A complete guide to connecting the Broadlink RM pro and Broadlink Blackbean to Alexa
This is a fairly complete guide to connecting the RM pro to Alexa and Google Home.
To understand this complicated mess you’ll need some History:
Broadlink took so long to create an official skill that a 3rd party developer created their own trick to make it work by using an Android device to advertise the devices to Alexa. The software that makes this work is called the RM plugin and it still works today if you have an older version of the RM pro (RM2+ and backwards). In my opinion this is still the most versatile way to control the RM pro as it opens up other opportunities for automation.
Later on Broadlink decided to have their own go at Alexa control and created an official skill, but they only released it in America. They also made it so it could only control Infrared devices such as TV’s and set top boxes, it can’t control RF.
I was told of a way of tricking Amazon into thinking I was in America so I could use the official skill, and from there I came up with a way of tricking the Broadlink into controlling RF devices (Light switches, plug sockets etc)
There is now even more confusion because Broadlink recently came up with a way to stop my trick and as of today the official skill can only control Infrared again. Their block only works on the more recent RM pros though so now everyone is trying to find an old one and everyone is super confused about what works and what doesn’t.
To make it even MORE confusing the latest RM pros do not work with the original Android method either because the RM plugin software can’t detect the new devices.
If you’re in the UK and your RM pro is a recent model then your only real option is to wait for them to release the official skill in your country (February 2018 they reckon) and hope that they’ve included RF support (no date specified yet)
How to tell what version of the RM pro you have
The RM plugin is the only reliable way of knowing what version of the RM pro you have, if it can’t detect it at all then you probably have the RM pro+ and you’re stuck waiting for Broadlink. If it can detect it then it will tell you what model you have and you may have a way forward with the original method at least, though it may require a firmware change on the RM pro to enable the RM plugin to control it. A simple procedure, but choose the wrong firmware and you will brick the device! Check the FAQ section of the RM plugin and it will advise what firmware to install and how to install it.
What about Google Home?
If you have Google home then the official Broadlink service for Google home can control RF but not IR, so it has the opposite problem to Alexa! There is a way to trick it to control IR however, so Google home is actually the best way to control the RM pro at present!
See the links below for guides on each aspect of this sordid mess:
Which models are affected and how are they affected?:
MODELS ARE AFFECTED AS FOLLOWS:
RM2 : Unaffected
RM2+ : Does not work with the ‘official skill work around’ but does work with RM plugin method (requires firmware change)
RM03 : does not work with either method
RM PRO+ : does not work with either method
Drawbacks of each method:
If you convince Alexa you live in the states then Amazon music and the Kindle book store won’t work. They are the only two drawbacks and can easily be reversed by simply undoing the trick.
The official skill will allow you to control TV’s and that’s about it. In order to control RF devices like plug sockets and light switches you can trick the Broadlink skill by using this video: youtu.be/Lg4HQhN5KXo
It requires an always on Android device
Benefits of each method:
Doesn’t require an Android device
Less of a hack, Amazon music and Kindle still work
Allows you to do more with the android device as a remote for people who don’t want to use Alexa: youtu.be/GxpG8G21was
Allows for more automation such as tasker and IFTTT control
Once you’ve chosen and implemented a method, and started having some fun with it you will want to look at creating custom commands so you can say more than just “on” and “off”, i.e. “Alexa, it’s time to go to sleep” might trigger all the lights off at once. This video will show you how to do that: youtu.be/yaxIaPPRXt
Current bugs and the fixes! :
When trying to enable the Philips Hue skill in the Alexa app you may be asked to press the button on the bridge before it will enable! If you don’t have a bridge you can’t, but never fear just login with my details below instead and the skill will skip the button press 😉
You can’t 🙁 You can never be certain that the seller won’t assume you want the latest model. The safest thing you can do is wait for all this to blow over. If you want to try anyway then I suggest you ask the seller directly and explain your motivations. Ask if he has any old stock he’s looking to get rid of.
My video has caused some confusion and people are looking for a red base RM pro. My red base is simply because my RM pro is ancient and came from a very brief time frame before they changed the design to black and repurposed the red base for the RM home which can’t do RF! You will not find a red based RM pro! If you find a red based design it will more likely be the old RM Home, and YOU DO NOT WANT THAT!!! Do not buy a red base RM pro, you will be disappointed.