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rf9000

Best Alexa Interface Options

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To All,

I'm looking to have Alexa communication throughout my home. New Construction. I want whichever interface I use to be hidden or concealed. I originally was thinking Echo Dot 3s (or maybe Echo Dot 4s by the time I need them) placed in the ceiling. I found a couple different options for this like the Origin Valet Echo mounts that look like a Dummy 6" ceiling speaker or also Mount Genie has some slick little mounts that have covers on them that look like a speaker. Do you all have any suggestions? Doesn't have to be Echos either, just looking for something that I can hide. I know that there are light switches now too that have build in Alexa, but dont know if that is a good option to intermix so many different kinds of switches in the home. I'm already doing some C4 light switches and everything non-C4 I was doing Lutron. I did notice too that First Alert makes a smoke detector that has Alexa, but dont really think it has an audio output to run back to the matrix. I figure I would need about 17 interfaces and run those back as 17 sources to the matrix. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks

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As far as music playback is concerned I would do them local in the rack.  I dont have a need to have one per zone, I have one labeled inside, one outside l, and one for the master bathroom. Then use voice scenes to play the echo as a source in the desired room. Makes for a 2 part set of voice commands but 17 echoes hardwired is a lot. Then put out some echos in the rooms. Hidden in valet mounts, ecobee therms, I have a dot above my kitchen cabinet since the microwave receptacle is up there to plug it in. I dont think the lights that have it are currently able to integrate but could be wrong since I haven't worked with any of them, plus mixing lighting can be wonky sometimes

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3 minutes ago, sonic30101 said:

As far as music playback is concerned I would do them local in the rack.  I dont have a need to have one per zone, I have one labeled inside, one outside l, and one for the master bathroom. Then use voice scenes to play the echo as a source in the desired room. Makes for a 2 part set of voice commands but 17 echoes hardwired is a lot. Then put out some echos in the rooms. Hidden in valet mounts, ecobee therms, I have a dot above my kitchen cabinet since the microwave receptacle is up there to plug it in. I dont think the lights that have it are currently able to integrate but could be wrong since I haven't worked with any of them, plus mixing lighting can be wonky sometimes

Thanks. Forgive me but a bit confused on your response. What do you mean local in the rack? The Echos? The reason I specified so many is because I dont want dead areas in the house where Alexa cant hear me. My main level is pretty spread out (5700 square feet), so was figuring like one in kitchen, one in great room, one in master bedroom, one in master bath, one in bar area, one in garage, one in each of the bedrooms, etc. Maybe I got this all wrong, if installing them in the ceiling I was planning on having an outlet wired in the ceiling at each location (or could power them via POE) and then a 3.5mm wire ran back to the control room for each one. IS this not the correct way to do it?

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1 hour ago, South Africa C4 user said:

Given that CEDIA is just round the corner... maybe don’t rush... could be that the T4 will come up with Alexa built in.  You never know!

If they are 1/2 the price of T3s, I might consider upgrading ;)

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Also you can give alexa commands to your phone. May somewhat defeat the purpose but just throwing that out there. 

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Thanks guys. its my thinking on this correct though? having them installed through out and then running 3.5mm to RCA back to the matrix? Wish the NEST smoke detectors had Alexa as that would save me on some areas

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17 hours ago, jfh said:

If they are 1/2 the price of T3s, I might consider upgrading ;)

Yeah but isn't the general rule nowadays, less touchscreen the better? This would just mean I have to put touchscreen everywhere, right?

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There's an ecobee tstat with Alexa built-in. i've never used it, but sounds like you could check it out.
They work great

Sent from my BBF100-2 using Tapatalk

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Man - that’s a ton of work and wire, and you’ll be left with a lot of “infrastructure” for something that is changing pretty rapidly. 

I’m building a comparable sized home right now and personally wouldn’t consider what you’re undergoing. Siri integration that can use my phone (always with me) is attainable and I feel like a safer bet than all that wiring and mounts in the ceiling. 

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On 7/7/2019 at 3:24 PM, rf9000 said:

To All,

I'm looking to have Alexa communication throughout my home. New Construction. I want whichever interface I use to be hidden or concealed. I originally was thinking Echo Dot 3s (or maybe Echo Dot 4s by the time I need them) placed in the ceiling. I found a couple different options for this like the Origin Valet Echo mounts that look like a Dummy 6" ceiling speaker or also Mount Genie has some slick little mounts that have covers on them that look like a speaker. Do you all have any suggestions? Doesn't have to be Echos either, just looking for something that I can hide. I know that there are light switches now too that have build in Alexa, but dont know if that is a good option to intermix so many different kinds of switches in the home. I'm already doing some C4 light switches and everything non-C4 I was doing Lutron. I did notice too that First Alert makes a smoke detector that has Alexa, but dont really think it has an audio output to run back to the matrix. I figure I would need about 17 interfaces and run those back as 17 sources to the matrix. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks

I used mount gene and its the only option available, I used it without the cover and used the echo’s themselves as a small speakers, pretty nice, all while colors of course.

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5 hours ago, rf9000 said:

Yeah but isn't the general rule nowadays, less touchscreen the better? This would just mean I have to put touchscreen everywhere, right?

I’ve got 4 in my one house and 5 in the other and I find them very useful (even more so after the release of OS3)

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21 hours ago, thegreatheed said:

There's an ecobee tstat with Alexa built-in. i've never used it, but sounds like you could check it out.

All my Tstats will be located in the utility room with remote sensors

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16 hours ago, South Africa C4 user said:

I’ve got 4 in my one house and 5 in the other and I find them very useful (even more so after the release of OS3)

Yes, I'm going to have four in this house. One in bar'rec area, one in kitchen area, one in master bedroom, and one up in kids' rec room. Since all my C4 Tstats (3) are going to be located in the underhouse utility room, I'm going to use these Tscreens as sort of my onwall tstats too for each area. A tscreen on the wall looks much better then a tstat! I'm just confused a bit on using echos for Alexa. Am I overthinking how many I will need? I'm kinda of an overkill guy. For instance I will have 32 zones of audio (26 speakers zones and 6 subwoofer zones). but just wondering do I provide echos for the same amount of coverage as my speakers have? So that in every area of the home we will be able to utilize Alexa? I figure I need about 17-18 Echo Dots then. But does this mean 17-18 3.5mm to RCA cables running back to the control room and these will count as 17-18 sources? Its ok if they do as I will have 32 source options (24 switch + 8 switch), just want to make sure I understand this

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19 hours ago, ILoveC4 said:

Man - that’s a ton of work and wire, and you’ll be left with a lot of “infrastructure” for something that is changing pretty rapidly. 

I’m building a comparable sized home right now and personally wouldn’t consider what you’re undergoing. Siri integration that can use my phone (always with me) is attainable and I feel like a safer bet than all that wiring and mounts in the ceiling. 

Yes, but i want everyone to be able to access and not everyone has their phones with them at all times. I want it to be a hidden and unique experience where Alexa can just be communicated with at any time. IS there any other option then what I have suggested? I know its alot of work and infastructure to set it up, but I'm hoping it should be future proof? I mean would they ever do away with the 3.5MM outputs so that everyone that has Echos now could never upgrade to something new? I'm very open to other suggestions, just dont know what else to do. To me, in a new construction, it kinda seems pointless just to have a few installed in certain rooms. Why not just have access to Alexa everywhere in the home since really the Echos and cables are pretty cheap. Or am I looking at this wrong? I have never had Alexa before but knew that I definitely wanted to integrate in my new home

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I’ve never had Alexa either, but I won’t be making that big of a bet in the technology. I feel like we’re on the forefront of all that...I don’t want to end up with a bunch of installed stuff that doesn’t do anything. 

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18 minutes ago, ILoveC4 said:

I’ve never had Alexa either, but I won’t be making that big of a bet in the technology. I feel like we’re on the forefront of all that...I don’t want to end up with a bunch of installed stuff that doesn’t do anything. 

I agree, but love hardwired vs wifi, etc. So do I just skip it on a new construction because I assume something better will come out? Its kind of a tough thing to do. Maybe a smart thing thing to do too is run a Cat6 cable to each of those installed locations in the ceiling just for some back up. Then I would have an outlet, Cat 6, and 3.5mm at each location. If someday all of this goes wireless, etc. then these items would just become dead items in the ceiling that I would not use. Good thing is, I'm planning on using dummy 6.5" speakers in these locations. So if a new and better item then the Echo Dot comes out, I will be prepared as having a 6' dummy speaker cover can pretty much hide anything or allow anything behind it to be modified to accommodate. That was sort of my plan

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Yeah - run cable. I’ve put THOUSANDS of feet of CAT6 in my house. It’s cheap and easy now. Also, I don’t know what style your house is, but have conduits up to the attics if possible. That way things you missed can be taken care of. 

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49 minutes ago, ILoveC4 said:

Yeah - run cable. I’ve put THOUSANDS of feet of CAT6 in my house. It’s cheap and easy now. Also, I don’t know what style your house is, but have conduits up to the attics if possible. That way things you missed can be taken care of. 

It actually is better yet, we paid extra to have crawlspace under the entire home so have access to everything, except ceilings of course

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Just now, rf9000 said:

It actually is better yet, we paid extra to have crawlspace under the entire home so have access to everything, except ceilings of course

Quick question, is Cat6E still the best cable to run?

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2 minutes ago, rf9000 said:

It actually is better yet, we paid extra to have crawlspace under the entire home so have access to everything, except ceilings of course

That's awesome. We do basements here, so a crawlspace isn't really an option. But yeah, with a crawl space and an attic anything can be done later - it's just a bigger pain int he butt because you're dealing with insulation and just general retrofitting. That said, if it were me, I don't think I'd cut all that stuff in...especially if you haven't put it on the counter and evaluated how well you like it first.

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3 hours ago, ILoveC4 said:

That's awesome. We do basements here, so a crawlspace isn't really an option. But yeah, with a crawl space and an attic anything can be done later - it's just a bigger pain int he butt because you're dealing with insulation and just general retrofitting. That said, if it were me, I don't think I'd cut all that stuff in...especially if you haven't put it on the counter and evaluated how well you like it first.

Thanks. Yeah, usually basements are done here too. We still have to pour 4' of foundation for every home hear because of the frost. So most just pour another 4-5' and have a full basement. We decided to eliminate a basement this time for many reasons but still had to the pour the 4' foundation because of frost. So we decided to pour it six feet instead, then set our 2' floor joists inside the concrete walls flush with the top. This way we have 4' of space left underneath for a crawlspace and on top we have no steps. We will be concreting the floor of the whole crawlspace too so it ends up being a huge storage area!

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