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Jon00 FLIRC/Harmony Remote/Windows Shortcut Control of Homeseer 3

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  • Jon00 FLIRC/Harmony Remote/Windows Shortcut Control of Homeseer 3

    Having recently purchased a Harmony Elite & hub on Amazon Black Friday deals, I was disappointed to find out that it was not easy to control Homeseer directly from the remote and the only option (I found) was to use the HA-Bridge software and emulating Philips Hue lamps. This was limiting and wanted the option to be able to progressive dim/brighten lights from the remote and be able to trigger different Homeseer events etc depending on the device/activity being used.

    EDIT: If you already have a Windows PC which is connected as a Harmony device on your hub, a FLIRC is NOT required, however you will be limited to the number of Homeseer triggers that can be achieved.

    Having thought about this, I came up with an idea of using a FLIRC USB Dongle (Available from Amazon USA & Amazon UK) which allows control of any Media Centre or PC with any IR remote. Plugging this into my Media PC, one of the FLIRC profiles is to emulate a full Windows Keyboard.

    My design was to continually monitor my Media PC for certain key combinations (shortcuts) using a new remote Homeseer plugin. I would then program up the FLIRC to send these keyboard shortcuts via the Harmony using IR codes by adding a new device to the Harmony profile. Therefore (for example) programming the FLIRC to send ALT+SHIFT+1 when pressing keypad '1' from this new device would be picked up by my plugin and trigger Homeseer events etc.

    I selected a Sony AV Amplifier as my new device (as it has lots of buttons) and renamed it ‘Homeseer Control’. This was then added to all my activities which allowed allocation to unused Harmony Normal/Home Automation buttons and activity macros.

    Using keys such as volume up and down on the Sony AV Amplifier profile (which sends repetitive IR commands) would also allow the capability in the plugin to ramp devices such as dimming lights. This effectively would replicate pressing the same Windows key combination for as long as the IR codes were received.

    Whilst I had a specific application for this plugin, you can also use it on its own to trigger Homeseer events etc from Windows shortcuts on any PC on your home network.

    If you do not have a PC near the equipment which you use to operate via IR, the FLIRC USB dongle works well using a USB to Ethernet server which could be linked to your Homeseer Server. The plugin must be installed on a Windows PC (tested on Win7 & Win10 only).

    As always, it can be downloaded from my site (click on my banner below).

    Please post any issues etc here.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by jon00; January 27th, 2018, 09:09 AM.
    Jon


  • #2
    I want to use my harmony remote to cause an event in homeseer to start.

    What I am trying to figure out is whether I can accomplish this with my equipment.

    I have an extra flirc so that is no issue. My Homeseer computer is in my basement furnace room. The harmony hub is in my family room on another floor.

    I was confused by your explanation around how to accomplish this.

    When I press the button on my harmony, it will send an IR signal from the hub to the flirc. The flirc then receives the signal and presumably has to tell homeseer to do something (e.g., to activate the event). If that is the case, I assume the flirc has to be near the Hub and plugged into the Homeseer computer which is not how my equipment is set up.

    Your explanation says "If you do not have a PC near the equipment which you use to operate via IR, the FLIRC USB dongle works well using a USB to Ethernet server which could be linked to your Homeseer Server. The plugin must be installed on a Windows PC (tested on Win7 & Win10 only).".

    I assume the PC that was being referenced was the Homeseer PC. If not, please elaborate on the setup specifics. Otherwise, what is this USB to ethernet server. Can you provide a link to a device as an example so I can ensure I look into the right thing.

    Many thanks for your help.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes the FLIRC must be near the Harmony hub (or IR extender) to recieve the IR commands. If you don't have a PC near by to plug in a FLIRC then you can use a USB server which basically allows you to extend your USB ports from a PC via your Network. I have not looked at US sites but an example from the UK can be seen here: https://www.lindy.co.uk/usb-firewire...SABEgKdA_D_BwE

      Therefore you can install the server next to the Harmony Hub and use your Homeseer PC as the host.

      The reason that it can be any Windows PC is that the plugin will operate on any PC on your Network. Therefore if you had another PC, you could install the plugin on that and also use it for the USB Server connection. The Plugin will make direct connection to your Homeseer PC and the FLIRC will also be connected via the USB server.
      Jon

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jon00 View Post
        I selected a Sony AV Amplifier as my new device (as it has lots of buttons) and renamed it ‘Homeseer Control’. This was then added to all my activities which allowed allocation to unused Harmony Normal/Home Automation buttons and activity macros. Using keys such as volume up and down on the Sony AV Amplifier profile (which sends repetitive IR commands) would also allow the capability in the plugin to ramp devices such as dimming lights
        Great idea! So far what I've done:

        1. Installed your plugin, it works as per your instructions
        2. Bought Flirc and installed Flirc S/W

        Next step is to configure Flirc and Harmony, but that's where I'm stuck.
        Which controller do I select in Flirc gui? How do I configure a new device in Harmony (i.e. Sony AV Amplifier) to send ALT+SHIFT+1 for example?

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, got it I think.
          So in Harmony I create a MSE Keyboard device, in Flirc I select "Full Keyboard" control. Then basically map any key in Harmony (MSE) to Alt-Shift-xxx combinations. Is it correct?

          Now the question is - can I rename the buttons in Harmony? I.e. if I map "Skip Back" button to "Gate Open" HS event - is there a way to actually have "Gate Open" button in Harmony? Guess no?

          Comment


          • #6
            deleted
            Last edited by alexbk66; January 26th, 2018, 09:37 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by alexbk66 View Post
              Great idea! So far what I've done:

              1. Installed your plugin, it works as per your instructions
              2. Bought Flirc and installed Flirc S/W

              Next step is to configure Flirc and Harmony, but that's where I'm stuck.
              Which controller do I select in Flirc gui? How do I configure a new device in Harmony (i.e. Sony AV Amplifier) to send ALT+SHIFT+1 for example?
              Originally posted by alexbk66 View Post
              Well, got it I think.
              So in Harmony I create a MSE Keyboard device, in Flirc I select "Full Keyboard" control. Then basically map any key in Harmony (MSE) to Alt-Shift-xxx combinations. Is it correct?

              Now the question is - can I rename the buttons in Harmony? I.e. if I map "Skip Back" button to "Gate Open" HS event - is there a way to actually have "Gate Open" button in Harmony? Guess no?
              Originally posted by alexbk66 View Post
              And another interesting question - basically I need to add HS events to every activity in Harmony, that's ok.

              But can I also trigger HS events in "Power Off" mode? Guess no?
              What I did was to add a Sony AV Amplifier as a new device to Harmony (you don't have to own it!) and mapped keys from that.

              On the PC you have the FLIRC installed, select the full keyboard from the FLIRC application. You then select the key combination say ALT+SHIFT+1 (use a mouse on the screen) and it waits for an IR input. You then select the Sony remote as a device in Harmony and send the '1' key. That command is sent by the Harmony Hub, picked up by the FLIRC and learnt. Now when you send 1 from the Sony Amplifier device, it converts it to the Keyboard combination ALT+SHIFT+1

              You are correct that you have to have an activity selected to operate keys.
              Jon

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you, worked it out.

                Instead of Sony AV I use MSE Keyboard device - it has every keyboard button!

                To operate HS when all activities are Off - I created a new 'Control' activity with only one device Homeseer

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                • #9
                  I needed something that sent continuous IR for dimming. I was unsure that MSE keyboard allowed that?
                  Jon

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                  • #10
                    Not sure, will test, I think it should, i.e. volume buttons.

                    BTW, I had the question, for continuous IR - in your plugin the devices for each shortcut don't have a value, I use "Flirc Last Trigger (All)" device to trigger HS events, when value of "Flirc Last Trigger (All)" changes.

                    But for continuous IR the value stays the same, so it won't trigger the event. How do you handle continuous IR events? Do you monitor devices for each shortcut "Last Change"?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by alexbk66 View Post
                      Not sure, will test, I think it should, i.e. volume buttons.

                      BTW, I had the question, for continuous IR - in your plugin the devices for each shortcut don't have a value, I use "Flirc Last Trigger (All)" device to trigger HS events, when value of "Flirc Last Trigger (All)" changes.

                      But for continuous IR the value stays the same, so it won't trigger the event. How do you handle continuous IR events? Do you monitor devices for each shortcut "Last Change"?
                      The device value does change on each individual shortcut device and goes to a value of 100 on trigger, then back to 0 after a preset time (as defined by the ReTriggerDelay entry in the ini file). The docs show how to setup an event for this trigger.

                      Therefore if you set the ReTriggerDelay=200 (0.2 sec), with continuous IR, or holding the respective key combination on the keyboard, the event would be triggered 5 times a second.
                      Jon

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                      • #12
                        Ok, so it's just not configured to display the status value on home page?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not sure what you are talking about. A device which shows the shortcut text (i.e. ALT+SHIFT+1) will have its device value changed from 0 to 100 and then after the preset time back to 0 when that keyboard combination is triggered. There is no point showing its value as it will normally always be 0
                          Jon

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jon00 View Post
                            I'm not sure what you are talking about. A device which shows the shortcut text (i.e. ALT+SHIFT+1) will have its device value changed from 0 to 100 and then after the preset time back to 0 when that keyboard combination is triggered. There is no point showing its value as it will normally always be 0
                            You are right, thank you!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jon00 View Post
                              If you already have a Windows PC which is connected as a Harmony device on your hub, a FLIRC is NOT required, however you will be limited to the number of Homeseer triggers that can be achieved.
                              I do have Windows PC connected as Harmony device, but can you please explain how I can use this without Flirc to trigger events or control HS devices?

                              Comment

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