Amazon Alexa Dot

What a wonderful device I purchased a couple of years ago, an Amazon Dot. But like a lot of women she can be quite frustrating to interface with!

Veranda Control

Louvre Roof

I recently purchased and erected a louvre roof from China which includes two controlled louvre areas and three curtains. All these are controlled by five 433MHz wireless controllers. Naturally, I would like Alexa to control these and I know she can. She needs a little help to talk to them but this is solved by Broadlink with their brilliant Smart Universal Remote Control. After getting one of these I was able to program all five louvre roof remotes (and my TV & sound system) into the Android IHC app and control them from my mobile phone. I can also set scenes where I can open or close all five with one command.

Alexa Mqtt Bridge & Printer Server

Raspberry Pi Zero W

I also run a Raspberry Pi Zero W as an MQTT server/broker in my home and naturally I need to have Alexa talk to this in order to interface with my home IoT devices. I implemented this NPM module and can open and close garage doors with a command like “Alexa, Geoff garage on”. By using this magic module, Alexa thinks the bridged device is a light.

I had to add a new task to the Raspberry Pi recently. I have a non-wifi printer that lives in another room apart from the computer so I added a printer server.

Node-RED Alexa Home Skill Bridge

I looked briefly at this solution but it requires registration with a third party service and I want to use my in-house server. See


Node-Red node for Amazon Alexa Skills Kit (ASK).

To Be Continued……..

Emic 2 Text to Speech Module

I have been playing recently with an Emic2 Text-to-Speech module. You can buy these from your favourite web store. My USB serial board was probably from AliExpress. Get one with the 3.3V/5V level selection switch for more versatility with different products you may wish to connect to. I use Windows 10 so I downloaded Termite, a simple free RS232 communications tool that enables me to send commands to the text-to-speech module via the USB UART board. Communication parameters are 9600,n,8,1. You need to power the Emic-2 module from a 5 Volt supply capable of half an Ampere because it idles at about 300 mA and peaks to about 500 mA when using a small speaker connected to the on-board amplifier..

The voice output lacks the quality of Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Google Assistant type products, but does a good job of converting text to speech on a self contained module with no computer assistance. Here is an English sample wav file.

I will connect it to my MQTT server via an Arduino Nano or Mini in a future project for making announcements when required from my smart-home project.

This is my test hookup.