Alexa Helper - Change mode or phrase with a switch toggle

My bad, you can reorder them within a room, but I guess not in the things list. :disappointed_relieved:

Guys, what are the phrases you are using to activate with Echo the momentary button tiles, I have read that using activate or start may works, but when usign them I got nothing…

AFAIK it is pretty much limited to " Turn on" and “Turn off” , but I am probably wrong. I’ll find out tomorrow when V2 gets here and I start playing. I know those are the command prompts that work with the WeMo switches.

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Yeah, those don’t work for me either. I just use “Alexa, turn on” or “Alexa, switch on”

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I have a virtual momentary button tile that controls the garage door, I can say open the garage door or close garage door. Mind you alexa does not known if the door is open or closed the open/close command just activate the button, made more sense to me then saying turn garage door on/off.

I also use dim/brighten and set. To control the dimming of my lights.

Changed the versioning of the app to 2.0.1 to reflect ROUTINES instead of HELLO, HOME phrases. The link above to my GitHub ( is still valid.


I need your opinion…I am very pleased that this app is the ‘defacto’ standard to which the community directs new folks to when they get their Echo. The other day I thought to myself “Self, what if I used this to engage the Smart Home monitor via one of the routines”. Unfortunately, to ‘enable’ the alarm I need to be in the house to speak to Alexa…so it basically turns it on while I am in the house, which is not the desired state. So, the question to everyone…is there enough need out there for me to give the user the option of putting a delay in once Alexa hears the command.

So, something like this sequence:

  1. Alexa, turn on Home Security in two minutes (‘home security in two minutes’ is a momentary button name).
  2. A defined timer starts (lets say, 2 minutes). Alexa acknowledges with ‘ok’.
  3. I leave the house and the routine that turns on the alarm fires after 2 minutes of the original ask of Alexa

This is just one use case…can anyone else think of anything else where you would want a timer attached to the activation of a switch? Of course, I should be activating the alarm with presence sensors, but think it is ‘cool’ to have the house obey my command and arm the alarm.

Let me know and I can add that to the next version of the app.

I really like the timer idea. I can think of lots of uses for it. Just as an example, a parent with kids says “Alexa, start bedtime in 10 minutes.” :wink:

It would also be really nice for people who only have an echo in one part of the house. So again you would say “Alexa, start bedtime in 15 minutes” but this time it’s to give you enough time to get into bed before mode change.

I’m sure there are lots of other possibilities. Yes, there are always going to be other ways to do this, but for those of us who really prefer hands-free options this would be a nice addition.

Good points on all. To be clear, in your example, “Alexa, start bedtime in 10 minutes.” Would require a switch called “Bedtime in 10 minutes”…there is no way I know of at this time to dynamically set the timer; you would be basically set a switch to that name and then when setting up that scenario you would set the timer to a fixed 10 minutes…Things could get ‘funky’ if you named it 10 minutes, but only set the scenario timer to 3 minutes.

The biggest disadvantage to this is that I would need to limit the number of scenarios to 4 as SmartThings only allows 4 schedules to be set per app. But outside of that, I think this might be a worthwhile addition…

Other thoughts?

Good points, maybe the restrictions would just be too frustrating for most of the things I’m thinking about.

I agree with your original idea about arming the safe home monitor as you’re getting ready to leave. So maybe just stick with that one. :sunglasses:

You know what? I could limit the first 4 slots to the ability to use timers and still keep the 6 slots, with the last two just normal. That would work…

Whatever you think. I think the idea of delaying the onset for security system will make perfect sense to the people who are using that functionality. So I would limit the examples to that. The other functionality is already great for anybody who wants to set up virtual switches, so I just keep it as simple as possible. :sunglasses:


Here is the beta version of the app referred to above. Basically, I have modified the first 4 scenarios to allow for a timer to be set upon triggering the switch via Alexa. Naming the switches strategically can give a naturally flowing phrase, probably best used to control your Smart Home Security. Here is how I use it:

  1. I have a virtual switch (momentary tile, actually) named “Security in two minutes”
  2. I use the Echo App to include that switch. I discover the new switch on the Echo
  3. I associate that switch in this app with a Routine change the turns on the security. I set the timer within that scenario to 2 min
  4. I say “Alexa, turn on security in two minutes” Alexa complies with “ok” and the house arms two minutes (or so) after.

Not much change from the original, but as JD said above, there are probably many use cases (i.e. Alexa, turn on Good Night in 30 minutes…this could turn off a TV or something else after you have fallen asleep).


EDIT removed the beta version and this is the latest release version submitted to SmartThings for publication:

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I added the alexa helper code as a new device and smartapp and it isn’t showing up in the app under smart apps. Am I doing something wrong or will it only show up if I add a virtual device?

The code would just be a SmartApp…you need to copy the code and put it into the IDE…ensure you ‘publish’ the app. You will then need to go to devices and create a virtual device, Ensure you associate it properly with the proper hub. Does that help?

The Alexa helper code published to this thread is a smartapp, not a device. This might help explain:

Once you follow the steps in the FAQ to publish it to yourself, you need to go to Open the smart things mobile app, go to marketplace, choose smart apps, and then scroll down to my Smartapps.

Find Alexa helper there and install it.

Got it thank you everyone!

Noob question… Do I have to uninstall the old version to get the new version?

And I’d yes, when I uninstall that means I lose everything already set up right?

Thanks, just want to clarify

No. There is no need to uninstall. This is considered a separate version right now. Test it out and if it works for everyone I will release a version that you can use to overwrite the old code and you shouldn’t lose any data. Make sense?

Yes, thanks a 20 character bunch