Are Sonos and Echo ($180 or more) the only audio speaker options? I just want a cheap "doorbell" speaker

May thanks for your reply, Ed. Yes I see that doorbell. Hmm… reviewers say they greatly increased its functionality by installing some separate driver(s). I haven’t tried that at all yet, it seems a little daunting. Hmm.

When you say you liked the novelty, you are talking about talking to Alexa on your Echo, right? I have a friend who has one, so I know what you mean there… maybe I will find the Echo itself interesting, maybe not. It might be worth a try. But you are otherwise definitely saying it can be used as a general ST speaker, right?

Hi Schapper, these are all really great on the software side, it might be really handy if I need to increase a speaker’s functionality. But I am not really seeing a cheap speaker in what you posted, am I missing it? I don’t want to re-use some old laptop since it’s overkill in one sense (running and maintaining a whole dedicated laptop just to hear a doorbell) and underkill on the other (not a good loud whole-house speaker). I can see how that might work for some folks in some situations - pretty clever even - but not my big house.

I really do appreciate your post and hope it will come in useful once I have the speaker. Big Talker sounds especially intriguing. But there isn’t much on where or what actual hardware to buy in your post, right? Thanks.

Good Point, This was litterally the Missing link =D

Actually what I meant to convey (sorry about that) was that having my echo or a speaker tell me when events happened got old after a time. It was fun to do, but I personally found it not at all that useful. I had Alexa tell me when family arrived or when UPS dropped off a package. But, if you were not there you would not hear it of course. I am sure that I could find some items that would be beneficial to me, but having a sounds or voice pop out when you are reading or focusing throws me off. So, I did not find voice responses useful outside of the novelty.

I LOVE my echo, turning on and off lights and getting news, weather, stock info. I use it for timers, alarms and playing music or reading books. Love it.

Me too btw. I didn’t bring it up because it didn’t seem like it would fit your budget… but nothing HA has increased my WAF as much as echo. She wants 2 more…

We have 3 in our house. One for each bedroom. Plan to purchase one for the Living room or maybe the kitchen. Will figure out the winner when I have the money saved (SMILE)

IF you are a Mac user, there’s nothing cheaper than @obycode’s Music Thing. It supports all sorts of notification options as well as being a music player. For the grand price of $5.

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You may want to skip the audio speaker options and go with the Aeotec Doorbell. It’s $50 and can run 100 different MP3 files that you can load. You can record whatever messages you want and load them to the device.

Yep, pointed him that way as well. However he felt that it might be too hard to implement and so the discussion as to how to help goes forward (BIG SMILE). Yes I know about emoticons, I just feel that they do not convey my wonderful smile (Don’t you think) (GRIN)

Ah. Yea. Sorry, I missed it. I didn’t see any preview text so I missed your link all together while I was scrolling to see what was suggested to him.

Not a problem, we are all just trying to help. I seem to be helpful today for some reason

LANnouncer is an android speech app that is a cheap way to make smartthings announcements with BigTalker, or non-ST-announcements via IFTT. A lightweight/ old/ leftover tablet or phone can work.

[quote=“theedpope, post:12, topic:40761”]
However he felt that it might be too hard to implement
[/quote]I thought I should mentioned that I just released a new version of the Aeon Labs Multifunction Doorbell device handler that no longer requires Rule Machine to play mp3s by track number.

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How do you get Smartthings to tell echo to speak something?


I do it with an Android tablet running LANnouncer. That tablet is connected to Echo via Bluetooth so all audio is directed to Echo.

Big Talker and Lan Announcer. Do a search for both, there are FAQs on how to set it up.

+1 for VLC Thing and Big Talker. I’ve installed them on a C.H.I.P ($9 computer) and I get all the voice notifications I could stand!

Thanks Ed, this is great to know…

While I was surprised to find there are no “simple” speakers readily available (on ST site or SmartHomeDb), Echo is still in the running because it also adds potentially interesting additional things. So maybe I’ll just get it, and be done with the particular issue of needing a speaker. We really do want to know when we get mail or have motion out front because I average 1 or 2 packages a day, half the time they don’t knock, and I’ve had stuff sit overnight in the rain before because I didn’t know there was something there. We don’t always have our phones on us and if we do, we can’t always check to every single notification chime quickly, so it’s good to just plain old hear “motion out front”.

Listen. If I can say,

I am new to smart homes (Wink, Smart Things) and find them a real mixed blessing. I went with smart home tech because I found task-specific items too limited. For example, Heath/Zenith has quite a broad line of motion-sensitive flood lights … but of course the sensors on these things only control the light, and will not send notifications or do anything else. So there are tons and tons of decent, low -cost task-specific devices out there. But none of them work with other things. Not even some of the top-shelf DIY, e.g., security motion sensor systems will talk to anything else, nor are they particularly flexible even for motion sensing. (They can’t touch the flexibility and interconnectivity of smart home systems.)


But there are SO few actual smart devices available in quite a few categories, compared to the broad avalanche of items that are not smart. For example, this question about audio speakers. And, importantly for me, I can hardly even find a single outdoor-capable smart motion sensor. WTH? There are a hundred non-smart ones out there. Yes, they’re on a flood-light mount or whatever but still, the technology is obviously out there in inexpensive form. Another example: I’m having real trouble with a mailbox sensor - apparently it’s too far to communicate well? Even with a relay? (I have another thread on how comms with a ST Door Sensor are super spotty once it needs a relay. I don’t mean due to distance; I just mean timeliness of reporting when using a relay. And it definitely does need a relay, for my mailbox.) There are plenty of door sensors that have no problem communicating longer distances in the non-smart areas. I spent a lot more for a smart system and device that is, in one sense, surely far more flexible - but also, far more limited?? (in distance or relay or something)

And then whenever I ask about how to make something work, everybody chimes in with endless add-on apps. It’s like, holy cow, do I have to spend my whole life tweaking just to know when I got mail? lol

I am exaggerating some. But still, I don’t want to spend months of my life trying to get a nice smart home. Ideally I want to spend all of zero hours on it. I want it all working right out of the box. But clearly the technology is very very far from there. So I chose SmartThings over the other possibilities because at least it has the most potential (with all the developers and apps), even if it is far far more work and searching than I anticipated.

Oh well. What’s new under the sun? If you want something cutting edge, you gotta bleed, I guess. Hehe.

And let me thank you again. You guys really are helpful here. Even if I wish I didn’t need help because it was all straightforward already, laugh.


It’s different, because if a flood light goes off to frequently… who cares, if you get an alarm on your phone that someones at the front door when it’s just the wind blowing, you care more. But there are ways to Improve false alarms outside and there are threads in this forum on doing so as well as community smartapps that could help.

Is it a metal mailbox? If so you could get a zwave door sensor that has a terminal block, and use the leads to put a magnetic sensor on the inside while leaving the device on the outside(in a weatherproof plastic box) There are also some other threads on people doing other things to monitor mailboxes.

Yeah, theres no way around this, especially with SmartThings. They’re business model isn’t that they’re one app should cover it all, it’s to use the community created development to create the functionality for them. No getting around this, but i’ve found that almost all of the apps can be replaced with @bravenel’s Rule Machine.

I own a bunch of different diy HA hubs, this is one of the easiest to configure, and offers some of the best community support. That said DIY HA right now Does take time, there are a lot of factors, and many in the community are worried with Smartthings portrayal of how easy it is. There are companies that will automate your house for you, but they set it up, and if you need to change anything at all they charge hourly(at least in my area). But they do it all the time and will make sure that your mesh is strong enough. There are also some people in this community that will provide more in-depth help for a fee, as well as some that professionally install ST in some areas.

No problem -

Would this cheap wifi speaker work with SmartThings?