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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Amazon Smart Home

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Intro

I have several smart speakers in my home. Most of them are Alexa, and I also have a few Google speakers. This post is about using smart home devices, which I control only with Alexa, and so this post is about Alexa. (I mostly restrict my use of my Google speakers to asking for the news and weather, and they also broaden my choices in music so that I'm not stuck only with Amazon's free music choices.)

All Things Amazon and Alexa

I have several smarthome plugs and other smarthome devices, all different brands because I buy whatever's cheapest:

  1. Amazon   (plug)
  2. Amazon   (Echo Button)
  3. Gosund    (plug)
  4. Phillips    (Hue Bridge)
  5. Wemo      (plug)
The name of the OEM app on my phone that controls each:

  1. Amazon plug......................Amazon Alexa app
  2. Amazon Echo Button.........Amazon Alexa app
  3. Gosund plug.......................Smart Life app* (see below)
  4. Phillips Hue Bridge............Hue app
  5. Wemo plug.........................Wemo app
The name of the app that does all the good stuff, like controlling groups and routines:
  • Alexa app (yup that's all)
And who do I give voice instructions to? Alexa speaker devices:
  • Echo Show (I have one of these, and it's in the kitchen)
  • Echo Dot (I have two of these)
  • Echo (I have one of these)
Some general notes including what to do when things go wrong:
  1. When a plug shows solid red, it's working. Blue means that it's not working.
  2. If you don't know what's wrong, go back to the OEM app first, and verify that the device is recognized
  3. If Alexa can't find your device any more, unplug the device for at least ten seconds. Then press the reset button and hold it down while plugging it back in and keep holding it until it is blinking blue alternating with red. Then tell Amazon to find the device. You will then have to add it back to devices, routines, and groups.
  4. When using your phone to re-connect a device, your phone should be connected by 2.4GHz connection for most of them. However, I have an Amazon plug which connects by 5 GHz, so be sure your phone is connected by 5 GHz in that case.
  5. When you're done, you can reconnect the wifi on your phone however you want.
  6. If you get a new phone, and you don't add back the manufacturer app to your new phone, everything should still work, until something goes wrong again. Then add back the app if needed.
  7. The Amazon Echo Button is not a toggle button. You cannot use it, for example, to turn on and off a light switch. Instead, it kicks off one routine only (one routine, however, can do many things.) I have an Echo Button that I press in the morning which kicks off a routine to turn off the whitenoise machine, start my coffee, play morning music on my kitchen Echo Show, and turn on a few powerstrips that need to be on during the day. 


*Note about the Gosund devices -- there's also a Gosund app but it's buggy. Smart Life is a third party app for Gosund devices that works better. I never use the Gosund app, and I consider Smart Life to be the Gosund OEM app.

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