[Solved] Amazon Echo Binding: Next Timer Channel - Create a visual timer countdown for Habpanel like echo show

Hey Everyone.

So the newest version of the Amazon Echo Controle Binding has a channel called “Next Timer”

When you set a timer on a given echo device, it creates a date and time stamp in openhab as a Date/Time item in the following format:


I am wondering if there any ways to convert this date and time variable into a countdown that I can show in habpanel. Essential a visual representation of the timer.

Perhaps taking that date and time, cross-referencing with the current time, and creating a variable timer for the difference.

This might be way out there ion a limb but I thought there are probably many people here that use echo timers and have habpanels.

Even some direction on a post about converting time and setting timers would be really helpful.

I created a rule to start by working out the time now, and the time of the timer:

rule "timer"
    Item KitchenEchoNextTimer received command

    val timerString = KitchenEchoNextTimer.state.format("%1$tY-%1$tm-%1$tdT%1$tH:%1$tM:%1$tS")
    val currentTime = String::format( "%1$tY-%1$tm-%1$tdT%1$tH:%1$tM:%1$tS", new java.util.Date )
    logInfo("timer.rules", timerString)
    logInfo("timer.rules", currentTime)


This ouputs the following is ISO 8601:

2019-10-20 20:22:54.404 [INFO ] [e.smarthome.model.script.timer.rules] - 2019-10-20T21:58:35
2019-10-20 20:22:54.404 [INFO ] [e.smarthome.model.script.timer.rules] - 2019-10-20T20:22:54

Now I just need help with showing the difference between these two strings. Or do I have to do the logic with the actual numbers…confusing :slight_smile:


I figured out how to do it… with some stumbling around forum posts and online, and the results are amazing.

If anyone wants to help me clean up this rule (as I am sure it’s written horribly!) I would appreciate the help.

To clarify what this rule and template widget does:

  1. I set a timer on my kitchen echo
  2. my dashboard changes to a countdown dashboard that displays the time left on the timer in minutes (I like minimal design)

3. The timer counts down the minutes until it reaches 0
4. If I want to go back to the home dashboard at any time I just click the number, as it is a button with the timer as the text value
5. When the timer reaches 0 (and the echo is beeping) it switches the dashboard back to my home dashboard

Now you dont need to buy an echo show!

Here are the Items:

String        CurrentTimer                        "Current Timer"
DateTime      BasementEchoNextTimer               "Basement Echo Next timer"               {channel="amazonechocontrol:echo:xxxxxxxx:xxxxxxxxxxxxx:nextTimer"} 

Here is the rule:

var Timer timer = null // global variable usually

rule "timer"
    Item KitchenEchoNextTimer changed

timer = null

timer = createTimer(now, [ |

        // Timer Date and time 2019-10-20T21:58:35.870-0600
        val timerString = KitchenEchoNextTimer.state.format("%1$tY-%1$tm-%1$tdT%1$tH:%1$tM:%1$tS")

        // parse String to Date Time
        var DateTime timestring = parse(timerString)

        // find out time left in minutes
        val timeleft = (((timestring.millis + 60000) - now.millis) /60000)

    // null the timer if time left is 0
        if(timeleft <= 0) timer = null 
        else {
            // update the timer Item with time remaining 
            // Switch the Dashboard to the Timer Dashboard Holding the Timer Template Widget
            // reschedule the timer for 1 minute


rule "Update Display Timer Iterm"
Item CurrentTimer received command
    // Give the item a half second to register the change in time left
    //Log the time left
    logInfo("alexatimer", CurrentTimer.state.toString + " time left on the Echo Timer")

    // create a second timer when the first timer has reached 1 minute left to switch the dashboard when the timmer reaches null
    if( receivedCommand == "1" ) {
                createTimer(now.plusMinutes(1),  [ |
                            // Switch the Dashboard to the Home Dashboard

Here is the template widget:

        <button class="timertime" style=""
            ng-click="sendCmd('Pin_String', 'Home')">{{itemValue('CurrentTimer')}}
            button.timertime.ng-binding {
                background: transparent;
                border: none;
                color: #fff;
                padding: 200px;
            .timertime {
                font-size: 400px;
                line-height: 250px;

This looks useful, it caught me out for a moment that i required the 2.5 binding and had to upgrade to the testing branch of openhab. However i have setup something very similar using your example.

Have you considered what to do when your timer is cancelled? or a new timer that ends first is added?

Haha yeah, I am relieved I didn’t have to update openhab to 2.5, just the echo controls binding. Yeah I have not considered canceling the timer as it doesn’t seem to send any command to openhab when you cancel it. I have noticed if you set a second timer that is longer it will switch to that after the fislrst timer is complete. If you have any ideas I am all ears :grin:

Hello… any further development of this? Just curious.

It’s actually not working any more. Not sure why…