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Alexa, Turn on Light Show


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Yes, you can have your home automation start your light show.  Here's what I did and how to do it - and it's fairly easy.

For my opening night event, a couple minutes before the start time, I get up and talk to the 50 or so people who come to the turn on and talk what's new, and that they need to help themselves to the hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies (I baked 324 cookies a couple hours before opening).  A couple years ago one of my techie geeky friends challenged me to have Alexa start the light show.  I realized it would be easy, so for my 2021 opening night event and again last night, at the end of my talk I asked the crowd if they wanted to see a light show?  Of course they all replied that they did, so I then said "Alexa, Turn on Light Show".  Alexa replied with OK, and about a second later, the show started.  I got a very good response when I did that.

Here's how I did it.   If the images don't show in your browser, there is a direct link below each one.  First of all, you have to have an input device that the show player can read.  That can be a controller that has inputs such as most of the AC controllers or a ServoDog or InputPup.  Note that whatever controller you use for the input CAN NOT be on an Enhanced LOR network.  I will get to what to hook up to that input in a little bit.  Next, in the Show Editor, select Options (then red box), then set Startup to "Show starts on a trigger" (the orange arrow).  Set the Network, Unit Id, and Input Number that will be used to start the show (the green box).  In my case, that is an input on an InputPup.  Lastly select the OK button (the blue arrow).  Then save the show as you normally would.



The next step is to setup the show schedule.  In my case, on opening night I start the show at 7:00 PM.  Prior to that, my year round landscape lighting show is running, so I have a couple steps that you may not have.  The landscape show cycles between two musical sequences (that have silence as the audio file) that are both exactly four minutes long.  Because the landscape sequences are musical sequences (as opposed to animation sequences), when the schedule for the landscaping show ends, the playing sequence will continue until the end of the sequence.  Then the shutdown sequence for the landscape show runs for it's 10 seconds.  Therefore, I have to give it at least 4:10 to shut down the landscape show from it's schedule end time.  So, I have the landscape show scheduled to end at 6:55:00, and the Opening night Christmas show scheduled to start at the same 6:55:00.  Last night the landscaping show shutdown sequence ran about 6:58:30.  That is somewhat important because I can see that it did it, and I knew that the schedule was working as intended.  The landscaping shutdown sequence leaves about a half dozen lights still on so the year is not dark.  So last night, at about 6:58:30 the Opening night show "starts", so it gets everything ready, but wait for the startup trigger in order actually start playing.  At 7:00, I give the command to Alexa to actually start the show.

How to hook it up - or at least how I did it.  The input #1 on my InputPup is connected to a small 5v relay with the other contact on the relay connected to the InputPup common ground.  The relay is a Single Pole, Single Throw Normally Open type relay, so that means the contact is open when the relay is not powered.  When the relay is powered, the relay contacts close which grounds the InputPup input #1.  To power the relay, I have a USB wall wart (largely because like most of us, I have a pile of them laying around).  The USB wall wart is plugged into a WiFi controlled outlet.  I happen to be using a Wyze Outdoor Plug ( https://www.wyze.com/products/wyze-plug-outdoor ) but almost any other home automation switch could be used.  I have my given Alexa devices the Wyze skills so they can control my Wyze switches.  The last step is to take one of my Amazon Echo Dot devices outside and put it near where I will giving my talk.  So when I give the Alexa command the "Turn on Light Show", the Echo Dot sends the command via the Amazon home automation system magic to the Wyze outlet which turns on the outlet that I have named "Light Show".  That powers up the USB wall wart which then energizes the relay which triggers the input #1 on the InputPup which in turn starts the show.  Simple...


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5 hours ago, k6ccc said:

I have my given Alexa devices the Wyze skills so they can control my Wyze switches

Hi Jim. So if you can, please elaborate on how you enhance the Alexa to talk to the Wyze? I don't have any of those but I like the ideas.

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