Reverse engineering the Amazon Echo Buttons

Sam Decrock
6 min readJan 3, 2018

As you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of of wireless buzzer buttons. I once built some myself and actually tried releasing them through Kickstarter, but failed. We were too focused on the hardware rather than showing our games. We learned some valuable lessons from that experience, but the project currently sits on my shelf.

Anyway, I was stumped as Amazon announced they were going to sell wireless buzzer buttons! If I could repurpose them, I could use the Amazon Buttons with my software. That would lower my costs significantly and I could get the project running again (building software only). I had to get my hands on some.

After ordering them via Amazon and shipping them through Borderlinx to Belgium, I finally had the chance to ‘play’ with them. By ‘play’, I mean screwing them open and see what’s inside :-)

Nice little box with a leaflet, 2 buttons and 4 AAA batteries.
The box and the buttons.
The PCB.
One of the 3 touch points used to make the button “click”.

As you can see, the buttons don’t have a real “click” mechanism: just 3 soft touch points. Hitting the button doesn’t give as much satisfaction as I hoped.

Now how can I connect them to my own trivia software instead of the Amazon Echo? I thought they were going to show up on LightBlue, a BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) scanner for iOS, but they didn’t. What, are these not Bluetooth buttons? Looking up their FCC ID revealed that they are indeed using Bluetooth but its not clear what version or protocol.

Sniffing the Echo Buttons

To figure out what nifty, do-not-connect-to-our-buttons-scheme they used, I bought the BLE sniffer from Adafruit. I first had to find my old Windows laptop as the software runs best on Windows. After scanning…

Sam Decrock

Hardware and software (reverse) engineer. Passionate about new technologies.