Use Alexa as Extended Door Bell?


(Rich Heimlich) #1

Does anyone know if there’s an approach that would allow Alexa to be used as an extension of a door bell? I have a regular door bell that I’m about to add a Samsung multi-sensor to in order to know when the bell is being run.

We’re doing this for a few reasons. The two biggest are the desire to be able to “hear” the bell all over the house which is a problem as is today and to also potentially trigger other actions (perhaps triggering a camera that we’d install there as we really don’t have the option of a Ring door bell for space/layout reasons).

I was thinking of flashing lights all over the house, but then realized we have Alexa devices in most rooms and that it might be cool if each one played a doorbell sound when the bell goes off.

Any ideas or input? Thanks!


(Ron Talley) #2

You still can’t force Echos to do stuff without using voice. However, I’ve installed Lanouncer on my Fire Tablet(s) which now allows them to be seen as end points in SmartThings!

This mixed with Action Tiles make these little cheap tablets really cool for Room Controllers.

Even cooler that the Fire Tablet 10 can envoke Alexa hands free…

Still have Dots and Echos in each room so this is all redundant stuff but still cool!


(Jimmy) #3

Alexa doesn’t allow skills to push notifications/noises to them (yet)


#4

That sounds worthy of a project report! :wink: with pictures, of course!


(Rich Heimlich) #5

So given this situation, does anyone have ideas on how best to improve the situation with the doorbell without resorting to replacing the bell itself?


#6

The Nexia doorbell sensor is very popular and easy to use. It’s a Z wave device that will send a message to the hub when the existing Doorbell goes off, so then you can do whatever you want based on that.

To see some other options, use the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, look in the project report section, and there’s a list there for doorbell projects:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Project_Reports.2FQuestions

But the Nexia is a solid simple solution, so these days most people go with that. :sunglasses:


(Rich Heimlich) #7

Thanks JD, you said, “you can do whatever you want based on that”… The key question I’m stuck on is WHAT might I do based on that?

I had hoped to just have the Alexa devices sound off, but now that that’s out (for now) what else makes sense?


#8

People do all different kinds of things it just depends on what works for you. Once you have something like the Nexia sensor in place then you can use that as the trigger, and for the event

  1. Change light to a different color or blink them

  2. send yourself a push message on your phone/smart watch

  3. Use any speaker that Can use notify with sound (I realize you won’t want to do that because you’re waiting for the echoes to get that capability… it’s coming, it’s just not here yet)

Four) turn on any chime device. See the following how to article in community – created wiki:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Set_Up_a_Door_Open_Chime/Siren

Those are probably the most popular. I where a smart watch, so push notifications work well for me. The chime option is very popular for a lot of families, although again, we are all waiting for echo to add that capability. :wink:. And blinking lights or colored lights also popular. So it just depends on what works for you.


(Rich Heimlich) #9

Thanks. This helps. I have three LIFX bulbs that are just sitting unused and this might be their calling.


(Robin) #10

If you have an old phone / tablet laying around you could use Lanouncer with Echo hooked up as a Bluetooth speaker…


(Pete) #11

I use a fibaro door sensor which i glued to my door bell ‘siren’. i then removed the LED from the siren and put the cables into the fibaro 12v sensor.

when someone presses the door bell the fibaro gets an active signal and then i get a notification on my device saying someone is at the door.

I use to use VLC to send audio notifications to my airplay speakers, but have recently replaced all my airplay speakers with Sonos. so now all the sonos speakers say “somebody is at the door”


(Robin) #12

That’s not good… the Fibaro input terminals are intended for dry-contact (0v), not 12v!

I’m amazed you haven’t fried the Fibaro!!


(Pete) #13

sorry my mistake, not 12v its 3v, 2x AA’s.

i have seen others here use the same method. i’ve had it running like this for 18 months with no issues.

i also cant find anything that says its a dry-contact 0v. All i can see in the manual - input is
a type of input contact which does not have a voltage on it after closing.


(Robin) #14

Yup… and that means a dry contact (no voltage i.e. a push button). The only power should come from the Fibaro itself.

For a brief door bell chime, you’re probably getting away with it and not overloading the coil for now, but over time it will burn out… if you did the same with something that applied voltage for more than the split seconds your currently apply to the sensor, it would go pop very quickly!

Correct method would be to seperate the door bell voltage from the fibaro using a dumb 3v coil relay which cost penuts on eBay or Amazon.


(Pete) #15

ok thanks for the heads up. will take a look. i also used a resistor, cant remember what ohms it was, would the 3v relay replace it?


(Robin) #16

You make me laugh… using a random resistor and yet you had no idea what a dry contact is haha…

Take out the resistor, replace it with the coil side of a 3v relay, connect the Fibaro to the actuated (dry contact) side of the relay.


(Rich Heimlich) #17

This works now. Amazon just added the ability to create routines based on the states of smart home devices (including virtual ones) so as long as you can trigger a state change (in webcore, for example) you can now have Alexa say ANYTHING you want (well, maybe not curses), read the weather, set the state of another device, etc. I now have a piston that creates a timer and if it’s at zero then a “device” changes to true and if the front door opens while true, Alexa welcomes me home. I’m looking to see if I can set different states and have her say different things based on the time of day, etc. The reason for the countdown timer is so that she doesn’t annoy me if I’m going in and out of the door.


#18

You can, but you will have to have a separate echo routine for each state. So you will do all the complex logic over on the SmartThings side and then set a virtual contact sensor to trigger the echo routine that causes the speech to occur. :sunglasses:


(Rich Heimlich) #19

JD, any idea why ALL my virtual sensors appear as devices in the Alexa app Devices section, but not all of them appear in the Routines section to be used as a trigger?


#20

There are a couple of different things that might cause that. First, at the present time I believe Amazon only recognizes motion sensors and contact sensors for routine triggering and they may even have to appear to be zigbee even though they are actually virtual. Second, quite a few people have said they had to disable the smartthings skill and then re enable it to pick up all the eligible sensors. Not sure what’s going on with that but it’s worth trying if you want to.

Third, it does depend somewhat on the specific DTH being used. See the thread I linked to for the ones that are working.

Fourth, there were some glitches in the integration last night, so if you added any sensors yesterday, I would remove them and re-add them and see if that helps.