SmartThings Community

[RELEASE] Alexa Helper

(Dale C) #665

Yes, you were right. I did find a funky null. I ended up removing the app completely and reinstalling it to completely fix it.

UPDATE: OK, I added the first scenario back in and it worked fine. I added the second scenario in successfully. BUT now as I attempt to add the third one it is now reverting back to my original problem of not letting me create any more new scenarios? …weird.


(Micheal ) #666

Are you creating virtual switches with these? Are they all the same type of scenarios or are they different version. There is no hard coded limits built in, so something must be interfering with the app.


(Dale C) #667

Something else weird is going on now as well. Now I can’t even open the Alexa Helper app to look at the ones I created. It’s like my hub is freaking out? I can’t even look at the routines? I am going to reboot it.

Anyway with what I did. It is a pretty simple scenario. I have a MBT virtual switch called Night Mode MBT that I want to trigger the Night routine to Arm SmartAlarm. And then I have another MBT Virtual switch called Morning Mode MBT that triggers the Morning routine to disarm the system. This setup had been working fine until about a week ago.

UPDATE: I think my ST is absolutely going insane tonight. Now I can add additional scenario’s and I didn’t do a thing yet. I was going to reboot but I tried one last time and this time it worked.?! Geez time to submit another support ticket. :frowning: I must be caught up in remnants of the ST melt down here.


(Micheal ) #668

Yeah…what you are seeing is not normal…when everything calms down with the hub let me know if it still doesn’t work…


(Anthony) #669

Found this app last night. Thank you for the hard work. Made Alexa and Smartthings so much more robust and usable. I was able to make 2 scenarios with my lighting that work perfect.

Thanks again!


(Micheal ) #670

Have you seen Ask Alexa, the follow up to this app? It will allow for finer control (and responses) from the Echo…

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Will Ask Alexa be able to trigger report in response to an event in addition to its voice request?


(Micheal ) #672

Unfortunately, no. The Echo, by design is a response only device. It will only activate when request…It can’t ‘wake up’ from any other event or trigger outside of a timer alarm, and those are not in the ASK functionality.

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(Richard G) #673

I am having a heck of a time.

I have a virtual switch that I created called Night Mode.

But can’t trigger it via Alexa.

If I want trigger the. If her mode routine what would be the best practice for doing so?


(Micheal ) #674

Remember after you create a virtual switch you need to ‘discover’ it so the Alexa can hear it. You do this through the Echo smartapp in SmartThings…just click the device, click done, then say “Alexa, discover new devices.”

Let em know if that helps.


(Richard G) #675

No it’s listed but when I say Alex turn X on nothing happens. If I trigger the same via the smart thing App it works fine


(Micheal ) #676

But is it visible in the Echo app at If not, you will need to discover it.

If you press the button in your mobile app and the condition you set up triggers, this means the app is working. The issue is the Echo understanding what “Night Mode” is…

Does that make sense?


(Joe) #677

“mode” is not recognizable by Echo or it is a reserved word. I tested against different words and settled on “Sleep routine”. So, I say “Alexa, Turn Sleep Routine on” and it works fine.


(Micheal ) #678

yes…in the Ask Alexa app mode is a device type you can query, but you SHOULD be able to use it nevertheless in a name…however, it might require the utterance to be changed…I will look at fixing this in the next version…but try this…try saying “turn on night mode mode” and if it works I know exactly where the issue is…


(Joe) #679

New issue for group/MichaelS (btw, your smartapp is awesome!)

Not sure if it was the recent hub update or something else on my hub/alexa helper/sonos integration but the sonos channel buttons do not work anymore. All other buttons within the alexa helper sonos speaker configuration work (previous track, volume) but I cannot change channels anymore.

Any ideas or anyone else running into this?


(Micheal ) #680

There is an issue with TTS currently and that is breaking anything in my apps that uses it. ST is aware of this, but to work around it see if you can disable the speaker telling you what song is playing…


(Joe) #681

Not even using the “speak song title” feature so cannot test possible workaround. You think it may all be related though, TTS issue and channels not working even if I do not use TTS?


(Micheal ) #682

Yes…due to another work-around for the Sonos I had to place in there that HAD to play text first (even if blank) before it would play a song by title…Not sure if they fixed that, but the whole speaker control system needs a new API, so I would encourage you to open a support ticket so they know the importance of the TTS system so you can get back to functionality.



Michael, fabulous work on the Alexa Helper integration with Smartthings. It took me a few hours last night and this morning to get setup despite your clear instructions. The final roadblock was not including the new switch within the Amazon Echo app within Smartthings. Seems like this is a pretty common mistake so be sure to point it out whenever possible!

One thing that still confuses me is how everything is integrated and which of the names is actually important.

For example, I have a ST routine called Night Mode that does something really simple - makes sure my girlfriend’s bedside lamp is off, and mine is on and dimmed.

I created a Alexa Switch called Night Mode. Then I created a Scenario called Night Mode (as well). In that scenario I have it activate the Night Mode switch and when that switch is On, it activates the Night Mode Routine.

This is pretty confusing to me. I tried it out by saying “Alexa, turn on night mode” and it worked. But, which Night Mode is it activating? The scenario? The switch? Does every scenario have to be tied to a specific Alexa or Momentary Switch? There also seems to be multiple ways to accomplish the same thing with this setup which further confuses me. For example, my Night Mode Routine turns off a lamp, turns on a different lamp and sets the level. However, it seems like when I use the Alexa Helper app, I can make a Scenario that controls the lamps directly, without needing to use a ST Routine, so why does it need a switch at all?

Thanks again for your hard work and good luck on your Amazon interview!


(Micheal ) #684

My interview was months ago, and it all worked out that I didn’t get it. It DID motivate me to learn to create a Alexa based skill instead of the way I did it with Alexa Helper (Which is through virtual switches). Before you get too committed to Alexa Helper, check out Ask Alexa…If you are not a programmer it will confuse you even further, but it is does work a little bit better in some regards.

Anyway, yes…the switches are confusing; At the end of the day the app is only calling switches…so anything else named Night Mode isn’t running…only the switch is activating; however, if you TIE that switch to other things called Night Mode they will run. Thinking of it as almost a macro, where a switch activates a mode or routine will probably help a bit.

Let me know if I confused you more or if that helps…