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31Instructables1,179,769Views34CommentsMadison, Wisconsin
Hello, my name is Toglefritz. That’s obviously not my real name; my real name is Scott, but on the Internet I use the nom de plume, Toglefritz. I like to make things and I like to share my work with others. I like to take big, complicated projects, and break them down into simple steps that anybody can understand.

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  • Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo

    The EchoPi has most of the functionality of the Amazon Echo. Both the EchoPi and the Amazon Echo process voice commands using the same service, so their responses will be the same. Both devices can also interface with the app so they can both use the same skills. Along the same lines, both the EchoPi and the Amazon Echo can interface with smart home devices. One major difference between the two is that the EchoPi cannot use Amazon Music, which is only available for licensed commercial products. The speaker system on the EchoPi is also not as loud. On the other hand, the EchoPi is totally flexible so you could build it into anything.

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  • Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo

    Hey oliver.goldenstein. Your build looks great! I like your implementation of the switch and LED indicator in one part, it's very elegant.

    Hi DannyM62. I think your question has been answered already, but yes, I think you can have as many EchoPi devices registered on your Amazon account as you want. I personally have eight EchoPis on my account from the various builds I tried. There could be a practical purpose to having several devices on your account. You could enable specific skills for different devices depending upon their location. For example, you could load up a kitchen EchoPi with recipe- and cooking-related skills, a shop EchoPi with skills useful for building things, and a living room EchoPi with entertainment skills.

    If you want to change the sounds, either to silence or some other tone, you can replace the .mp3 files located in <alexa-avs-sample-app-master\samples\javaclient\src\main\resources\res>.

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  • Toglefritz's entry Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo is a finalist in the IoT Builders Contest contest 4 days ago
  • Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo

    When plugged into an HDMI device, the Raspberry Pi will default to HDMI output. You can manually set the audio output by running the command "amixer cset numid=3 1" in a terminal window. The 1 at the end of the command sets audio output to the 3.5mm jack. For reference, in case you want to set the audio output mode back, a value of 2 is HDMI output and a value of 0 is the default automatic audio output selection. For more info, see https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/audio-config.md.

    Hi oliver.goldenstein, I just wanted to say I appreciated the point you made about using a button to activate Alexa for use while playing loud music. Since the EchoPi is not using the kind of fancy far-field microphones found in products like the real Echo or the Google Home, it has a hard time hearing the launch phrase if there is a lot of background noise. I like the idea of using a button to get around this issue. This is actually an issue I face with my Google Home if it is playing music; but with the EchoPi the problem is fixable with a button.

    When I was designing the EchoPi, I wanted to avoid using two separate power supplies because I think that would look strange and seem unpolished. So, I used a single 5V power supply to power both the Raspberry Pi and the audio amplifier. Five volts is sufficient to power the Pi 3; in fact most Pi 3 starter kits include a 5V power supply. Five volts is also enough to run the audio amp. However, as you pointed out, 5V is the minimum the amp requires, which probably negatively impacts sound quality. On the other hand, the EchoPi does not have access to Amazon Music, so the only sound it makes is Alexa's voice. I figured that Alexa does not necessarily need high quality audio to be heard and understood.You could certainly design the EchoPi so that the amp is powered by 12V for optimal audio...see more »When I was designing the EchoPi, I wanted to avoid using two separate power supplies because I think that would look strange and seem unpolished. So, I used a single 5V power supply to power both the Raspberry Pi and the audio amplifier. Five volts is sufficient to power the Pi 3; in fact most Pi 3 starter kits include a 5V power supply. Five volts is also enough to run the audio amp. However, as you pointed out, 5V is the minimum the amp requires, which probably negatively impacts sound quality. On the other hand, the EchoPi does not have access to Amazon Music, so the only sound it makes is Alexa's voice. I figured that Alexa does not necessarily need high quality audio to be heard and understood.You could certainly design the EchoPi so that the amp is powered by 12V for optimal audio quality, while the Pi 3 is still powered by 5V. SparkFun sells a nice breakout board to convert 12V to 5V: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9370. However, that module costs $30, which is a sizable portion of the whole cost of the project without that part, which is why I decided not to use it.

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  • Toglefritz's instructable Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo's weekly stats: 1 month ago
    • Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo
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  • Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo

    Hi jmeadcwh, thanks very much for linking to that video, I almost forgot about it. I actually built the first version of the EchoPi from the Novaspirit Tech video. Since that video was created, however, Amazon changed a few things on their GitHub repository. Most importantly, they changed the Alexa Voice Service terms and conditions to allow third-party devices to use voice activation, like the EchoPi in this Instructable does. They even provide two different wake word engines in the repository. The second significant change Amazon made is including a setup script so it is no longer necessary to use custom scripts other people made.

    Hi christian.koder. The EchoPi is activated by voice just like the real Amazon Echo. You just say "Alexa," wait for the tone confirming that the EchoPi is listening, and then ask your question. The EchoPi is not able to play music from Amazon Music because Amazon reserves that capability for commercially-available products. There is actually an application process for using Amazon Music on a device and Amazon must approve the device. I believe other music services like Spotify and Pandora work in a similar way, although you might be able to figure out a different way to get those services to run on the EchoPi, like the WiFi radio project by Adafruit: https://learn.adafruit.com/pi-wifi-radio/overview.

    I am still trying to figure out this issue because it never happened to me while building the Echo Pi. One thing I found while researching the issue that you might try is, rather than using a custom name for the Device ID while going through the steps on the Amazon developer site, like "RaspberryPiEcho" used in this Instructable, you could try using the default "my_device." Using "my_device" for the Device ID seems to fix authentication issues for some people.

    Thanks to everyone who caught the "blue issue" with the EPS file. I think I changed the file a bit at one point and forgot to re-test the template with Ponoko. Anyway, I fixed the file and updated the GitHub repository with the working version.

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  • Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Amazon Echo

    Hi eclecticangler. First of all, thank you very much for catching the speaker missing from the parts list. I updated the list to include the speaker. I also converted the design files and updated the GitHub repository (https://github.com/Toglefritz/EchoPi-Hardware) to include STLs for 3D printing. I also added IGES files for the laser cut parts to the repository so you can easily modify the design.

    Hi robotmaker, you have a good point. Unless you already have a spare Raspberry Pi and your own laser cutter, buying an Echo Dot is probably cheaper than building your own. The way I see it, this project is more about building skills and learning more about the technology than saving money. I also think there are some great offshoot projects you could try by incorporating Alexa into other objects. For example, GE made a table lamp with Alexa functionality: https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/07/ge-alexa/. I am currently trying to figure out a way to build Alexa into a cutting board or other kitchen tool because, for me at least, the Echo is most useful while cooking.

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