Question

Alexa loses control of Sonos for about 15 seconds after controlling another device.

  • 12 December 2017
  • 13 replies
  • 298 views

Hello all,

I've recently converted from Google Home and Chromecasts to Alexa and Sonos. I've been searching for someone that has my issue and I can't seem to find one entirely similar. I currently have a Playbar and Play:1 in two separate rooms and a single Echo Dot, which controls other devices in my home. I don't think I've ever gotten the Sonos skill to work completely correct.
Here are my current issues:
- Using Alexa to control Sonos and nothing else seems to work fine.
- I can say "Alexa, turn it up in the Living Room", which works and then say, "Alexa, turn off the patio lights", which works, then say, "Alexa, turn it down in the Living Room" to which I get "Living Room isn't responding."
- After about 15 seconds I can try the exact command again and get it to work.

This really only presents an issue with my Playbar as I can play/pause the TV, then possibly need to adjust the volume. To this point I have tried the following to resolve this issue:
- Forget Sonos devices in Alexa app, disable skill, re-enable skill and re-discover the devices
- Ensured all the Sonos speakers had unique names, which in my case they are the names of the rooms "Kitchen" and "Living Room"


Other bits of info:
- I can be controlling the "Kitchen" just fine and then accidentally give an incorrect command like "Alexa, turn up the kitchen" and I get a response of "Kitchen doesn't support that", I then attempt to correct myself by saying, "Alexa, turn it up in the Kitchen" and then begins the "Kitchen isn't responding" error.

Any suggestions about this issue would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if more info is needed.

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13 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Hi

When you get the failed command can you check in the Alexa App>Settings>History and confirm that Alexa correctly heard your command.

You could try resetting your voice control within Sonos by following the steps I've listed within the answer in this post:
https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/sonos-one-not-responding-to-alexa-comands-6793239
Hi

When you get the failed command can you check in the Alexa App>Settings>History and confirm that Alexa correctly heard your command.

You could try resetting your voice control within Sonos by following the steps I've listed within the answer in this post:
https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/sonos-one-not-responding-to-alexa-comands-6793239


I have verified that my commands are indeed being translated correctly. I took a look at your post and you are referencing Sonos One's I believe? How does this instruction change for my situation with a Playbar and Play:1? I don't see any of the voice control options you're referencing. Here's what I did do:

- Disable Sonos Skill in app
- Forget all on PC
- Power cycled the 2 speakers
- Enabled the skill in app
- Discover devices on PC

Unfortunately, still having the same problem. Everything works, but if I control any other device other than Sonos, I get not responding responses unless I wait 15ish seconds between actions. Be happy to post any additional info as needed.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
I suggest you submit a diagnostic and post the number on this thread. The Sonos tech team can then investigate.
I have gone ahead and submitted a diagnostic through the app and got a confirmation number of: 8208064. Do I have to contact support separately now?
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
Hi there, jWR3CK. Thanks for posting to the Community and for the diagnostic report. I am happy to take a look and see if I can advise on next steps. Let's first start off with getting some details about your network and then we will dive into the Alexa app. I noticed that almost every device on Sonos is connecting to seemingly different devices with different MAC addresses. This usually means that we are connecting to access points or extenders. While this may seem unrelated to Alexa control, getting the best understanding of the network and how it is set up will only help me to paint a better picture of what we are working with. That being said, can you tell me the make and model of the router you are using? Do you happen to know of any extenders or access points?

Moving over to the Alexa app, I am curious to see how your smart home devices are named. Do you happen to see any names duplicated across devices? If so, you may want to make sure you put in a differentiator in the name of one of the devices. Some users have reported using " Sonos" as an added word to help differentiate between the Living Room Sonos and Living Room Lights.

Let me know if either of these solutions are helpful, or the results of you giving these a shot. From there we can see where to go.

Thanks again.
Hi there, jWR3CK. Thanks for posting to the Community and for the diagnostic report. I am happy to take a look and see if I can advise on next steps. Let's first start off with getting some details about your network and then we will dive into the Alexa app. I noticed that almost every device on Sonos is connecting to seemingly different devices with different MAC addresses. This usually means that we are connecting to access points or extenders. While this may seem unrelated to Alexa control, getting the best understanding of the network and how it is set up will only help me to paint a better picture of what we are working with. That being said, can you tell me the make and model of the router you are using? Do you happen to know of any extenders or access points?

Moving over to the Alexa app, I am curious to see how your smart home devices are named. Do you happen to see any names duplicated across devices? If so, you may want to make sure you put in a differentiator in the name of one of the devices. Some users have reported using " Sonos" as an added word to help differentiate between the Living Room Sonos and Living Room Lights.

Let me know if either of these solutions are helpful, or the results of you giving these a shot. From there we can see where to go.

Thanks again.


Hi, thank you for your response!

My routers are the Luma Whole Home Wifi System, which is a mesh network setup. I am currently using two of the 3 routers. Very interesting as I did not think to consider that this could be an issue.

I have been very careful about my naming conventions and I am currently using 'Living Room' and 'Kitchen' as the name of the Sonos products. All others have names attached, such as, 'Living Room Echo' or 'Living Room Lights', etc.
Let me slide in and comment that I found that naming convention to be confusing to Amazon's Alexa system? Some large percentage of the time, Alexa would stop listening before I got to the "Echo" or "Lights" part. Not all the time, but certainly close to 50%. I found that either naming things completely different, like "Food" for the kitchen Echo, and "Kitchen" for the kitchen Sonos cleared up a lot of misunderstanding by Alexa. I also had two computer rooms, a "Computer Room Lights", and a "Computer Room Sonos". I left the lights the same name, but I changed the Sonos to "Den", and that cleared up those issues, too.

I have no idea why Amazon would stop listening after some amount of time, I assume it's going down some list, and stopping as soon as it finds a match, but that's just speculation on my part. I'd encourage you to try naming things a bit more uniquely.
Let me slide in and comment that I found that naming convention to be confusing to Amazon's Alexa system? Some large percentage of the time, Alexa would stop listening before I got to the "Echo" or "Lights" part. Not all the time, but certainly close to 50%. I found that either naming things completely different, like "Food" for the kitchen Echo, and "Kitchen" for the kitchen Sonos cleared up a lot of misunderstanding by Alexa. I also had two computer rooms, a "Computer Room Lights", and a "Computer Room Sonos". I left the lights the same name, but I changed the Sonos to "Den", and that cleared up those issues, too.

I have no idea why Amazon would stop listening after some amount of time, I assume it's going down some list, and stopping as soon as it finds a match, but that's just speculation on my part. I'd encourage you to try naming things a bit more uniquely.


Thanks for the suggestion!

Unfortunately, it does not seem to be a listening issue in my case as I have gone into the history logs to verify that all my commands are being understood correctly. However, I have found that naming my speaker 'Living Room Sonos' for example does not have a great effect on the commands and I am getting a lot more 'doesn't support that' or 'not responding' issues than leaving it named simply 'Living Room'.

This brings up the question, should I be able to say 'turn down Living Room Sonos' instead of 'turn it down in the Living Room' if my speaker is indeed named 'Living Room Sonos'. In my case, I have found that only basic commands work (play, pause) when calling the speaker by name and not saying 'in the ROOM'.
Well, it was worth a shot, but your evidence belies my thoughts. I'll keep watching this thread to find out what you're able to empirically determine.

In all honesty, i would think in answer to your question, you should not be able to say "turn down the living room", if there was more than one device who's name started with "Living Room", with a caveat. I think (let me emphasize the "think" part of that) that the Amazon does remember in some way the last device that you've used, and will try to send the command to that device, if the name matches/is close. Again, speculation on my part. So, it may work when the last command was to "Living Room Sonos", but not when it was something else, like the kitchen, for example, or some lights, etc.
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
If your speaker is named "Living Room Sonos", and have rediscovered devices, you should be able to say "turn it down in the Living Room Sonos". Here's a full break down of the verbiage by command.

From the sounds of this and to respect your time, I think we should probably take a look at this with you in real time. Our technicians can share a screen with you and can look at the Sonos controller along with the Alexa website to see what's going on with naming and control. Our contact information can be found here.
If your speaker is named "Living Room Sonos", and have rediscovered devices, you should be able to say "turn it down in the Living Room Sonos". Here's a full break down of the verbiage by command.

From the sounds of this and to respect your time, I think we should probably take a look at this with you in real time. Our technicians can share a screen with you and can look at the Sonos controller along with the Alexa website to see what's going on with naming and control. Our contact information can be found here.


That is how I expected it to work, which is why I wanted to be sure the room names were left to the Sonos speakers to make it more natural to say. I will be reaching out to the support techs. Thank you all for your help.
Figured I'd update here. Senior tech went through some things with me, suspected my network was the issue. I am not using SonosNet and have retried setting everything up (also added two more Play:1s haha). Here is my response back to Support:

Ok, I have connected my Playbar to the router directly and now all speakers are showing they are on SonosNet. I've also added 2 more Play:1's. I have refined my observation.

- I removed all devices and skills in the Alexa app so that I could only have the Sonos skill and devices active and nothing else
- I am still having the same issue, but here's what I've noticed

1) Play/Pause/Stop commands will ALWAYS work
2) Volume up and down will work until I switch try to control ANY other device
3) If I ask to change volume within 15 seconds of controlling a different device I will get "ROOM isn't responding"
4) If I try to play/pause in this window it still works
5) About 15 seconds after controlling another device, everything starts working again

To me it almost seems like Alexa is switching context to whatever other device I'm trying to control and relinquishing it's command from the Sonos skill entirely and then reconnects itself to the skill after 15 seconds. It's almost as if the play/pause commands are directly controlled by Alexa (much like a light) and the volume commands are going through some other process that is having a hiccup in that 15 second window. If I continue to try and change the volume within that window, the timer resets and I have to wait another 15 seconds.

My next step will be to open the ports on my router manually. If we think this is truly a network issue I will replace my router. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
There was an Alexa update (597464620) that was rolled out 2-3 days ago which introduced a number of issues. I suggest you talk to Amazon Alexa tech support to see if this is another new feature. 🙂