[DEPRECATED] 2015 Voice Assistant Run Routine FAQ--see 2017 FAQ instead

Are you referring adding he switch in app, or adding a virtual device in the IDE?

I got it now, lol, once I figured out I had to add via the same app and not on IDE, got it working. Thanks again, works like a charm

I got my Echo a week ago and I followed the instructions here to setup some virtual switches to trigger Routines. Initially, it seemed to work. Then, it would not work.

After troubleshooting, I figured out that the virtual switches are remaining “on”, and if they’re on, when you “turn them on” again (by telling Alexa to turn on a Routine), the Routine doesn’t trigger. If I turn off the virtual switch, then say the command again, it works.

Any suggestions on how to work around this?

You need to use a “momentary” virtual switch instead of an “ON/OFF” virtual switch.

Ah. That makes sense, but where I do it? In the IDE, I only see “Simulated Switch” on the device type, where do I indicate it should be a momentary switch?

The very first post in this thread is the FAQ on using virtual switches to control modes.

The first link in that post will take you to the FAQ on creating virtual switches, which it sounds like it would be helpful to you. It tells you how to create the switches, including the different types. Here is that link again. It tells you how to create the switches, including the different types. Here is that link again. It should be of help. :sunglasses:

Thanks @JDRoberts. I had been using that FAQ, but I followed the step-by-step instructions in the first post I saw there about making virtual switches, and I hadn’t seen the follow-up posts about other types. Thanks for pointing it out, sorry I missed it before.

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Not sure if this is the right place to post this but…
When I add a simulated switch it shows up in the Amazon Echo Device List so I can export it to the my
Echo, just like it should.
But, when I do this with a simulated button, it does NOT show in the list so I can’t export it.
Is it supposed to work this way? Am I the only one?
The button works like it should, It just doesn’t show in the list.

Sounds like you’re using a device type from a class that the echo doesn’t recognize.

I usually use “momentary button tile” for a virtual momentary switch to be controlled by Echo.

What’s the exact type that you’re using?

Thanks, that works. But now I’m confused. I thought you had to use the ‘simulated’ types to create a simulated switch/button/etc. I was using type ‘Simulated Button’. Apparently, the more I learn, the less I know. :wink:

Device type names are pretty random, I think they just got added as different projects needed them.

Slight variation on similar questions but I was wanting the ability to change the Security setting as well (Armed/Away/Disarm), any ideas or links on where that code could be incorporated into here?

If my girls could come down the stairs and say ‘Alexa disarm’ or something since they don’t know how to operate the Smartthings apps, that’s the goal. Thanks!

I have yet to discover the code that changes the security settings…The only thing that comes close is setting some routines and using Alexa Helper to trigger those.

I have updated the Alexa Helper a few times since I original posted. See if this can be used to fit your needs:

Need some help so I can mentally “connect the dots” with tying in Alexa, IFTTT and SmartThings.

I’ve read thru this thread, JD Roberts other cool one the Echo + IFTTT + SmartThings + Harmony one, and the update at the top of his FAQ on the Echo regarding using IFTTT “triggers” with Alexa.

Basically I want to turn on (or off) multiple switches around the house using one verbal cue with Alexa. Being a noob I’ve been taking baby steps so I started off by making my first virtual switch. (Note: this was all within SmartThings, no Alexa, no IFTTT). So this virtual switch when activated would turn on all the lights in the house with the help of a Routine and a SmartApp. And presto it worked, turning on lights for the entire house when I turned on my virtual switch (but again, didn’t yet tie this in with Alexa).

I want to do that same kind of thing but using Alexa and want to make sure I’m doing it the right way.

The question I’m sort of scratching my head with is…what is the best way (if there is one best way) to accomplish tasks using the Echo to switch on multiple devices. Specifically, is the correct path:

**Alexa Trigger via IFTTT which then flips Virtual Switch, then using a SmartApp (Alexa Helper for instance) it turns on the Routine which flips on multiple devices? **

Or is this too many steps? Does the new Alexa/IFTTT Triggers require a different sequence? (i.e., no longer needing a SmartApp)? Also should I really be using Routines to accomplish this or are the Echo Groups the right way? Yep, I’m a little confused.

Again, the goal is to have a number of scenarios where voice commands via Echo turn on (or off) multiple devices. For example, “Alexa trigger downstairs lights” and all the downstairs lights in the house go on, “Alexa trigger shut off downstairs” and all the lights downstairs go off.

Controlling multiple switches with one voice command

If all you’re turning on is switches, the fastest, easiest way is just to put them into an echo group, and turn on the group with one Echo voice command.

You can also include switches that are then associated with Mode changes or running routine if you want to.

One of the nice things about Echo is that it lets you put a switch into different groups, so you can have as many groups as you want that do different things.

For example, I have one group called “all lights” which has all the lights in the house except a couple of night lights. So when I say “Alexa, turn off all lights” they all go off.

I have another group called “bed” which includes a pathway of lights from the living room to my bedroom. When I say “Alexa, turn on bed” those four lights come on. When I’m ready to go to sleep, I say “Alexa, turn off bed” And they go off again.

I have yet another group called “central” (our name for the living room) which includes One of the lights from the “bed” group and another three lights in the living room area.

So there is one light in the living room which is in three different groups: “all lights,” “bed,” and “central.” Works very well.

So just depends on what you want to do, but I would start by looking at the echo groups, because that’s the easy way and very flexible.

Once you’ve authorized a smartthings device as noted in the second method in the echo set up FAQ, you can then use it in any echo group you want.

including devices you can’t authorize through the Alexa/smartthings integration

So echo groups will very well if all you want to include are switches because they will show up on the device list in the Echo app and you’ll be able to use echo groups.

But what if you want to intrude include a lock or some other device that at the present time echo does not recognize?

In that case, the easiest way will be to use the echo triggers through the echo IFTTT channel. However, you will have to set up one IFTTT recipe for each smartthings-controlled device that you want to include in this voice command.

For example, say I wanted to have a “secure the house” voice command that would turn off the lights in my bed group, turn off the TV, and lock the front door.

IFT TT does allow me to use the same trigger for multiple recipes, so that’s what will make this work.

I will make one IFTTT recipe that uses “Alexa, trigger secure the house” as the IF and turns off the TV using the Harmony channel as the that.

Another IFT TT recipe that uses “Alexa, trigger secure the house” as the IF and locks the door using the SmartThings channel as the that.

And then however many IFT TT recipes it takes me to turn off all the lights that I want to turn off.

Once that is all set up, I only have to say “Alexa, trigger secure the house” and multiple IFTTT recipes will fire.

Alternatively, if I had set up control of the lock and the TV through something that was tied to a virtual switch, I could’ve just used that virtual switch with echo groups in the first method.

So there are different ways to do it just depending on what you find easier to set up and maintain.

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I am not sure why I am having trouble in Step 2. I created the virtual switch and can see it in the ST app. I authorized it for use in Echo step 3 so that it could be discovered by Echo and I can trigger the virtual switch by voice. My problem is I added the SmartApp by @MichaelS called AlexaHelper via IDE but for some reason I can’t figure out how to access the new SmartApp so that I can trigger the GoodNight routine from the new virtual switch?

Once you’ve added it in the IDE and published for yourself, you then go into your app and go to the Marketplace (bottom right corner). Click on SmartApps up in the top left and then click on My Apps.
That will show everything you have published for use.

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Thanks Brian! I totally missed the “My Apps” at the bottom. I had to scroll up the screen to see it, Got it! Geez, I feel like a total newbie. :slight_smile:

@MichaelS your Alexa Helper rocks dude! And thanks to @JDRoberts for all your great tips and help on using echo for controlling home automation. I am really loving all the fine tuning capabilities of SmartThings home automation specifically for my unique home. I am so impressed with Amazon Echo but more impressed with the the awesome help of this community of developers and users. Thanks a ton!

Thanks…the latest version was released just today, so be sure to get that one. I appreciate the kind words!

Wow, this is amazing! @MichaelS thank you so very much! I don’t have an echo yet, but I used this along with an SMS -> SmartThings IFTTT to send #whatever via my iPhone to my IFTTT SMS number. Who needs HomeKit if we have this?!

Do you accept donations or anything as thanks?

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