Alexa UPB Bridge

hucker

Active Member
FWIW, I have recently moved to homeseer and have Alexa (multiple Echo Dot's) controlling UPB and Zwave lights.  It isn't perfect yet but it works pretty darn well.  It basically was controlling things in minutes once I installed the Alexa Skill.  The main issue was that names that work for organizing your system on paper/homeseer/upstart are very cumbersome via voice.  "Alexa, turn on master bedroom overhead light" sucks.  I had to make a full pass through the names and give them all reasonable one word names (and spell them correctly e.g....chandalier ...).  "Family Room Overhead" became "TV" for example.  "Under cabinet" became "cabinet" and so on.
 
Of note there are two homeseer skills, the advanced and the simple one.  I tried advanced first but saying "Alexa, tell homeseer to turn on kitchen light" was ridiculous compared to the simple one that works by saying "Alexa turn on kitchen light".  I went with the simple one and am happy with it.
 
Alexa integration has been a pleasant surprise and it works nicely with homeseer.  My main complaint is lack of control over Alexa's voice control (which I assume will improve a lot over time).  
 

StarTrekDoors

Active Member
wdeertz said:
Been evaluating Home Control Assistant (http://www.hcatech.com) and find that it easily controls all my UPB devices.  Still having some configuration issues with scenes and links.  Install the trial version and connect a PIM to your computer and you can easily try out this software.  It works good but I've found the novelty of turning on and off the lights with Echo wears thin pretty quickly.
 
The downside to HCA/AlexaUPBBridge (same software company) with Amazon Alexa (echo) is reliability.  More and more frequently requests to voice control devices are met with no results and irritation. Wait a few hours and it's working again. 
 
Newer versions of HCA now require you to subscribe to a monthly service with fee so that you can have three systems voice controlling one device rather than the previous two systems.  The other downside is HCA was not truly coded as server software, so on a server or PC, won't run as a true service which means you have to use auto-logon to keep the service and specific control file active.  While it's not a bad attempt at software automation, HCA definitely needs work and more thought given to the client-server architecture.
 
When HCA does work properly, there is convenience to being able to use both UPB switches and voice control.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
This is a pretty old thread that was revived... but since it's here, I was looking into this recently - we moved and are starting over... before, everything went through the Elk app, but this time everything we've added so far works with HomeBridge and Alexa.  I am about to start a RadioRA2 install for the main lights, but as we were setting up the xmas lights, we dug out about a dozen UPB modules and a PIM that we always used for that... it got me looking briefly at how I could integrate the UPB lights with Alexa and/or HomeBridge and I came across OpenHAB.  While I haven't actually done it, it sure looked like it would be a fairly simple and free way to integrate the old UPB lights into modern technology.  I'm curious if anyone else has done it?
 

JonW

Senior Member
I use OpenHAB with my OmniPro and do all my Alexa control through it as well.  I'm not specifically using the UPB module since I'm controlling OPII items which does the actual UPB control.  A buddy of mine just jumped into HA and went with OpenHAB and ZWave and as a newbie was up and running quickly with it.  Easy to setup and gives a nice web and mobile app for control as well.  I'm honestly surprised more here haven't jumped on it.
 
There's a few threads on here about it if you just search on OpenHAB.
 

pete_c

Guru
Here have multiple UPB PIMs and control is via the OmniPro 2 and Homeseer (years now).  (and Smartthings and Alexa and Microsoft SAPI).
 
I have no issues controlling UPB with Homeseer directly or via the Homeseer Omni Plugin and Smartthings hub and now Home Assistant using Alexa.
 
Home Assistant though doesn't really have touch screen templates like OpenHAB.  
 
Tinkering with Home Assistant, OP2 using new OmniLink bridge software which talks MQTT (and Homeseer mcsMQTT interface).
 
Historically here have used Microsoft SAPI for text to speech (and VR) relating to automation.  Over the years have turned down TTS and remote control of my automation as everything is working just fine.
 
Trying something new now with Alexa (Homeseer and Home Assistant).
 
Found that I can send automation TTS to Alexa such that each Alexa can serve as a TTS box plus all the rest of the stuff.
 
Tinkering with an Alexa api now that auto logs you in to Alexa.  What is interesting is that both OpenHAB and Home Assistant are doing similiar things with Alexa.
 
Using the API which is generic makes it easier and there is no cookie stuff...

Ideally a DIYer could make a UPB to MQTT bridge and integrate Alexa to this simple bridge running on an RPi in Linux. BUT there is not much interest these days in UPB versus ZWave, Zigbee, et al.
 

pete_c

Guru
BTW the Alexa to TTS via Home Assistant is a very long thread and a bit difficult to follow.     
 
hxxps://community.home-assistant.io/t/echo-devices-alexa-as-media-player-testers-needed/58639/44  
 
Thinking the guy is creating a wiki to sum up the installation. It runs independant of the HA cloud stuff.

Here are some Home Assistant calls to the API
 
Here installed it via Docker and it is running and I am tinkering.
 
api.jpg
 
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