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post #1 of 6 Old 01-28-2019, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Home Automation Query

Hello Experts,
Finally the time has come when you are done with the buying and rack n stack of your dream theater and about to begin the journey to audio nirvana when suddenly the deadly automation bug bites you with smartoxin venom making you feel that without it how much you waste all your stuff is.
Anyways so i start reading few articles and videos and journeys that fellow FMs have been through and though of creating mine in the similar lines. Here is my setup:

Speakers:
Polk rtiA7 fronts
polk center and rears
Polk t15 heights
SVS sub
JBL 530

receiver:
x6200 - powers center, height, rears + JBL in zone2 / as front wides
crown xli1500 powers fronts.

others:
Xbox one s
Benq Projector
Remote controlled RF type 120" screen
Online UPS that powers projector and xbox

I am thinking of getting Mrs Alexa and Mr Harmony to orchestrate this symphony along with some LEDs / sonoff switches etc from aliexpress.

The way i plan to do this is :
1. Primary setup:
I say Alexa - switch on the Hometheater - and following should happen:
a. screen starts scrolling down - think harmony shall control it. It takes 7 secs to come to desired state (after which it has to be stopped via remote again as it is too down than the space i have)
b. the wifi switch (yet to buy) from power outlet 1 powers on the powerstrip that in turn switches on the UPS in standby mode (for xbox n projector). Though this UPS has network capability i need to find out how to bring it online so that it can be controlled by harmony / alexa.
c. Once the UPS is on.. the alexa / harmony (not sure who) powers on xbox and PJ. i am assuming harmony shall do it via IR signals.
d. The powerstrip above also powers on the amp hence no intervention required . I have to keep it its power button on as it does not have any trigger or remote control capabilities.
e. the second wifi switch (yet to buy) from power outlet 2 powers on the receiver (in 9.1 mode) to power the remaining speakers.
f. At the same time either harmony / alexa (not sure who) shall change change the primary light from white to blue color and then slowly fade away in 20 secs.

Now i have my primary setup online .. i can select to open netflix or prime to watch the movie. The same sequence need to be played in reverse when i say switch off hometheater.

2. Secondary setup:
I say alexa turn on the music and following should happen:
a. the second wifi switch turns on and puts on the receiver in standby state.
b. Then harmony / alexa power on the receiver from standby state and bring it online.
c. then the receiver mode is changed from 9.1 to 7.1 + zone2 (by harmony / alexa?)
d. Then zone2 is powered on for JBLs and zone1 is powered off by (harmony / alexa?)
e. My playlist from prime music is played.

Both primary and secondry setup shall be used at different times.

I do not clearly understand the roles of alexa and harmony hub here and get confused of who is doing what (or who can do it better) and hence need your expert guidance to understand and refine my understandings and steps above.
Would really appreciate any help in understanding how best things can be automated here to work everytime as it should. Be robust yet simple enough to be operated by anyone and help me get rid of 6 remotes that only i juggle with now.

I am not looking at step by step answer but is it possible? If yes that what all hardware I require.. that’s it.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by argentum246; 02-01-2019 at 10:05 AM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-01-2019, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Bump. Any one?
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-18-2019, 08:55 PM
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Maybe coming late on this, but I have some advise. Firstly, because you need smart switches in your setup, you will want to add a smart home hub. The leading devices in this category are the Samsung Smartthings hub and the Wink Hub 2. These will talk to your smart switches or outlets and expose them to the Alexa smart device app. For everything else, as long as you can use the harmony to control it, you can just program the harmony to perform the actions in sequence. As for the light that you want to turn blue, if it is a Phillips hue bulb, I believe that can be integrated directly as an Alexa device, if not you can use the smartthings hub for that as well.
You would use an Alexa routine, triggered on your command, to start the device sequence:
1. Say "Alexa, turn on the home theater"
2. Alexa would activate the smart outlets and turn the light blue
3. Alexa would then send a command to the harmony to activate the sequence there: rollers, projector, Xbox, etc.
4. Finally Alexa sends a dim command to the light. Although, I don't know if you can manage a 20 second fade on that without getting into some advanced scripting using the smartthings hub.

Hope that helps you understand that it is possible, you'll just need patience and a little tinkering to get it done.

Sent from my SM-T710 using Tapatalk
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-03-2019, 02:53 PM
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My setup works like this:

1. All lighting (overhead and LED) is Phillips HUE. I have ST motion sensors everywhere.
2. Hub is SmartThings. I don't use Alexa or Google voice for anything.
3. Harmony Elite remote/hub is primary control...although any tablet/smartphone works too.

This is the workflow that I've ended up with as it's reliable.

I have both an LCD panel and 125" drop down screen/projector...so there are a about 10 different "Activities" to choose from on the remote. For this example, "Projector - Kodi Box" is selected. Here's what happens:

1. Harmony is integrated with SmartThings.but all it does in ST is turn on a virtual switch. When turned "on" this virtual switch then kicks off a number of things in ST which are all lighting related.

a. All basement lights are turned off, but theatre front/rear LEDs are transitioned to blue color and dimmed slowly over about 30s using CORE in SmartThings. The LED's behind screen are 100% turned off, but the rears are left on (blue) at 5% brightness.
b. The ST hub's mode is switched to "Theater" so basement motion sensors just trigger one of three stairwell light (fully dimmed) just for safety if someone needs a bathroom break, snack run etc.
c. Smart switches for the fireplace, and powered subwoofers are turned on.
d. AC infinity fan unit for amps is powered up (smartswitch) in auto mode.

2. Harmony then takes care of everything else via IR hub and remote blasters:

a. Projector is powered up.
b. Acoustically transparent Screen is lowered over LCD panel to cover front wall.
c. Denon amps (x2) are powered up and set to appropriate input (in this case the Shield box).
b. Shield is powered up.

If you press power off on the Elite remote..it reverses everything and brings lights back up dimmed so your retinas are not blasted :-)

This works very well and based on a lot of research and experimentation, is about as "lean" as it gets. This also takes advantages of the strengths of both Harmony and SmartThings.

This setup works great. I use the virtual switch in SmartThings to trigger automations as it results in "instant" responsiveness in that you're not waiting for device polling in ST. If for any reason things don't work correctly, Harmony has a "help" option for every activity that walks you through a guided power up/down sequence. I do have the smart plugs and lights programmed in the the Elite remote buttons (there are four available) so that "manual" control of all lights/smart plugs is possible.



The motorized acoustically transparent 125" screen is retracted here, but basically covers the entire front wall.



There are six HUE led spots and 10ft of HUE light strips at front and rear. The entire basement area is also lit by smart LEDs so they are all managed during theatre mode so there are no sudden blasts of light if a cat walks by :-)
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-04-2019, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argentum246 View Post
The way i plan to do this is :
1. Primary setup:
I say Alexa - switch on the Hometheater - and following should happen:
a. screen starts scrolling down - think harmony shall control it. It takes 7 secs to come to desired state (after which it has to be stopped via remote again as it is too down than the space i have)
b. the wifi switch (yet to buy) from power outlet 1 powers on the powerstrip that in turn switches on the UPS in standby mode (for xbox n projector). Though this UPS has network capability i need to find out how to bring it online so that it can be controlled by harmony / alexa.
c. Once the UPS is on.. the alexa / harmony (not sure who) powers on xbox and PJ. i am assuming harmony shall do it via IR signals.
d. The powerstrip above also powers on the amp hence no intervention required . I have to keep it its power button on as it does not have any trigger or remote control capabilities.
e. the second wifi switch (yet to buy) from power outlet 2 powers on the receiver (in 9.1 mode) to power the remaining speakers.
f. At the same time either harmony / alexa (not sure who) shall change change the primary light from white to blue color and then slowly fade away in 20 secs.

Now i have my primary setup online .. i can select to open netflix or prime to watch the movie. The same sequence need to be played in reverse when i say switch off hometheater.

2. Secondary setup:
I say alexa turn on the music and following should happen:
a. the second wifi switch turns on and puts on the receiver in standby state.
b. Then harmony / alexa power on the receiver from standby state and bring it online.
c. then the receiver mode is changed from 9.1 to 7.1 + zone2 (by harmony / alexa?)
d. Then zone2 is powered on for JBLs and zone1 is powered off by (harmony / alexa?)
e. My playlist from prime music is played.

Both primary and secondry setup shall be used at different times.

I do not clearly understand the roles of alexa and harmony hub here and get confused of who is doing what (or who can do it better) and hence need your expert guidance to understand and refine my understandings and steps above.
Would really appreciate any help in understanding how best things can be automated here to work everytime as it should. Be robust yet simple enough to be operated by anyone and help me get rid of 6 remotes that only i juggle with now.

I am not looking at step by step answer but is it possible? If yes that what all hardware I require.. that’s it.

Thanks in advance.
The short answer is yes, this is possible. I have nearly the exact actions you describe using a combination of the Echo, Harmony Hub, and SmartThings hub. After telling Alexa to turn on Cinema mode, screen drops, lights turn on to a set percentage, soffit LEDs turn on to a set color and brightness, all AV equipment is powered on, AV set to proper input. In my case, as I have a couple Amps for Atmos channels that are not remote enabled, I have them in a power sensing strip so that automatically power on with the receiver.

The trick you need to look into is an app in SmartThings called WebCoRE. It allows you to take actions based on those virtual switches. So in my case, when the switch is detected in the On state, it triggers the light commands, then calls the Harmony activity to turn on the equipment and drop the screen. I won't lie, there's a decent learning curve with the WebCoRE, but everything you need to get it going is on the SmartThings forum. Took me some study to get it right, but now it runs perfect. Plus, I incorporated it into CinemaVision with Kodi so that I have the full automated theater sequence. Trivia, then lights dim part way, trailers, lights go all the way off, Atmos (or THX since I still love old school) bump, then movie. Plus, it fires a separate WebCoRE piston if I pause the movie that brings the lights up to 5% to make it easy to walk out.

Remember, no matter where you go... You're not where you were anymore.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-17-2019, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moebius View Post
The short answer is yes, this is possible. I have nearly the exact actions you describe using a combination of the Echo, Harmony Hub, and SmartThings hub. After telling Alexa to turn on Cinema mode, screen drops, lights turn on to a set percentage, soffit LEDs turn on to a set color and brightness, all AV equipment is powered on, AV set to proper input. In my case, as I have a couple Amps for Atmos channels that are not remote enabled, I have them in a power sensing strip so that automatically power on with the receiver.

The trick you need to look into is an app in SmartThings called WebCoRE. It allows you to take actions based on those virtual switches. So in my case, when the switch is detected in the On state, it triggers the light commands, then calls the Harmony activity to turn on the equipment and drop the screen. I won't lie, there's a decent learning curve with the WebCoRE, but everything you need to get it going is on the SmartThings forum. Took me some study to get it right, but now it runs perfect. Plus, I incorporated it into CinemaVision with Kodi so that I have the full automated theater sequence. Trivia, then lights dim part way, trailers, lights go all the way off, Atmos (or THX since I still love old school) bump, then movie. Plus, it fires a separate WebCoRE piston if I pause the movie that brings the lights up to 5% to make it easy to walk out.
Thank you. This is what I needed - a reassurance that it is possible. SmarThings is from samsung right? I plan to use sonoff switches as samsung support is not that great here and pricey too at this part of the world. I have few questions:
- So can google home / alexa with Harmony hub control things that work on bluetooth or RF than just infra?
- Can the Cheap LED strips that have remotes, work with google home / alexa with Harmony hub ?
- Do I need to have any other software apart from - Google home / alexa + logitech harmony hub app for controlling the task sequence?


Thanks in Advance.
Anand

Last edited by argentum246; 04-17-2019 at 02:22 AM.
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