Bond Bridge Pro + HomeKit Feedback Please

Hello. I’m requesting real-world feedback on how the integration of shades directly into HomeKit is going for Bond Bridge Pro users now that this feature looks to be out of beta. I currently have 25+ Somfy blinds and awnings integrated into Google Home and HomeKit (via HOOBS) using two Bond Bridges. However, I am becoming increasingly frustrated at the unreliability of the HomeKit integration, and would like to take the HOOBS out of the chain. Before I spend the unbelievably high price of the Bond Bridge Pro here in Australia, I’d really like some reassurance that this is going to be a positive move.

Glad to hear from users also, but I can say that we are actually not recommending the built-in HomeKit support for users with more than 20 shades. The local API (which aaron22’s HomeBridge driver uses) should be reliable, but the built-in HomeKit support has some issues at larger number of shades.

@merck, that is disappointing to hear, especially for a controller that is rated for 50 devices. I suppose that “more that 20 shades” limitation could be spread across two Bond Bridge Pros, but that would be an awfully expensive solution? Anyway, I don’t understand what you mean by the phrase: “The local API (which aaron22’s HomeBridge driver uses)” - what is “the local API” and what does a HomeBridge driver have to do with Bond Bridge?

I assumed this was via HomeBridge, but perhaps HOOBS has it’s own implementation of a driver for the Bond Local API? Or is HOOBS using the HomeKit API?

Sorry, I know it’s disappointing. We are supposed to take a look at improving this a bit in the next month, so we may be able to “get it out of beta” and up to the 50 device limit for the early January firmware release, but it’s not certain yet.

I too am thinking of getting a Bond Bridge Pro, but in my case, I have 18 shades to control and probably not be getting any more. And I’m not using HOOBS, just Homebridge. Is the 20 shade limit a hard limit or just things could go wonky after 20 shades? Is that a limit of the Homebridge plugin or of the Bond Bridge Pro?

@jupiterone, this thread is about direct integration between Bond and HomeKit, WITHOUT the HomeBridge/HOOBS intermediary. HomeBridge and HOOBS can both integrate many blinds and awnings (and fans, etc) being controlled in a Bond Bridge, but it is an extra step in the chain that I was trying to [partially] avoid with this new Bond Bridge Pro feature.

Understood. Did you ever get an answer to your question about the 20 shade limit being a limitation of HomeKit or is it a limitation of the bridge? I too have Somfy blinds and am trying to decide of I should pull the trigger on a Bond Bridge Pro.

I didn’t ask that question, but I can confidently say that it is not a HomeKit limitation as I currently bring all of my blinds and awnings into HomeKit through HOOBS using just the basic Bond Bridge.

Any chance we could get a way to control what’s exposed to HomeKit? I would prefer to just have the bond groups instead of the individual shades. When grouped in HomeKit it doesn’t send the group signal out, just each shade individually.

That’s a reasonable ask. I’ve often thought that for Alexa/GH we could do similar. But then would it be an account-level, or Bridge-level setting? Or would you be able to adjust this for every Group or Shade? You see, it has a complexity to it.

What we are doing on the Alexa/GH side is implementing Scenes, and you can have a Scene control a Group and thereby send out a single aggregated signal (for technologies like Rollease Acmeda or Gaposa USA that support such aggregation).

Honestly you probably wouldn’t see this until Scenes support in Matter, unless someone adds it to a community HomeBridge driver. (GitHub - aarons22/homebridge-bond: Homebridge plugin for Bond or similar)

Sadly, there is the issue with having a large number of shades. That’s what I’m hoping the groups could help with. I’m currently using homekit integration, but I’m worried that once I get more of my shades on Bond I’ll start running into the “unresponsive” issue. I already get that with the Automate Pulse 2 hub…

Makes me wonder if the issue is really more of a homekit problem vs a driver or integration piece.

For what it’s worth, I had much better, more reliable experience overall once I switched from HOOBS over to official Homebridge some years back, using the same RPi hardware. The plugin developers I’ve worked with agree, it’s worth switching over. Something to consider, if you hit any other roadblocks or disappointments with HOOBS.

Also, I’m curious, if you’re using the Bond plugin or the Blinds plugin with your Somfys. I’ve used both, and found the latter to be more reliable and capable, especially once the developer added in support for SetPosition. Some good reading on the topic here: Support for SetPosition from Bond Pro bridge · Issue #68 · dxdc/homebridge-blinds · GitHub

I’ve been using the HomeKit beta integration on the Bond Pro bridge for over a year now, and it’s worked well for me. Fortunately I’d found the Pro bridge on eBay for half price. Had I not scored that deal I probably would have made do, with the less expensive Bond (non Pro) bridge and just relied on homebridge-blinds instead. That being said, I don’t have that many shades in my home, and only one drape.

As far as groupings go, and sending synchronized commands to multiple shades, avoiding the “popcorn effect,” and getting them into HomeKit, at least for now… what I ended up doing, was teaching the bridge the native commands I had temporarily assigned on my RF remote. So for example with 4 windows in a bedroom, I actually have 7 “devices” listed in the Bond app, all of which appear in HomeKit with this new integration:

Shade 1
Shade 2
Shade 3
Shade 4
All Shades
Window Shades (which is 1&4)
Door Shades (which is 2&3)

Thas worked well enough for our needs. (The individual shade tiles can be “hidden” too, we just move them into HomeKit’s “Default Room” at the bottom of the list.) We find this method better than using HomeKit to create groups inside the Home app, at least. We haven’t used groups much in the Bond app because they don’t sync and we don’t go into the Bond app often, especially with HomeKit integration.

Most importantly for us, voice commands to any assistant for any window or common group are available, and reliable, and the shade pairs and groups raise and lower in complete sync when instructed. We’re fine-tuning the scheduling of automatic opens and closes now.

I’m glad to see the HomeKit integration is out of beta for Bridge Pro users, excited for more to enjoy it and to see what comes next. Keep up the great work, Bond!

I have 12 Somfy Zigbee shades and 1 RTS shade all connected to Bond Bridge Pro. The shades work great on Bond Bridge Pro app and on Alexa but when I toggle on Homekit integration in the Bond app that’s when problems begin. I start getting errors on Bond Bridge App and inconsistent reliability on Homekit app. Seems to work well for a day or two then crashes on me. then I have to remove the Homekit toggle for Bond app to start working again and controlling my shades. Also Bond can’t tell the position of the Zigbee shades so if you use a different device outside of Bond to control the shades they will be out of sync. Feels like it’s still in Beta even thought it is not… I am told they are working on a fix for this.

This idea for the groups is great. I’m going to have to try that. The biggest issue I have with HomeKit is is getting unresponsive with a lot of shades.

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