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Alexa scenes can no longer be brightened/dimmed


bmercier

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Hello everyone,

From now on, Alexa scenes can no longer be brightened/dimmed.

If you used to brighten/dim your scene, edit your scene in ISY Portal, and change the Alexa category to "Light". This will make your ISY scene behave like a light to Alexa, and thus allow you to brighten/dim.

Please note that ISY scenes can be brightened/dimmed, but not be set to an absolute level. If you ask Alexa to turn on your device to x%, the scene will be either turned on or off. If the percentage >= 50%, the scene will be turned on. If the percentage is <50%, the scene will be turned off.

Benoit

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The portal is completely down right now for linking to Alexa. It says it cannot connect. I saw the problem when Alexa was doing the double chime command that she executed the command I gave it, but nothing. 

I disabled the Skill, then went to re-enable it from the Alexa app. and it says that they are very sorry they cannot connect to the ISY system. 

 

I am able to login to the ISY Portal and see my ISY and assign Alexa commands. 

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  • 8 months later...

Please note that ISY scenes can be brightened/dimmed, but not be set to an absolute level. If you ask Alexa to turn on your device to x%, the scene will be either turned on or off. If the percentage >= 50%, the scene will be turned on. If the percentage is Benoit


I can’t tell from your phrasing whether this is a deliberate choice on your part, a temporary restriction, or what. Are there workarounds? I have a scene that I created just to make a 3-way dimmer and don’t really need it to be a heterogeneous “scene” but it seemed to be the only way to set up a 3-way circuit.
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45 minutes ago, copumpkin said:

 


I can’t tell from your phrasing whether this is a deliberate choice on your part, a temporary restriction, or what. Are there workarounds? I have a scene that I created just to make a 3-way dimmer and don’t really need it to be a heterogeneous “scene” but it seemed to be the only way to set up a 3-way circuit.

 

The only way to set up a three way with Insteon is via scenes. 

Insteon's definition and Amazon's definition (Google and crapple too) are all different. They all want you to use "their" groupings for that type of stuff. There's actually a few posts if you search through the Alexa subforum which talks about this.

Due to how insteon/zwave works, it's hard to ascertain what a person is asking for as there are many different things that could be going on. You say you want to set a scene to a specific percentage, what does that really mean?

For example, you have a scene with 5 devices. 2 turn off, 1 goes to 50%, 1 is at 90%, and the other at 30%. If you told Alexa to go to 50%, are you saying send all devices to 50% or just the ones that are on? Are you saying to take them to 50% brightness level or half of what they are currently set at? If the scene is off, do you want all devices at 50% or specifically, the devices that are supposed to turn on? 


As you can see, the capabilities for scenes doesn't jive with what could be. With that said,  instead of calling your lights a scene, add the scene but label it as a light per the instructions in the post that you question comes from

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As you can see, the capabilities for scenes doesn't jive with what could be. With that said,  instead of calling your lights a scene, add the scene but label it as a light per the instructions in the post that you question comes from. 


Yeah, that’s what it is right now and I can dim/brighten and turn it on and off but not set it to a particular level, as expected from the top post.

As you say, the only way lights can be paired like this is via scenes, but in theory at least that notion of a scene, since it represents trivially linked devices, is very easy to define dimming levels on. I agree that the broader notion of scene is much harder to talk about specific dimming levels about, but given how common N-way dimmer circuits are, it would be cool to be able to group them into a logical single light that can then be set to a specific dimming level. Or am I misunderstanding something?
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3 minutes ago, copumpkin said:

 


Yeah, that’s what it is right now and I can dim/brighten and turn it on and off but not set it to a particular level, as expected from the top post.

As you say, the only way lights can be paired like this is via scenes, but in theory at least that notion of a scene, since it represents trivially linked devices, is very easy to define dimming levels on. I agree that the broader notion of scene is much harder to talk about specific dimming levels about, but given how common N-way dimmer circuits are, it would be cool to be able to group them into a logical single light that can then be set to a specific dimming level. Or am I misunderstanding something?

 

A scene is a scene for all intents and purposes. It can be 1 device or 100. The ISY nor Alexa can know what its used for. Yes it's trivial to you because you know what it is and what is used for. For both devices it's simply a scene.

You already can set up your devices the way you want. BMercer stated in the paragraph after his opening how to be able to set it up in order to give it the commands that you want to give it. You just have to do it. 

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You already can set up your devices the way you want. BMercer stated in the paragraph after his opening how to be able to set it up in order to give it the commands that you want to give it. You just have to do it. 


I’m not sure if I’m missing something but as I already said, my setup is already working that way, with on/off and brighten/dim support from Alexa. What doesn’t work is the “set X to Y%” which is all that I was arguing for above, but OP explicitly says that isn’t possible, so that’s why I was trying to carve out a simpler subproblem (“homogeneous scenes”) where that would make sense.
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13 minutes ago, copumpkin said:

 


I’m not sure if I’m missing something but as I already said, my setup is already working that way, with on/off and brighten/dim support from Alexa. What doesn’t work is the “set X to Y%” which is all that I was arguing for above, but OP explicitly says that isn’t possible, so that’s why I was trying to carve out a simpler subproblem (“homogeneous scenes”) where that would make sense.

 

Have you tried it with Alexa groups? Add both devices to that group and control it that way

The problem with the isy creating a special scene is how insteon scenes work at the device level. UDI can't change that

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6 hours ago, copumpkin said:

That hadn’t occurred to me because one of the dimmers doesn’t do anything or have anything connected to the load, but I’ll give it a go, thanks!

I didn’t realize Insteon scenes didn’t support direct level setting but that makes sense I guess. Thanks for the help!

Scenes are like presets on your car radio. You select a preset or another and the result has been predefined.
It takes a whole lot less protocol communication when the speed and co-ordination of timing between devices is needed.

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  • 1 month later...

Here how I worked around this issue.   Note: my Insteon installation started without an ISY and with lots of 6 and 8 button controllers for N-way switching, as well as standard scenes.  THEN came ISY when I decided I didn't care for Insteon's hub and found out that a better option existed.  So the entire Inteon structure existed, THEN came Alexa after everything else.  It initially drove me insane that I couldn't have Alexa dim scenes.  Eventually I figured out how to work around.  With this method Alexa can dim and keep Scene controller buttons up to date.   The caveats are it's tedious to setup, uses up 3 programs per light, and uses a state variable for each light. 

Define a state variable for each light/scene... in this example Dim.Lamp.Bill

This variable can have the following values:

                          0=off

                          1 to 100=dim percent when set by alexa sets it, or actually also when set by another program (when I created this method it hadn't yet occurred to me that another program might set the variable, but that does in fact happen in my system.  )

                          101=light on (unknown dim value) (it turns out that it's impossible to get the correct Dim percentage if a switch or scene controller button was used to set the brightness level

 

Then for each light you'll need 3 programs I call them Alexa.on, Manual.on, and Off.  All three are collected into a folder (hint: make a copy of the folder after the first one you do, then edit the copy for the next scene/device)
 

First just a regular folder:

===================================================================================
Bills Lamp - [ID 00AE][Parent 00B6]

Folder Conditions for 'Bills Lamp'

If
   - No Conditions - (To add one, press 'Schedule' or 'Condition')
 
Then
   Allow the programs in this folder to run.

 

Alexa.on responds to the state variable being changed.  Set Alexa up in the Portal to set the state variable instead of a scene or light. (hint you'll discover its nice that you can set an ON and OFF value in the portal, always set OFF to zero, normally set ON to 100 but On in the portal setup could be any value 1 to 100)  Another program, such as timer, changing the state variable also works.

In the THEN block,  First turn on the SCENE, wait 1 second (it doesn't work without the delay, it also doesn't actually set a dim level at that point) then after the delay set the actual DIM level from the variable.  So to repeat via THEN, the first line is the SCENE, then the second value is actually being set on the DEVICE within the scene. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alexa.on - [ID 00A9][Parent 00AE]

If
        $Dim.Lamp.Bill > 0
    And $Dim.Lamp.Bill <= 100
 
Then
        Set 'MBR Lamp-Bill' On '$Dim.Lamp.Bill %'
        Wait  1 second
        Set 'MBR Bedside-Bill+#' On '$Dim.Lamp.Bill %'
 
Else
   - No Actions - (To add one, press 'Action')


The manual.on program is the tedious one to set up.  For each scene controller button you need 3 lines in the IF, one for On, Fast On, and Fade Stop.   So in this example there are 3 buttons that can control the scene.  If any of them are used we don't need to know the actual dim level that was set we just set the variable to 101 (on, unknown dim level)

So, this programs purpose is to update the Variable if buttons were used.   101 so that if Alexa is used subsequently the value will always change.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Manual.on - [ID 00AC][Parent 00AE]

If
        'MBR Bedside-Bill+#' is switched On
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Bill+#' is switched Fast On
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Bill+#' is switched Fade Stop
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Deb+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched On
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Deb+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Fast On
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Deb+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Fade Stop
     Or 'MBR Ceiling Fan+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched On
     Or 'MBR Ceiling Fan+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Fast On
     Or 'MBR Ceiling Fan+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Fade Stop
 
Then
        $Dim.Lamp.Bill  = 101
 
Else
   - No Actions - (To add one, press 'Action')


The final program combines an Alexa off or manual off into a single program.  You need two IF lines per scene controller button, plus one for alexa setting the value to zero.   The THEN body sets both the variable to zero and the scene to off.   (one of which is already done, but this way we don't need two programs for off).

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Off - [ID 00AD][Parent 00AE]

If
        'MBR Bedside-Bill+#' is switched Off
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Bill+#' is switched Fast Off
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Deb+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Off
     Or 'MBR Bedside-Deb+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Fast Off
     Or 'MBR Ceiling Fan+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Off
     Or 'MBR Ceiling Fan+# / {hide}Bill Lamp' is switched Fast Off
     Or $Dim.Lamp.Bill is 0
 
Then
        $Dim.Lamp.Bill  = 0
        Set 'MBR Lamp-Bill' Off
 
Else
   - No Actions - (To add one, press 'Action')


The only thing about this method that I don't like is when you say "Alexa, set Bill's lamp to 30" it briefly comes on full brightness then dims.  I realize that there is a method to ADJUST SCENE that could be used, but the method I used really works fine for me.

 

 

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