As amazing as the Amazon Echo is, it doesn’t yet have native support for LightwaveRF.  This is a problem for me, as all of my technology choices have to pass the “Spouse Acceptance Factor” and the difference between LightwaveRF devices and other, already Echo compatible devices on the market is immense:

wemolightwave
A Wemo “Wall Wart” (Echo compatible) on the left, a LightwaveRF Flush Socket (not Echo compatible yet) on the right.

Thankfully, LightwaveRF is supported by the excellent OpenHAB and as this is what I’m already using to drive other elements of my home automation solution, it made sense to try and use OpenHAB as the intermediate platform.

Except that there isn’t any Echo support for OpenHAB either…

Enter ha-bridge, a lightweight Phillips Hue emulator that allows Alexa to talk directly to pretty much anything that has a network connection via the same commands that you’d use to control the Hue lighting system.

The great thing about ha-bridge is that it has a very small footprint and will run happily on a RaspberryPi computer.  I’m running mine on a Pine-64 that’s already running OpenHAB and various other home automation software.

The configuration took me a while, so here’s what you need to do in order to get Echo, ha-bridge, OpenHAB and LightwaveRF working together.

The first assumption I’m going to make is that you already have LightwaveRF and OpenHAB talking to each other via the LightwaveRF binding and that you have at least one LightwaveRF item defined.  Mine are called “LoungeSwitch” (for basic on/off control) and “LoungeDimmer” (for brightness setting of the same).

I’m also going to assume that you’ve read and followed the instructions to install HA-Bridge from the README file and can access the HA-Bridge Interface at http://<ha-bridge.host&gt;:port/.

The first thing that I had to do was add the “Hue” skill to Alexa.  To do this, go to the app on your phone and then go to the “Smart Home” section.  In here, you need to add the “Hue” skill and ensure that it shows up in the list once you’re done.

If you don’t already have an account with Hue, you’ll need to sign up, but when the app tells you that it can’t find a Hue on the local network, just tell it to skip that step.  It won’t find anything until you have defined the devices.

The next step is to add your devices.  In order to do this, click on “Manual Add” within the HA-Bridge UI and then fill in the fields as follows:

Name: What you want to say when telling Alexa to act on this device
Device Type: For LightwaveRF, this can be ignored
On URL: http://<OPENHAB SERVER>:8080/CMD?<SwitchDevice>=ON
Dim URL: http://<OPENHAB SERVER>:8080/CMD?<DimmerDevice>=${intensity.percent}
Off URL: http://<OPENHAB SERVER>:8080/CMD?<SwitchDevice>=OFF
Http Headers: Leave blank
HTTP Verb: GET (or leave on default)

Save this, then tell Alexa to “discover devices”.  She should find the device called what ever you named it above and it will show up in the “Smart Home” area of your app.

Test that the device works from the HA-Bridge control panel, then try saying “Alexa, <device name> on” to turn it on or “Alexa, <device name> off” to turn it off.

To set the brightness, you can say “Alexa, set <device name> to <number> percent”, or even just “Alexa, <device name> <number>”.

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