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Author Topic: Automation with Alexa  (Read 22064 times)

Tuicemen

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Automation with Alexa
« on: December 09, 2016, 09:52:39 PM »

I always wanted to play with a amazon echo and Alexa but couldn't picture spending the amount in Can $.
Now with the Dot second generation at $50 US it is looking better. Still not worth the $175 Cnd some sites are asking.
However with word that one is coming my way so I can create something for the X10 Community my interest has been rekindled.
Using the Ahscript.dll I created a small program which will send X10 commands via RF or PLC.
When used with HA-bridge and Alexa this should be a fun experience.
It didn't make sense creating a new bridge as HA Bridge already has configurations for several protocols

I created the program so end users don't have to write scripts or batch files (the program does that for you)
you still need to type in the name of the file it creates in the bridge setup screen.
The program doesn't have a name yet so I'd like some suggestions from the community, just keep them short.
My Dot should be here next week so I can start testing then.
If anyone else would like to help with testing PM me. Besides the Dot this should work with the echo, tap, or Google Home.
 >!
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beelocks

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2016, 11:32:05 PM »

The program doesn't have a name yet so I'd like some suggestions from the community, just keep them short.

Alex10
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racerfern

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2016, 12:13:53 PM »

Interesting, I got my dot a few days ago and I'm liking it. However, seeing as it seems the X10 protocol is dying a slow death, I just ordered a HomeSeer S2 (starter unit). That way I'll have ZWave and X10 control, or so they say. As the X10 stuff slowly dies, I plan on switching some things to Zwave. However, the X10 items are soooo much cheaper than other protocols, it would hurt to switch for the sake of switching.

I also just bought two new WiFi thermostats that will be able to be controlled from Alexa or HomeSeer, so the future is bright for HA in my house.

Will your program require the SDK for AHP? I've always had trouble with the SDK and don't currently have it installed.

+1 for Alex10
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2016, 03:28:36 PM »

If AHP is installed it should work with that.
There are two versions of the SDK if you have the older version it will screw up things installing it especially if you have a version of AHP newer then 2.228.
Also newer third party software won't work with the oldest SDK or if a old AHP is installed.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2016, 06:05:04 PM »

My Dot arrived today! :)% :)%
This thing is frigging awesome!!!
I figured because I'm in Canada setup would be a pain. It wasn't!
I'm not a big fan of cloud base things but this is getting me to take another look.
The stuff this does right out of the box is amazing and fast.
Both my wife and I have no problem speaking to it ( it even got my wife laughing a few times with its responses to her stupid requests) I think my WAF just went up a notch! rofl
Setting up this to trip X10 devices can't get much simpler. Except maybe adding the device in my program and the HA bridge auto seeing it.
That maybe possible if I dig into the HA bridge code to see how the unique Ids are handed out.

Since AHP is on the same PC any macros I have assigned to an address get tripped flawlessly (So Far).
Third party HA software like BVC or PCC also work well with this.
You can also change the attention phrase so it matches these programs which is a nice touch.
You can't change the voice however. At least not that I've discovered yet.
With the Christmas price cut on these everyone should be getting one! -:) Maybe two!
To bad I can't get these threw Amazon.com, they won't ship them to Canada. :(


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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2016, 10:55:38 AM »

If there are no other name suggestion then I guess it is Alex10.
I'll throw this on a mini PC running Win 10 and see how it runs.  ::) :' Baring no issues I'll make it available.
Hopefully it will be ready to roll out before Christmas!
 >!
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 03:11:09 PM »

Looks nice! My DOT is supposed to arrive a week from Thursday.

With the holidays soon to be over... and the approaching cold winter weather keeping many of us near home bound... the Home Automation season is almost here.

This could be like the old days... with new ideas and projects coming from all directions.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2016, 01:53:40 PM »

Ok have this running on a mini PC which runs Windows 10.
The biggest obstacle I had was getting Alexa to see that PC with HA-Bridge.
With HA-Bridge setup I only had to say "Alexa find devices" all X10 devices I had configured were found. :)%
Users can download and play with the Free open source HA-Bridge but Alex10 will include it.
Since Alex10 works very well here Ill start a thread dedicated to just it and make it available shortly.
Note: You can always get it sooner with PM or from my forum ;).
 >!
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2016, 08:29:29 AM »

Wow. That's all I can really say. I am that impressed with the DOT and the capabilities of Alexa.

I had posted elsewhere (I don't know why) about my DOT's arrival and setup yesterday. It was easy-peasy! I went to the Web address suggested in the start-up in my iPhone's browser (not the normal way to install an app on an iPhone). But once there apple recognized what needed done and the app downloaded in seconds. Ran the setup, gave the device the router password. Added my TWO ihome devices (plug-ins with lights one an LED).

The lights come on and go off about as quick as I say it (same with Siri).

I had purchased an ebook (downloaded to my iPhone) from Amazon all about the DOT 2nd gen. I had skimmed through the book... but the app walk-though was complete and easy.... so I didn't need any info in the book (yet). But Alexa/DOT can read the book for/to me now.. I already tested that.... unbelievable... it is NOT an audio book.

I got up early and tried to have Alexa play Christmas music for my wife. The selections it played were crappy. I asked Alexa to play "traditional" Christmas music. That wasn't much better. My wife said.... I wish it could just play the local XXXXX station... that's what I listen to in the car. I said:  Alexa play XXXXX. Alexa said: Playing XXXXX from iheart radio...... BOOM!

Later I paired the BT speaker in the kitchen to the DOT in the living room. That took all of 20 seconds. With the big BT speaker (in the kitchen) on... both the music and Alexa's voice replies comes out the big speaker. When I turn the BT speaker off... the sound switches back to Alexa.

And so far... everything is almost too easy! So darn simple, easy.... intuitive.... it's almost confusing.

I am giving some thought to buying this. I've been using a Logitech Harmony remote in my theater for YEARS. The Harmony sends the X10 RF signal.... which I then use the X10 device that decodes the RF to PLC. Harmony still supports the old X10 IR codes (I checked their Site). So the newest hub works with Alexa commands... sends the IR... to the X10 IR543. Any thoughts on this?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 09:02:49 AM by HA Dave »
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 09:15:54 AM »

With Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft working on VR it just keeps getting better.
I still get the odd "I'm sorry" response from Alexa  but nowhere near what I use to from my PC and even that just keeps improving.
The unrecognized response is usually because I wasn't speaking clearly.
Over the holidays Dave you'll get Alexa working with X10 then you'll want more of these, I know I do!

I haven't played with the BT as yet so I'm interested in your experiences with that.
I've heard a big BT speaker improves the sound quality of the Dot. However we don't listen to music that much here.
That's more a car thing now.

 >!
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JeffVolp

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2016, 09:26:12 AM »

For someone who doesn't own iAnything or even a smartphone, what is involved in adding this to our X10 installation?  Our X10 system is run by a totally autonomous Ocelot that is not connected to anything other than the XTB-523 plugged into the powerline.  I assume a PC with an X10 powerline interface has to be dedicated to it 24/7.

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 09:58:12 AM »

....... you'll get Alexa working with X10 then you'll want more of these, I know I do!

Yeah... I was already thinking... if I had one more.... with the Logitech Harmony hub.... I'd be all Alexa controlled.

I haven't played with the BT as yet so I'm interested in your experiences with that.
I've heard a big BT speaker improves the sound quality of the Dot. However we don't listen to music that much here.
That's more a car thing now.

My wife really likes the holiday music... particularly when we have people over (entertain). The big speaker sounds great. The DOT itself is probably all I need for sound.

I haven't had any voice recon problems. Although... I did look at Alexa and said "Hey Siri".... once. Sorta like grandpa forgetting the kids names. Thankfully there is some over-lap in what they do.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2016, 10:09:31 AM »

Since Alexa uses the cloud your x10 setup needs some sort of hub/bridge to communicate with the cloud.
Your router will need to have Wi-Fi capabilities

There are many different hubs available depending on the protocol using some have X10 capabilities from what I understand.
The cheapest way to do this in my opinion would be with an old PC or laptop that has internet Wi-Fi capabilities and a x10 PC interface( in your case it would need to be a PLC interface)
The Alexa setup can be done Via a PC in fact that's how I did mine, no smartphone is required.
The PC needs to have Wi-Fi only for setup of the Amazon dot so a simple USB stick is what I used and unplugged it afterwards as my main PC is wired.

What ever is to receive the Alexa signals only needs to be on when it is to receive Alexa signals so it doesn't need be on 24/7.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2016, 10:12:48 AM »

I haven't had any voice recon problems. Although... I did look at Alexa and said "Hey Siri".... once. Sorta like grandpa forgetting the kids names. Thankfully there is some over-lap in what they do.
rofl Luckily you can rename Alexa and or your PC attention command! easier then renaming the grand kids!
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2016, 10:23:46 AM »

I am giving some thought to buying this. I've been using a Logitech Harmony remote in my theater for YEARS. The Harmony sends the X10 RF signal.... which I then use the X10 device that decodes the RF to PLC. Harmony still supports the old X10 IR codes (I checked their Site). So the newest hub works with Alexa commands... sends the IR... to the X10 IR543. Any thoughts on this?
I missed this you must have added it after I first read the post.
Since it is possible to send X10 signals RF and or PLC that device isn't really needed unless you just want an upgrade.
I thought you had BVC controlling your theater?  ???
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