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Amazon Echo Dot


Chris Hobson
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@Chris Hobson I got one which so far only switches on lights in the lounge using Sonoff Basic wifi switches. Works a treat. I have a Broadlink RM Pro + on the way to automate IR devices like the TV using Alexa. If you have a spare Raspberry Pi, you can build your own Echo using the AlexaPi software, just Google. My plan is to use Hassio free software for home automation as it creates a local cloud but has a Internet based cloud which makes integrating Alexa very easy. The Sonoff switches are cheap and can easily be hacked and improved with available freeware. Only problem is that you cannot install the Alexa for Android app from Google Playstore as Amazon has blocked it for RSA so far. However using the browser to do Alexa configuration works fine. I used Aramaxglobalshopping to have Amazon ship the Echo Dot to their New York address and had it at my front door in about 11 days. Shipping cost is R199.90 for small parcels plus a R50 for customs clearing. This I paid for a smartwatch clearance but the Echo had zero customs clearing charge. There is a onetime registration fee of R150.00. The Broadlink Pro is also coming to me via Aramax.

I found Youtube videos by Paul Hibbert and DrZzs very informative for Alexa , Broadlink, Sonoff and Hassio configuration amongst others. 

Hope this saves you some Google time.

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I have been managing a property that has pigs on it while the owner has been away (just making sure everything runs smoothly and averting one or two crises) and as a thank-you present  he brought back a dot for me. My son's jaw dropped when he saw what it could do. Are Sonoff  switches freely available?  I have picked up a bug  in Zambia an have been flat on my back for two days I have not even looked for Sonoff. Saw a Vietnamese video where the poster was driving a contactor using a Sonoff,  ideal in my situation in that the geyser is driven by a Pi using excess energy. My missus is not technically minded, (in spite of my father-in-law was an engineer) so a voice activated geyser that can override instructions from the pi is ideal. Over time I will control Kodi using the dot.

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I bought my Sonoff Basic units from Communica in Cape Town for R125.01 each (www.communica.co.za). Pishop (www.pishop.co.za) has Sonoff kit too. Both will ship to you. The firmware to reprogram the Sonoff is called Tasmota. Paul Hibbert, a Brit, has videos on controlling Kodi with Alexa. DrZzs has videos on Home Assistant free automation software, the Hassio version is a complete install. Paul Hibbert also has good videos on setting up the Broadlink Pro for IR gear. There is a much cheaper addition, Broadlink RM3 Black Bean, that just does wifi not wifi and RF like the Pro. Good luck with a speedy recovery. At least if you are up to it it is a great opportunity to research all this interesting and time consuming stuff. 

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Hi @Chris Hobson. I have by now forgotten what I did. Did load eWelink on my Android phone though and sometimes use it to switch on lights. Also use Listen for Alexa on my relatively cheap but amazingly capable Ticwatch E. My intention is to use Hassio for home automation together with Alexa, Broadlink Pro, Sonoff and Raspberry Pi with AlexaPi as I have quite a few lying around. So far I mostly rely on Paul Hibbert and DrZzs Youtube videos so as not to try and re-inventing the wheel. I can see many posibilities of interest but it all takes time and my aging grey matter is a bit slow. Please document your progress on the forum for all to learn. Maybe it will develope into a lively and informative discussion.

Edited by ebrsa
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