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CNET Smart Home
4 common Amazon Alexa problems and how to fix themAmazon's Echo, Echo Dot and Tap speakers are loaded with features, plus they are virtually maintenance-free. But things don't always go to plan. Here are some common problems with the Alexa speakers and how to fix them.
An Alexa speaker, such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap, can be a great addition to any living room, kitchen, or even a bedroom. Especially in a smart home. And typically, after the initial set up, there's not a lot of tweaking or maintenance that needs to be done. But that doesn't mean that things can't go wrong. Here are four common problems with Alexa speakers and how to fix them. If you're having trouble connecting a smart home device to your Alexa speaker, first make sure it's a natively supported device. While the list of compatible devices is growing, many of those devices are actually only compatible through a third-party skill from the skill catalog To add a new device, open the Elect app on your smartphone and go to Smart Home in the left menu. Under Your Devices click Discover Devices. If your device can't be discovered, go to the Skill section, also in the left menu, and search for the brand of your Smart Home device. If there is a skill available, enable it and follow the on screen instructions for connecting it through the skill instead. Even if your device is not natively supported, or there is no skill available, you're not entirely out of luck. There's an instance in that channel for Alexa which connects it to many other SmartHome devices. That would not otherwise be compatible. If you're having trouble with the Alexa speaker disconnecting from your network regularly there are a few things you can try. First power cycle everything. Unplug the router, the modem, and the speaker. Then restore power after a few minutes. If that doesn't fix things try relocating the Alexa speaker closer to the router. And away from other devices. If that doesn't work and you haven't already, you may want to consider switching your Alexa speaker from a 2.4 gigahertz network to 5 gigahertz to decrease interference. You may also notice that the Alexa speaker doesn't hear you quite as well as it used to. This could be explained by things being added around the speaker and it being cluttered or the speaker physically moving closer to the wall. To fix this, try to remove obstruction from the speaker and keep it at least eight inches away from the wall. Also consider what's around the speaker. If it's near a noisy appliance or air vent, you may want to relocate it to another part of the room. And finally, you can try voice training, which is under settings in the Alexa app. Voice training will have you read 25 phrases aloud in a typical voice from a typical distance, so Alexa can better understand you. And finally, due to increased popularity, marketing, and sometimes pure coincidence, The television can activate your speaker if you're watching a tv show or movie that has any of the wake words included, or anything that is audibly similar. While harmless, it is a nuisance, and there are three things you can do to help prevent it. One, simply move the Alexa speaker further from the television so it doesn't pick up on the audio from the sound system quite as well. Two, hit the mute switch So it stops listening to audio all together. Or three, change the wake word that is used commonly in the show or move that you're watching. Be sure to check out CNET.com/howto for more Alexa tips.