How to modify an Amazon Echo Dot to play audio through both internal and external speakers simultaneously

Ever since the Amazon Echo Dot was released, the most common question I’m asked about it is if there’s a way to connect an external speaker without disabling the internal speaker. This is because many owners want to use their nice sound system when listening to music through the Echo Dot, but don’t want to have to always turn on or unplug their external speakers when asking Alexa a quick question or request. I set out to find a solution to this common gripe and here’s what I came up with.

While I did come up with a way to hear audio simultaneously through the Echo Dot’s internal speaker and an external speaker connected to the Echo Dot’s 3.5 mm audio jack, I was not happy with the result. For that reason, I don’t recommend others replicate my method. I’m posting this guide primarily to share what I learned so that others can possibly improve on my solution.

By default, the Echo Dot bypasses the internal speaker and routes audio through its 3.5mm audio jack if it detects an audio cable is connected to the port on the back. The way I achieved audio through the internal speaker while an external speaker is connected is by hard wiring the internal speaker to the 3.5mm audio jack. This way, when audio gets redirect through the audio jack, the internal speaker continues to also receive the audio signal.

My method worked, but I was unhappy with it because it resulted in constant feedback noise coming through the internal speaker if no audio cable was connected. When an audio cable is connected, the feedback noise did go away, which is great, but the internal speaker was noticeably quieter than normal. Having the internal speaker with noise in one state and quieter in the other was unacceptable to me, so I ultimately removed the modification and restored the Echo Dot to its default functionality.

I was just experimenting with an idea I had and didn’t spend much time trying to solve the issues that I ran into. With a bit more tinkering, it should be possible to achieve clean audio from both internal and external speakers. If I experiment further, I’d like to try and tap directly into the digital to analog converter (DAC) chip, instead of the 3.5mm audio jack.

Here is my process for those interested:


First, you need to open the Echo Dot. This is done peeling away the rubber bottom which is attached with adhesive. The adhesive on my Echo Dot remained intact enough to be used again once I reassembled everything. Under the rubber bottom are 4 Torx screws that must be removed. I believe they are T7 or T8 size.

The internal components of the Echo Dot are stacked loosely on each other, so once the screws and bottom housing are removed, be careful not to put any strain on any ribbon cables. The internal speaker will likely remain in the bottom housing but it is held in only by friction and can be easily popped out, although it’s unnecessary.

Disconnect the ribbon cable from the circuit board by gently lifting the thin black strip of plastic upwards, then carefully pull back on the ribbon cable. With the ribbon cable disconnected, lift the metal housing (which is a heat sink) and the circuit board away from the rest of the Echo Dot’s internal components.

The circuit board is attached to the metal heat sink by a sticky thermal pad. Gently peel the circuit board and heatsink apart. Be careful not to damage the thermal pad or get it dirty. When reassembling, be sure to firmly press these two pieces together before placing them back on the other components.

The audio jack solder points are as indicated in the above image. There’s a slight chance I have the LEFT and RIGHT channels flipped, since I’m writing this off of memory, but because the internal speaker is mono, it does not matter much which is which.

For simplicity, I soldered wires to the LEFT and GROUND to be attached to the internal speaker. (I am clearly not good at soldering.) There are alternate ways of converting stereo to mono that you might want to research if you’re serious about doing this yourself.

On the other side of the circuit board are the two springy connection points that the internal speaker sits on. I wrapped my wires, without soldering, to the base of these springs in order to quickly test my idea. As I said early, I was not happy with the result, so I never soldered this connection.

Something worth trying is connecting the audio jack wires directly to the internal speaker and not allowing the speaker to connect to the two springy points at all. This would make it so the internal speaker only works if an audio cable was connected, but might result in better audio to the internal speaker. My goal was always to have a normally functioning Echo Dot when no external audio cable was connected, so I unfortunately never thought of trying this when I had the Echo Dot apart.

Perhaps I’ll experiment more with this idea in the future. Hopefully, this helps someone use what I’ve learned and run with it to come up with a better solution for using the Echo Dot’s internal speaker while an external speaker is connected.

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20 comments
  1. AR says:

    great i have been looking into doing something like this
    i do not know why they didn’t just make it so this is possible and switchable by voice command from the beginning , it was really poorly though out

    i have though of another simple solution though

    do you think that we could fit something like and ESP8266 inside there?
    then we could make a smart home device out of it and use it to switch the mod wire connection on or off

    but i do not know why you would want both the mono speaker and the 3.5mm working simultaneously
    just being able to leave a cable plugged in to the 3.5mm jack without it switching off the internal speaker would be good enough for me providing i could control things by asking to switch the 3.5mm jack on or off

    here is the solution i propose ,let me know if you think it is feasible,

    basically use an arduino esp8266 to switch the wire /circuit that lets the dot know that a 3.5mm cable has been plugged in and turns off the internal speaker ,flash a smart home script to the esp board so it acts as a wemo switch in smart home , then you could just ask alexa to switch on the 3.5mm jack or switch it off while being able to always have a 3.5mm jack inserted in the jack ,you could switch the internal speaker on or off by voice instead of having to unplug or plug the cable into the jack
    not sure but i think those boards have another GPIO pin too so maybe you could also modify it to switch on the internal speaker at the same time you have the 3.5mm jack switch on if you really wanted to also have simultaneous operation of the internal and external

    hopefully it would not be too difficult to solder to get power to the esp board internally as well so it could be powered by the same USB
    also there is debate on weather the esp8266 can tolerate 5v input
    might need to throw in a level shifter or another method to step down voltage to 3.3v

    • AFTVnews says:

      Being able to manually switch between internal and external speakers at will is certainly better than hard wiring both to be on simultaneously, but obviously, that’s far more complicated and probably beyond most people’s ability. I think having both on would be sufficient for most people because I presume the external speaker will always drown out the internal speaker when both are on.

      Using the ESP8266 is a very interesting idea. Amazon compacted everything in the Dot very tightly so finding room for the ESP8266 will be difficult. One option could be to cut one of the 4 “legs” on the heatsink to make room for the ESP8266 in its place, but I don’t know how that would affect the Dot’s operation.

      I believe the Dot knows to switch to the external speaker by detecting a short across two points caused by the tip portion of the 3.5mm plug. The switch from internal to external and vice versa is done by software because for a very brief moment, both speakers are active when plugging and unplugging an audio cable.

      With any luck, someone at Amazon/Lab126 sees this article and adds in an option in the Alexa app to manually control the internal speaker.

      • AR says:

        I believe the Dot knows to switch to the external speaker by detecting a short across two points caused by the tip portion of the 3.5mm plug
        yes i know that is what i am suggesting controlling with the esp

        ah ok thanks ,so this confirms for me that it is possible through a firmware or software update
        i never noticed the split second simultaneous sound through both speakers before

        i have contacted amazon months ago and made the suggestion to them while troubleshooting a bluetooth issue

        i hope they do add it eventually and also the ability to control other echo dots connections across devices , so you could say for example “alexa switch on kitchen dot external speaker” or “alexa switch on kitchen dot’s internal speaker” or just “alexa internal on ” or “kitchen dot external on” or “kitchen internal on” when speaking to a dot other than kitchen ,saying seithc to internal without specifying a device would by default switch it on the device you are speaking to

        since you confirm there are no hardware limitations i do not see why they would not want to implement full audio switching
        for bluetooth and 3.5mm and across all devices

        also they could have a sound scene option for different configurations
        this would be good to also include sonos too (which i do not own)

        you could have one scene where you have one dots internal speaker switched on and another dot in another room with 3.5mm switched on and internal off

        i think sound themes would be a nice addition especially since they have sonos integration now

        another thing they could do is make volume control sliders next to the device name in a sound theme section of the app ,you could create a new sound themes , add devices to the theme and then each device listed in the scene would have a volume control slider to the right of it in the app along with on/off toggle tick boxes for bluetooth, internal speaker,and 3.5mm

        kind of like how the HUE app has dimmer sliders next to each light

        • AR says:

          oh yeah this is what i was afraid of , not enough internal real estate in there especially if you need to regulate the power
          plus that heat sink , i am surprised the dot can connect to wifi at all with all that metal in there, it practically a faraday cage ,esp might not be able to be mounted in an ideal position for good wifi reception

  2. Terry says:

    How about an audio cable splitter for the audio jack to send the audio stream to an alternate unpowered speaker? The volume level may be rather low on an unpowered speaker but it may serve the purpose.

    • AFTVnews says:

      That would definitely work, but I was trying to find a solution that people could do without having to buy anything extra.

    • James says:

      Genius, thanks. I hope Amazon provide the option for the intercom service to work via internal speaker. It kind of defeats the object if I need to remotely turn on the receiver/speakers to call the children to dinner. Might as well just use a bell, which is fine unless a baby is sleeping, and vertainly not as pleasant.

  3. Gerard Pinzone says:

    I think you did this the hard way. There ought to be a switch in the 3.5mm jack that disconnects the internal speaker when the male plug is inserted. All you probably had to do is short the switch terminals of the 3.5mm jack.

    • AFTVnews says:

      I started by experimenting with the 3.5mm jack alone. From what I can tell, the jack is dead until the tip of the 3.5mm plug shorts a pair of connections in the jack. When that occurs, the signal to the internal speaker is cut off, so there’s no way to modify the jack so that both it and the pins to the internal speaker are active. The switch from one to the other is almost certainly done via software because there is a lag from when a plug is inserted and the audio switches. That’s why I resorted to trying to bring the internal speaker pins back to life by hard wiring them.

  4. Nicholas Dillon says:

    I have one plugged into a speaker selector that feeds 6 zones in my house. I have to have the livingroom zone on and turned up just to hear the echo.

    I think I will be making a kid to one of mine and trying this out.

  5. chris says:

    plus one

    drives my wife crazy
    amazon should just implement this.
    ill even buy andw echo if thats what it takes

  6. MS says:

    Wouldn’t it be the easiest if one could group an Echo device with a Fire TV device (like Fire TV 1. Gen) and have multiroom audio through the Echo and HDMI/SPDIF of the Fire TV?

  7. RichB says:

    To those wondering why you may want to do this, I currently have my Dot with a 3.5mm audio splitter running to an external speaker and a USB ADC plugged into a Raspberry Pi. The Pi then runs music visualization software which is then displayed on an LED array.

    I would like to upgrade to the new generation Echos and do away with the external speaker, but that would prevent the Pi getting audio.
    Alternatively, I could try and use the AVS SDK to get music, but that is limited to commercial device manufacturers, and I’m a hobbyist.
    Alternatively, I use a redundant Dot in multi-room music mode purely to feed the ADC via the dot’s DAC……..

    https://github.com/rbirkby/aws-infra/blob/master/content/visualization-skill.md

    • James says:

      I would keep the led array playback separate personally, so that it doesn’t get too confusing. It already sounds like a non-standard (and cool) system.

      The new unannounced Fire TV might be able to playback Alexa via internal speakers if it detects the TV or receiver isn’t on according to this site I think. Nevertheless, I couldn’t think of a foolproof way of this working regarding input selection, and mute buttons etc.

      I have just bought a ‘redundant’ echo dot to work with Alexa drop in intercom etc while the main alexa in that multi-purpose room will be the as yet unreleased Fire TV. I plan to change the wake word for the drop in only dot so it won’t get used apart from as an intercom to call the kids for dinner etc.

  8. jason buckley says:

    So I figured it out. You can’t have both at the same time but you can however select between the internal and external 3.5 with a small modification. The headphone jack it a normally closed circuit. So if you have a jack plugged in it opens the circuit. Then if you short the left circuit to the soldering point right below it in your photo. It will switch back to the internal speaker with out unpluging the 3.5. I use SmartThings so I took a sonoff low voltage relay ($6 and they just use a esp8266) and use that to short the connection between the 2 points. Automated it with smartthings and finally I have the best of both worlds.

    • Steve says:

      This is similar to what I’ve done. I’ve soldered two wires to the two middle row connections on the back of the dot’s 3.5mm socket (these connect left+ and right+ chanels to the internal speaker), drilled a small hole next to the 3.5mm socket to allow them to pass outside the dot.
      I then have a 2 pole 2 way 12v relay connected to my amp, luckily the amp has a 12v control output that energises when amp is on.
      The L+ and R+ output from the 3.5mm plug inserted into the socket goes to the common on the relay (1 to each pole). Then the normally open side is connected to L+ and R+ on the phono cables connected to the amp and the normally closed side is connected to the two wires I soldered to the L+ and R+ connections to the internal speaker. The ground wires from the inserted 3.5mm plug and the phono cables to the amp are connected together (as the ground cable isn’t switched inside the 3.5mm socket this also provides a ground back to the internal speaker through the 3.5mm socket).
      When the amp is off the sound comes out through the 3.5mm output to the relay and is then routed through the soldered cables to the internal speaker. When the amp is switched on it energises the relay which then routes the audio from the 3.5mm output direct to the amp.

      • Justin says:

        I am planning to do a mix of these two solutions – using an automotive 12v relay hooked up to the amplifier 12v remote to short the left circuit to ground when the receiver is turned off to trick the Dot into thinking the headphones jack is unplugged.

  9. David says:

    How about the same issue but when external speaker is connected via Bluetooth? Has anyone come up with a method to have both play?

    • Scott says:

      Sorry to see this string of advice end with that last question, for I have the same question.
      I’d like to listen to the bluetooth speaker downstairs, and still have the echo dot playing upstairs. Why must the internal speaker turn off?

  10. Berni says:

    You talked about intereferences when no aux is connected.is it possible that you reverted +L and – on the Speaker? Does it the Job if only 1 wire is connected from the headphone output to the internal speaker? Have you/anyone tried this?
    Iam about to open the Dot but the intereferences are making me think about..
    greetings

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