Harmony hub: emulating unsupported things with supported ones as proxies

Is it possible to create a thing that emulates a different thing, essentially forwarding commands from the thing supported by Harmony to an unsupported target?

This solution would solve the problem that you can’t use the Harmony home automation buttons to control anything but a small number of supported systems or devices.

Specifically, I would like to control a TP-link light dimmer. Harmony does not support TP-link devices out of the box, but it can control LIFX light dimmers. I would like to define a LIFX proxy thing in OH that forwards commands to the actual TP-link dimmer thing.

I have searched the forums and found two solutions. One involves extra hardware (computer + IR receiver) and FLIRC, the other requires some code hard-coded to your network and Harmony activities. This would be a more general solution. I might be able to contribute code to OH if this is a generally-useful feature.

This use case is sort of the whole reason that openHAB exists in the first place. I don’t use Harmony Hub so can’t speak to the specifics but in general:

  • A Thing represents the Harmony Hub, the Thing has Channels
  • Link the right Channel to an Item
  • The same is true for the TP-Link
  • Now you have two options
    1. Create a rule that triggers when the Item that is linked to the Harmony Hub changes or receives a command. This Rule forwards the command to the Item linked to the TP-Link device.
    2. Use the follow Profile and link both Channels to the same Item.

Which one is appropriate depends on whether/how much translation needs to be done on the events and whether the link needs to be two directional or one directional.

Look in the docs for details.


The use case for sending commands to the hub from OH is apparently solved. This is the inverse problem: receiving commands in OH from the harmony remote via the hub. I don’t believe there is anything in OH that makes this possible except for fragile, installation-dependent code or hardware workarounds. See the linked topics in my last post.

The hub comes with the ability to control certain devices (ie, send commands to them), including Hue and LIFX bulbs, anything configured in SimpleThings or Lutron bridges or Insteon hubs, and a couple of specific devices. But there’s no way, or at least an obvious way, to have the hub send commands to OH so OH can forward them to specific things that the hub doesn’t know about.

In a nutshell, I can configure, via Logitech’s setup program, the harmony remote’s four HA buttons to control a Hue or LIFX bulb, but not a TP-link dimmer because Logitech chose to support the former and not the later. It’s a closed system and cannot be extended to send commands to OH as it does to SimpleThings (for example). If OH could make a discoverable network proxy for the TP-link dimmer that looks like an LIFX bulb, this could be configured and controlled by the hub and remote.

- Eric

By this, are you referring to the HUE Emulation Service? Because that pretty much exists for exactly the purpose you’re describing. I haven’t tried it myself, because I find it easier to control my Kasa devices through Google Home than through either of my Harmony remotes.

Basically, the service enables OH to broadcast that there’s a HUE bridge on your network, which Harmony should then be able to find. Any OH devices you expose to it can then be controlled.

Sounds promising. I’ll check it out.

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