node-red-contrib-alexa-home-skill

It’s finally ready. I’ve been working on a Node-RED node to act on Amazon Alexa Home Skill directives since November last year. The skill was approved some time very early this morning and now should be available in the UK, US and Germany.

I’ll be mailing all the folks that have already signed up some time later today to let them know they can finally start using the skill, but for the rest of you here is a brief introduction (full details in earlier post).

Alexa Home Skill’s allow you to say the much more natural “Alexa, turn on the kitchen light” rather than “Alexa, ask Jeeves to turn on the kitchen light”, where “Jeeves” is the name of skill you have to remember. Some of the basic commands are:

  • Turn On/Off
  • Dim/Brighten
  • Set/Get Temperature
  • Lock/Unlock

With this node and service you can wire those commands to nearly anything you can control via Node-RED.

Node-RED - Alexa Smart Home Skill

You can install the node with the following commands:

cd ~/.node-red
npm install node-red-contrib-alexa-home-skill

Or via the Manage Palette option in the Node-RED editor.

If you have already installed this module please make sure you update to the latest version (0.1.13) to get the best support for all the voice commands.

There are detailed instructions on how to set everything up here.

Here is an example flow using the node. This turns a light on then automatically turns it off after 5mins. It uses the switch node to detect if it’s a request to turn the light on or off. When following the On branch it uses a trigger node to first send a payload of true then, 5 minutes later it sends false to the WeMo node.

On then Auto Off flow

This sort of flow would be great for a set of outside lights or maybe an electric heater. I also have some updates to the node-red-nodes-wemo package to make dimming/brightening by specific amounts easier, I’ll try and get them out by the weekend.

EDIT:
If you have problems with this node please do not post comments here, it really isn’t the best place to work issues. Open a issue on github here then it can be properly tracked.

11 thoughts on “node-red-contrib-alexa-home-skill”

  1. Hi! First i just want to say thank you for the alexa skill. it works great! will it in future releases be possible to react to a specific phrase like “alexa, switch channel to xy”?

    1. The list of available commands is entirely in Amazon’s control. The only other command I have heard mentioned as possibly being added is a open/close action for things like blinds/curtains

  2. Hi Ben, thanks for your work…. is it possible to add a PIN requirement on to the commands (I think it has been suggested that certain security based tasks can have a PIN associated with them – such as opening door lock)????

    Cheers

    Michael

    1. I’ve started to look at it, but it will probably have to wait until I’ve finished the Google Home version

  3. I have installed it and it works great! I use it to control several devices in my home and am working on an Alexa controlled thermostat.

    How can I tell which version I have and what is the command to upgrade/update to the latest version?
    Thanks.

  4. There seems to be a discrepancy between your documentation (https://alexa-node-red.bm.hardill.me.uk/docs#buildFlows) and the message object currently being output by an alexa-home node for a SetPercentageRequest command. Your documents say the payload field should be the requested percentage as a number, but it is actually an object, having a value field which holds the number. The same applies for percentage increase & decrease commands – however the corresponding temperature commands do use a numeric payload.

    Is this a documentation error, a bug, or just something Amazon have changed?

    I have finally found the time to get my Echo Dot set up & play with it: currently I’m looking at what it would take to modify my rfx-lights-out node to understand alexa-home output messages without an intervening translation node. It already works with simple on/off commands, but not dimming.

    1. Probably a doc bug, please raise issues against github project so they can be tracked properly rather than as blog comments

  5. Hi Ben
    That’s an excellent piece of work – I’d previously used the Philips Hue bridge emulator which was ok, but with your skill exposing all of the data that Alexa sends it’s so much more configurable (I can now have a single device for my TV which is on/off and turn up-and-downable).
    Couple of questions though:
    1) is there a paypal “buy you a beer” button I can click somewhere, and
    2) would multiple beers encourage you to take a look at the media control API that Amazon apparently now expose? Mythtv is just dying to be Alexa controlled… :)

    1. Bob,

      Thanks for the kind words, if you feel you must, you can always use https://paypal.me/hardillb.

      The new AV support is on the list to look at some time soon, but I have to move the backend over to AWS from where it is currently hosted first. That’s nearly done so I may get round to the AV bits shortly (not promising, other things may mean it has to be a Christmas project). I also need to look at adding scene support, but that should just be a small tweak to on/off devices.

      I also need to have another look at writing a Google Home version…. too many projects.

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