The "Alexa" Blog - 3

In this third installment of The "Alexa” blog, we will look at the hardware of the Amazon “Echo,” discuss the light ring function in determining the status of the "Echo," and discover new questions and commands in our continuing interaction with “Alexa.”  
  • The Microphone Off button:  Press this button to turn off the microphones. When you turn off the microphones, the light ring turns red. Press it again to turn on the microphones.
  • The Action Button:  The Action Button turns off a timer or alarm; wakes your device; and, enables Wi-Fi setup mode after you press and hold it until the light ring turns orange.
  • The “Echo” (2nd Generation) additionally has a volume up and volume down buttons on the top of the device.
  • The Light (or Fire) Ring:  The Light Ring tells you about the device's status (more on the Light Ring below).
  • The Volume Ring:  You can turn the Volume Ring clockwise to increase the volume (turn the Volume Ring counterclockwise to decrease the volume). As you adjust the volume, the Light Ring displays the volume level in white.
  • The Power LED (on the 1st Generation “Echo”):  The Power LED communicates the current Wi-Fi status on the device (A Solid white light - Your device has a Wi-Fi connection.  A Solid orange light - Your device does not have a Wi-Fi connection.  A Blinking orange light - Your device has a Wi-Fi connection, but can't access “Alexa.”)
  • The Power LED (on the 2nd Generation “Echo”) contains the power cable port and a 3.5 mm output port to hard wire the “Echo” to outside speakers or a Home Entertainment System.

Pretty simple so far, now we will find out more about the Light (or Fire) Ring. The Light Ring is how “Echo” visually communicates its status to you.

  • The solid blue light with spinning cyan lights means:  The "Echo" is starting up.
  • An orange light spinning clockwise means: The "Echo" is connecting to your Wi-Fi network.
  • A continuous oscillating violet light on the light ring means:  An error occurred during Wi-Fi setup.
  • All lights on the ring are off means:  The cloud based Alexa Voice System is active and waiting for your request.
  • Solid blue ring with cyan pointing in the direction of the person speaking means:  “Alexa” is busy processing your request.
  • A solid red light on the light ring means:  You have turned off the microphones on your device (Press the Microphone button on top of the "Echo" to turn on the microphones).
  • A white light on the light ring means:  You are adjusting the volume level on your device.
  • A Spinning blue light that ends in a solid purple light means:  The Do Not Disturb is enabled.
  • A Single flash of purple light after an interaction with “Alexa” means:  The Do Not Disturb is active.
  • A Pulsing yellow light means:  A message or notification is waiting for you. Say, "Play my messages" or "What did I miss?"
  • A Pulsing green light means:  You are receiving a call or Drop In on your device.

Now you can try a few more basic commands to our comfort level for using the “Echo” or “Dot.” Remember to use the wake word, “Alexa” first to alert the “Echo” to listen to you.  NOTE: You can change the wake word from “Alexa” to one of three others (“Echo,” “Computer" or “Amazon”) by using your Alexa App. For example:

  • Alexa, play some music.” 
  • Echo, set volume 1,2,3,4,5,…, 10” 
  • Computer, turn up/turn down the volume.” 
  • Amazon, play music by {artist}.”  
  • While listening to music you can say: “Alexa, next.” 
  • “Alexa, play the song of the day.”

Or try this one:

“Alexa, ask the Question of the Day.”

There you have it for today. In my next blog installment we will examine more of “Alexa’s” capabilities and additional ways of communicating and interacting with her.