Major Update: Light Gating and State Belief Setting

EDIT: tl;dr: Try using BOND App to turn OFF your Living Room Fan Light, then say “Alexa, turn OFF the Living Room Fan Light”. Observe that the BOND knows the light is already off and doesn’t turn it ON as it did before!

Hi All,

Today we released a major change in our App & Backend which solves the problem where the BOND’s state can get “out of sync” with the Ceiling Fan Light when there is only a toggle RF signal. – This is an age-old problem for IR blasters, but we think we have a good workaround thanks to the great input y’all have already provided.

This feature applies only to using the fan light through Google Home and/or Alexa, and only applies when there is a single light control signal – this is the case for 99% of fan remotes without an LCD screen.

This feature is only currently activated for BETA Pro users. (If you can see this message, that is you!).

We would appreciate your honest feedback on how this feature works for you.

Details below.


First, here’s how the “Light Gating” works:

Technically, there are two types of devices that can be added to a BOND:

a) Legacy Devices (which are stored on the BOND itself)
b) State Devices (aka “Osprey” devices, which are stored on the cloud)

Most Legacy Devices have only a Light Toggle RF signal, not discrete ON/OFF signals. This creates a problem where a user asks to turn a light ON when it is already ON, and the BOND then send the toggle signal which actually turns the device OFF.

Our solution to this problem is, to keep track of the state of the device on the backend, and do not send the Toggle signal if the device is already in the requested state.

Example (BEFORE):

  1. User uses BOND to turn Fan Light OFF.
  2. User says “Alexa, turn OFF Fan Light” (or, “Turn off all my lights”)
  3. BOND sends toggle signal, causing light to actually turn ON.
  4. User becomes (quite rightly) frustrated!

Same Example (AFTER):

  1. User uses BOND to turn Fan Light OFF.
  2. User says “Alexa, turn OFF Fan Light” (or, “Turn off all my lights”)
  3. BOND Backend believes that light is already OFF, so the signal is “gated”: it is not sent.
  4. Alexa says “OK”, but BOND does not blink.
  5. User is happy, because the light remained off.
  6. Belief Setting (iOS & Android)

Now, let’s consider one problem this causes and how it is solved, using “Belief Setting”:

The introduction of the Light Gating creates a problem illustrated by the following example:

  1. User uses BOND to turn Fan Light OFF. App shows fan as OFF.
  2. User uses Factory Remote to turn Fan Light ON. App still shows fan as OFF.
  3. User says “Alexa, turn the Fan Light OFF”.
  4. BOND Backend gates the signal, because we believe the light is already off.
  5. Fan remains ON and user is frustrated because BOND is not responding to command.

We solved this problem by allowing the customer to change the BOND’s belief about the state of the light:

  1. User can now hold the “Light” button for 2sec to change the BOND’s belief.
  2. After holding Light button, the App now shows fan as ON.
  3. User again says “Alexa, turn the Fan Light OFF”.
  4. BOND responds, turning Off the Fan Light. App shows Light OFF.

The phone may vibrate slightly after 2-sec of holding down the Light button, as “tactile feedback” to the user that the belief has been changed.


Seriously, I was hoping this would get implemented… Now to go hide all the physical remotes in the house :wink:


Thanks for working to fix this! However, it is not working for me. Has this update been pushed? I’ve confirmed on the BOND app that the physical light and app state are in agreement (i.e. “off”) but a voice command (Google Home) to turn off the light will still turn it on.

Hi Justin, yes the update is pushed and should be live for your account. Checking into it now.

I am using the command prompts with google home and a mini and it’s working great! I have two fans hooked up and no issues with either on either Google product. Thank you for this!

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Any updates on if there will be the same logic/capability with the fan as well as the light?

Hello Justin!
We just noticed that you have 2 commands for light:

Light Off

In this case, the commands for on/off will trigger the respective command.
If both commands have the same action, I would recommend you to delete the Light Off, and then the light gating will work for you!

Thanks for your reply!

That was it, thanks! Seems to work great now.

if there will be the same logic/capability with the fan as well as the light

Yes! After figuring out what works best (some flexibility seems to be needed), we intend to roll out this feature to all devices which have a toggle signal. 99% of the toggle signals are for Light, but there’s a few for Fan Power or other device features, especially for IR remotes.

Do you have a fan with a toggle for fan power? If so, PM me the name of that fan and I’ll add a note to that device definition in our database.

This upgrade is a big help but still problematic when others use factory remotes instead of Alexa. I do realize this is a the reality of a toggle signal for on/off. I read the workaround and it is the same process as me getting the remote to change the state to match that of Bond. Unfortunately, since I can’t prevent others from using the remote (ie spouses that think they are competing for my time with Alexa :grinning: ), I am where I was before the beta change. Not sure if my “turn off the downstair lights” will actually leave my fan lights on. Maybe a hardware solution added to the light socket that communicates there is power (meaning fan light is on) and reacts appropriately?

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still problematic when others use factory remotes instead of Alexa

You are totally right. We are making the feature opt-in per account so that at least you can choose whether the gating is a net benefit (heavy voice user) or detriment (mixed voice-remote user).

a hardware solution

One option is to swap the ceiling fan receiver with an aftermarket one with a “stateful” remote. Unfortunately that is only really practical for some A/C fans.

I think I’d keep the feature and get rid of the remote (or the spouse? just kidding honey).

Hi! You said to PM you with which fans I had.

They are both a harbor breeze FCC ID a25-tx025 remote

Thanks, we have one of those – will try to confirm.

I think Smartthings support will help alleviate the physical remotes state sync issues for me. Once it rolls out I’m planning on getting buttons for the rooms with fans (either the new $15 Smartthings button or those nice Aeotec Wallmotes) and assign fan functions to them.
Although Bond could release some battery powered switch hardware WiFi/RF remotes too… :slight_smile:
How is Smartthings support coming?

Is the current chipset capable of listening to and transmitting out RF simultaneously?

During setup, the Bond obviously can receive RF. Depending on the strength of the remotes and layout of the house, seems like it could continue to monitor for factory remote key presses during normal day to day operation.

You’re right that the BOND could be programmed to listen for RF signals when it is otherwise idle. However, this would probably not work very well in practice, because many remote controls have fairly weak transmissions that do not reach to where the BOND is located. – That said, we do want to experiment with this.

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I’ll be happy to help you experiment in beta firmwares, as I am also eager to help test Local API (signed up day one when that form became available).