News and Recent Posts

Adding an IKEA VALLHORN Motion Sensor in Domoticz

Last Update: April 16, 2024. Original version: April 3, 2024

Adding another Zigbee sensor, this time the new IKEA VALLHORN motion sensor [...more]

The XIAO ESP32C6 is Unveiled by Seeed Studio

March 30, 2024

The newest addition to the XIAO series of microcontroller development boards is available for delivery in mid April. Without hands on experience with the board, it's not possible to write a review of the board. However, based on the available information, I feel that the position of the ESP32C6 in the XIAO line up can be predicted. [...more]

Some X10 devices refuse to die

Last Update: March 11, 2024. Original version: March 4, 2024

Seven years after a first post about the PalmPad X10 wireless remote control and the X10 CM19A RF controller, I reuse these old devices with a first generation Raspberry Pi B to create additional control system for lighting fixtures already managed with Domoticz. Compared to the 2017 post, this one discusses support for dimmers using a service written in Python 3 [...more (in French)]

A PSA About CC2531 USB Zigbee Dongles

January 31, 2024

Many vendors are flogging "Wireless Zigbee CC2531 USB Interface Dongle Capture Packet Modules" which appear to be clones of the CC2531EMK CC2531 USB Evaluation Module Kit. Most vendors do not explictely identify the chip on the board. If the board contains a CC2531F128 it will work as a Zigbee packet sniffer, but it will not be possible to flash router or coordinator firmware [...more]

Minor Site Modifications

January 20, 2024

Small cosmetic changes were made to this site today.

More significant, there is now a test that ensures that the Matomo statistic gathering script is only run from the sigmdel.ca host. That means two things. These changes are in line with the long-term objective of closing down this site in an orderly fashion. Relying on GitHub to distribute source code or binaries is part of this agenda. There is no fixed date for the closure while I still have the time, desire, and means (albeit limited) to carry on.

Obtaining the Public IP Address of a Local Network Connected to the Internet

January 19, 2024

This post is about techniques to obtain the public 32-bit IP version 4 address assigned by my internet service provider (ISP) to my local area network. In other words, this is the IP address of Internet facing Ethernet port of the router provided by the ISP. Strictly speaking, there is no need to ascertain the IP address, but I like to know what is happening in our network [...more]

Adding an Ikea Trådfri Shortcut Button in Domoticz

Last Update: February 14, 2024. Original version: January 5, 2024

Here is a pleasant change of pace after too much complaining lately. I added an IKEA Trådfri shortcut button type E1812 to our Domoticz based home automation system using its Sonoff Zigbee Bridge running Zigbee2Tasmota. It's a bit late given that the shortcut button is discontinued, but this information will be handy when it is time to add the other three buttons I managed to snag at a great price before it was too late [...more]

Converting another Amlogic S192 TV Box Into a Linux Appliance - I

December 23, 2023

This will be the first of two posts describing how to install Armbian on a formally ubiquitous cheap knockoff of the Tanix TX9. In this first part, the latest stable release of Armbian from the Armbian TV Boxes community is installed. That version is based on Debian bookworm [...more]

Storage and Code Woes

Last Update: January 2, 2024. Original version: December 13, 2023

Problems have accumulated in the last four or five months. Most are related to storage media, but I have also made some coding errors. Hopefully, I can return to more enjoyable tasks in a few weeks or months and then I may have something positive to contribute [...more]

Two Updates Today

September 8, 2023

There has been a major change to Installing the AT Firmware on an ESP-01S first posted on May 22, 2022. Hopefully, the instructions are more detailed and clearer so that beginners will find it easier to follow along. More importantly, there are now instructions on how to install the newest version of the ESP-IDF (ESP RTOS) SDK based ESP-AT on the 1MB ESP-01S module. Currently that is version No compilation is required.

Robert Hammelrath has rearranged the directory structure of his Shared Stuff repository and changed the file names of the device specific Micropython versions. The instructions on downloading a version for the Wemos W600-PICO board in A Second Look at the W600-PICO Development Board have been updatedd, but there's been no time to update the rest of the post first published January 9, 2023.

Adding a Local Network Time Server in Linux

June 20, 2023

How to integrate a local time server such GNATS into a local network. Shows how to add the local server as a time source in the three Linux NTP clients (systemd-timesync, chrony and ntp) whether explicitely or automatically through a DHCP server. Also covers adding the local server as a time source in Tasmota [...more]

GNATS, a Tiny Basic ESP32 GPS Based NTP Server

Last Update: July 21, 2023. Original version: June 13, 2023

A tiny and very basic NTP server based on a GPS receiver (ATM336H 5N-31) and which runs on the SeeedStudio XIAO ESP32C3 or XIAO ESP32S3 [...more]

A Wi-Fi Switch for Domoticz using a XIAO ESP32C3 - Part 4

Last Update: May 24, 2023. Original version: April 24, 2023

Commands - version 0.0.8
This post contains a list of commands and their syntax valid for version 0.0.8 (12_with_mqtt). [...more]

A Wi-Fi Switch for Domoticz using a XIAO ESP32C3 - Part 3

Last Update: May 27, 2023. Original version: April 20, 2023

Better User Experience
After a long delay, part 3 is completed. It contains a long-winded discussion of some major improvements to the basic version. These include a logging module, a Web console and command interpreter à la Tasmota, and user managed settings. In addition, the techniques used to avoid blocking methods such as HTTP requests are presented [...more]

A Wi-Fi Switch for Domoticz using a XIAO ESP32C3 - Part 2

Last Update: April 20, 2023. Original version: April 20, 2023

Asynchronious Web Page Updates
Finally, part 2 is completed. It covers a) Asynchronous JavaScript And XML (AJAX), b) Web Sockets and c) Server-sent events (SSE) as a means of dynamically updating data on the Web interface without reloading the complete web page. As before the source code for the project is made available on GitHub [...more]

A Wi-Fi Switch for Domoticz using a XIAO ESP32C3 - Part 1

Last Update: June 24, 2023. Original version: March 25, 2023

Demonstration Projects
On creating a XIAO ESP32C3 based Wi-Fi switch that will run a Web server and integrate into the Domoticz home automation system. It's not just a matter of turning a LED or relay on or off with a button on a Web page; numerous examples of that can be found on the Web. Whenever the state of the light is changed locally with the button, the light's status has to be updated on the Web page displayed by all clients connected to the Web server and in the home automation system. Similarly, if the toggle button on a client's Web page is clicked, then the hardware controlling the light must be activated accordingly and the light's status must be updated in the home automation system and on all connected clients' Web page simultaneously. Likewise, if the virtual light switch in the home automation system is toggled on or off, the actual relay or LED on the Wi-Fi switch must be updated and the new status of the light must be shown on all connected clients' Web pages. This is the first of what should be multiple posts as functionality such as over-the-air updates and MQTT support are added [...more]


Last Update: March 23, 2023. Original version: December 7, 2016

The post has been updated with the addition of a section on privacy, including the disclosure that a Matomo analytics script has been included to each page. Another section on the removal of the downloads page has been added while also pointing out that bigger source files are being made available on GitHub [...more]

Bluetooth®, PulseAudio, and BlueALSA in Raspberry Pi OS Lite (March 2022)

Last Update: March 14, 2023. Original version: March 17, 2022

Contains a quick update about the proper way to install PulseAudio in Raspberry Pi OS Lite. Hopefully there will be a new version of the post on the same subject but using the latest February 2023 version of Rapsberry Pi OS Lite. [...more]

First Look at the Seeed Studio XIAO ESP32C3

Last Update: March 1, 2023. Original version: February 25, 2023

A first look at the latest addition to the XIAO family of tiny development boards, the Seeed Studio XIAO ESP32C3. The posts ends with five sketches that manage to toggle an LED on and off. There's nothing very innovative here, it's just about getting familiar with the RISC-V based microcontroller in the Arduino framework and testing out MicroPython on the board. Updated to link the source files [...more]

NFS Share Over a WireGuard Tunnel

Last Update: February 19, 2023. Original version: February 23, 2022

This is a complete rewrite of the older post showing how to access an NFS shared directory through a WireGuard virtual private network. The remote system is an OpenMediaVault appliance, but the instructions should be valid for any Linux based system using NFS [...more]

Local Control of Two Sonoff Switches

February 12, 2023

A reworked 2017 project that was among the first home automation projects installed in our new house. Hopefully this new way of controlling two bedside lamps will prove more dependable [...more]

A Second Look at the W600-PICO Development Board

Last Update: April 18, 2024. Original version: January 29, 2023

This post is a reworked and expanded version of A First Look at the Winner Micro W600 which, this time, is based on the latest version of the MicroPython port to the W60X. It contains detailed instructions on uploading the latest firmware, some explanations about working with the board and a number of MicroPython scripts. [...more]

Macro Keyboard: an Arduino and Free Pascal/Lazarus Project

November 21, 2022

About creating a 16-key macro keyboard with an Arduino Nano connected to a computer by a serial connection. A service is responsible for injecting macros into the current application according to the keyboard key activated. Macros can be character strings that are copied to the clipboard whose contents are subsequently pasted, or they can be sequences of keyboard events that simulate keyboard input. The program running in the background is written in Free Pascal/Lazarus. An icon in the taskbar gives access to macro management functions, including editing macros, saving them to files and loading these files. [...more (in French)]

Mochad on Recent Linux Distributions

Last Update: February 5, 2024. Original version: August 19, 2022

After installing and using mochad for the last 6 years on at least four different single-board computers and many different Linux images, I ran into difficulties on what was to be the last time I would install mochad. The source would not compile on a Ubuntu 22.04 based image from Armbian nor on the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS. Luckily, a work around was not too hard to find [...more]

Installing WireGuard on openmediavault 6.0.24 (August 2022)

August 3, 2022

Installing and configuring WireGuard in omv 6.0.x is, in practice, the same as it was in omv 5.6.x. However the change over to nftables from iptables as already done in Raspberry Pi OS, looks to be getting nearer to completion in Debian. This short note contains a few observations on that topic [...more]

Turning an Amlogic S192 Android TV Box into a Linux Appliance

Last Update: August 5, 2022. Original version: July 3, 2022

Clever people have solved a problem encountered some time ago which made it posssible to repurpose an Android TV box into a capable Linux server. An Alfawise S92, based on an 8-core A53 Arm SoC, running Armbian 22.08 - Ubuntu Focal with a 5.15.52 Linux kernel, is now the host of my home automation system. It's a good upgrade from the Raspberry Pi 3B in the present situation where getting a Raspberry Pi 4 at a reasonable price is so difficult [...more]

OctoPrint on a Rock Pi S D4W

June 30, 2022

More than a year after announcing a "soon to be available" post on installing Octoprint on a 512 MB Rock Pi S, it is finally here [...more]

Armbian 21.08 / Ubuntu Focal 20.04 on a Rock Pi S D4W

June 19, 2022

On installing a recent version of Armbian on a Rock Pi S (RK3308) more than a year after the initial attempt in Installing an OS on the Rock Pi S that ended in failure. While this version of Armbian does function, it will not be suitable for a projected use of the board because of the lack of device tree overlays in this image. [...more]

Sonoff Zigbee Bridge Gateway (ZBBridge) with Domoticz

May 30, 2022

Here is how to add a Zigbee button to a Domoticz-based home automation system. To carry out this project, the ESP8266 firmware of a Zigbee - Wi-Fi gateway (Sonoff ZBBridge from Itead) was replaced by a specialized version from Tasmota [...more (in French)]

BLE Beacons with Tasmota32 - Proof of Concept

May 27, 2022

Tasmota32 supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). While the current release receives and retransmits messages from a BLE beacon as MQTT messages, don't use the stable version (11.1.0), use the development version of Tasmota32-bluetooth ( if you want to trigger rules based on those beacon messages. For the few that might be interested, here is some information about this [...more]

Installing the AT Firmware on an ESP-01S

May 22, 2022

It is surprising how complicated it is to install AT firmware on an ESP8285 or ESP8266 with 1 MB of flash memory such as the ESP-01S. I managed to install two relatively recent versions, one from Espressif, the other from a third party based on more recent Espressif code. There is also another project that trades off some capabilities to provide more TLS cyphers. It is not obvious which should be used [...more]

For older posts see the Archivesarchives.