Logitech Harmony remote controls - ongoing support & alternative products

I’ve created this topic in the hope that it may be of assistance to those who have a Harmony remote control, and want to continue using it, or are looking for another product as a replacement.

Universal remote controls have become a niche product area and as such, CHOICE no longer conducts tests of them.

Logitech has discontinued the Harmony range, but will continue to update their database of supported devices ( for now at least ).

I am a long term user of Harmony remotes. I currently have two Harmony Ones ( one that I bought and one that I inherited from my parents ) and a Harmony Touch ( that was retired from use in the CHOICE TV Lab ).

As existing owners would know, the primary benefits of the Harmony remotes are the comprehensive database of supported devices, and the ability to define activities to control the integration of multiple devices.

Logitech still provide access to the database via their software which is still available for download:
Harmony Desktop for MacOS, and MyHarmony for Windows.
Note that if you want to define or change buttons that appear on the screen of your Harmony, you need to use the Windows application, as Harmony Desktop doesn’t support such changes.

There are also smartphone apps, but these are only compatible with some of the more recent Harmony models.

Whilst there was a considerable amount of Linux community work done several years ago to provide unofficial software for Linux, the available software packages do not provide the full range of configurability options that are found in the MyHarmony app.

If you are an Harmony owner, I’d love to hear your thoughts !

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Inexpensive "alternatives"

So, existing users of Harmony remotes can get by so long as they have access to a Windows computer. But what happens if your Harmony dies, and you need to replace it with something else ( other than a secondhand Harmony off eBay ).

For the full functionality found in a Harmony, there are no longer any consumer-configurable options.

OneForAll remotes don’t support nearly as many devices as Logitech, but their website has a function that allows you to specify the brand of each device to check before you buy.
Sevenhugs was a promising contender that came about as the result of a Kickstarter campaign, but they were bought out and are no longer selling.
The Sofabaton U1 might suffice if you have simple requirements, but it doesn’t have dedicated macro/activity buttons, and for me that is a dealbreaker.

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Expensive alternatives

There are other products that are fully-featured but they are only available through specialist agents, and configuration has to be completed by the agent. The software to do the configuration is not available to consumers. Brands I researched include:

  • Control4
  • Crestron ( who appear to have no agents in Australia anyway )
  • RTI
  • Savant

These are all really designed for consumers that are looking for full smart home integration, and can cost thousands of dollars, so are not in the same league as the consumer-configurable Harmonys.

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Sad news indeed. I’ve been using my Harmony to switch on the tuner/amp, TV & PVR with a single button for a few years now and love the features and programmability. However, as a family we have managed to wear out one of the buttons - the button programmed to skip forward by 30 seconds on the PVR, I wonder why :wink:

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I know that feeling ! Your setup sounds similar to mine. The Harmony that my parents used to use has Off, 7, and 9 buttons that need to be pressed very hard to make work. You can tell that they were avid viewers of two of the commercial networks in Sydney… :sweat_smile:

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The remotes typically use a rubberised flexible membrane for the buttons. The rear of the membrane is coated with a conductive layer. When depressed it contacts a PCB surface grid. The current conducted indicates a key press.

There are many online guides to disassembling a remote, cleaning the contact surface and carefully the membrane. I’ve done this with alcohol wipes successfully. It’s evident from the grunge on some of the grid there is wear in the membrane conductive layer.

In theory replacement membranes should be readily available for a few dollars. :roll_eyes:
I’ve noted on the web several hot tips on how to restore the conductive layer on the membrane, but not attempted any. Applying a layer of conductive electrical paint to the affected keys might be one. Another suggests superglue to attach a small foil patch. Whether any are durable or there is a particular material that is… it could reduce one more item of e-waste. Any experience out there?

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We have had a Harmony remote for our TV for over a decade. I got this so the boss lady and I both had a remote for the TV. It has served us well. The only thing it doesn’t do is subtitles. That is probably more a function of owning a cheap brand TV which does not have the full range of commands available.

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You have just described how most modern keyboards work.

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I am so thankful I came across the info on it being dropped before buying. I have looked at it a couple of times over recent times. In my use case I have found the Broadlink IR Blaster range to fit the bill. I decided on the RM4 mini (vs pro) as I only need IR rather than wireless appliance control. It allows me to IR Blast, tie in with Google Home & have a rich universal remote (via Phone app).

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I got lazy when I changed models of TVs and stopped using the Harmony Remote. I really should set it up again. I only had the basic harmony devices without the LCD screen but they seemed to work well.

Very sad to hear about the demise of the harmony remotes. I started many years ago with a Harmony 700 which was great until the buttons became too hard to operated. Purchased a repair kit from the USA that included a new membrane pad but wasn’t happy with the result as the button operation improved but was still hard to operate. Finally bit the bullet and bought the 650 model and it works fine but it looks like I will be very unhappy when it finally wears out.

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This project looks promising. My fingers are crossed.

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