
Not all common USB charger will do

The reason is that many chargers rated for e.g. 2A and 5V can deliver either 2 Amps or can deliver some current at 5 Volts but not neccessarily at the same time.
Means: The more current you draw the lower the Voltage will drop with such pure chargers.

If you want be on the safe side, use a real 5 Volt USB power suppy (e.g. some sold for Raspberry Pi) instead of any arbitrary USB charger.

Especially when you expect instable power condition causing a malfunction, don’t try fixing it with a charger :wink:

The USB specification for 5V is plus or minus 5%, which is 4.75-5.25V. To compensate for voltage drop that comes with putting a load on the device (and mediocre USB cables), a lot of power adapters aim a little higher. 5.1-5.3V is pretty common for OEM AC adapters. The goal is just to stay above the 4.75V minimum, and most USB devices can work with less.

The Harmony Hub ships with a 5.15V/1A adapter and (as far as I’m aware) meets the USB specification. So yes, a 5V adapter that puts out less than 4.75V under load may cause issues if Logitech didn’t give it much buffer (which I could believe), but if there’s less than 4.75V then one or both of the adapter and/or USB cable are poorly designed/manufactered and/or failing.

Personally, I avoid buying generic USB chargers/supplies that are not UL-listed. I like to know that the things I’ve plugged into the wall are tested and certified for use in Canada/USA. Doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to work, but it does mean that they’re less likely to fail and burn down my house.

I suspect there are more people who have issues resulting from crappy USB cables than adapters, but that’s just my opinion. And it’s disappointing that the haphazard USB-C spec has made things worse instead of better. USB-IF needs to take a break and let the world catch up before releasing yet another spec bump.

In any case, one of my Harmony Hubs has been running just fine on a random USB charger for years, while the other uses the OEM supply. I was going to measure the voltage out of curiousity, but I can’t remember where I put my USB voltage meter. :thinking:

which addon should I use? I can only find a “Broadlink Thermostat” binding in the official addons and one that is OH3.1: here https://github.com/RobPope/BroadlinkOH3
The last one seems to be used, but does anyone know why it is not official/added to OH3.2 yet?