I bought the R2 for a number of reasons, the main one being able to transition off my Harmony Elite before it dies or Logitech decide to finally turn off support at some point. I know that they have said they will keep it going, but you never know. The other reasons include the whole spirit of what Marton and the team are doing, building a great solution that is open and accessible that doesn’t require paying an installer. There really aren’t any other end user configurable options that will offer the power and flexibility of the R2. Finally, I love a challenge in customising, setting up and problem solving.
I want to make sure that I set the remote up to be rock solid reliable before I retire my Harmony. I’m happy to work around the teething pains, but my partner wouldn’t be, she just wants stuff to work. So I am comfortable to keep working on it and wait for great new features to come out from the team and the community.
I have come up with a solution that allows me to use the R2 whilst keeping the Harmony in-sync, so that my partner can use the Harmony and we will both be happy.
I have OpenHAB as a solution for my home automation, but that’s not integrated yet, happy to wait. So I thought, why not set up Home Assistant and have a play. I loaded up the Harmony service in Home Assistant and it works well. When I went to the R2 integration with Home Assistant (HA), lots of the entities were coming through, but nothing from the Harmony. Not sure why that would be the case, but not a HA expert yet. Never mind, I set up separate scripts in HA to switch between Harmony actives and Power Off, these appeared in the R2 integration, yay!
So, I had perfectly working power on/off sequences in R2 and switching between activities in the same activity group was working fine, so happy with that, can go back to it in the future. What I have now done is to remove all commands from the power on/off sequences in R2 and replaced them with a single call to the same activity or power off in the Harmony via HA. I have left all the activities in the activity group, this is important to ensure that they are still mutually exclusive, but I switch the group to say turn off devices Never.
So now, if I pick up the R2 before my partner picks up the Harmony, if I power on an activity, this sends across to Harmony via HA and Harmony powers everything up for the Activity and switches to the correct screen on the Harmony. The R2 very quickly switches to its corresponding activity screen. If my partner powers up an activity or switches activities on the Harmony, I need to do the same on the R2 manually, but I’m OK with that and it doesn’t cause any problems as the call to Harmony doesn’t do anything as it is already in the activity.
If I switch between activities on the R2, the Harmony stays in sync and due to the current behaviour of activity groups, the Harmony Power off in each of the activity power off sequences doesn’t get called. If I power off an activity on the R2, it calls the Harmony Power Off and everything shuts down. Hope that it will be an option to call the power off sequence when switching activities when implemented, not hard coded to always call, but not the end of the world if isn’t, I would just take out all of the Harmony Power Off calls and a have one on the Home screen with the other activities.
So just set that all up and seems to be working well and will allow me lots of time to bed in the R2 until I am ready or have to move off the Harmony.