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Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software

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Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« on: January 16, 2017, 10:38:12 am »
Hello Folks: Background - I have a new Echo Dot 2 connected to the local WiFi, I am looking for an alternative way to control the Dot 2 other than my Cell Phone, My Cell Service is Verizon with 2G share Data for 2 phones (I need Verizon for the fact it is the only complete coverage in my area and traveling), the Echo Dot 2 is a heavy use of the WiFi/Internet (thus eating Data Usage), My Kindles are too old and not supported, Windows 7 Professional (I can not go to Win 10) is not supported native, My itouch is too old and not supported, I am a senior who is on a very low income and can not even afford Amazon Prime or Amazon Unlimited Music -- I just want to setup controllers and Skills so I can get more use out of the bare basic Echo Dot 2.

Why don't the developers create a Basic PC based Control program for users who can not afford to update all their existing Hardware? Or provide a free and reliable source for an Android Emulator that does not hog all your CPU cycles on an i7 Intel computer? ---- Think of the extended user base you would gain... Love feedback!

Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2017, 11:43:26 am »
What HA hardware are you looking to use?
http://alexa.amazon.com will open your Alexa app on a windows machine.
I created a small front end to HA-Bridge for X10 control which will run on Windows 7
this makes setup of the bridge very simple.
 
HA-Bridge may be what your looking for http://bwssystems.com/
note HA-Bridge doesn't display on IE you need a different web browser like chrome.


Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2017, 12:11:47 pm »
Thank you for the response tuiceman. The first simple HA devices I plan to play with are WeMo Outlet switches (testing the Dot 2 and my wife's interest in automation).
The online Alexa App will only set up the WiFi/Internet connection on Win 7, then you are out of luck.
The HA-Bridge looks interesting - I will have to evaluate whether Echo Dot 2 will work through or with this (I use Firefox Browser routinely).

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Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 01:43:50 pm »
When I go to alexa.amazon.com on my windows 7 computer (using chrome) it looks just like the app. I also use the HA bridge with Alexa (echo and dots, both generations) and a veraplus controller and harmony hub. It works great, I run it on my windows 7 computer at home. Beware, though- home automation equipment is not cheap!

Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 01:50:11 pm »
I've seen reports that the HA-Bridge doesn't display at all in firefox however that may have been a Java issue and or a firewall setting.
I too can do every thing in the online web site as the alexa app so ADHandforth you may wish to switch browsers at least to run the alexa site ;)

Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2017, 02:13:37 pm »
As mentioned above there is a browser based version of the Alexa app.  But, it only can be used to setup the Alexa devices and link to smart home devices, but not control these devices.  Each device has it's own controlling app.  Some do not have a browser version of their app.

That said, if you connect the Echo to a smart home device, you can then control the device via voice command.  For example. I have some TP-Link smart plugs to control some outlets for plugged-in lamps.  I first had to set them up using the iPhone/iPad app for them called Kasa.  Once I could control them with Kasa, I then went into the Alexa app so that they were included in Alexa's smart home devices.  That enabled me to control the smart plugs via voice commands to Alexa via any of my Echo devices.  No need for the Kasa app to do this at home.  The plugs can also be controlled remotely via the Kasa app and commands go through cell data (if there is no wi-fi) and we can remotely turn on/off our lamps at home this way.

Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2017, 02:35:23 pm »
Thanks Mike(27oct) - I followed through and use the WeMO App on my cell phone to set up the outlet switch. I found out some interesting things - before the WeMo outlet switches would work with Echo Dot 2, the Firmware had to be updated (I guess Home Depot had them for a while - now discontinuing these for newer more expensive brands).

I brought up the online Alexa setup app on my Windows 7 Pro PC and was able to find and control the WeMo outlet switch through Echo Dot 2. However, once the PC is turned off Echo Dot 2 can not find my devices.

This tells me the Echo Dot 2 (except for the basic built in commands) is dumb - no memory for devices or skills programmed or cloud control/memory - I must have the app, whether on the computer online app or the Alexa App in an app device, always ON. WiFi cloud access does you no good without some form of Alexa App constantly running on some device. [ I do not leave my computers constantly running for security reasons. ]

Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2017, 09:49:27 pm »
Why don't the developers create a Basic PC based Control program for users who can not afford to update all their existing Hardware? Or provide a free and reliable source for an Android Emulator that does not hog all your CPU cycles on an i7 Intel computer? ---- Think of the extended user base you would gain... Love feedback!

Which browser are you using. I can access Alexa from a Windows XP machine using Firefox, but not from IE8.

Re: Alternate Echo Dot 2 Control Software
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2017, 02:11:41 am »
You have some misunderstandings, one of which is an Alexa app must always be on.  Not true.  I hardly ever turn on the Alexa app some days. but I can still use my Alexa devices.  You DO need easy access to the app when you need it though, and you can do so via your computer, because you can leave a PC ON, yet in sleep mode which can keep it pretty secure, and all you need to do is touch a key or touchpad to take a PC out of sleep mode.  If this is not a good solution for you, then maybe the Dot is just not for you.