Today I want to show you how you can build your very own Amazon Echo with Alexa, on a Raspberry Pi using the excellent AlexaPi package by renekliment at GitHub. It’s not as complicated as you’d think and works just like the real thing, and I offer a sleek 3D printed case which you can buy either the full kit including a 3D printed case, or the 3D print files and case accessory pack to print on your own 3D printer, or use a 3D printing service (which are pretty cheap). I also highly recommend installing the Gordon Ramsay Skill set (free) so he can tell you how bad your cooking is 🙂
- Introduction, Hardware Requirements, Flash Raspbian to microSD card
- Create an Amazon Developer account, Setup Device & Security Profile
- Update Raspbian, Install AlexaPi, Summary
The hardware required for this project is reasonably easy to acquire, but the speaker needs to be a specific type/brand if you want to 3D print the case as it’s designed to slot into the top, but I’ll give you all the relevant links.
You can use either a Raspberry Pi 3 or 2B models for this project, along with a minimum 8GB microSD card and a good quality power adapter for your Pi. Best to buy a starter pack which you’ll find on the links below.
- Where to buy a Raspberry Pi 3
- Search eBay.com for “Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit”
- RS Components (massive inventory, world-wide online stores)
- Farnell/Element14 (massive inventory, world-wide online stores)
Microphone and Speaker
Pretty much any mini USB microphone will do the trick, and I have given links below for the specific speaker (A10 Mini Speaker) depending on whether you’re printing the 3D case, if you’re not printing the case, you can use any speakers you like.
- Search eBay.com for "Mini USB Microphone" (see below for image)
- Search eBay.com for "A10 Mini Speaker" (these will fit the case, see below for image) or Amazon
Let’s get started. Now we need to flash your microSD card with the Raspbian operating system. You’ll need a microSD card of 8GB or more and the application Etcher to transfer the .img file to it (Etcher supports Windows, Linux and MAC).
- Download the latest version of Raspbian (full version, not lite) from raspberrypi.org
- Click on and extract the .img file and take note of it’s location
- If not already installed, download and install Etcher for Windows, Linux or MAC
- Insert your microSD card into a card reader, close any automatic windows, prompts or alerts
- Fire up Etcher which should detect the microSD card automatically (important! if you have multiple choices, be sure to choose the SD card we are working with)
- Click on the Select Image button, navigate to your Raspbian .img file, select it and/or click Open
- Once you’re sure you have everything right by double checking, click on the Flash! button
- Etcher will now start the flashing process, click Yes to the Windows prompt, and close any automatic alerts/windows that show shortly afterwards
- Flashing should take about 5 minutes, then you’ll be presented with the "Flash Complete!" dialog
- Close Etcher, remove the card reader and microSD card
- Insert the microSD card into your Raspberry Pi
Now we can move on to the next section Create an Amazon Developer account, Setup Device & Security Profile.