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February 21, 2020

The DS3231 Century Flag and Day of Week Register

Somehow, I got sidetracked while trying to follow up the previous post with DS3231 real time clock alarms and the SQW interrupts. Instead I looked into how the DS3231 and Linux keep track of centuries and the day of week [...more]

Last Update: February 23. First version: February 18, 2020

I2C clock and EEPROM memory module for Raspberry Pi

When installing a new hardware clock, I learned a bit more about the DS3231. The clock module also contains AT24C32 type 32K bit EEPROM memory (4K 8-bit bytes). Rereading the post, I realize that its main subject may very well be the I2C bus on the Raspberry Pi [...more]

February 16, 2020

A Second Look at the Orange Pi PC 2

Six months ago I purchased an Orange Pi PC 2 which is a single board computer based on the Allwinner H5 system on a chip. I never finished writing up about my first impressions. Now that the board is no longer available, I have reexamined the board. Hopefully the post will be of some use to new owners of other boards based on the H5 that want to use Armbian Bionic as the operating system [...more]

January 16, 2020

Using the Sparkfun Tiny AVR Programmer in Ubuntu 18.04

After fumbling around for a couple of hours, I have finally managed to flash the traditional blink sketch on an ATtiny85 with the Sparkfun Tiny AVR Programmer using the Arduino IDE (version 1.8.10) in Ubuntu 18.04. Perhaps others will run into some of the difficulties I encountered so here is how I go about it [...more]

December 18, 2019

Temperature and Humidity Sensor and Reboot/Shutdown Switch for the Raspberry Pi

Two additional sections have been added to the never ending post on Various Hardware with Raspbian Buster Lite. The first shows just how easy it is to connect a DHT11 or DHT22/AM2302 temperature and humidity sensor to a single general input/output pin of the Raspberry Pi. The second shows how to add a reboot/shutdown switch to the Pi.

December 13, 2019

Upgrading U-Boot and Installing Linux on a Headless La Frite (AML-S805X-AC)

Here's how to upgrade the U-Boot boot loader of a headless La Frite (no monitor and no keyboard connected) from a Linux computer and upload an operating system to the eMMC memory module of the single-board computer. Libre Computer [...more]

December 9, 2019

The Domoticz Time Synchronization Problem

The solution that I was using for the problem causing Domoticz to shut down if there was time synchronization problem does not work in Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic). The problem is discussed at length and a new solution using a systemd unit file to start the service is provided. I removed the lengthy discussion in the guide to Home Automation Servers on Raspbian Buster Lite and only show how to use a unit file to start Domoticz [...more]

Last Update: December 21, 2019. First version: December 4, 2019

Cheap Of-the-Shelf Raspberry Pi Hardware Watchdog

This is about using a cheap so called USB watchdog meant for cryptocurrency mining rigs as an external hardware watchdog for the Raspberry Pi. This is a single relay watchdog which performs hard resets as a last resort. Perhaps later I will test the ubiquitous two relay USB watchdogs that appear to be much more flexible [...more]

November 16, 2019

Real-Time Clock on Raspbian

The section on the RTC in Various Hardware with Raspbian Buster Lite has been rewritten. I am quite happy to report that installation of a real-time clock is now much simpler in Buster. However, I still have questions on the subject and I have been investigating time keeping in Linux on and off over the last few days. Will I ever emerge from that rabbit hole? And if I do, will there be anything worthwhile to say about it? Stay tuned...

November 12, 2019

Report on Progress or Lack of...

I am making slow progress with the guide to installing a home automation system using Domoticz on a Raspberry Pi running Rasbian Buster Lite. The third part on installing hardware, still in draft form, is taking longer than expected as I stumble with changes because of the new version of Rasbian. I am striving to ensure that each step described is warranted. For example, I have found out that it is not necessary to explictely update the real-time clock nor is ntp needed. I am also learning perhaps more than I wanted to know about systemd. Older posts need to be updated. The fight against one of the banes of the Internet, the out of date how to blog, continues.

November 8, 2019

No More Tasmota/ESP8266 Mosquitto MQTT Disconnects

Want to git rid of all those socket errors and MQTT disconnects occurring for not apparent reason? Just upgrade your ESP8266 device firmware [...more]

November 5, 2019

Installation and Configuration of Raspbian Buster Lite

This is a major update to the initial October 27 post. There is a better explanation of how to do a first boot of the Raspberry Pi which now includes instructions to connect to the Pi with a USB to serial adapter. The Information for neophytes sidebar are collapsible which hopefully makes the layout cleaner. The presentation has been slightly reorganized to make it easier to follow the different paths to the initial installation of the operating system. Two sections that are more hardware related have been moved to the third post of the series on the subject. An incomplete draft of the third post is up so that these two sections remain available. [...more]

November 2, 2019

Home Automation Servers on Raspbian Buster Lite

This is part 2 of the series of posts about installing a home automation system around Domoticz on a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian Buster Lite. It covers installing the major services that are needed for the home automation system: the home automation server itself, an MQTT broker, a Web server, and others services that I find quite useful [...more]

November 1, 2019

Domoticz Tips, Tricks & Info

This is just a list of tips and tricks that can be found in the Domoticz documentation, Wiki or Forum that I find useful and decided to compile for easy retrieval. [...more]

Last Update: November 5, 2019. First version: October 27, 2019

Installation and Configuration of Raspbian Buster Lite

This is a first part of a three part series of posts that will chronicle the installation of a home automation system based on Domoticz. This first part describes in excruciating detail steps that can be followed to install the latest version of Raspbian Buster Lite on a Raspberry Pi. I hope it will be useful for a newcomer to the ubiquitous single board computer. [...more]

October 15, 2019

Hardware Watchdog - Need Information

In the hope of making my home automation system more reliable, I ordered hardware watchdogs from Chinese vendors on eBay and Aliexpres. One vendor sent the wrong item. The other sent what I ordered but there is no information about it. I think I have the basics of how the watchdog works, but can someone provide me with more detailed information? [...more]

Updated October 13, 2019. First Version: October 8, 2019

Push Button and LED on a Single GPIO Pin

When a microcontroler project needs more input and output pins than the available number, it is always interesting to use a single pin for more than one purpose. I show in this post how to use a single GPIO pin as an output to control a light-emitting diode and as an input to read the state of a normally open push button switch. [...more]

September 25, 2019

An ESP8266 Based Router Watchdog

After a considerable delay, I have finally begun to improve the router monitor built around a Sonoff Wi-Fi switch that I mentioned back in April 2018. Among the improvements, I have added manual override of the monitoring function and MQTT functionality which makes it possible to remotely control the router monitor through an MQTT broker [...more]

September 5, 2019

Syslog Server on Raspbian and Tasmota Remote Logging

This is a much needed update of the original October 2017 post on how to set up rsyslog on Raspbian Buster as a centralized syslog server and how to enable remote error loggin in Tasmota [...more]

Updated October 1, 2019. First Version: August 22, 2019

Flash Tasmota on a Sonoff in DIY Mode in Linux

Without Windows, the software provided by Itead to flash firmware on the newly available Sonoff Mini and Basic R3 cannot be used. Here's how to install Tasmota in Linux with the DIY mode REST API without using the Sonoff_Devices_DIY_Tools utility. I think we could do the same in Mac OS and Windows. On the other hand, more hardware is needed to create a Wi-Fi hotspot connected to the local network [...more]

Updated July 14, 2019. First Version: July 4, 2019

Installing WireGuard on Raspbian Stretch and Buster

In the original version of this post, I overstated problems with the installation instructions kindly provided by Adrian Mihalko on GitHub. I hope to have made honourable amends in this revised version of the post by showing that the instructions do work in Raspbian Stretch. It is also shown that WireGuard can be installed with the apt wrapper if an additional step is taken. I have also found a German language post by Michael Bachmann, which updates the instructions for Buster. Finally, the Dietpi script which works in both Stretch and Buster [...more]

Updated July 14, 2019. First Version: July 11, 2019

First Taste of La Frite (AML-S805X-AC) from Libre Computer

Back on the October 17, 2018 I backed a Kickstarter project by Libre Computer, named La Frite: Open Source Fries. Delivery was slated for November 2018, but there was a slight delay, and I received the package in the mail yesterday. Here are my first impressions after I installed Debian Stretch on a headless system [...more]

Updated July 14, 2019. First Version: July 4, 2019

Installing WireGuard on Raspbian Stretch and Buster

Installing the WireGuard VPN server on Raspbian was not difficult, in great measure because there was good information available on the Web. But just lately, the instructions that I was following no longer work. So I hurriedly wrote this post to point out that the DietPi crew has a working script to install WireGuard on Rapbian Buster that also works on Raspbian Strech [...more]

July 2, 2019

Bluetooth, BlueALSA and Buster

The good news is that the newest version of the Official Linux Bluetooth protocol stack BlueZ is included in Raspbian Buster available since June 20, 2019. However some tweaking still needs to be done to use Bluetooth on the Raspberry Pi [...more]

June 16, 2019

Wi-Fi Dimmer with Domoticz

A major retailer sells Wi-Fi dimmers and other IoT devices that meet Canadian safety standards and that are certified by recognized agencies. Here's how I installed two of these devices and how it was possible to integrate them into the Domoticz home automation system. Voice commands (Google Home and Alexa) also work [...more (in French)]

Update May 28, 2019. First version: May 18, 2019

Tide Data in Canada with Python

Here is a short note showing that it is possible to access tide data in Canada made available on the Web by the Canadian Hydrographic Service using a Python script. It's just a debut [...more]

May 10, 2019

May 2019 Domoticz Update

About some problems with the May 5th stable version of Domoticz. There was no reason to adopt it so quickly and had I been less eager I would have avoided some difficulties. Nevertheless, all's well that ends well [...more]

April 9, 2019

Raspberry Pi and Domoticz Watchdog

It is about time that a watchdog be setup on the Raspberry Pi that is hosting my home automation system. This post describes a first effort which aims to implement the basics:

[...more]

March 12, 2019

Remote Logging of the Orange Pi Zero Core Temperature

Perhaps undeservedly, the Orange Pi Zero has the reputation of running hot. I wanted to use the Domoticz data logging facilities to record the core temperature of the single board computer which is on all the time running HA-Bridge. And while setting that up, I decided that I should also log any errors occurring during the execution of the script that updates the temperature data on a regular basis and look into sending some sort of notification if the Orange Pi Zero seems to be getting too hot [...more]

March 9, 2019

Remote Logging and Email Notification

This note is about how to configure an rsyslog server to have it forward some or all of the log messages it receives to a remote syslog server. A method to send an email in response to an alert message is also discussed. [...more]

February 28, 2019

Emulated IR Remote Control

or How to Use a $ 1,000 Desktop Computer to Emulate a $ 5 Infrared Remote Control. The note introduces a Free Pascal/Lazarus program that emulates a very old IR remote control that will soon be totally unusable [...more]

February 15, 2019

HA Bridge on Armbian Working with Domoticz and Alexa

As I speculated, HA Bridge is very good as a proxy between Amazon Alexa and IoT devices defined in Domoticz. And installation was a snap [...more]

Update: February 11, 2019. First version: February 9, 2019

ir-keytable on the Orange Pi Zero

While LIRC could be useful for some, many will just want to use an IR remote control with software designed for that purpose such as Kodi. In that case, LIRC will not be needed if the remote control uses one of the following IR protocols: rc-5, rc-5-sz, jvc, sony, nec, sanyo, mce_kbd, rc-6, sharp, and xmp. The ir-keytable utility contains over 130 remote control definitions and can be used to craft one if the IR remote is not among that list [...more]

February 5, 2019

LIRC on the Orange Pi Zero

To quote lirc.org "Using lirc on Raspberry Pie [sic] is quite popular these days." Being a self-style contrarian I installed the package on the Orange Pi Zero. I managed to get simple demonstration programs working with it. [...more]

February 3, 2019

Using Bare Metal IR on the Orange Pi Zero

The note shows the basics about handling button presses from an infrared remote control using the python-evdev package and the built in kernel support for IR events on an Orange Pi Zero. Neither LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control) nor ir-keytable is used [...more]

January 31, 2019

Creating a Custom Armbian Image

Lately, I'm using an Orange Pi Zero for new projects. This means burning the OS image on a microSD card and then performing a number of initial steps, setting up networks, upgrading all installed packages and so on, that need to be repeated in exactly the same way each time a new image is used. All this takes time. So I decided to create a custom binary image that avoids these steps [...more]

January 30, 2019

Using HA Bridge with the Echo Dot 3rd Generation

This is a second look at the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation with emphasis on using it with HA Bridge on an Orange Pi Zero for local control of IoT devices. This is not a detailed explanation but a reassurance that devices installed in the bridge will be discovered with the 3rd generation Echo Dot [...more]

January 28, 2019

A Note on BlueAlsa 0.9 with BlueZ 5.49 and 5.50 on Rasbian Stretch

This is a continuation of the previous note on Bluetooth on the November 2018 version of Raspbian Stretch in which the default version of BlueZ is replaced with version 5.49 and later version 5.50. There is not much difference between these three versions of Bluetooth protocol stack at least for audio streaming [...more]

January 26, 2019

A Note on BlueAlsa 0.9 with BlueZ 5.43 on Rasbian Stretch

This is a short note reporting some changes encountered with the newest version of BlueAlsa when used with BlueZ version 5.43 with the latest version of Raspbian Stretch [...more]

January 24, 2019

Creating a custom image of Raspbian

Lately, I have experimented a lot with the new version of Raspbian Stretch Lite, trying different configurations and software. To check that everything works, I prefer to return to the operating system as obtained from the Raspberry Foundation. Whenever the image is copied to the SD card, the /boot partition must be changed in order to start the Raspberry Pi without a keyboard or monitor. Then the operating system has to be upgraded. All this takes time. So I decided to create a binary image that avoids these steps [...more (in French)]

January 22, 2019

Installing an Older Version of Lighttpd

This post shows how to install version 1.4.35 of the Lighttp web server in Rasbian Stretch. It then becomes possible to route the video stream obtained from MJPG-Streamer as could be done in Jessie. The problem with version 1.4.45 of Lighttpd is also better identified though no solution is offered [...more]

January 20, 2019

Updating Raspbian to Stretch

The original post has been corrected. Some changes were minor but it was wrong to state that the latest version of Mosquitto could not be installed. It was a good opportunity to make clearer how to connect the real-time clock and temperature and humidity sensor without having to refer to older out of date posts [...more]

January 16, 2019

New Hardware (Episode 2): IP Camera, Itead Sonoff Goodies, and Amazon Echo Dot

How can I get on with software experiments and updates when new hardware keeps on arriving? In this second "mailbag" post without a video stream, I will present my first impressions of a cheap wireless IP camera, the 3-pole Itead Sonoff T1 wall switch, the new version of the Itead Sonoff Basic and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot [...more]

January 14, 2019

Updates

The post entitled All does not always work has been updated and translated into English. I added an item about the automatic update of the home automation IP address at FreeDNS. I also added an explanation for my problems with using the Arduino IDE to compile TASMOTA.

Information about installing and using K3b to burn a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray disk has been added to Installing Ubuntu 18.04.1, Additions and Adjustements. This post is in French only.

January 10, 2019

Updating Raspbian to Stretch

The New Year seemed like a good time to tackle once again the task of updating the Raspbian operating system on my Raspberry Pi hosting my home automation server. This is but another of my series of posts on setting up a Raspberry Pi so it would be of interest mostly to new fans of small single-board computers. I did manage to do a truly headless installation, and I did resolve some little problems which may be of general interest [...more]

December 16, 2018

Three Small Projects Based on the ESP8266

Here are three projects under development that work on the home Wi-Fi network: a touch-controlled lamp, a Wi-Fi temperature sensor, and a weather data display. The first two are connected to home automation software, Domoticz, the latter could be in the future [...more (in French)]

December 12, 2018

All does not always work

By way of proof that I am far from being an expert in the field, here are some projects that have not succeeded as expected [...more]

October 30, 2018

Install Free Pascal and Lazarus on Linux with FPCUPdeluxe

This is a rewrite of the August 17, 2018 post named Installing Free Pascal and Lazarus with fpcupdeluxe on Ubuntu 18.04. I followed the instructions in that initial post but the Free Pascal compiler and Lazarus IDE would not install on a fresh Mint 19 distribution. It turns out that my initial instructions left out some requirements that needed to be installed. These were present when I first used FPCUPdeluxe because of previous installations [...more]

October 9, 2018

Qwant Search Engine

I added a fourth search engine to search my entire website. Qwant, like DuckDuckGo, promises to keep no information about the searches made. The site uses an unusual URL syntax to limit searches to a particular website. I decided to use an approach other than the one recommended to do this local searches. [...more (in French)]

The translation into English of the post entitled More Weather API is now completed.

For older posts see the Archives

This page lists posts published on all subjects in the last year. The Programming and Home Automation pages are commented indexes of posts going back two years limited to their respective subject. Archives contains links to all the pages published on this site. It is also possible to do a searches limited to the content of this site with the search box at the top of all pages.