Control "Communicating" Thermostat that has Alexa Support

Posted on
Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:43 am
JohnD offline
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Control "Communicating" Thermostat that has Alexa Support

I finally replaced my old and dying HVAC system with a new one, and the extremely high-efficiency air conditioner is a "communicating" system that requires a specific thermostat, so I have to get rid of my trusty old Venstar with Insteon adapter.

The question then is how I can control this new thermostat using Indigo. It offers control via Amazon Alexa, so at least there's some kind of standard protocol that can talk to it.

Everything that I've found so far on using Indigo with Alexa understandably focuses on using Alexa to control Indigo-controlled devices by voice, which is not what I need to do...I don't have an Alexa Echo device and don't really want or need one. I seek to control an Alexa-capable device, i.e. this thermostat, using Indigo. I guess what I'm looking for is some kind of Alexa Echo emulation that Indigo could control, so that when Indigo needs to set the cooling target temp to 68 degrees, Indigo would have a way of issuing an Alexa command to the thermostat.

If this isn't possible with pure protocol translation, I'm thinking that a hacky workaround could be to sit an Echo Dot next to my Mac Indigo server and have Indigo trigger the Mac's text-to-speech to say commands like, "Alexa, set the temperature to 68 degrees" over the Mac's speakers for the Echo to hear, but that's a last resort.

Any ideas on how to get Indigo to be able to send Alexa commands, rather than responding to them? I can see this having applicability to many other devices that offer Alexa compatibility, but no other automation, as well.

Posted on
Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:37 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Control "Communicating" Thermostat that has Alexa Suppor

Alexa doesn't allow one device to command another (AFAIK). A brief cursory search found nothing concerning integrating that York thermostat into anything else so it looks like it hasn't been attempted yet.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:15 pm
RogueProeliator offline
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Re: Control "Communicating" Thermostat that has Alexa Suppor

Any ideas on how to get Indigo to be able to send Alexa commands, rather than responding to them? I can see this having applicability to many other devices that offer Alexa compatibility, but no other automation, as well.

Does this thermostat have Google Home/Assistant support as well? There are published (and supported by Google) ways to include a Raspberry Pi as an Assistant-enabled device and have it basically inject commands as if they were spoken. I am not aware of anything similar for Alexa, though I also have not sought it out so very well might exist.

I have a communicating thermostat as well, dictated by my Trane system. I looked into reverse engineering the protocol way back when but it was going to be more trouble than it was worth as it was binary and proprietary. Luckily someone ended up publishing a Trane thermostat which can talk to it via the Nexia cloud API that Trane provides.

Adam

Posted on
Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:12 am
JohnD offline
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Re: Control "Communicating" Thermostat that has Alexa Suppor

Thanks for the responses; I figured it wasn't going to be easy, sigh.

The thermostat doesn't support Google Home/Assistant from what I can tell from the specs and manual, just Alexa, iOS/Apple Watch and Android apps.

I did some googling and it looks like I might be able to create a "virtual Alexa device" that could then take commands from Indigo....I'll give it a try once I get the thermostat installed and follow up with the success or failure of my efforts, and if all goes well, maybe create a plugin.

Here's a couple of things that I found that might be able to do what I need, just for reference for anyone else who might be looking into this.
https://miguelmota.com/blog/alexa-voice ... with-curl/
https://github.com/ewenchou/alexa-agent

I might do some sniffing of the traffic between the iOS app/Alexa Skill and the thermostat to see if I can reverse-engineer the protocol, and maybe automate it that way.

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