SmartThings Community

Alexa Helper - Change mode or phrase with a switch toggle

(Micheal ) #150

Thanks…Like you I want to keep my app count down and ‘keep it simple’…That is why I created my own apps. However, as ST has evolved I have actually scuttled many of them in lieu of built in apps…a good example is the Smart Lighting App…It literally replaced 2 or 3 of my independent apps…Again, I have had my apps published by ST, but this is for fun and not for profit, so it comes down to what ever works.

The Alexa app is the same way…if you want something that just triggers a routine or changes temperature on a thermostat, this is your app. If you don’t use routines and want various unique things to happen when you trigger a virtual switch, than Rule or Trigger Happy may be the solution.

Gotta love some of the aspects of the open ST model…there is never a right answer…there are multiple right answers depending on your situation.


(JP) #151

I am on V2 hub and just setup version 3.2 of the Alexa Helper. When I click on “Create new Alexa Scenario” it does nothing. Am I missing something? I tried to quicky read through the posts here, but from what I see it should work.


(Micheal ) #152

You should have all 3 pieces (code above in this thread):

Alexa Helper-Parent: Sounds like you have done this
Alexa Helper-Scenario: You may be missing this code. You will SAVE it, but don’t publish it
Virtual Dimmer Code: You will only need this if you want to use the thermostat or speaker functionality. This is not an app, but a new device.

Let me know if you installed all of these.


(JP) #153

@MichaelS thanks for the quick help. I missed the copy of the helper-scenario. All good now. Thanks Again!



Michael? Can you help me please? When I select “Create New Alexa Scenario…” nothing happens. Thermostat and Speaker Controls both go to the configuration options (next screen). Am I missing something?


(Micheal ) #155

Are you sure you have the 3 pieces installed:

Alexa Helper-Parent: Sounds like you have done this
Alexa Helper-Scenario: You will SAVE it, but don’t publish it
Virtual Dimmer Code: You will only need this if you want to use the thermostat or speaker functionality. This is not an app, but a new device.

Let me know…also, I am releasing new code today. This should not affect you, but you may want to go to the official thread for this and ensure you have the latest versions.



Michael - that worked. Sorry for the oversight on my part. I do see where you previously posted this same answer to another posting that had the same exact question as mine. Thanks for your patience.


(Micheal ) #157

No worries…I am asking members of the community to help me document the functions of this app so I can create a dedicated web site for it. If that person isn’t you, but you know someone who loves formatting and documenting, send them my way!



What about adding your app info to the new wiki site as being discussed in Announcing


(Micheal ) #159

I actually have most of the text and screen shots done, so I can easily migrate it to a site if necessary. Either way, however, I will have a manual for the app.


(Nate House) #160

Is there a way for virtual buttons/dimmers/switches to refresh based on current state of an associated device? I see people getting around this with momentary switches for single actions but would rather have a single device handle both on and off actions.


(Micheal ) #161

Not directly…if you associate a simulated switch with a device in something like Alexa Helper, you need to think of the switch as one way…in other words if you turn off the simulated switch, the automation would turn off the respective linked device. But if you turn on the device manually, you would not turn on the simulated switch unless that was built into the logic. For items that refresh (poll) on a quick basis, that is not an issue. However, for thermostats (particularly Nest) and Speakers, since they are not connected via ZWave or Zigbee, their refresh could be minutes or hours. That is why I personally don’t link them in the code as you get all kinds of weird things happening when you attempt syncing.


(Alexander E Jones) #162


Great app! I’m just getting started with SmartThings and Alexa. I installed the app and the child app (not publishing child). When I try to setup a Scenario Type that changes modes (I just want to tell Alexa to do Good Night routine), it hangs me up on the Control Switch (On/Off, Momentary). When I tap to set the control switch, it says “no options available.” I can change all the other options (like change to mode, perform routine, etc…), but I can’t save it because the control switch isn’t set. (I looked through all your app’s posts but couldn’t find someone with a similar problem.)



(Micheal ) #163


Thanks! It almost feels like the code didn’t get copied correctly to the IDE…The list that should come up when you tap the control switch should be every switch you have set up within SmartThings. Do you have virtual switches defined as well? Those should show up.

Ensure you have the latest versions ( and that you copy the RAW code from GitHub to ensure there are no formatting issues as you copy/paste between GitHub and the IDE.

Let me know if any of that helps…I just checked my code and I can see the list of switches. If you can’t see them I will have you make some screen shots of your IDE so we can troubleshoot a bit more.


(Jeff) #164

Hi. I am trying to set up my SmartThings and Echo to allow me to voice command to Alexa to run the “Good Night!” routine.

I have set up a virtual switch, which shows up in the Smart Things App, and Echo has detected the switch so it is there.

I am now stuck getting the switch to do ANYTHING. I tap it but I don’t know how to tell it to run the “Good Night!” routine.



(Micheal ) #165

If you are using Alexa Helper you will need to associate the virtual switch with changing the modes in that app. Does that make sense? I have stopped development for this app, but it still works the last time I checked.


(Jeff) #166

Yeah makes total sense. Just don’t know how.


(Micheal ) #167

Did you read the wiki for that piece ? Sorry if I am coming across vague but I no longer have this app on my mobile and i am away from home at the moment…

Let me know if you have already looked at this and can’t get it to work.


(Nathan Davis) #168

May I ask why? It’s wonderful!


(Micheal ) #169

Thanks…I stopped development as I got it to a point where it works well and I focused on true SmartThings integration with Ask Alexa…All of the features of Alexa Helper are in that app with a better user experience.