All posts by adam

1 year on

It’s been a year since my last post (about the H801 led controller)

And for some reason I’ve just picked up the H801 again to use it on another project. This will be controlled porch lighting.

The last year has seen very little work on anything ‘smart’ as other priorities have taken over.

Necessity has meant I’ve learnt to weld aluminium with a AC/DC Tig welder.. hard but rewarding in the end.. that project is still ongoing but I’m hopeful it’ll be finished very soon.

I’ll post pictures of the secret squirrel project soon.

Over the coming months I’ll be posting more often as I migrate from openhab 1.x to 2

I’ve got openhab 1 running on a pine64 which is similar to a raspberry 3 but with a 64bit processor. Very quick and very reliable (kiss of death?).

Continue reading 1 year on

RGB led strip – controlled by a flashed H801 and Openhab

Update with pictures of the full strip in situ..

I’ve a few RGB LED strips around the house.

The one in the living room makes for a pleasant ambiance as it goes all the way around the room and shines upwards to reflect off the ceiling.

The problem with them is that the cheap IR controller that came with them is on the same channel as the TV remote control..


So every time we changed channels or changed the volume on the TV the lights came on, flashed, shifted colour or went all strange.
So in the end we stopped using them, I never gave up hope though and with my new IOT push I decided these were high on the list. Continue reading RGB led strip – controlled by a flashed H801 and Openhab

Cheap nodemcu not seen by the computer

I’ve quite a number of nodemcu’s – around 12 of them.
Some of them are the smaller Amica based boards while a large number are based on a larger PCB and are usually just black on the reverse.  The PCB’s are also have squarer corners while the better Aimca versions are nicely rounded.

These larger PCB based nodes use cheaper UART chips and I’ve had a lot of them fail. The usual symptom is for the nodemcu to work as normal (if it’s already got code flashed to it) but if you plug it into the computer’s USB socket it’s not seen or it just hangs when trying to communicate with it.

Continue reading Cheap nodemcu not seen by the computer

Moving from Microsoft to Linux – a small business view

My wife used to work for a small business, just her and her boss.

She had worked for large companies that owned their own IT departments and was used to ICT that worked* (the usual caveat for ICT..)

Working in a small business was an eye opener for her, she went from having a telephone support to having none.

Luckily for her and him and unluckily for me, at the time she joined the company I was injured and at home recovering from surgery. I was able to help with both purchasing and setting up of clustered servers to host a CRM and other related business software.

The company got free ICT support because it helped my wife; it also kept me from being bored.

Due to him being an intractable Yorkshire man (I can say that because I too am one..) her boss ran all his laptops/PC’s on Windows OS’s while everything I had access to, servers, laptops and PC’s that my wife worked on all ran variations of Linux – Ubuntu..

The time required to support Linux was vastly less than that of Windows, just the odd apt-get upgrade and hey presto.. I also insisted that all email transactions were done via a browser rather than a thick client, again needing less support and reducing exposure to any virus.

When my wife eventually left to set up her own business ( I carried on with the free support to her ex boss as it didn’t take up too much of time and I enjoyed helping out.

Continue reading Moving from Microsoft to Linux – a small business view

Deciding on what sensors to create

Going back to the my previous blog post about creating the senses and brains first in my IOT house I decided to do a bit of planning..

I spent a bit of time working through the house, room by room, thinking what could be easily monitored and controlled.

I then put this down in a matrix of sensors that correspond to our five senses, this will make it easier to understand the number of ‘thing’s i needed to get hold of and what is going where and why.

Continue reading Deciding on what sensors to create

IOT – the internet of things..

I’m hooked – seriously hooked on the IOT (Internet of Things) and home automation..

I’ve always liked data, collecting it, manipulating it and using it to either understand a situation or work through a problem.
The IOT is all about data and dare I say it – ‘big data’..

It was back in 1997 when I first looked at the IOT and thought through the possibilities, that was the heady days of windows 95 & 98.

A sudden realisation that very soon every single device could have an IP address and could talk to the World opened my eyes to the possibilities of automation.

It’s taken quite a while for me to re-visit that thought but now I have I’m not going to give it up until I’ve automated all the things!

Continue reading IOT – the internet of things..

I’m not that committed am I?

When was the last update on this blog?

Wow – I even forgot to update the DNS entry when I moved servers (8 months ago…)

I do enjoy writing blog posts and should do more, I write them as a aide-memoir to myself rather than anything else – but others have found a few things useful over time.

So I’ll carry on..

Humber Elections

2015 is an election year in the UK, we have a chance to change our government through exercising our democratic right to vote.

To do this effectively we need to know who is standing to represent us and what views they hold on particular subjects.

This information is usually contained in a manifesto which, if the candidate is attached to a political party, is written in conjunction with the party members.

At the last general election, in 2010, the national voter turn out was around 65%, of which the two parties currently governing managed to get about 60% of that vote. So they actually represent around 36% of the population..

Anyone who has any understanding of democracy will realise this is not an ideal position from which to elect a governing party, this lack of representation is leading more and more people to disengage totally from the political landscape. We won’t mention the discourse people feel with the whole of the political set.. That’s another argument!

Engagement of the younger generation has always been poor, with the last election just 52% of 18-24 yr olds voting, these are the very people who will be most affected by the results of any election, it’s their very future which you’re voting on. Due to the very nature they don’t vote in the same numbers as the older generation means that the prospective MP’s don’t court the votes of the young.

Their views are mostly ignited and political promises of the MP’s are usually skewed towards the elderly as they are more likely to vote.

I want to help engage more voters into the political system to chose their future which is why I’ve converted the excellent election application created by Adrian Short.

Adrian is well known for building excellent community engagement through his multiple web applications, on this occasion he created an application to show the results of the various elections in his home town of Sutton.

I’ve converted his application from the Ruby language he wrote it in to the php based Laravel MVC framework. I’ve also placed it under the same leftcase licence that Adrian’s original software was released under.

The source code can be found on github.

The application can be seen at

It will allow you to view the results of the elections, the parties, the candidate and their candidacies, it will link them all together and provide a means to find party manifestos.

You’ll also be able to find your nearest polling station by entering your postcode and links to how to register to vote.

Many thanks have to go to Adrian for creating the original code base for me to copy from, it’s so much easier not having to reinvent the wheel!


Small problem when trying to create a custom artisan command – Laravel

I came across a small issue that had me stumped for a while, I was creating a custom artisan command for Laravel and it returned this error when trying:

PHP artisan dump-autoload
{"error":{"type":"ErrorException","message":"Invalid argument supplied for foreach()","file":"\/var\/www\/elections\/vendor\/laravel\/framework\/src\/Illuminate\/Console\/Command.php","line":77}}

Try as I might I couldn’t figure it out, I removed my code bit by bit and it still came up with the error.

Then I realised that I didn’t need any options so I commented out the returning array: e.g.

	protected function getOptions()
		//return array(
		//	array('example', null, InputOption::VALUE_OPTIONAL, 'An example option.', null),

I changed it to:

	protected function getOptions()
		return array(

Then tried the dump-autoload again and no problems, so the solution is here in case anyone has the same issue.