splok's blog

!! Start Here !!!

If this site seems to be a little chaotic, then you are absolutely right: It is. ;-)

This site is dedicated to the design and implementation of my home automation system and related topics.
Almost all technology that is used in my home will be described here.

Most of this technology is self-made, or modified. If not, the thought process for chosing a certain technology will be explained.
Also note I'm talking about home automation, not home control.

There is also not a "right" way of navigating this site.
Some pages are intended to read after each other, but some pages are single entities as not all used technology has other dependencies.

Please start here to get an overview.

Åke is changing the world!

It seems a screenshot of this website got featured on the blog of Åke Hedman, the creator of VSCP:
http://grodansparadis.com/wordpress/?p=107

Åke, you are not just about to change the world, but you, and VSCP, have already changed my world!

I hope you can keep enjoying beeing the Bumblebee that changes one person at a time. Before you know it, the whole world hase been changed.

VSCP

VSCP, or Very Simple Control Protocol, will be another piece that will be used in my Home Automation system.
The website (www.vscp.org) might be a little chaotic, but the protocol itself is a work of beauty.

After 12 years of development (Happy birthday VSCP!) the protocol is very mature and stable.

So, What is it?
In one sentence: It is a hardware agnostic protocol to get event and response messages around, designed to run on autonomous small footprint devices without any central point of control.

New Content!

New content about "the" output modules!

http://www.splok.org/output_module

It is quite generic, and the hardware is still being designed, but it gives you a nice overview of what is being done.
The software on the Arduino controller, however, is already functional.

Various updates all around

There were several small updates on various pages.

I noticed the new Sonos firmware required some changes to the sonos.pl script, so this is documented as well. I even provided a nice patch so you don't have to make the changes manually.

Via decided to list the connector type in their newest manual, so now it is possible to buy the correct connectors to make the hardware hacking easier.
They also released an updated BIOS.

I also am using my DC powersupply/UPS and it is working great! :-)
The downside is there is still no monitoring done, but that will be "fixed" in the future.

Slow development

I'm getting a little bit frustrated by writing software for Arduino.

Am not a software developer, but I don't like the language at all.
On the other hand I realy like that a "release" consists of a complete toolchain.

With every new release there is problems: They changed some API's completely and/or some libraries just don't work as described, or the documentation is not complete.

Just by writing, in my opinion, fairly basic software, I'm forced to start and/or contribute to several bug reports for various strange, obscure, unexplainable and apparently random issues.

OWFS sensor tools

It took a while, but there is new content.

I wrote some scripts to manage my 1-wire sensors and to store all measurements into a mySQL database.
These do not directly integrate with MisterHouse, but measurements can be easily triggered from MisterHouse and reading something from a database is also not very hard to do. ;-)

More information and the code can be found here: http://www.splok.org/owfs_sensor_tools

Power supply

A few weeks ago, I received all hardware I ordered.
Now I finally found some time to start using it. ;-)

Currently I'm building a power supply for all equipment and it will be housed inside the case of an old 19 inch network switch.
It will provide 120W max. @ 12V. (Uninterrupted)

More information can be found here.

Airflow

After the BIOS was working again, I closed the case and started monitoring temperature and fan speed...

CPU: 60° C.
Case: 44° C.
Fan speeds almost supersonic. ;-)

Not good.
So, how do we fix it?

First of all I ripped out the case fan that came with the case.
It made noise, but didn't really move air.

I had some fans lying around, so I used two of those. (There is room in the case to install 2 fans.)

BIOS Flash successful

The BIOS chip used on the mainboard is a SST25VF080B and it turns out it is supported by flashrom.
I therefor decided to built the programmer as described on
http://flashrom.org/FT2232SPI_Programmer#DLP_Design_DLP-USB1232H

To connect it to the SPI header on the mainboard, I used an old USB cable and crocodile clips.


However, it didn't work and I got the following error:

No EEPROM/flash device found.
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