Alexa Smart Lamp With ESP8266

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About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My ...

This Instructable guides you along with me in upgrading a vintage lamp with voice-control using an ESP8266 microntroller and Amazon Echo/Alexa. The Arduino code emulates a Belkin WeMo device using the fauxmoESP library, which makes setup a breeze.

For a full primer on the Arduino ESP8266 workflow, check out my free Instructables Internet of Things Class, and check out Paige's Lamps Class for more lighting inspiration and know-how. If you're new to Arduino, we have an intro class for that, too.

This project uses AC electricity, which could harm you or start a fire-- don't leave this project connected to power unattended, and if you don't know what you're doing, work under the supervision of someone who does.

For this project, you will need:

For my particular wooden lamp base:

In addition to ESP8266 board support, you should install the following Arduino libraries (search in library manager or manually place folder in Arduino/libraries):

I learned about this method from this Adafruit tutorial: Easy Alexa (Echo) Control of your ESP8266 Huzzah, which has plenty more useful info about using this code in your own projects.

Step 1: Connect Relay

To control the AC portion of the circuit, I'm using a Power Relay FeatherWing-- just interrupt the hot lamp wire and plug the stripped ends into the Normally Open and Common screw terminals. Remember, if you don't know AC, find someone who does to supervise. My lamp had a switch along the cord, so I just removed it and used the wire that the switch had been controlling.

Don't forget to bridge one of the jumpers on the underside of the board, corresponding with the microcontroller pin you'll use on the ESP8266. I followed the setup tutorial for the Power Relay FeatherWing and bridged the jumper shown to control the relay with pin 13 on my Feather Huzzah ESP8266.

I always build a breadboard prototype of these types of circuits first, even if the ultimate goal is to get everything to fit in the wooden base of the lamp.

Step 2: Program Microcontroller & Test

The Arduino code for this project uses the example sketch for the fauxmoESP library, which emulates a Belkin WeMo device. Consequently, configuring your homebrew is exactly the same as the commercial device, which is a breeze in the Alexa app. For natural speech's sake, I've named my device "the light."

I decided later to add a power override switch so the lamp could be controlled independently of the voice commands. That's why it's not in the breadboard photos here, but appears later during the wood step. You don't strictly need the button to test the code, so you're all good either way. Watch the video embedded in Step 1 to see me explain how the button code works! Download the code from this step and plug in your own wifi network name and password, and customize the name of your device.

Step 3: Chisel Wood Base to Fit Components

After confirming that everything works, it's time to tackle the woodworking portion of this project. This lamp is held together by a threaded rod, which is easy to shorten with a saw or rotary tool cutoff wheel, then filed smooth so the adjuster flange can still be screwed on. I chiseled out the wood base to accomodate my components.

I sanded the wood base to remove any dings from messing with it, and finished it with some wood stain.

Step 4: Use It!

It feels natural to say "Alexa, turn the light on," so I felt extra clever in naming my smart light. To have multiple devices on the same network, you could tell them apart by naming them "the hallway light" or "the nightlight," for example. Is this really any better than purchasing a WeMo switch? If you've read this far in the Instructable, surely we can agree that it's just more fun to build your own, especially with the custom vintage lamp upgrade and all-in-one design.

What smart home projects do you have under your thinking cap? Let me know what you're working on in the comments below.

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42 Discussions

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SteveB35

Question 6 weeks ago on Step 2

Hello Becky Everything looks fine except that the Arduino compiler throws an error "'class fauxmoESP' has no member named 'onMessage'". Does that mean that the library has changed since you put this tutorial together? Can you offer any advice?

Steve

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marlontm

Question 6 months ago on Step 2

Hello, nice great project, I create this project and works!. I would like to know that if there is any type of easy step for Google assistance.

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CaptClaude

1 year ago

Ms. Stern, you are the Bomb and I truly enjoy your work. How do I say this without sounding like a sexist pig? There should be WomanMakers like you (and LadyAda) to inspire our Daughters and Sons (and us).

On and off is good, but I want to see Alexa/Echo control Neopixels...

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bekathwiaCaptClaude

Reply 8 months ago

To answer your question sincerely, just remove all the gender nonsense and leave it at "you are the bomb," no qualifiers needed. And thank you.

It's easy to control NeoPixels with this, take a look at the Arduino code and you'll see where it activates the relay currently can be swapped with pixel code.

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CaptClaudebekathwia

Reply 8 months ago

You are the bomb. I know the joy of teaching what you are good at and love. I do it too. Thanks.

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kilgore64

1 year ago

Another reason to roll-your-own might be reliability. In reading all the comments on Amazon it seems that quite a few people (12%) think the Belkin WEMO Smart Plugs are junk due to bad experiences and failures. This reminds me of 20 years ago when I bought a bunch of X-10 modules and controllers. I loved them at first but one-by-one they bit the dust. I've been reluctant to buy this kind of technology since. Thanks for the Instructable!

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JeffM15

1 year ago

Awesome!. Enjoy watching you make instructables.

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bekathwiaJeffM15

Reply 8 months ago

You're watching me make Instructables, like inside my studio?! Haha just being silly, thanks for the encouragement!

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bekathwia

Reply 8 months ago

When you download a library from somewhere other than the Library Manager and the name of the folder is not the same as the library, you must rename the folder. Your folder ESPAsyncTCP-master and should be named ESPAsyncTCP (thanks, github, for the extra word!). This is one reason the Library Manager is much easier than downloading and moving the libraries yourself.

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magomez

Question 8 months ago

Can someone confirm if this still works?

Because I can't find the devices

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bekathwiamagomez

Answer 8 months ago

I re-setup my device five days ago, and it works great. I'm on Android FWIW. Did you double check these things:

Is your mobile device on the same wifi network as your circuit?

Can you verify with the Serial Monitor that your device is successfully joining your wifi network?

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bekathwia

8 months ago

Ok, I just tried it and didn't need to add the skill to set up the device. I don't have the WeMo app installed either, and was successfully able to set up and control the device by navigating to Smart Home-> +Add Device. I'm on Android, FWIW.

Is your mobile device on the same wifi network as your circuit?

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wrj00789

Question 8 months ago

Becky:

Program debugging is normal, through the button can switch lights, com monitoring can also determine the connection wifi, alexa can not find the device can not be controlled by voice. Thank you

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mharmon12

10 months ago

Becky,

Wow!
Just wow!

Your series of classes; Arduino Class, Internet
of Things Class and now Alexa Smart Lamp with ESP8266 build on one
another and save me a lot of time in getting my projects up and running.

I certainly have benefited from your hard work and attention to detail.

If anyone is struggling with this then I suggest they go back and take the
classes which I've listed, because the lessons learned there will make this
lesson much easier to follow and complete successfully.

Thank you yet again for your zeal and heart for doing this work!

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Willsonspocket

10 months ago

Hi Beka thanks for the tutorial it was great! I have a question which I hope you can help me with.
For the switch I would like to use a normal latching on off switch like a wall switch, with this code it does work but it seems once in the cycle it requires the switch to be pressed twice to turn on or off the light, I'm currently struggling to work through the code to find a solution, could you help, was your switch a latching on off switch?
Kind regards, Karl

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arallsoppWillsonspocket

Reply 10 months ago

The approach I took was to use the switch as an input and monitor voltage changes, rather than absolute on/off states. That way you can turn the lamp off via Alexa or Wifi, and still toggle power states when the switch is moved. I went a step further and used an inline rocker on a 3 way flex, with the spare wire being used to connect a signal to ground. That way, the aesthetic of the lamp is retained, the operation is faithful, and the smarts are all hidden away.