Installing Alexa (Amazon Echo) Voice Service to Raspberry Pi



But you are not allowed to have voice activation so it needs a button. :frowning:

The guy in the video:

They’re really expensive. They’re like 180 dollars a pop.

Expensive? Really? So you get a Pi and speakers and a mike and other stuff and save maybe 30 bucks and end up with a really crappy Echo substitute. Wow! Genious! :smiley:


for $49 you can get a fire stick with voice control and do the same thing and more. But there is something to be said for the fun of building it yourself.

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Interesting, was planning on using a Pi for my smart mirror. May be a nice addition.


I did essentially the same thing with a C.H.I.P. computer and spare speakers / microphone laying around the house. Cost of the project was about $10. It is really cool that it works, but not nearly as convenient as the Echo. SmartThings integration, shopping list, calendar, etc. worked perfectly.

Granted it hasn’t been release just yet but:

$20 Pi 3 Model A
$3 USB audio adapter (
$3 Cell phone charger
$5 16GB microSD card

Cheapo speakers and mic and I can’t see this being much more than $40 and $40 < $180 so…

Sure the xAF isn’t as high as a real Echo but that’s not the point is it.

Be carefull when selecting your powersupply for the pi 3. It now needs 2.5 amps.

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Not quite true but it’s a good point.

The reason why they include a 2.5A PSU with it, is because the Pi is now able to deliver the full 500mA to each USB port, so that means if you intend to run all four USB ports at the full 500mA you’ll need the 2.5A PSU otherwise usual requirements apply. That being said I have seen that the Pi3B uses ~700mA while booting Vs ~350 for the Pi2B but also keep in mind I originally quoted the mythical Pi3A that does not yet exist but soon will and will almost certainly require less.

Ah that is true. I just know I bought a cheap power supply for my p2 and it wouldn’t boot it at all. After using the cheap power supply, my good one wouldn’t boot it either. I’m looking forward to picking up they new pi 3.

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Now with the release of the Dot this may be less of an incentive. $80 isn’t too bad, unless you are building it into a custom enclosure.

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$89.99 = $90 not $80 :slight_smile: but I agree it is more attractive, I just ordered one so I can connect it to my stereo and play Spotify. I wish it has something better then a 3.5mm jack for output but hopefully it will sound OK. It will also let me control ST from one more room so it has more than one use. The fact that it listens for voice commands is the best aspect.

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It’s already streaming it and not knowing Amazon’s compression methods, will be worse than lossless, so probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

Yea, that’s what I am figuring. I can also play through my PS4 on same machine which connects with a hdmi or fiber optic so I can test the difference. It’s just easier to automate if I don’t have to push buttons on my PS4 with the harmony. So playing from the Dot will only require turning on the receiver and setting it’s input then playing. The PS4 you have to simulate a wake, then menu movement and selection which sometimes gets tripped up.

Yeah, I’m going to have two harmony activities, one in bedroom and one in basement theater with the dots. Will power on the receiver and set source. So two voice commands, alexa turn on stereo, and alexa play xxxxxx is all it will take. My wife will love that when she’s on her treadmill!

I once compared music played on my chromecast via my tx-nr1009 vs a flac copy on my computer over spdif and couldn’t tell the difference, so I’m not too worried. It’s far easier to tell the difference with a good set of headphones.

Wait - I just want to be clear. Are you saying that you got smartthings integration between your CHIP-Echo and ST? Because I wanted to try it out with my Pi, but figured there would be no way to connect the two.

I was reading on Reddit, I think, that people who had done the Echo/Pi thing like in the video couldn’t get their (standalone) Echo App to recognize it, so I didn’t figure it could be done without some custom device type stuff and maybe even a z-wave or zigbee shield on the Pi.


Yeah, I was able to get the CHIP setup as an Alexa device and could control lights with it. I mostly used the resources from:

Of course, it isn’t as elegant as an official Echo device because you have to push a button. You could hook up a wireless remote relay and press the button on a remote I suppose.

I’m currently stuck at the Amazon oAuth part of the setup for the RPi version.

I’m curious, though, how you added the CHIP/Alexa as a device to ST. Would you care to give a short bulletpoint list as to the steps you took to pair the two?

Well, I didn’t really have to do anything to add it because I have already added Echo devices to SmartThings. As of now, if I add a new Echo, or another CHIP for that matter, I don’t have to do anything special other than adding it to my Amazon account and it works.

I suppose if you don’t have any Echo devices currently, you follow the instructions at SmartThings support after you have completed the CHIP setup:

Edit: Thinking about it, you might not even be able to do it without first having an official Echo, because the process requires you to do a “discover” from the Alexa App that can’t currently be done from the CHIP (as far as I know). After the discover process is completed with and official Echo device, any other device (raspberrypi, CHIP, etc.) should be able to control SmartThings devices.

Thanks! If I ever get past the oAuth issue, I will let you know how it worked out.

Here’s another question - have you been able to add skill to your CHIP/Alexa? It appears that the initial capabilities are somewhat limited.