openHAB and Our Fireplace Part 1

MrMobileWill fireplace, HomeAutomation, openhab 2 Comments

When moving into our place nearly six years ago, my hacker eye noticed the gas fireplace and my attention was drawn to the fact that it has a remote that has manual/auto and scheduling. It’s the first place I’ve lived in with a gas fireplace, so my first thought was the RF signal was prime for hacking. I never got around to trying anything and it is probably more difficult than the outdoor temperature sensor I did earlier this year. Recently, with the adventures in openHAB and with all of my Z-Wave research it dawned on me: I probably can just bypass the remote and interface directly. One simple test would answer my question. I took a jumper and followed …

OpenHAB and Proximity

MrMobileWill HomeAutomation, openhab 3 Comments

A big part of being able to automate with rules is the ability to know who is home. Proximity is one of the items that needs to be transferred from DomotiGA to openHAB. There are two main ways of doing this. OpenHAB supports a Bluetooth binding which requires a bit of working to get setup. Not wanting to mess with that, I decided to just adapt my original shell script to openHAB as well as incorporating some changes from https://code.google.com/p/openhab-samples/wiki/Tricks#Use_cheap_bluetooth_dongles_on_remote_PCs_to_detect_your_phone/w. This example page also has some good rules on using not only phones but laptops and such on the network to track who is home.  You can have all kinds of fun with that! For example, with the Colorific bulb …

OpenHAB and Zigbee Philips Hue

MrMobileWill HomeAutomation, openhab 1 Comment

Now that openHAB and Z-Wave are working, it’s time to get Zigbee setup so I can use the cheaper light bulbs. As of this post, the GE and Cree Zigbee bulbs are $15 at your local Home Depot or on Amazon in comparison to $30 for the Z-Wave ones. I have tested the Cree bulbs and they have a nice even glow compared to GE. The GE bulbs look cool since they have a clear dome but deathly to look at when on. My co-worker originally bought the bulbs but realized replacing the wall switches was the way to go, so now I have them, ;).  Since I didn’t go the Wink route, I had to figure out the best …

openHAB and Z-Wave

MrMobileWill HomeAutomation, openhab 1 Comment

Now that openHAB is chugging along nicely, I would like to be able to start controlling devices using off the shelf parts. There seems to be two standards widely used Z-Wave and Zigbee. So far it appears light bulbs are mostly Zigbee and switches/thermostats/door locks are Z-Wave. You can get Z-Wave light bulbs but as of this post, they cost twice as much. Zigbee is what the Xbee is based on and it isn’t as standardized across manufacturers like Z-Wave. To be as flexible as possible in the end, I want to have both radios available to openHAB. One way to do this is via a rooted Wink Hub. My co-worker really likes the Wink Hub as it has worked …

Nextion – Human Machine Interface

MrMobileWill displays, indiegogo 0 Comments

Another crowd sourced campaign completed! This one, from Indiegogo is called Nextion HMI, Human Machine Interface. This display offloads the UI elements, processing, and design away from your microcontroller. Nextion has an editor that you design your UI with drag n’ drop elements. Then your microcontroller just interacts with the display over serial to retrieve button press and other events. I believe this is similar to 4D systems but affordable. Sweet! Nextion in action. Image from Indiegogo. Here are some of the specs for the 2.4in. For details check Indiegogo or their site http://imall.itead.cc/display/nextion.html. 320 x 240 Resolution RGB 65K true to life colors TFT Screen with integrated 4-wire Resistive Touch Panel  Easy 4 pin interface to any TTL Serial …

openHAB and Colorific

MrMobileWill HomeAutomation, openhab 0 Comments

After my initial adventures in exploring openHAB, I wanted something I can control. The only thing around at the time was my Colorific RGB bulb I was playing around with in the Jamrific project. Even though openHAB doesn’t support this bulb directly, I can still make it work since it is so flexible. One of the available bindings is the EXEC which can call a system command or shell script. Perfect! First thing was to update the Python script to control the bulb so that it will feedback to openHAB. As before, you will need Bluez for BT 4.0 support. You can use the same directions I initially used for Jamrific from Adafruit. This could work for other BT RGB bulbs as …

Adventures in openHAB

MrMobileWill HomeAutomation, openhab 1 Comment

When I was originally researching open source home automation servers, I had looked at openHAB but then dismissed it due to the iPhone looking interface and lack of admin UI. At that time I settled on DomotiGA, as you may have noticed in my previous blog posts. The problem with DomotiGA is the difficulty in adding custom devices without having to edit/compile the source code which is in Gamba3. For now I have just lived with it since it has a nice desktop UI to use and supports JeeNodes. Some other issues is the lack of an official built-in web interface and mobile apps, ease of remote access, plus, it’s Linux only, which isn’t that big of an issue but …

Home Automation: Egg Minder

MrMobileWill HomeAutomation 0 Comments

As I was looking for some Z-Wave stuff on Amazon, I saw an awesome deal on the Quirky Egg Minder. It was selling at a reduced price for only fifteen bucks – so total impulse buy! Also, my reasoning to buy just about any gadget is for future blogging. Makes sense, right? I ordered via Amazon Prime on a Friday and received on Sunday. Pretty, sweet! Upon opening the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the nice modern packaging. The Egg Minder is a WiFi cloud enabled device to manage your eggs. You know, the of farm-fresh variety. No more are the days of counting your eggs. Not only does it keep count, but it keeps track of freshness by …

Blast from the Past: Tandy 1000TL/2

MrMobileWill Other Projects 0 Comments

A little over two years ago I was finishing building the XTIDE Adapter with the Dangerous Prototypes free PCB. Using their Bus Pirate I was able to flash the CPULD, but you need a computer to flash the BIOS. Upon pulling my Tandy 1000TL/2 (my first computer were I learned the basis of everything I do today) out of the closet, I realized after trying a standard keyboard that it requires an XT keyboard. Drat! When my wife and I moved first moved to Monterey, I had gotten rid of a bunch of stuff. I couldn’t remember if the Tandy keyboard was one of them. I know I got rid of the monitor(s) and dot matrix printer. Either way, I still …

VA Tester and our Giant Star

MrMobileWill HomeAutomation, solar, USB Tester, VA Tester 3 Comments

Once upon a time on a bright and sunny afternoon, I decided to interact with some photons from that big burst of energy we revolve around. I had ordered a 6V 3.5W solar panel from Amazon awhile back but I never got around to trying it. I also had an Adafruit Solar LiPo Charger that I hadn’t used.  Part of this is research of using solar with home automation nodes that are near a window. Currently, I use AA batteries but I see them as wasteful since eventually you have to replace them. Of course you can get rechargeable AA batteries but they usually put out a tad less voltage, 1.2V vs 1.5V and still uses energy from an outlet …