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Common Failures - How To Diagnose

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Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« on: September 30, 2016, 09:08:17 am »
Im having a lot of problems with trying to control TP link and Wemo devices,so Id like to understand what is happening when alexa fails to work.


Here the the following symptoms when trying to switch on groups and devices.

1. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animates and terminates silently.
2. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animation terminates and plays an error sound
3. Turn on device fails.  Alexa says device not responding, yet the native apps for TPlink and Wemo work fine.
4. Turn on group fails with some group members not turning on. However, Alexa is able to control the individual device in the group when asked to turn it on directly.

5. Forgotten devices always reappear when doing a new scan for devices. The native app for devices does not detect them. This information is surely being incorrectly cached.

Any info for debug would be appreciated.

PS: I still dont think Alexa is reliable enough to be used by anyone except geeks and early adopters. Hopefully, Google Home  will be more reliable

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2016, 11:08:57 am »
Id like to add the following.

1. Turn off device fails, but Alexa replies OK.

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2016, 12:52:44 pm »
Im having a lot of problems with trying to control TP link and Wemo devices,so Id like to understand what is happening when alexa fails to work.

Are you using an original Echo, or a Dot (or Tap even)?  I ask because I've seen one of your symptoms reported by some users that say it occurs with the Dot but not the Echo.

Here the the following symptoms when trying to switch on groups and devices.

1. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animates and terminates silently.
2. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animation terminates and plays an error sound
3. Turn on device fails.  Alexa says device not responding, yet the native apps for TPlink and Wemo work fine.
4. Turn on group fails with some group members not turning on. However, Alexa is able to control the individual device in the group when asked to turn it on directly.

5. Forgotten devices always reappear when doing a new scan for devices. The native app for devices does not detect them. This information is surely being incorrectly cached.

The Echo app "Forget" command doesn't mean, "Never recognize this device ever again, even when you look for new devices."  It's purpose is simply to clean out recorded entries for previously detected devices that no longer exist (or are no longer visible to Alexa for whatever reason), or to allow you to rediscover a device if need to be due to configuration changes, troubleshooting issues, etc.   If you want to stop Alexa from recognizing certain devices then you need to use your TP-Link and/or Wemo configurations to exclude those devices from visibility to your Alexa account.  If those apps don't offer that functionality then that's a security flaw on their part, not a problem with Alexa.

Any info for debug would be appreciated.

At first blush I'd say it sounds like Alexa is having some issues interfacing with the Wemo and TP-Link services, but I'm not even close to positive about that.  For how long have you been experiencing these symptoms?  Did it work OK previously, an this just started recently?  Or have you always had these problems?

PS: I still dont think Alexa is reliable enough to be used by anyone except geeks and early adopters. Hopefully, Google Home  will be more reliable

Alexa has been quite reliable for myself and many, many others.  Given that and the fact that we don't yet know what's causing the problems you're experiencing it seems a bit premature to be leveling charges of unreliability.  The fact that the platform has, and continues to be such a big hit with consumers in general would seem to suggest that plenty of people besides "geeks and early adopters" are making use of it.

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2016, 03:16:15 pm »
I agree with Parker's last comment, and attribute the OPs remark as a "newbee" comment.

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2016, 03:56:44 am »
Ok,
An update for anyone interested in the 'phantom devices' problem.

I remove the TP Link switches using the KASA app, and power them off, yet alexa still discovers them as offline. I removed the KASA skill, and the phantom devices disappeared. When I add the KASA sill again, the devices come back.

I can see that a skill is simply a connection  to a web service, so clearly the problem is with KASA.

PS: Id still love to find out what is going on when you command Alexa to do something, and the blue ring animates, but Alexa stays silent. Surely there should be some kind of feedback.

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2016, 04:57:51 pm »
>>>   PS: Id still love to find out what is going on when you command Alexa to do something, and the blue ring animates, but Alexa stays silent. Surely there should be some kind of feedback.

It may not have thought it was a command, it didn't "get it", it's stupid, etc.  A number of reasons are possible.

Give an example that failed for you.

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2016, 06:06:06 am »
Im having a lot of problems with trying to control TP link and Wemo devices,so Id like to understand what is happening when alexa fails to work.


Here the the following symptoms when trying to switch on groups and devices.

1. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animates and terminates silently.
2. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animation terminates and plays an error sound
3. Turn on device fails.  Alexa says device not responding, yet the native apps for TPlink and Wemo work fine.
4. Turn on group fails with some group members not turning on. However, Alexa is able to control the individual device in the group when asked to turn it on directly.

5. Forgotten devices always reappear when doing a new scan for devices. The native app for devices does not detect them. This information is surely being incorrectly cached.

Any info for debug would be appreciated.

PS: I still dont think Alexa is reliable enough to be used by anyone except geeks and early adopters. Hopefully, Google Home  will be more reliable

It is not that it is not reliable, you just dont know how to use it or understand how it works.  After all, millions have been sold and I dont see millions of users getting online complaining that it is not reliable.  and If you expect google home to be perfect, then you will be end for a shock.   According to their own press release and other articles, it will not be compatible with as many devices as the echo - far from it.

You can tell your echo to forget something it the next time it does a search for devices, it will auto see it because it searches for devices regularly - not just when you tell it to. 

If you want help, you really need to give specific info as to what the problem is.  did you go into the settings and see what alexa actually heard?  tell exactly what devices do you own that were not working?  Not all wemo devices work with echo, this includes their light bulbs (unless it changed recently).  How far is the echo from the router?  did you do any voice training?

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2016, 03:24:04 pm »
Google Home will soon be entering into "Consumer Beta Testing Mode"  Meaning, first adopters who buy one will have PAID to be real-world beta testers.  Yep, it will not be perfect for quite a while.  The Amazon Echo has already "been there, done that". 

Re: Common Failures - How To Diagnose
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2016, 07:59:24 am »
Here the the following symptoms when trying to switch on groups and devices.

1. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animates and terminates silently.
2. Turn on device fails. Blue ring animation terminates and plays an error sound
3. Turn on device fails.  Alexa says device not responding, yet the native apps for TPlink and Wemo work fine.


I am having the same issues with my Alexa, I am using the Homeseer skill and api to control my z-wave devices on my HS3 (that is until yesterday when I switched my US Echo to the UK, since then no control at all but that's a different story)

Most of the time its working fine, but I frequently come across all those issues, on point 3 I have to replace TPLink with Homeseer and again its similar. Most of the time though when it says device is not responding, the device actually does turn on or off, even though I get that error message.