[RELEASE] Alexa Helper

Hmmm…I understand your use case now…the issue ends up being that lists of items like that are not easily presentable in a voice interface. Maybe there is another way to look at this…similar to a presence sensor, maybe the app could look for devices that you designate but no longer are reporting…I will need to think about this a bit…

Anyway, I am at the point of locking the app. There are SO MANY ways with a voice interface that a user could get a bad response I am flexing my ‘error trapping’ muscles. I did get mode, routine and SHM working properly, with mode and SHM reporting their status. I am finding that some users will need to change their naming conventions a bit to get this to work. If you have a living room device and then another device named the same thing it may required a reprompt. In addition, I still have the legacy “!” in my Good Night! routines…I will need to change that…talking louder to Alexa just makes her mad and does not put an exclamation point at the end of things :slight_smile:

Anyway, keep those suggestions coming…I think I am going to focus on the backend (Lambda code) and the documentation in the next week or two and then be able to share this…Even @slagle has shown an interest in this :slight_smile:


Many thanks :slight_smile:

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I plead the 5th

Nice! Either way, I will start teasing some of this out in the next few weeks as I make screen shots of the app.


Here is an update. As I mentioned, I am locking the feature set for the release. I did add one item after a conversation with @N8XD (Keith) . Basically, the biggest concern people have about using Alexa for locks or garage doors is the security…anyone savvy enough could yell out “Alexa, ask SmartThings to open the garage door” (syntax for my app). Keith is working on a parallel project where you append your command with a password/PIN. This is, of course, optional, but I got this working…Now, the command can be "“Alexa, ask SmartThings to open the garage door, password 1234”. Otherwise, it says it can’t open it.

Anyway, there is ONE more thing I might add…colored light control. This was something I couldn’t implement properly in Alexa Helper because it only allowed on/off/level context. Now I can specify words, so I will work on that.

Until then, for anyone wondering if this is really vaporware, here is a screenshot of the main interface…Enjoy…Again, I have received a few donations and I appreciate them! If you feel this work has merit, please feel free to contribute. Never a requirement, but appreciated. https://www.paypal.me/mstruck


For those that want to play with programming in the Echo environment, Keith ( @N8XD ) put together a nice demo of an app he created.

Keith helped me get started with the basics of programming the Echo. As he states, his code will take some heavy programming to make it custom for your environment. If you want something that will work ‘out of the box’, Ask Alexa (my new app) will be what you are looking for. Ask Alexa will still need a lot of fundamental understanding of navigating the Amazon developer site, but my SmartApp will provide you all of the variables you need to get it working with your environment.

I highly recommend looking at what Keith did, if anything, to get familiar with the Amazon environment.


I just got an Echo to compliment my SmartThings, but I’ve been running into a roadblock. From what I can tell, Alexa Helper should be able to do what I want, but maybe I just can’t figure it out.

Basically I’m trying to set a Go To Bed routine that Alexa will execute for me, which will lock the front door, close the garage door, turn off all my lights (on/off switches and dimmer switches), and turn on my bedside lamp at 30%.

The built-in routines don’t differentiate between dimmers, so that appears to not be an option then. I was trying to have Alexa Helper run the routine that will turn everything off, make sure things are closed and locked, but leave the bedside lamp set to 30% from the Device Control in Alexa Helper.

I’ve set my lamp as the value in Control These Dimmers, and selected Set Level for Command To Send To Dimmers, but I can’t specify a value for it. Am I missing something?

Looks like you may have found a bug as I am seeing no settings area come up when you choose set level…Looking into it…stand by…

Edit Found the bug and squashed it…version 2.9.9c is what you are looking for.

Just watched the video wow, wow, wow. But this so beyond anything I can do…makes me very excited for the Ask Alexa app…but the video gave me a thought on a feature request for Ask Alexa!..can she say “your welcome” when I tell her thank-you…which I tend to do at least 80% of the time!..Please???.. Thank you.(lol)

The app and code I am creating is an “Amazon Skills Kit” (ASK) application. As such, to activate it you must say “Alexa, Ask SmartThings < commands >”. You can also “tell” her…“Alexa, Tell SmartThing < commands >”. As such, you would have to go to some extra effort to say Thank you…“Alexa, Tell SmartThings Thank You”…I may play with this to see how it works…

YES! I find myself doing the same. Thought it was just me.

I think we all do it!

Looking at the code I will probably put that in the backend code (within Amazon’s ASK piece). Probably irrelevant to most of you, but I am going to hide some easter eggs in here as it does get boring to have the same responses all of the time :wink:


You know, Alexa already does this so you may not have to duplicate it. Alexa, thank you. Just say her name before the thank you. 8)


You are correct…too bad it doesn’t have a time out after a command that you didn’t need to address her by name :slight_smile: However, as I learned as a kid, sometimes you need to take the effort to say thank you!. Especially during the coming robot uprising…ask Alexa if she is part of SkyNet and see what she says…really…do it…


Well its good to say her name…that way she knows the thank you is for her…and not the toaster :wink:


I hear the soon-to-be-released Heisenberg version will demand it.


Hello @MichaelS ,

I’ve been using the Alexa helper app for a couple of months now and had 2 virtual switches & scenarios hooked up through it. I went to add a 3rd switch/scenario today and the switch installed fine, but I couldn’t configure the scenario.

I verified the ST status, deleted all the original switches, scenarios and smartapp and re-created with the latest version, but i’m still getting the same error. Any idea what it could be? Some scenario configurations work, but the specific “modes/routines/devices/HTTP/SHMcontrol” won’t let you configure.

Any help is appreciated!

Are you getting an error? I have over 10 scenarios configured, and haven’t changed the app for a while (except yesterday to fix a screwed up variable).

Is any error appearing in the log or on the screen?

I just get a generic “unexpected error” message. I’m not sure how to check the log to get more info.

the only ones that seem to be having an issue are the baseboard heater and modes/routines scenarios. The other options look to be working as expected.

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