This article outlines what you’ll need and how to set up an Amazon Echo smart speaker device with Amazon’s voice service, Alexa.
What You’ll Need Before Starting
- A WiFi internet connection. None of the Echo devices manufactured to date has an Ethernet RJ45 port. So, your only option is to connect them to the Alexa service via your wireless network. This network must have internet access. Note that Alexa on your Echo device will not function without a properly configured wireless internet connection.
- An Amazon Account. Go to https://amazon.com/ to set up a new account there if you do not already have one. Typically, your account user name is your email address.
- The Alexa App. The Alexa app is available in the Google Play (Android) store, as well as the App Store (iOS). Download and install the appropriate version on your tablet.
Amazon Echo Dot Setup Procedure
- Unpack your Amazon Echo Dot device (if new). The Dot comes in a small blue box, and the box itself is in a plastic bag. Remove that outer bag, and slit the tape securing the box top closed with a sharp knife. Open the box and spread the contents out on a table. You should have the Dot, the power adapter, and a micro USB to USB-A cable. Remove all clear plastic protectors from the Dot from the side and top. This exposes the USB and audio output (headphone) cable ports (side) and volume up-down, mic mute, and wake buttons (top). Then, unpack the adapter and cable, which may also be packed in plastic bags.
- Run the Alexa App. Pick up your tablet and bring up the Amazon Alexa app. If this is your first Echo device, the app will prompt you to set up a new device.
- Verify your Amazon account credentials. If you haven’t yet signed in to your Amazon account with this app, you’ll be prompted for your Amazon account credentials (user Id and password). If you haven’t yet created an Amazon account, visit amazon.com and follow the instructions there to set up a new one.
- Enter Amazon Account Id and password. When the Alexa app prompts, Enter your Amazon account credentials, and you’ll be signed in via the Alexa app, and the app will then remember your Amazon account information whenever you run it, so that you won’t have to enter this data every time.
- If you are not prompted to set up a new device… If this Dot is not your first Echo device, the app displays its home screen, with a menu on the left side of that screen. In this scenario, we’re using the iOS version of the Alexa app.
- Go to the Settings Screen by tapping the Settings menu item (left side of screen). The Settings screen displays as follows.
- Go to the Set Up New Device screen by tapping the so-named item, located on the Settings screen Alexa Devices group. That screen gives you a choice of which device (Echo, Echo Tap, or Echo Dot) to set up.
- Tap the Echo device that matches the one you’re setting up. You’ll then see the Choose Language screen.
- Choose the appropriate language. Use the drop-down menu to pick the language you’ll be speaking to this device (English (United States) is selected by default). Then, press the Continue button. The Begin Echo Dot Setup screen appears.
- Tap the Connect to WiFi button. A picture of a Dot in setup mode with the rotating orange light appears on your tablet screen. At this point, make sure that your Dot is connected to power and that the orang light ring on its outer edge is glowing. The orange light indicates that the Amazon.XXX network is currently “live.”
- Press the Continue button. The Connect your iPad to Echo Dot screen displays. Per that screen’s instructions, go to your WiFi settings page on your tablet and look for the Amazon.XXX WiFi network. It’s an unsecured (open) network, so no password is necessary to connect to it. Not to worry though, as this network is only active while setting up your Dot; otherwise, it’s disabled and cannot be used to hack your dot by malicious zealots.
- Connect the USB power adapter and cable to your Echo Dot. Plug the micro USB end of the power cord into the matching port on your Dot. Plug the USB A connector into the matching port on the AC adapter power supply. Then, plug that adapter into a working 120-volt AC outlet.
- Observe the Dot power up. The light ring first turns bright blue with an aqua (turquoise) blip that circles around the blue light ring. After several seconds, the light ring turns orange, and a female voice says, “Hello. Your Amazon Echo Dot is ready for setup. Just follow the instructions in your Alexa app.” If this does not happen, you may have to reset your dot. Follow one of these procedures at the following links, for the Gen 1 or Gen 2 Dots, depending on which model you have (generation one or generation two). At this point, the Echo Dot creates its own WiFi network, to which you must connect your tablet to temporarily, in order to program in the credentials.
- Connect to the Amazon.XXX WiFi network. Back on your tablet, tap the Amazon.XXX item in the WiFi networks list. Note that the Amazon.XXX network only appears when your Dot is in setup mode, and your tablet is close enough to the Dot to pick it up. Again, remember that once you finish setup, this network goes away. Be sure your tablet and Dot are close enough for the tablet to see the Dot’s Amazon.XXX WiFi network. If you do not see this, move the Dot closer to the tablet and then, on the tablet, check the available WiFi networks list once again. When you’ve successfully connected your tablet to this network, your Dot will sound a pleasant tone and say, “You’ve connected to Echo Dot. Go ahead and finish the setup in your Alexa app.” Not only do you hear this message from the Dot itself, but the Alexa app on your tablet also displays a similar message on the screen.
- Press the Continue button in Alexa App. To choose the WiFi network you dot will ultimately use during normal operation, tap the Continue button. This initiates a scan for in-range WiFi networks that your Dot sees, and after a few seconds, displays that list onscreen.
- Select the WiFi network you’d like your Echo Dot to connect with. From that list, tap the wireless network name your dot should use for subsequent connection. This network must have Internet and be able to reach the Amazon infrastructure servers in order for your Echo Dot to function correctly. The Alexa app then prompts you (if the network has been secured) to enter its password.
- Enter the WiFi network password. Tap in the correct password for the network SSID you’ve chosen.
- Press the Connect button. After typing in the password, press the connect button on that same screen. This instructs the Echo Dot to attempt to connect to the WiFi network you’ve just specified. This connecting may take several tens of seconds. But eventually, if you’ve entered the correct password, the Dot successfully connects to your WiFi network. You’ll then get the “Preparing your Echo Dot.” message and a progress bar begins advancing as information is exchanged with the Amazon infrastructure. After a short pause, and if all goes well, you’ll see the “Setup is complete. Your Dot is now connected to WiFi” message. At this point, the Amazon.XXX network has been deactivated and can no longer be used to access your Dot. All further access is accomplished via your internet WiFi network.
Once you’ve finished the setup procedure, your Alexa Echo device is ready to receive and respond to commands and questions once the orange light ring goes dark. The Alexa app offers to show you an introductory video. Try asking your Dot some questions like:
- Alexa, what time is it?
- Alexa, what’s the weather?
- Alexa, give me my flash briefing.
- Alexa, tell me a joke.
- Alexa, how are you today?
- Alexa, sing happy birthday.
… and so on. Enjoy your Echo device. They’re awesome!
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- 2016-12-02: Originally published.