BigTalker 2.0 -- Development

I edited my post slightly just for accuracy sake. I said %currentweather% in the example and I should have said %weathercurrent%.

AskAlexa and CoRE are a couple of good ones. CoRE is a very powerful logic (rules) engine. It can take a bit to wrap your mind around. AskAlexa opens the door for what your Amazon Echo can do, if you have one.

@JDRoberts just notified me about this Wiki he setup to help people find what SmartApps/Device Handlers, etc that they want or could use. This might steer you along in your quest for home automation awesomeness!:

I didn’t set up the wiki, @obycode did, I are usually just tell people about it. There have been a lot of contributors. :sunglasses:

Yes last week I got ask alexa back up and running thanks a ton to Michael struck. I’m also testing echosistant as well. I’ve installed core before and yes I think it’s going to take a little wrapping my head around. Keeping things simple for the moment but I’m glad everything is working you guys created some well integrated apps for the numerous echos I have around the house. Even if I’m the only house member using it, lol. Thanks for your help I’m sure I’ll have plenty more questions later on as I always do.

I’ve finally figured this out.
Personality option is coming to BigTalker in the next couple of weeks and will be expanded upon/adjusted based on feedback. It will be introduced in 1.1.13. Send me a PM if you would like to beta test it once I get to that point.


I have to say if my wife loves the personality, then it is a big hit. I would love to see more of this. Ready to test next version, when you are ready.

quote=“rayzurbock, post:5, topic:55305”]
Ability to add a chime prior to each message would be good (or designate to play a chime prior to a specific message ie: door opening or window opening etc)

I’ve had some requests to play a beep tone or something prior to playing a message.This is problematic. BigTalker supports both speechSynthesis device handlers and musicPlayer device handlers. The speechSynthesis device handlers can typically only receive text where they convert that to audible speech. Sending a pre/post tone to these would be impossible. The musicPlayer device handlers could likely do this; however I am afraid it would likely break the ability to resume music playing on the device (ie: Mozart playing > BT requests the musicPlayer play the beep tone > BT then requests the musicPlayer plays the speech file for your phrase > The musicPlayer receives the request to resume play, but there have now been 2 other sounds played since Mozart was playing; likely the beep sound is what gets resumed). I’m not sure this is implementable in a clean non-hack manner.

I have start to make custom (merging) mp3 files using a couple of steps so that I have a chime or other noise alert prior to a message playing and then storing them in AWS S3 for URI playback using CoRE. Have not played with BT in a bit so I am not sure if ARI playback is possible.

Here are some quick steps for each message:

  1. Find the chime mp3 that you want and store locally on your PC.
  2. Using this link: I create a TTS mp3 and download the file locally. Note this site can be slow to create the mp3 from time to time.
  3. Using The Magnificent Playlist Producer Lite ( To merge the chime mp3 and the TTS mp3. I also insert a 1 second delay between the 2 mp3.
  4. Post back to AWS S3 and use a SmartApp like CoRE to play the URI or BT if URI is possible.

Hope it helps.

The more I play with this, the more I like it. I love the personality, I would love to see more of this and more random. Short and long personality suggestions etc.

BigTalker 2.0 first Alpha released.
Looking for feedback and usage/test results.
Alpha/Beta version note: Please only install if you are willing to install a likely buggy SmartApp and assist with testing and development. You need to know how to view/copy/paste live logging data into a PM. I do test on my own system before publishing, but I don’t test everything. I also don’t release development versions until I believe they are mostly operational and I need feedback and help with further testing.

Note there are now two apps from the repository to install.
The Parent needs to be installed and published.
The Child needs to be installed, not published (it will not hurt if it is published, but may cause confusion as it will show up in your SmartApps list but all configuration must be done through the Parent app which creates the child apps.

This version should allow you to have unlimited schedules, unlimited event groups (3 per child app, but unlimited in number of child apps).
It also starts the implementation of personality (primarily only on light switch on/off events at this time) to phrases if you choose. It will add personality to the beginning and/or ending of your selected phrase. The personality is chosen based on the device name (ie: kitchen light where light is the keyword) and change (on/off). There are also some generic personality phrases thrown in to mix things up. Personality can be enabled/disabled on the Configure Defaults page.

If you have requested a feature in the past and do not see it in this version, please note, the Parent/Child app was #1 priority before adding other major features. I plan to review your requests and add more (including more personality) before the actual 2.0 release. Your requests have been heard!

This is very very alpha and very limited in testing. If you don’t mind some possibly buggy code give it a shot and PM me some feedback on bugs and such. How’s the configuration flow, etc… ?

There are two options for install, GitHub or Raw code:

UPDATE: 11:02PM CST - Parent/Child 2.0.a2 released
UPDATE: 4/6/2017 12:45PM CST - Updated Parent/Child Raw Code links


Also, Thanks to @Drew650 for this video highlighting VLCThing and BigTalker!


Is it possible to integrate spoken reminders to Bigtalker ?

You can do announcements triggered by the time of the day and day(s) of the week

If you are following/testing the development of 2.0. I have released the Parent/Child versions 2.0.a4 to the development branch.

Unfortunately, there was a major issue with the GitHub integration which required changing the app namespace and some GitHub directory structure. To upgrade, you’ll need to delete the parent/child app and add them back (That also means reconfigure it too. Sorry.):

From the last announced development version, 2.0.a2, this version resolves an issue with disabling Resume Play in musicPlayer devices, time restrictions, debug logging, and GitHub integration all of which were casualties of converting to a Parent/Child app structure.

  • Delete the parent and child SmartApp (BigTalker-Dev-Parent, BigTalker-Dev-Child)
    1. Go to
    2. Locate rayzurbock/BigTalker:BigTalker-DEV-Child and click the edit properties icon (looks like a notepad with a pen), scroll down and click Delete
    3. repeat for BigTalker-DEV-Parent
  • Update from Repo > SmartThings-BigTalker (development)
    • GitHub Integration Settings:
      • Owner: rayzurbock
      • Name: SmartThings-BigTalker
      • Branch: development
      • I highly recommend using Update from Repo twice. Once with just the parent app checked as well as publish. The second time with just the child app checked and publish NOT checked.
  • Install and publish the parent app
  • Install the child app (don’t publish)

I’ve changed the thread subject from BigTalker 2.0 - What do you want? to BigTalker 2.0 - Development.


links are dead

I deleted the app from my phone and need to start over.

I updated the links in post #28 above.

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FYI - The Development branch is now at Parent 2.0.a8 and Child 2.0.a7.
Last discussed here was 2.0.a4. I’ve been discussing with dedicated testers in PM for the last couple of weeks.

Some of the changes since 2.0.a4 are:

  • 2.0.a4

    • Receive child logs and display in a cleaner format (distinguish [PARENT] or [CHILD:xxxx])
    • Added a Volume adjustment in TalkNow that overrides the global minimum volume and the global desired volume. A user can set global parameters and those will be used during TalkNow unless a value is set within TalkNow…
    • Fixed a typo in the Thermostat code (Thermostate changed to Thermostat)
  • 2.0.a5

  • With the parent/child app model, 3 groups of event types (Switch Group 1, Switch Group 2, Switch Group 3) are no longer necessary and the code can be simplified by being cut near 2/3’s in size by removing these. Removed Group 2 & 3 for each event type.

  • Added a Volume adjustment per event that overrides the global minimum volume and the global desired volume. A user can set global parameters and those will be used unless a specific event type (switch, motion, etc) is configured with a differing value.

  • Corrected inventor of the light bulb from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Edison.

  • 2.0.a6

  • Added %groupname% phrase token which will speak the name of that you configured for the group.

  • Talk Now now sends the appname/groupname of “Talk Now” instead of Parent.

  • 2.0.a7

  • Talk() adjustment for custom event type personality option.

  • Minor personality phrase adjustments due to feedback. More options to be added later.

  • Make configured events within event groups more prominent than those that are not yet configured.

  • Added ability to override global personality default per event type within each event group.

  • 2.0.a8

  • Attempt to queue phrases by delaying speech until the end of expected duration of the last speech when back to back with a minimum delay of 10 seconds (adjust in line 3216 to shorten or extend and see what works for you, then report back your device type (Sonos, etc) and findings).

Note: This is ALPHA code, meaning in development with features added that may be adjusted, removed, etc. Future alpha/beta versions may require complete removal, reinstall, and reconfiguration (although I work to minimize this as much as possible). This is a major change from version 1.x though and will require reinstall/reconfiguration! Version 1.x also did not use the Parent/Child model so it was 1 set of code where this is now 2 (a parent app and a child app). I highly suggest using GitHub integration for the development branch if you are interested in testing (See post #34 above). Also, if you are interested in joining the group of users that test the pre-pre-release versions let me know via PM request and I’ll add you to the group.

These changes are based on community feedback! Thank you for the suggestions, issue reports, etc.
Huge thanks to @joelw135 @jasonrwise77 @femwitjava @greg and @MichaelS (Still planning to add the new message queues for the latest AskAlexa integration API).


Hehe…Thanks for the shout out! I was sending you a PM when you tagged me :slight_smile:

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I have the (notoriously buggy and unreliable) Samsung Multiroom paired to my SmartThings 2.0 hub.
I have been looking for a solution to announce the time over these speakers at regular intervals (more frequently during certain times of the day, like every 10 minutes in the morning before work and thereafter every hour on the hour.)
Is there a way to setup BigTalker to do this? From what I have been able to figure out, one can only set BigTalker to announce the time once at the pre-set time, but I’ve been unable to figure out a way to get it to announce the time say every 10 minutes between 06:00 and 07:30?

CoRE, Talking Alarm Clock maybe?
. . . .

Thanks for the suggestion. I tried the Talking Alarm clock, but unless I’m being stupid, it doesn’t seem to be able to repeat the announcement (alarm) every say 10 min.

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You are correct. The alarm clock is really for waking up…I designed this long before the Alexa was used and didn’t have a snooze. However there are ways to get it to do what you want if that is like a “snooze” feature.