Questions on existing items linked through alexa, integrating with alexa in general, my proposed setup & specific-item-related inquiries

Precursor: I tried to do my homework as best as I could in regards to my current (and planned) brands and their integrability into the Home Assistant platform by aimlessly googling and searching these forums. Please forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted and/or missed anything.
Apology In Advance: This will be a very detailed, long-winded & multi-question post. So, I would like to apologize for writing this novel of a post as I know it’s a lot to take in all at once.

Hi everyone :wave::grin:

Long-time automation enthusiast & Python-lover. Up until now I’ve managed most of my automation through Tasker, its plug-ins (AutoRemote, AutoVoice, AutoNotification, and AutoTools), IFTTT, EventGhost, and Alexa. I don’t have much in terms of smart devices at the moment since my fiance and I live in a one-bedroom apartment. Currently my “arsenal” consists of:

Sad, I know (#ApartmentLife). But, I plan to massively expand soon.

I’m just about to dive into the world of Home Assistant as my fiance and I are looking to move into a house within the next 6-8 months (ideally 2-3 bedroom). Prior to doing so I have mapped out a rough plan of devices I plan on purchasing and, given my love for coding & tinkering, was given the advice to start building my existing smart devices’ setup around the open-source & highly-customizable Home Assistant platform, so that I could more easily control & customize my setup when I slowly expand in the following few months (purchasing a couple devices here & there when possible).

My Questions

  • Since I’ve already set-up my existing devices with the Smart Life & Amazon Alexa apps, is there a way to easily “port” those over to the Home Assistant setup once I have the hub (likely a RaspPi) configured? I know this question was previously posed (see Mapping Alexa devices into Home Assistant); however, the answers weren’t too helpful. From what I understood of the answers, I would need to basically need to

    1. Unlink the devices from the Amazon Alexa app
    2. Add them to my Home Assistant setup
    3. Rediscover the devices (now considered devices of Home Assistant) within the Amazon Alexa app.

    At that point, would I still be able to control the devices from Alexa as I was able to before Home Assistant (ie. “Alexa, turn on the Living Room Lights”)? Keep in mind, one of my main goals is to be able to control everything via voice. And correct me if I’m wrong, what is the benefit of doing this instead of just leaving it connected through Alexa alone? Is it simply the fact that I can now automate things together a lot more easily with anything else I tether to the Home Assistant installation?

  • Now, as for the Alexa Home Assistant Skill. As I understand it there are two ways to go about it

    1. Using the Home Assistant Cloud Alexa Skill from Nabu Casa. I like this way because it’s so much easier to set-up. However, I’m against this option as it requires a monthly fee to use the service, which really goes against the Home Assistant ethos and is ultimately what I want to avoid (monthly cost). This option also doesn’t seem as flexible in terms of invocation.
    2. Using Home Assistant’s Alexa Component. This seems to be the way to go, but Alexa skill-building has such a steep learning curve and is, in my opinion, vastly over-complicated. Like many others, the degree of difficulty to configure everything (especially if you have a lot of devices and/or want to have a bunch of custom triggers/actions) I’m detered. If I’d had to choose, I’d select this option because there’s so much more freedom. But, the odds of me ever actually taking on the venture is slim-to-none.

    So, as it stands, I’m at a lose how to handle my Alexa/Voice control integration. Any input/advice is happily invited.

  • Now to questions more specific to the devices I plan on including in my setup. To start, I’ll list the items I current own & those I plan on including (this list will likely grow over time) in the near future.

    X means undetermined number of devices

    Now that you have an idea of my devices, here are my questions related to some of the items

    1. This relates to all devices above that use the Smart Life android app. I know that in a recent update to the Home Assistant code-base support for smart devices that use the Smart Life android app are now natively supported by using the Tuya component (according to a comment in the Add Support for Smart Life Components post from not long ago). Am I correct to assume this component will work for any item that uses the Smart Life android app?
    2. For the above mentioned TESSAN WiFi Smart Power Strips that use the Smart Life android app you are able to control each individual plug on the strip seperately and you can also control the entire strip together if you want. Will I be able to do this through the Tuya component or will I lose the ability to do one or the other?
    3. Since the Yeoman Wifi Door Bell Camera doesn’t seem to have native Home Assistant support can it be included? And if so, how would I do it?
    4. For the BroadLink RM Mini3 Black Bean IR Controllers - Has anyone gotten these to work with the Comcast Xfinity X1 Platform (Remote Model: xr11)? I’ve seem mixed reviews on getting it to play nice with the X1 Remote.

Lastly, I’ll ask a general question

  • What are your thoughts on my setup? Does it sound promising or should something be dropped/added/swapped out for a different brand, etc?

If you read all the way to the end, thank you for sticking with me. This post has been brought to you by hypo-mania :crazy_face: :upside_down_face:

I can give some advice.

I have a monopole stitch smart plug, which it turns out was made by tuya, and I setup with smart life.
See this thread for how I set it up in my yaml file
stitch setup thread

Once you set it up in yaml, then it shows up as a switch (or light I don’t remember offhand) in HA, and you can use it in HA. Also, you don’t need to remove it from smart life, so your smart life/alexa skill should still work.

I don’t have tplink plugs, but I imagine you could also add them to HA without breaking the current alexa skill.

I use node red and alexa local to create alexa devices. So in node red, I create an alexa node called “family room”. I have alexa discover devices, family room shows up as a device (may take a couple of tries). Then in node red I create a “flow” which connects the family room alexa node to another node to call home assistant to turn on the tuya light switch. Like many things, its not hard once you figure it out.
But its not using the alexa devices you currently have. Honestly, you only have three, so its really not a big deal. I’d be more concerned about finding the best solution long term, rather than something that works with the three devices you have now.

So now I can say “alexa turn on family room”, and my family room lights turn on.

In the future, you should be able to tie this to you beans for ir control, and anything else connected to HA.
NR will take a little effort to setup and learn, but IMHO, it makes it easier later on to add alexa commands.

I just made a node red flow this week where I say “Alexa turn on netflix”.
It turns on my tv, receiver, sets both tv and receiver to connect to my roku, and then sets the roku to the netflix channel. Obviously took some work to get there, but is pretty fun once it works.


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One little issue to keep in mind that I’ve unfortunately discovered about stitch/tuya/smart life stuff. The tuya addon does indeed work… for switches… it does not seem to work for binary sensors (i.e. door/window open/close sensors).
Someone help me if that statement is in error.

Aww, really? So, I wouldn’t be able to incorporate the AI-cluster Wifi Smart Door/Window Sensors then? Well, that’s discouraging :frowning_face:

Is there any way to incorporate them into HA?

Thanks for the linked post! I’ll keep it handy when I start putting everything together. I have no clue how node red works, I’ve barely just begun reading up on HA, so I might have to pick your brain a bit when the time comes if you don’t mind :grin:

If I was you, I’d get one bean with RF, the more expensive model.

Then find out what RF door/window sensors can interface with the bean, and go with those. I wouldn’t worry so much about smart life compatibility, your long term goal is HA compatibility. I only ever used smart life to setup my plugs, after that I used HA and Node red to control them. I also can’t imagine battery life if very good for a wifi device.

NR will have a learning curve, and right now some guys are having interface issues which I avoid by having a 2nd pi to run NR (not as hard as it sounds). But by the time you’re ready to use it, those issues should be resolved. I find it easier to use than automations, but I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to learn automations, NR seems easier to me so I went with that.
There are also videos and tutorials to help you get going with NR and HA.

NR is a very distant goal as of right now.

What good would the bean be with door and window sensors though? I mean, yeah, you would the RF model to arm/disarm them, but how would their states be tracked by HA?

Wouldn’t the door/window sensors I mentioned (that are smart life) work with the tuya component switch? I feel like since the door sensors only have two states it would function just the same. Or am I mistaken?

Bean is the gateway if you will.
It basically translates the RF signal from the door sensor, and then sends it to HA.
Once HA has the information, you can do anything you want with it.

No idea about the door window sensors with Tuya, but I would not assume that its like a wifi plug, its really not. And it does seem like it should be simple, but these tuya devices are fairly new.

Yes, you would think that. When I add tuya-type (2.4ghz wifi but not z-wave) switched outlets to smart life, there they are, also they do indeed show up on my Alexa smart home devices with the “smart life skill” and with the tuya add-on for HA, I do see them in HA as devices I can play with.
With tuya-type binary sensors, I get smart life seeing them, Alexa smart home seeing them, but no joy on HA seeing them.

That’s discouraging :frowning: I hope someone can work those types of sensors out soon, so they can be integrated into HA :crossed_fingers:

About the alexa part. The easiest way to use alexa is by exposing the desired lights/switchs/scripts as “lights” using the emulated hue component. You configure it, ask alexa to find your devices and you are done. One nice trick to use with this is to configure light “templates” which allows you to run a script for the “on” commands “off”. For example, If I say “alexa, turn on cable tv”, HA runs a script which turn on tv, the HT, select the right input, and wait and send the “oks” to my cable tv box.

Has anyone tried creating a sensor module for the tuya component using only the state function of switch module? Maybe then the sensors would show up? Could it be possible that the sensors don’t show up now because the tuya component’s “switch” has functions for state AND turn_on, turn_off? I may be vastly underestimating the complexity of the two devices’ differences in the way they interact with the API, but I figured it was worth asking? Has anyone tried that yet for their binary sensors?

I just got a reply from codetheweb on GitHub (the one that is working on the nodejs version of the tuya API, which if I’m not mistaken is what the tuya component was eventually ported over from into python). Here’s what they had to say.

@caffeinatedMike it’s possible to emit an event on a change in status by keeping a socket connection with a device alive. The device will then send a packet when its status changes. I believe @NorthernMan54 was working on this.

By the way randysuch, I took your advice and just bought a couple Dome z-wave window/door sensors. They interfaced just fine to Alexa, wink and HA. The only difference between the Dome sensors and my previous NEO non-zwave sensors was $18 vs. $11 and work vs. not work.


not to derail the thread but am i to understand that the broadlink has a bean model that will be a receiver and not just a transmitter?

There’s someone that has successfully implemented the tuya products’ methodology to function locally (without cloud credentials). Please read from this GitHub issue comment onward. In that thread there is also a link to commits where someone has successfully integrated door/window sensors. I think this calls for a complete rewrite of the tuya component, so the devices can be managed so let with HA instead of having to really on a cloud and internet connection.

I believe it the broadlink mini pro has an rf tx and rx, but I read the rx is weak, so it maybe won’t work well for sensors. I don’t have one, was looking at one before.


It was my understanding that the broadlink devices only receive for a very short time in “learn” mode. And that they are pretty weak receivers in that mode so to learn a code you have to get the transmitter pretty close to the device.

That’s why I was confused when you said they could receive as well as transmit. I thought maybe that was something new.