How To Control Your Custom RGB Lighting From a Harmony Remote
If you own a Harmony Remote, you’re probably aware that they can now control the Phillips Hue “connected bulb” – a wifi enabled but extortionately priced $200 LED lightbulb set. But did you know your Harmony Remote can also power the far more reasonably priced RGB LED striplights?
Indeed they can – so there’s no need to break the bank just for a nicely integrated lighting system in your ultimate home entertainment system. Read on to find out how you can control any custom lighting (as long as it has a remote) from your Logitech Harmony.
RGB LED Striplights
These come in strips of 5m typically, with a IR controller, for around $20-$30. You can buy additional strips and power up to 10m from the same controller. 5m is usually enough for mood lighting, whilst 10m would be able to replace all your lighting in an average living room (average in my neck of the woods anyway).
The Logitech Harmony Ultimate remote systems are designed to replace ALL of the remote controls in your living room, but generic RGB lighting LED strips are difficult to add since there’s no obvious manufacturer and they aren’t in the database of preset components. Today then, I’m going to walk you through the process of create a custom device for your lighting, assigning and learning controls, and setting up scenes for each of your home entertainment activities.
This month is Home Networking Month and we’ll be giving away lots of lovely home networking gadgets and goodies – including this Harmony system! Keep an eye toward the end of the month for this giveaway, and good luck!
Here’s what you’ll end up with after completing this tutorial (warning: strobe lighting):
Plug your remote into your PC or Mac using the supplied micro-USB cable, and open up the myharmony.com management interface. Turn the remote over so the screen is face down (shown face UP in the picture below!), and make sure you have your lighting remote to hand .
Here’s a video of the following steps if you’d rather watch than read.
Click Devices –> Add device.
Put whatever you like into manufacturer and model number. For what it’s worth, seems a company called Yagu is the maker of the particular set I have, but I put a generic name instead.
Add, and ignore the popup asking if you actually meant one of these other devices. You didn’t.
Select Device type: other, and “it controls my lights”.
When it asks if you have the remote: Yes, I have it.
Go forward until you get to the process of teaching it Power On and Off. Teaching involves holding the remote about 8-10cm away from the IR sensor on the back of your Harmony device. You may get an error – I had to try a few times before it could recognize the command.
If your remote has a separate button for powering on and off (my smaller controller does; the larger controller only has one button) – then at the main menu select Change Device Settings -> Power Settings -> I want to turn off this device when not in use, and change the selection to “I press two different buttons for on and off”.
You’ll now need to re-teach the on and off command. Hit “teach command” and do the same process as before. Change the duration to about 0.5 sec to ensure it’s received correctly. Do the same for Power Off.
Teach The Colours
Click Add or Fix Commands to begin teaching your RGB colour commands. These aren’t preset, so you’ll need to create a new command for each one. You can probably stick with your favourite colours, white, and perhaps fade and flashing lights for parties – adding a new command for every colour may be a little tiresome.
The process is the same as before though – if you encounter an error, try again – this time pressing for a shorter time, or moving slightly.
Assign Commands To Activities
Assuming you already have an activity set up, head over to the correct tab and select change settings. Include your RGB device in the activity, then skip through the rest of the steps and leave them as their default.
Next, hit customize activity. Add a new command, select your RGB device (if it isn’t appearing, you didn’t do the previous step – go back, and make sure its added as a device used in that activity), select Command in the second column, and in the value section, select the colour you want from the items you added earlier. Save.
That’s it! You can now assign different colours to all your activities, or even set up a special activity for just the lighting. I added a “party” activity too, which turns on the Xbox for Dance Central and switches all the lights to colour strobe mode.
Do you have any other tips for using a Harmony remote? I’d love to hear them in the comments.