How to Use Amazon Echo to Control Your Lights

How to Use Amazon Echo to Control Your Lights

One of the coolest features of the Amazon Echo is its ability to connect to your smart home and do so much more than just tell you the weather or play music. With the right setup, you can actually control your lights using Amazon Echo and even more!

To get started, you’ll need an Amazon Echo, the Alexa app, and some smart lights. While there are many brands available, I’ll focus on setting up Philips Hue as an example. The process should be similar for other smart lights as well. Assuming you already have your Echo and Alexa app set up, and you’ve connected your smart lights to the Philips Hue bridge, we can proceed to the next step.

I recommend creating groups based on rooms or function. For example, you can create a “lounge” group for the living room, a “den” group for your office, a “bathroom” group for the bathroom, and so on. While the lights come with default names, it’s much easier to remember the room they are in rather than relying on the defaults.

How to Use Amazon Echo to Control Your Lights

Setting up the Echo for smart lighting

Let’s get started with setting up your Echo for controlling your smart lights. To begin, make sure your phone is fully charged and your WiFi network is up and running. Also, don’t forget to plug in the Hue Bridge.

  1. First, open the Alexa app on your smartphone.
  2. Next, tap on the three-line menu icon and select “Smart Home”.
  3. Then, choose “Add Device” from the options and select the Philips Hue bridge. Wait for Alexa to discover the bridge.
  4. You can create a new group or use existing ones to link your lights or set scenes.

Once Alexa discovers your lights, any groups you made with the Philips Hue bridge will appear along with the names you assigned to them. You can keep these settings in Alexa or choose to set up new groups. Personally, I found it easier to create groups and scenes with the Philips Hue bridge and then let Alexa pick up what I had created. Each room I named as a group appeared in Alexa once it discovered them.

Controlling lights with your Amazon Echo

Now that your lights have been discovered and you’ve set up any groups or names you want, you can start controlling your lights right away. Simply say, “Alexa, turn on [GROUP NAME]” to turn on a specific light. Remember, what you say out loud needs to match exactly with what’s in the Alexa app.

  1. For example, if you have a light group called “bathroom”, you would say, “Alexa, turn on bathroom”.
  2. You can also say, “Alexa, dim bathroom” or “Alexa, turn off bathroom”, and so on. You get the idea.

If you’re using color-changing bulbs, you can control the color from the Alexa app too.

  1. To change the color, open the Alexa app.
  2. Select “Smart Home” and then “Devices”.
  3. Choose the light you want to change from the list.
  4. At the bottom of the screen, tap on “Set Color”.
  5. Select the color you want from the list and watch the bulb change.

Now, there’s a small catch: there’s currently a mismatch between the colors you can select from the Alexa app and what the Echo can actually do. There are supposedly 123 colors possible. You can check out this page to see all the available colors. All you need to do is say, “Alexa, turn bathroom hot pink” to change the color.

Controlling lighting groups with your Amazon Echo

What if you have more than one light in a room, like downlights or individual pendants? No worries, you can set up a group within Alexa to control them all with a single command. This is really handy for rooms with multiple lights.

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Select “Smart Home” and then “Groups”.
  3. Tap on “Add Group” and choose “Smart Home Group”.
  4. Name the group with something simple.
  5. Select the devices you want to add to that group.
  6. Finally, tap on “Save” at the bottom of the page.

In the example above, let’s say you have two Hue bulbs in your bedroom. You would add both of those bulbs to the group in Step 5 and name the group “bedroom”. Now, you can simply say, “Alexa, turn on bedroom” and both bulbs should respond. Feel free to set up as many groups as you need to get everything just right.

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