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46  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: ZB-Pro Router issue in large network on: February 07, 2014, 11:57:34 pm
Er, uh, let me see if I got this correct.  You have an XBee plugged into  an explorer that is plugged into your PC, then you take it out, go over to an arduino with an XBee shield and plug the XBee into it.  Suddenly you don't understand how the PC can't connect to the XBee that isn't plugged into the explorer anymore??

47  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: w5100 reset idea on: February 06, 2014, 10:38:39 am
I did this with several boards a few years ago (previous version of the board).  My problem was that it would take several minutes, yes minutes, for the board to properly join the in-house network.  I searched for software solutions, but finding none, I wired up the board reset to an arduino pin.  I also took a wire to one of the lights and counted pulses in a short period of time to decide if I needed to do the reset since, once in a while, the board would actually work the first time.

You have to isolate the board reset from the arduino first though which will require a magnifying glass and a good exacto knife.  If you want to see pics and a description, it's on my thermostat page on my blog at:

This little kludge has been in place for years working its little heart out without problems.

Have fun.
48  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Arduino and the Lowe's Iris Smart Switch. on: January 22, 2014, 01:40:36 pm
Nice work figuring it out - Greek and Sanskrit eh?

Do you have plans for what you'll attach it to?

Well, when I first looked at the various documents, they appeared Greek, but after a while they definitely started looking more ancient.  I was well on my way to cuneiform before I got it working.

I plan on moving it around the house.  First the refrigerator to see how much it actually uses.  Then the freezer.  It'd be nice to check a few other things over time.  The remote control portion is going to get used on various lights that I keep forgetting to turn off.  Nowadays with CFL and LED lights, it's not as important as it used to be, but still, it's a bit embarrassing to have a light on during the day.
49  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Belkin WeMo on: January 18, 2014, 12:51:44 pm
The Belkin Wemo switch uses Upnp (google it) to publish its capabilities and it's pretty complex to operate.  I decided it was too much code to invent and connected to a few of them with a Raspberry Pi.  After some trials and tribulations, I have three of them controlling various outside lights pretty reliably.  If you want to see how I did it, look here:

Be warned, it's a painful process to control one of these things with your own code.  Belkin itself made a mess of it and gathered a ton of complaints.  They work pretty reliably for me, but I don't want to support the whole world, just my house.  I also think it's too much code for a little Arduino, it could be done on a 2560 ... maybe.
50  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Arduino and the Lowe's Iris Smart Switch. on: January 18, 2014, 12:44:26 pm
I got the Lowe's  Iris smart switch to work with an Arduino.  Now I can remotely control an appliance and watch it's power usage.  It's like having a tweet-a-watt without the Tweet, and being able to turn it on and off.

I put the code I worked up and a diatribe on how ridiculously hard it was to interface with this device on my blog at:

The code only supports one of these devices, so if you want to scatter them around the house, barn, orchard, you'll have to do some changin', but it's really cool to be able to actually watch the power usage of a refrigerator over a day, or how much power that toaster actually uses.

Have fun.
51  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: December 06, 2013, 07:46:24 pm
They implemented the SteelSeries gauges also, you can stick one on a dashboard and have a cool indicator.
52  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: December 03, 2013, 01:03:30 am
Glad you folk were able to get it working.  I really like grovestream.  Check the billing under your account (upper right corner somewhere) because they calculate charges based on transactions.  I think my bill came to two bucks or so which I think is very reasonable for the level of service.  I could actually lower that to nothing if I condensed the transactions.  See, they allow multiple updates within a single transaction, so I could buffer things for 15 minutes and send it all at once, reducing my transaction count by a factor of fifteen since I'm doing every minute so far.  Heck, just save up two of them reducing it by half, and I would easily fall below the 10,000 transactions.

Prowl around the site a lot as you have the time, they have a literal ton of features that could be fun to play with.  I have a monitor that sends me email whenever I exceed a power usage threshold.  I get mail when the heaters turn on and I'm using the stove.  Helps keep me thinking about my power bill.  They can send to the phone also, but I have lousy cell service out here in the sticks.  I also set up an alarm that will send email to me when something goes wrong and data isn't updated regularly, that helps me chase down bugs in my house monitoring system.

These days I have my dozen or so Arduinos all talking to a Raspberry Pi which coordinates their activity and forwards the data off to all the cloud providers I've been testing.  I sort of outgrew an Arduino for that particular job.  Still have the arduinos all over the place though.  People tell me I need a user's manual to live here.
53  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: XBee Settings on: October 11, 2013, 10:11:11 am
The answer is a bit more complex Paul.  If you change baud rate, it won't be saved such that next time you reset the XBee it'll be the new rate unless you write it; that's the WR command.  If you're doing that, a reset or power off of the XBee will come up at the new rate.  Same with the API 2 commands, they have to be saved also.  If you're changing the XBees with XCTU, XCTU does a save to rom automatically for you.  If you're doing it in your own code, look and see if you're doing the WR command.

The baud rate is ONLY for the serial port on the XBee and has no affect on the speed the two XBees talk to each other.  The XBees have only one speed talking to each other: as fast as they can.  So, you can have one XBee at 9600 and the rest at some other speed and they can still communicate with each other and you just fine.

Regarding what speed to choose:  I always choose the highest baud rate the processor connect to the XBee can do and still do whatever else needs to be done.  On an arduino, that usually tops out at 115K.  You can use less if your software needs to.

It simply sounds like the libelium supplied XBee were pre-programmed to 38K for you.  I'd just set the other ones to that speed so they were all the same and go for it.
54  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: October 10, 2013, 07:40:23 pm
You're welcome, I guess this has become a hobby for me.  I got the blog post up and have the code I used first to try it out on the arduino there.  I don't have the newest code; seems I saved it somewhere and lost track of it.

enjoy if you're into this kind of thing.
55  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: October 10, 2013, 04:53:41 pm
Well, I took the plunge and got my stuff going into the site.  I did it first on the raspberry pi since I moved my house controller over to one of those little devices, then I did it again with an arduino.  When I started the process, there wasn't an example for an arduino on the site, but I asked, and got an example that I could try out.

Their example worked on my first try.  However, it works off a temperature probe and I was too lazy to hook one up and just used a random number instead of the probe.  It worked fine for a few hours but I started noticing that the arduino was losing ram since they were using Streams in the sample.  I contacted them and they came up with a different example that seems to be pretty good.  Obviously it isn't exactly the way I'd do it, but it works and really illustrates what can be done.

I didn't buy into tochinets discussion of the richness of the API until I was chasing bugs in my code and it turns out that the site can do just about anything you could want for logged data.  They'll even average the data so you can chart it that way.  I complained about the (to me) obscure way some of the facilities are presented and they ... (wait for it) ... replied.

Yep, they actually answered my mail.  This place is new and just coming online for folks like us, and they answer questions.  I was told they were going to have a forum later when they have the time to attend to it and they have a very easy to follow tutorial on the arduino now.

My house is recording data there on a minute basis, and except for the occasional bug in my own code, has done fine.  I'd post my code that is live, but it's in python and running on a Pi now.  The arduino code I did was just to see how hard it would be to do the same thing on one of them.  Obviously I have too much free time.

One of the really cool features is that I can create an alert that will send email to me when something happens.  I created one based on power usage such that when my house power usage goes over 10kWh, it sends me an email.  That's so cool.  My house lets me know it's using too much power from a web service out in space somewhere. (I'm easily entertained).  I haven't even begun to use the things they have available, and probably won't for a while.

Nope, this site ain't free.  But, it looks like us experimenters can keep under the billable level with a little attention so that it'll cost us nothing to experiment and track a few sensors.  It could wind up costing us if we expand to a whole bunch of stuff being logged really often, but the pricing looks waaaay more favorable than Xively went to.

One of the things that confused me at first was the huge description of organizations, components, streams and such.  It took a bit to get past that.  What they have is a site for things like smart toasters.  You buy the toaster and when you hook it to your wireless at home, it signs into grovestreams, gets an id, and begins to log how much toast you eat.  This takes some smarts on the web app because, as we all know, toasters are dumb.  However, that stuff can get confusing, so I recommend first taking a look at the arduino example because that's something we understand.   They also have a 'sandbox' that illustrates a lot of the features that we might want to use; recommended reading.

I don't have a blog post on my site about this service yet, but I should have later today.  I was impressed.
56  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Very, very strange bug! on: September 19, 2013, 01:15:11 pm
Just took your code, loaded it onto an Arduino and it started counting at 11 and went up from there.

What was the problem again??
57  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: September 19, 2013, 01:02:07 pm
Unfortunately, buzz speak is something that has totally taken over the technical services sites.  In my opinion, that's because they all want to get some money in their hands, so they create a site that does something cool from a technical support aspect.  Not like facebook or twitter that caters to teenagers looking to get laid, but to someone that has a technical need and just doesn't want to roll their own.  Their hope is not so much that they get customers, as much as some bigger corporation comes along and buys them out.  Then the techies that built it take the money and go do something else while the bigger corporation lowers service, raises price, and eventually fails or gets bought out by even bigger corporation.

Of course to do this they have to speak the language of the corporate managers.  Which means everything useful is hidden behind a pile of ...

I'm going to try this site, but I'm up to my eyeballs in a different project right now and probably won't get to it for a couple of weeks.
58  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: September 19, 2013, 09:41:46 am
Nick, what do you mean?  I took a look at the api and the language examples and it didn't look that bad.  Of course, it would be nice to have an arduino example and library, but that shouldn't be too hard to come up with.  Sure, the site has some jargon, but they have to do that to impress the marketing types that can't speak any language but their own.

At least I didn't see, "A solutions based implementation" anywhere on the site.

Take a look at the python example, even I could read it, and no one ever accused me of being one of the white coats.  Overalls and a dirty t-shirt maybe...
59  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Finally taking a look at the XBee library on: September 19, 2013, 12:44:43 am
Actually, the baud rate of the serial port on the XBee doesn't change the transmission rate at all.  They transmit at one speed, as fast as they can.  What does happen though is that you can clear the rx buffer more quickly and get data into it more quickly.  If you have all of them running at the max serial rate, they clear their buffers more quickly and don't have to ask for a retransmission because their buffer was full.  The risk you run is that you over flow the buffer on the arduino.  This can happen on heavily loaded processors that are doing several things.
60  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: August 21, 2013, 10:19:03 pm
I'm going to second the previous post about Xively and their support.  They removed the forum and went to stackoverflow and they are truly a bunch of arrogant jerks.  To add insult to injury, the Xively site has a number of things promised and not delivered scattered around it.  The old API works, but you can't move your accumulated data forward to the new facilities.  So, if you want to use their new stuff, you get to start over.

Nice going folks.  Take a good service and rip it to shreds, then turn your support over to the whims of a bunch of self righteous ....
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