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What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?

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Offline TC

What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« on: December 31, 2016, 12:25:35 pm »
I have a new Echo Dot. When giving me a reply, I've found that Alexa will sometimes stop abruptly, possibly in the middle of a word.

Sometimes when she stops, she remains silent until I prompt her again. At other times, however, she continues after a pause of ~1 to 5 seconds. When she continues, she doesn't continue where she left off, but at a point further along in her reply. It is as if she is delivering the reply properly, but her speaker is failing intermittently.

This dysfunction seems to occur most often when the Echo Dot is not "warmed up". I've only had the product set up for two days, but the problem seemed to be worst on both mornings. As a test, I ask Alexa for the weather forecast. Yesterday morning and this morning, I had to ask about 4 or 5 times before Alexa could deliver the entire weather forecast without dropping some portion of the reply.

Although worst in the mornings, the problem can occur at any time during the day; it just seems less frequent at other times.

Notably, I've never experienced this problem when streaming radio. I've asked Alexa to play WBUR for many hours over the past two days, yet I can't remember a single interruption to the radio stream.

Is the behavior I'm seeing a known failure mode for the Echo Dot? I could find no mention of it on the Amazon Echo Dot help pages. There are a few posts on this forum where people say their device is "stuttering" or "stopping", but in every case, the exact nature of the dysfunction is unclear.

Whether I can pinpoint the failure mode or not, my problem seems to fall in the broad category of performance problems, and my research on this site shows that the same advice is given again and again on how to resolve performance problems: 1) make sure the power supply is consistent; 2) make sure the wifi signal is strong; and 3) make sure there is no interference. I've done the best I could on these three items by wiggling wires and moving things around; I'm not sure what else I can do. If anyone can propose concrete troubleshooting steps, I would be grateful for the advice.

-TC

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2016, 01:59:11 pm »
If you call Echo Support you can get an answer right away:

1-877-375-9365
“You can reach Amazon Echo Customer Support by phone directly and toll-free at 1-877-375-9365. We're available from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time, seven days a week.”

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2016, 02:31:01 pm »
could be interference.  the next time it happens check to see if anyone started some electric device at that moment.  how far away is the echo from the router?   did you try a power cycle on the echo?   unplug it for a couple of minutes then plug back in.

Offline tthoben

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Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2017, 05:00:12 am »
I'm also facing this problem and interested to know if anyone managed to solve it. I have 2 echo dots, 1 in the same living room as my router and the other in my daughter's bedroom and both experience this problem.

My suspicion is the network traffic as I believe the responses are coming from Amazon's servers.
Echo Dot @ SG

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2017, 03:02:29 pm »
I'm also facing this problem and interested to know if anyone managed to solve it.
Why not call customer support?

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2017, 06:04:31 pm »
One explanation Alexa's music playing seems OK, but her (real time) replies are not, is that the music coming in is buffered and can handle momentary interruptions in signal, but real time replies are not buffered.  I really suspect you have dodgy wi-fi in some way or other.

Offline tthoben

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Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2017, 08:23:28 pm »
Why not call customer support?

Because I'm using it in SG which Amazon has not made alexa officially available in.
Echo Dot @ SG

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2017, 01:30:15 am »
Try support anyway, otherwise you may be stuck.

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 05:25:48 pm »
I just finished a chat with amazon echo tech and they did not have a solution.  I now have a replacement echo 2 as of 3 days ago and it has the same problem with Alexa speech services.  With skills (reading the Bible), playing music, there is no problem and as mentioned this may be because buffering takes care of it, but Alexa answering a simple question like what time is it..she starts then stops.  Asked repeatedly, I have not found improvement.

The tech seemed baffled, so there isn't an easy fix.  He only told me that I should try another wifi but why should that be a requirement as all my appliances in the house perform and connect without problem.  The problem is the echo or perhaps the software and the system installed for handling Alexa voice responses.  There is clearly a glitch in their design.  The requirement for this appliance should be at the standard of all the other basic wifi products we use daily.  Why should the echo demand a somehow elevated wifi connection? 

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 05:32:49 pm »
how close to the router is the echo?  if in another room, for a test, move it at around 3 feet from the router.  did you try any of the other suggestions in this thread?

Offline jwlv

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Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 08:51:09 pm »
Do you use an iPhone or iPad? Apple devices are notorious for sucking up all available bandwidth when it does its daily backups to iCloud and when it uploads all of your photos & videos to the photo stream. This usually happens when an Apple device is plugged in and charging although it can happen at any time it's on WiFi.

Next time your Echo stops talking randomly, turn off every Apple device you have in the house. This includes Apple TV, Macbooks, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple Time Capsule, and anything else with an Apple logo on it. I bet the Echo will start working fine right after you shut off everything Apple. I estimate 90% of this type of problem are caused by Apple and its iCloud funny business. One of the biggest problems I had with Apple doing this is I can't really control how or when this happens. And Apple won't even allow you to change the photo or video resolution and you end up with huge uploads of 12Mbit photos and 1080 full HD videos.

 

Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 03:29:44 pm »
 >:( >:( >:(

My Echo Show started having this problem about a week ago, and I'm ready to throw it in the trash, tried updating the latest version, rebooting, even banging it on my desk to no avail.  We did recently change our wi-fi so I wonder if that's the culprit.. Has anyone tried taking the echo to a different wi-fi location to see if the problem replicates?

Offline alexa-fangirl

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Re: What causes Alexa to randomly stop talking?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2018, 12:52:26 pm »
I know I'm late to this thread, but my Amazon Echo (older tower version) has no issues with this.
It used to, though. So I checked some things out.
It could be any of these things:
  • Amazon server issues in your area. Amazon has various servers located in the US, UK, Japan, etc. Sometimes they have downtime. It happens to any program/interface sometimes.
  • Syncing issues. Your Alexa might be downloading an update or something from the internet, which slows down her response time. Check to see if the light-ring is purple. That means it's syncing data/info or downloading an update.
  • AlexaApp issues. Check to make sure the AlexaApp on your phone is set up right. Sometimes apps will sign you out, especially after an update to the app itself. If you are signed-out, sign back in.

Hope I helped.  ;D
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-Alexa's fangirl