Sunday, September 17, 2017

And a Cherry on top ...

Okay, so it's not a great pun to follow up the previous post but lots of things working is a cherry on top (and I being on top of things, is a "Cherry" on top of things ;-). told you it was a bad pun). I have managed to get my exim4 setup working properly to the internet, so I can now properly forward email. I have my crontab backup file and I'm restoring all the cron jobs (need to reconfigure a few things). I've also restored the main printer from the backups (odd I can't find the other printer). Nagios is again monitoring various things around the house (dang I really need to get a bunch of new batteries ... ). So overall I'm a very happy camper. Still need to work on a better backup strategy but I've decided a lot of my projects can be put in git (Github, Gitlab, Atlassian, etc) so I'll save those there. I'm also keeping rync backups to smaller sets of file groups.

I've stared working on the python script which will listen for raw IR commands from the Broadlink RM3 (the Blackbean) and publish to an MQTT topic. It seems that the raw strings are not exactly the same twice so I need to learn to properly decode those raw strings. Still needs lots of work but the basics are working now and I can update the code as I get a better grasp of the IR protocols. I'll focus on the NEC IR protocol as the main remote I'll be working with is a Tivo remote.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Catch up (ketchup? Catsup?)

Yes, I've been rather lax about posting but I have a few things. I've been extremely busy at work and I've been overwhelmed with work related education. That means I can't spend the same amount of time working on my HA as my work education cuts into my after hours reserve. Despite this I am still poking around and I've noticed that I haven't posted these HA Blogs links, amongst other things.


So these 3 blogs occupy a lot of my online time lately. While we seem to think a lot a like I do they seem to do it differently. Which I appreciate.

Pete's blog is very active and Andreas does a really nice job with his video blogs and they appear regularly.

In addition I have 2 nice new Smart Assistants, Google Home and Alexa. While I'm not sitting down and writing skills for either (grrrr) I have been playing with skills that others have added. I have the SmartThings and Google Home controlling a few appliances. With Alexa I have it working with some MQTT topics (virtual devices). Both are limited and it doesn't take much to confuse them but overall they're working pretty well. More me learning than machine learning. ;-) I have done much more than add devices to Google Home but on the Alexa side I've played around with Node-RED Alexa Home Skill Bridge. I have a Lamp, a Lock and a Thermostat. I kind of have the responses working (Automatic Acknowledgment turned off). I have the response that checks that the lock is locked, working. Also the responses to the thermostat queries.

Meanwhile I'm still recovering from the last drive crash. I'm rebuilding various services such as Nagios. So far I've added a couple of passive checks and I wrote a nice 'ping next hop' script for the router's dynamic IP interface. I figured out how to update dnsmasq with the next hop router info so I can use the hostname nexthop.uucp as the IP and Hostname in the device config of nagios. As long as I keep it reasonably up to date I should be able to check it.

On the Node-Red front I have a lot of that working (I had good backups of that code). I've cleaned it up a bit and added new flows. I have Alexa flows (Appliance, Lock and Thermostat and some responses), Timers, a simple UI (Dashboard), a traffic light, weather reports from a local Airport and Air Quality Index from the New Jersey sensors (NJ AQI RSS).

On the hardware side I've been doing a lot of work with the Sonoff devices. I have need for a few custom devices such as a loud sound sensor (for the buzzer on the dryer), an LED controller node, a water level detector, etc. On that note, one of my friends has encouraged me to write up a page on what I did to create the existing nodes.While the excellent existing Sonoff-Tasmota page and Wiki explain it quite well I did find some differences. I'll post those here and then see if I can get the wiki pages updated.

I also need a decent IR node so I can build my wife a timed off scene. She'd like to have a set of lights go off and the TV go off after she falls asleep. So I picked up a Broadlink RM Mini 3 (Black Bean IR Control Hub). I'm using the code. I found the docs lacking so I need to do a little write up and send it to the author. So far it's learning and replaying the signal pretty well. I can select the device I want to have send and learn. I'm hoping I can use it from MQTT (and Node-Red) so that my wife could use the remote to setup the timer. At the moment this is a bit ambitious, but getting closer to reality, so we'll see where this goes.

Finally my XBee to Ethernet adapter for my Brultech EMC-1240 (power monitor) died. I think the 5v0 to 3v3 regulator died. It had been giving me trouble from time to time but it finally died. I picked up another WIZ110SR board and some replacement regulators. I really need to get a couple of ESP8266's or EPS32's to do WiFi to Serial Gateways built. but for now I'll just fix the existing setup.