Amazon Alexa Outside Mounted Permanently

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I permanently mounted an Amazon Echo Dot outside while in the Covid-19 lock down to better integrate OH in the backyard. We’ll have to see how it does with the extreme temperatures changes 95 F to -25 F around here.

Since Amazon doesn’t expose the microphone MUTE option via their API, I have OH setting the Echo volume levels to 0 when the patio door is closed OR when gUnifiPhones are OFF OR between the hours of 10 pm - 7 am to prevent “some level” interaction with it.

I drilled holes in the clear cover on the front and bottom in order for it to listen/speak which it actually picks up our voices 15’ away which is surprising.

Here are the supplies I used:

Sealproof 2-Gang Weatherproof In Use Outlet Cover | Two Gang Outdoor Plug and Receptacle Protector, Lockable, UL Extra Duty Compliant, 45 Configurations https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0756K2CYN/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_i_9Xu3EbR5V7MBK

eBoot Solid Metal Wall Mount… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ92KID?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

TayMac MX3300 One Gang Horizontal… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001DKELYW?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Best, Jay

2 Likes

Why did you mount it outside? What is use case?

We spend a lot of time outside. It extends OH’s functionality to the outside now.

1 Like

Make sense! Definitely see a use in the patio.

Have you thought of cutting the power-supply to the Echo via something like a Sonoff switch ? Echo takes about a minute to boot, so that could be integrated into your rules so that Alexa is ready for you when needed

I did think about this but the issue was the size of the weather proof gang box to insert a power-switch inside it. I have WeMo’s here and it’s power plug would not fit in there. The actual power block for the Amazon Echo by itself barely fits right now - had to bend the USB cable at a 90 degree angle to get the door to shut on the GFI outlet.

Best, Jay

I wanted to do the same, so I bought a usb cable that fit the echo dot and plugged it into a mobile power bank… I get a good 12-15 hours out of it before needing to recharge

You don’t need the code for this, though… I think?

You can just use a voice-controlled outlet inside the exterior cover called “outside” or something. Then you can just use all your devices to control whether or not your exterior device is powered on. You can set timers and etc this way, too.

In the kitchen, planning on going outside? Alexa, turn on outside.

She’s booted by the time you get there. If you forget, just flip the switch on the (decent) plug you bought.

Or…

Replace the outlet with a Zwave outlet and control by Alexa inside the house or OH directly.

Or you could make the overall approach easier by using outdoor speakers that have Alexa built in, then no need for the dot.

All different approaches to get the same feature.

Squid

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Aren’t you worried about the security / privacy ramifications of anyone being able to into your back yard and access your alexa? You are relying an awful lot on Alexa not mistaking someone else’s voice for yours. Alexa is very easily fooled.

I hope you don’t have any door locks or garage door or your email or txt msg hooked to this…

Agree on comments on outdoor speakers… lots of portable battery speakers have Alexa nowadays and have hours/days of runtime, I would just take one out when needed and back indoors when not, no security issue then. You can even roll your own such portable device with any bluetooth speaker and a Raspberry Pi .

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Hey Brunes,

Here’s some of the possible security angles of this which I addressed. First let me say, I have a backyard that is fenced and locked with NO neighbors behind me. I also have 3 HIK Vision camera’s pointing on the backyard. On top of that, my lights are on in the backyard every-night automated by OH.

Here’s how I’m handling the unauthorized use in rules.

Partial Rule #1	
				
if (systemStarted.state != ON && Echo_BackYard_LastVoiceCommand.state.toString() == 'alexa' && PatioDoor_Status.state == CLOSED && currHour.state >= 22 && currHour.state <= 6) {

	Echo_BackYard_StartRoutine.sendCommand('kill use backyard echo')	// pushes my routine on top of current request being asked
	return;
}

-------

Partial rule #2

// Get the room of the echo device                              
var sourceRoom = triggeringItem.name.split("_").get(1)
logInfo("ECHO", "-----------------------------------------------------------------------------")
logInfo("ECHO", "sourceRoom = " + sourceRoom)
		
// Use the room to specify the actual device TTS for the returned response
var String TheRoom_TTS = "Echo_"+sourceRoom+"_TTS"
logInfo("ECHO", "TheRoom_TTS = " + TheRoom_TTS)

// Show triggeringItem state
logInfo("ECHO", "triggeringItem.state = " + triggeringItem.state)

if (systemStarted.state != ON && Home_Away.state == ON && gInternet.state == ON && TheRoom_TTS != 'Echo_BackYard_TTS' && (triggeringItem.state == 'open garage door' || triggeringItem.state == 'open garage' || triggeringItem.state == 'garage open')) { 

    . . . .
}

Best, Jay

Why not use phones to talk to Alexa using the app or a bluetooth speaker instead of installing a permanent device that anyone in your backyard can talk to (“Alexa, unlock the front door”)?

We don’t carry our phones around the house. We have Alexa’s in every room of the house (15x).

Best, Jay

:grimacing:

1 Like

I use an echo tap if going outside its great as you can take it will you.

Why the hell is everyone telling Jay he did it wrong when he didn’t ask for opinions. He built it the way he and his family wanted to use it.

It’s ok to provide other options without the criticism, I’m sure we all could be told better ways to do things.

Let’s celebrate each other figuring out ways to gets things accomplished with OH.

Squid :squid:

10 Likes

It has made it through a Chicago summer with rain, wind and a lot of high humidity w/o any issues.

The clear plastic cover has started to dis-color a bit from the outside variables.

Now, lets see how it reacts to Winter.

Best, Jay

Have you seen this? itechnologylabs.com they got a full solution for keep Alexa outdoors indefinitely. They even sell the ismartcovers on amazon now…

2 Likes

How did the outdoor setup fare through the winter? I’ve been thinking of doing something similar and would love some real-world results. Thanks for sharing.

Everything is still working perfectly! I had to reboot it maybe 3x over the winter but that was it. Negative 20 F below degrees and summer with 90 F degrees. I am actually shocked it has worked with such a range of temperatures.

Best, Jay

1 Like