ISY Portal Amazon Echo Routines FAQ

From Universal Devices, Inc. Wiki

Motion or contact Sensors not found in the Alexa app

  • Sensors can be found in the Alexa app, under Smart Home | Devices.
  • Whenever you make changes to your spokens, please remember to have Alexa discover the devices. You can just ask "Alexa, discover my devices".
  • In the Alexa app, you can "Swipe down" to refresh the list of devices so in includes those newly discovered.
  • You should be able to view the status of the motion or contact sensor in real-time using the Alexa app.
  • If you do, your spoken is correctly configured and the discovery worked.

When I create a routine, I click "When this happens" but I can't find my devices

  • When clicking "When this happens", you should see "Voice", "Schedule" and "Device".
  • If you don't see "Devices", make sure you see at least one sensor in Smart Home | Device. If you can see your device in the Alexa app, please wait a few hours. It appears that the option Routines | When this happens | Device is shown only if you do have sensors, and it may take a few hours to show.

I can create a routine, but it does not get triggered

  • First make sure that the routine works. Click on the routine, then the 3 vertical dots on the upper right, and select "Play Routine". A common mistake is to have the wrong echo talk.
  • Try to delete the routine & re-create it. If you change the type of a device, let's say from motion sensor to contact sensor, and you have used it in a routine, the routine will stop working.
  • Disable the skill and re-enable it. Make sure to choose the "ISY Optimized for Smart Home V3". Some users are still using the V2 skill, and all of this will not work with V2.
  • Open the Admin console, and watch the device changing state. If you don't see it changing in the admin console, Alexa won't see that state change either. You may have a ZWave or Insteon network issue.

Why is there is a delay before the routine is triggered

  • A delay of up to 30 seconds may be normal.
  • As per Amazon specifications, state changes cannot be more frequent than every 30 seconds. All of the contact and motion sensors state changes are debounced at an interval of 30 seconds.
  • Typically, if there was no activity on this device for the last 30 seconds or more, the change will be detected by Alexa within 1-2 seconds. But, if let's say a contact sensor goes from closed -> open -> closed in a short amount of time, the state will become open almost immediately, but will close after 30 seconds (if it was not re-opened in the mean time).

When a routine turns off a scene, the scene temporarily turn on for a brief moment, then turns off

  • When you configure your scene to turn off in the routine, you have to specify a percentage. This percentage has to be < 50%.
  • Alexa wants to set the scene to that percentage before turning it off, and any value above 50% has the effect of turning on the scene.

Can I ask Alexa the state of my sensor?

  • An Alexa contact sensor can be queried this way:
    • Alexa, is <device> opened?
    • Alexa, is <device> closed?
  • This works for ISY devices, ELK zones, or state variables.
  • If Alexa responds with an error message, please try a different spoken. Alexa is a bit picky on the spoken used, especially for querying the contact sensor.
  • For motion sensors, it seems that there is no way to query by voice. You can however query the state in the Alexa app.

When I try to add a new Alexa sensor in ISY Portal, I get the error "This item already has a spoken"

  • An ISY Device can only be added once to the list.
  • If you want to have a device be exposed both as a light AND a sensor, so that you can trigger a routine, here's 2 ways:
  1. Method 1: Use a scene
    1. Expose the device as a motion or contact sensor
    2. Create a new scene in the Admin console, and expose it as a light.
    3. The drawback to this method is that the scene does not have a state which can be queried in the Alexa app
  2. Method 2: Use a program + State Variable
    1. Expose the device as a light
    2. Create a state variable. We will have it follow the state of the device
    3. Create a program: If device is not off, set variable to 1, else set variable to 0
    4. Expose the state variable as a motion sensor. In this example, the motion detected value would be 1.

On ISY Portal, when I want to add a variable, I get the error "Variables are not available"

  • This normally means that you have no state variables on your ISY.
  • Please open the Admin console, go to Programs | Variables | State, and create a variable
  • To be useful, you will also need programs that sets this variable as needed.

My contact sensor shows as Open when it is in fact Closed

  • Normally, Contact sensors status will be "On" when the contact is closed, and Off when open.
  • Some contact sensors works the opposite way.
  • Here's how you can reverse the state:
    • Create a state variable.
    • Create a program: If contact is closed , set variable to 1, else set variable to 0
    • Expose the state variable as a contact sensor and set the Contact closed value to 1.

Testing with state variables

State variables can be exposed as Alexa motion or contact sensors. Whenever the variable is set to a specific value, the motion sensor will be triggered, or the contact will be closed.

  • To facilitate testing, you can manually set the state variable to a value from a URL
  • Syntax:
    • http://<your isy IP>/rest/vars/set/2/<variable address>/<value>
    • NOTE: The "2" means that we are setting a state variable.
  • Example:

Can I have routines speak to multiple Echos

  • When you create a routine, you can add an action Alexa says. This works but for a single Echo
  • If you want to speak to multiple Echos, one option you have is to send an announcement.
    • In the routine Action, choose Messaging | Send announcement. You can then specify want to say, and to which echo

I added my Echo to an Alexa group. Now I get errors such as "a few things share that name, which one did you want?

  • Several users have reported this issue. The solution is to remove the Echo from your accounr, and re-add it.
  • Reference to forum post on this topic: [1]