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Old 08-04-2022, 07:56 AM   #1
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Amazon echo automation

I am working on some automation projects in our coach. Been running eRVin on Raspberry Pi for a while with ver. .5 flow.51 and works fine. Just purchased a new Amazon Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Glacier White and working to integrate teh two. I am having issues with Alexa discovery and not seeing any devices from eRVin. tried several different variations and no luck. I know there are a few others that have this working, just curious to know what model they are using or if they tried to utilize the nw 4th gen version of echo?

any help is appreciated, thanks Rob
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Old 08-04-2022, 11:32 AM   #2
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Hi Rob,

I'm using eRVin with OS Version: 0.5 and eRVin Flow Version: 0.50 with a 3rd Gen Echo Dot in my '18 Anthem. It seems to work fine.

voltdoc (Rob) was significantly helpful when I got started with eRVin. As you know, he's very eRVin familiar. I believe that, after I got my eRVin system operating (including response to Alexa commands), he was having some trouble with his Alexa not responding. I'm not sure if that was an Echo Dot generational issue, or something else.

Anyway, Alexa seems to work with my antique (3rd Gen) Echo Dot.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 08-04-2022, 12:32 PM   #3
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FWIW, I have been having the same issue for about 9 months and just assumed it was something with my own configuration. Things had been working just fine, I added in a new light source and could not get the Alexa to discover the new item even though it was fully controllable remotely through eRVin. I ended up deleting one of the 'stock' lights from Alexa as a test and it can't rediscover that one from eRVin either. Every now and then I give it a try hoping it was just a fluke but no joy. Everything still works great through Alexa and eRVin just can't get Alexa to discover anything new anymore from eRVin. At some point I will wipe the pi and start all over but if others are having the same issue it might not be me after all?
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Old 08-04-2022, 12:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burt_hacker View Post
I am working on some automation projects in our coach. Been running eRVin on Raspberry Pi for a while with ver. .5 flow.51 and works fine. Just purchased a new Amazon Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Glacier White and working to integrate teh two. I am having issues with Alexa discovery and not seeing any devices from eRVin. tried several different variations and no luck. I know there are a few others that have this working, just curious to know what model they are using or if they tried to utilize the nw 4th gen version of echo?

any help is appreciated, thanks Rob
Rob/Stu, yeah, the Amazon integration in that version of eRVin uses a Phillips Hue emulator called HAbridge. Amazon made some changes a while back (over a year or more ago) with how their system operates and it broke HAbridge (why Stu's still works I don't know).

There is supposedly a fix, probably more like a workaround, that involves tweaking the number of characters or something in the data strings. There is a lot of discussion about it over on the coachproxy facebook forum. I tried playing around with it for a while, but never got it to work and gave up, it's possible the fix has become more refined over the past year but I have not been following it. You could try it tho.

Instead, I have moved on to a different Alexa integration method that eliminates HAbridge in favor of a dedicated Node-Red contrib called Virtual-Smart-Home. This works really well and has the potential to be much more functional - for example, with habridge the only verbal commands were off/on/bright/dim, which is fine for lights, but you had to tell the shades or awnings to go "on" or "off" which is not intuitive. But Virtual-Smart-Home supports other verbal commands too like "open" or "close" and several others. I haven't tried that yet but I am impressed with the reliability of the integration for this software. Also there is no need to discover devices like with HAbridge, plus the integration with the Alexa dashboard is much better and reliable.

I had to rewrite the functions in eRVin's primary node-red flow that manages the lights, to be able to integrate Virtual-Smart-Home but that seems to be working well at this point. So far Virtual Smart Home Alexa commands only support the lights. I don't think it would be difficult to add shades and other stuff.

The bad news is the Virtual-Smart-Home nodes need to be configured with each users own Amazon account. I have not been able to figure out a way to build a "user friendly" interface to do that. I'd like to have a page on the eRVin dashboard where you would just enter your Amazon account info and be done with it, but so far no joy.

However, if you are not adverse to connecting to node-red and entering your Amazon account info (it's secure) you could give it a try. It's not hard and doesn't require any programming knowledge.

It would look like this:


The basic (but incomplete) steps are:
  1. Install the Virtual Smart Home skill into your Amazon Alexa account from the Alexa app.
  2. After installing the new image connect to node-red in eRVin from a device on the same network as eRVin on port 1880: http://<your eRVin IP address>:1880
  3. Click on the Alexa-Virtual tab at the top of the window.
  4. Click on one of the blue nodes, then the pencil icon, then link your account as shown.
  5. Then click the red Deploy button in the upper right corner.

But I'm having trouble capturing all the step details required because my account is already linked and I don't want to break it. If you (and/or Stu) are open to try this and could capture some screen shots and take notes on the procedure I can write it up in a new eRVin post. For instance, once you link the account in one node that should be it, but I can't remember if you need to visit every one of those blue node's to activate the link for each one. While that may sound tedious, once it's done it's done. That is until we add more Virtual Smart Home Alexa nodes, say for the shades.

You have a 45B so once I figure out how to clear out my own Alexa account info, I can post a new image with the updates and you can give it a try.

I recently just started working on eRVin again and have started integrating most of the stuff I learned from Stu's Anthem into a new image for the 44/45B. As I recall we got generator start, door awning support and I think locks working. I have also fixed a bunch of other stuff (but there is still plenty more to fix).

I don't think I am going to have the bandwidth to do up specific images for other floorplans anymore. I am hoping some ambitious enthusiasts will step up and help make those kind of changes which I could then post to the eRVin site.

I know, more documentation is needed to help others get to that point and that is instead what I am going to focus on getting done in the near future.
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Old 08-04-2022, 12:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holmrun View Post
FWIW, I have been having the same issue for about 9 months and just assumed it was something with my own configuration. Things had been [/URL]working just fine, I added in a new light source and could not get the Alexa to discover the new item even though it was fully controllable remotely through eRVin. I ended up deleting one of the 'stock' lights from Alexa as a test and it can't rediscover that one from eRVin either. Every now and then I give it a try hoping it was just a fluke but no joy. Everything still works great through Alexa and eRVin just can't get Alexa to discover anything new anymore from eRVin. At some point I will wipe the pi and start all over but if others are having the same issue it might not be me after all?
Nope, not you, Amazon and HAbridge don't play well anymore. You could try whatever they are talking about these days over on the facebook coachproxy forum. I haven't been following, but the little I've seen implies they are having mixed results.

If you have a 44/45B you are welcome to try the new image I mentioned in the previous post that I hope to post soon. All I ask is detailed feedback on exactly what is required to get the Amazon account linked so I can write up detailed instructions.

If you don't have a "B" floorplan and are willing to tackle some node-red work that is a possibility as well. Pretty much involves just copy/paste, drag/drop and changing the names and instance numbers of the lights to match your coach. No actual coding required. If you want to do that let me know I will try and do a video tutorial.
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Old 08-04-2022, 03:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltdoc View Post

But I'm having trouble capturing all the step details required because my account is already linked and I don't want to break it. If you (and/or Stu) are open to try this and could capture some screen shots and take notes on the procedure I can write it up in a new eRVin post. For instance, once you link the account in one node that should be it, but I can't remember if you need to visit every one of those blue node's to activate the link for each one. While that may sound tedious, once it's done it's done. That is until we add more Virtual Smart Home Alexa nodes, say for the shades.

You have a 45B so once I figure out how to clear out my own Alexa account info, I can post a new image with the updates and you can give it a try. Just in case I booger it up.

I recently just started working on eRVin again and have started integrating most of the stuff I learned from Stu's Anthem into a new image for the 44/45B. As I recall we got generator start, door awning support and I think locks working. I have also fixed a bunch of other stuff (but there is still plenty more to fix).
Hi Rob,

Hope your summer is going well. Ours has been good; a little hail damage has been the worst. Cracked shower skylight (temporary repair completed; waiting on supply chain for a replacement) and some dents on the transition from the roof to the sidewall that we'll have fixed when we get home...sometime.

We've been in place (Montana) for almost 2 months and are getting ready to move in 3 days. A flurry of pre-departure activity will keep me from trying to install the Virtual Smart Home Alexa nodes. Although the Node-RED modification looks easy, I'd rather have some more free time before I start messing with it.

You are correct, the generator start, door awning and locks work well.

I really have no idea why my Alexa connection continues to work and, it seems, no one else's is. It's not clean living on my part.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 08-04-2022, 10:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help.

Yes I could install a new image, where is it located? No problem working with Node-Red or making any changes.

thanks, Rob
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Old 08-05-2022, 01:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for the help.

Yes I could install a new image, where is it located? No problem working with Node-Red or making any changes.

thanks, Rob
Working on it, not sure if it will be just a new flows file which you can download from the eRVin dashboard or an entire new image. Will let you know when I get there.
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Old 08-05-2022, 01:47 AM   #9
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Hi Rob,

Hope your summer is going well. Ours has been good; a little hail damage has been the worst. Cracked shower skylight (temporary repair completed; waiting on supply chain for a replacement) and some dents on the transition from the roof to the sidewall that we'll have fixed when we get home...sometime.

We've been in place (Montana) for almost 2 months and are getting ready to move in 3 days. A flurry of pre-departure activity will keep me from trying to install the Virtual Smart Home Alexa nodes. Although the Node-RED modification looks easy, I'd rather have some more free time before I start messing with it.

You are correct, the generator start, door awning and locks work well.

I really have no idea why my Alexa connection continues to work and, it seems, no one else's is. It's not clean living on my part.

Take care,
Stu
Stu, no sweat, I ended up finding a solution that enabled me to open up a separate Amazon account without blowing away my existing account, luckily Google still gives out free phone numbers. I think I have a good handle on it now.

Bummer on the skylight, bigger bummer on the parts shortage.

Must be the bourbon collection that keeps Alexa happy.

Wherever you are headed next, safe travels!
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:38 AM   #10
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Working on it, not sure if it will be just a new flows file which you can download from the eRVin dashboard or an entire new image. Will let you know when I get there.

Hello Rob,

Seeing how the new flows are working for you for Alexa (Echo 4th gen)? Let me know if want me to run a few tests.

thanks..
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Old 08-22-2022, 11:38 AM   #11
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Hello Rob,

Seeing how the new flows are working for you for Alexa (Echo 4th gen)? Let me know if want me to run a few tests.

thanks..
Rob, good timing! I just yesterday finished what I hope is enough to get the new Alexa working on a "B" floorplan, it's still "beta" but that's more procedural (I hope) at this point.

eRVinOS v0.60 is now available. Plus two compatible configurations:
- v0.6x for 2017 and up Aspire (non-Vegatouch) 44B.
- v0.6x for 2017 and up Anthem/Cornerstone (Vegatouch) 44/45B.

The "and up" part of that should at least be good thru 2019 or 2020, after that most of it should still work but I don't have a good handle on any changes that might have been made by Firefly along the way. Even in this release I know there are some things that don't work on the Vegatouch version, like I think Aquahot Electric, but I can work with you on trying to figure that out.

This version has a bunch of changes and updates to the eRVinOS (image) and another bunch to the configurations (aka "flows"), but is primarily targeted at those wanting reliable voice control via Alexa (just lighting for now, shades are next on the list).

eRVinOSv0.6 has a new Alexa interface called Virtual Smart Home (VSH) which is a lot more reliable and functional than the previous "ha-bridge" method. It requires some configuration however, so if you or anyone with an eRVin setup and a "B" is willing to try it out, I would appreciate feedback on the procedure.

A new image (that's the eRVinOS part) is required to be installed (don't overwrite your old one, get a new SD card just in case). The imaging procedure has also been rewritten and is easier now with a built in WiFi settings option (no more wpa_supplicant.conf!). It should fit on an 8gb SD card, but a 16gb, 32gb or even a 64gb should work OK. I've only tested on 16 and 32gb cards. Last time I looked on Amazon (last week?) 32gb cards were cheaper than 16gb and 8gb were harder to find. The new image has also shrunk by almost half a gig and is now about 1.1gb download. Note that the eRVinOS image (both v0.51 and 0.6) will automatically expand to the size of the SD card you are installing it on. The RPi will boot, expand the filesystem, then reboot - so the first time the image is booted it will take about 10 minutes to go thru the expansion and reboot.

If you already have an eRVin setup:
  1. Start here.
  2. Then jump to here. There are two preinstalled configurations for the 2017 and up Aspire and 2017 and up Anthem/Cornerstone, so you don't need to download them, from the Dashboard under the System tab, just jump right to the Install Configuration section (actually I think the Anthem/Cornerstone config may be already installed by default).
  3. Then proceed to the Alexa configuration procedure - this is the new part and I'm curious to hear how it goes with that. You will be making actual changes in node-red. I have some ideas on how to simplify this part but it will take some time to work out.

A lot of the website has been rewritten as well, but there may be things I missed, so in addition to giving feedback on the Alexa procedure, let me know about any other issues with the site.

If you are new to eRVin and want to start from scratch building the hardware, etc start here.
Then just follow the sequence of posts, the end of each post will have a link taking you to the appropriate next post in the sequence. Unfortunately Raspberry Pi units are in very short supply at the moment - don't overpay, they should only cost $35.

If you have an eRVin v0.5x system but Alexa quit working and you don't have a 44/45B floorplan, or your coach is 2016 or older:
I posted a slightly modified new eRVinOS v5.1, this is a cleaned up version of what you have now and shrunk to 1.1gb plus it has a newer version of the ha-bridge .jar file that is supposed to address the Alexa discovery issue. You can read more about that here. BUT, I still don't think that by itself will fix Alexa. Amazon changed the communication structure and from what I hear, you will need to go into the device.db file and modify the data length for each Alexa device - and I still don't know if that will fix it. Love to hear back from someone that tries it. Send me a note if you want to give this a try and I will give you instructions on how to get to the device.db file.

Otherwise, for those of you with a different floorplan, sorry but v0.6x is a major rewrite that requires new configurations and I don't have the bandwidth to create new configurations for every floorplan. Not saying I won't occasionally be doing any, but going forward I will be focusing on documenting how to modify the configuration and hoping some of you other interested owners will help fill in the gaps and contribute configurations you create yourself to the project.
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Old 08-22-2022, 12:43 PM   #12
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Step 2 bad link

Step 2 should be: https://myervin.com/downloading-and-...guration-files
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Old 08-23-2022, 10:20 AM   #13
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Thank you, I will work on the install today and testing. I will let you know how everything goes.
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Old 08-27-2022, 11:49 PM   #14
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Rob,

I worked on testing the install and configuration for Alexa commands on my Echo 4th gen with the built-in smart hub the last few days. I re installed the image and ervin config and did not see any issues with the new version (- v0.6x for 2017 and up Aspire (non-Vegatouch) 44B). Node-red config went fine and instructions were perfect. I added my amazon account the and linked to the flows and did not see any errors. I ran through several interactions but was not able to see any devices in Alexa. I tried multiple installs and ran different ways and no luck. No sure where the hangup was, nothing new was discovered. Could it be with my version and built in smart hub that the flows were not able to notice in Alexa? Alos the VSH install linking went fine as well on my iphone 12.

I will try to delete my amazon link and try a few more times but want to get back with you. Let me know your thoughts.
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