Archive for May, 2010

Problem with Jeenode V4

(Just to start with a bit of background – I’ve got 8 Jeenodes so far – 4 of these hand soldered without any real problems except for turning the radio the wrong way round for the first one)

I received my first 2 Jeenode V4’s a couple of days ago – and soldered them together, and started them up.

Both displayed the same behaviour – where the prompt for the Demo sketch cam up as one line, with no further activity.

I have spent a bit of time trying to find out why – including using a magnifying glass to check my soldering etc.

In the end I had to start software debugging – and it all ended up with these lines in RF12.cpp

” // wait until RFM12B is out of power-up reset, this takes several *seconds*

   Serial.println(“Ready for rf12_xfer 3”);

   rf12_xfer(RF_TXREG_WRITE); // in case we’re still in OOK mode

   Serial.println(“Ready for digitalread”);

// while (digitalRead(RFM_IRQ) == 0)

// rf12_xfer(0x0000);

   Serial.println(“Finished digitalread”);”

As you can see between my debug statements I ended up with commenting out the “while” loop waiting for the RFM_IRQ pin.

With this line commented out both boards work as expected, and my ROOMS sketch works ok.

Running the DEMO sketch I have set the ID’s correctly, and receive packets from the other active nodes in the house.

Any ideas on what went wrong?

After a (very long) wait SoftRaid 4.0 has been released into the wild :


This is incredible to anyone that has followed Apple since the beginning :

Apple passes Microsoft’s stock market cap …
Apple passed a symbolic milestone today as its market cap passed Microsoft’s for the first time. Beginning in the morning, the total value of Apple’s shares was higher, reaching $225.7 billion at 3PM Wednesday afternoon where Microsoft had dropped to $223.4 billion. The two companies’ share prices have headed in opposite directions since the year began, with Apple growing more than 17 percent while Microsoft’s has dropped by an almost identical ratio

[From MacNN | Apple, iPod, Mac news @ The Macintosh News Network]

My reaction to this story was initially dismissing the whole story as “stupidity” – but then on reading more and thinking about it I changed my views on it. Maybe it is not such a ridiculous idea after all? It may also be more effective and cheaper than other options in the long run?

An anonymous reader writes “Politicians in the Australian state of Victoria are currently locked in a debate about whether an injured man should be able to claim the cost of a Nintendo Wii for rehabilitation purposes under worker’s compensation. The man’s doctor apparently recommended he use the Wii Fit exercise device, but both insurance companies and the Government itself have blocked the payment and have now ridiculed the idea as paying for video games. But with the Wii Fit increasingly being used for rehabilitation purposes internationally, does the man have a fair case?” [From Should the Gov’t. Pay For Injured Man’s Wii?]

The software measure our gas usage in the house is coming along slowly – I have attached a LDR to one of the Jeenodes and found out the light level when just the pilot light is on, and the light level when the burner is on.


so I can now detect the transitions when the boiler turns on and when it turns off, and from there calculate how long it was turned on for.

This all looks a bit strange at the moment :


(Click for larger)

The light sensor os on the right, attached with bluetac, the sensor on the left is a SHT11 temperature and humidity sensor.

The Jeenode is running a modified “Rooms” sketch – which will be documented later.

For our home monitoring system I have long had a problem –

– We do measure the amount of electricity we use, and plot/graph this quite accurately

– We do use gas for heating (2 boilers) plus a hob in the kitchen.

Measuring usage of gas seems to be difficult with any easily accessible technology, and the very oldfashioned meter we have for the house will not work with any of the methods I have seen so far – as we do not have either a flashing led nor a rotating disc.

So while trying to think through this I came to the following conclusion :

– The gas usage for the hob is probably little compared to the boilers, and there is very little we can do to reduce it, therefore I will concentrate on the usage by the boilers.

The boiler usage is “digital” – it is either on or off. Once a year we have a engineer around to service the boilers, and as part of the service he gives us a report that tells us how much gas each boiler consumes per minute.

Therefore the gas usage is possible to infer from the time each boiler is turned on.

When the boiler turn on you can observe this as the pilotlight turns on the full gas fire inside the boiler, and this can be observed through the observation “hole”.

So I have added a LDR to a Jeeduino, bluetacked it to the pilot light “hole” to see if I can accurately measure the difference in light levels between only the pilot light being on, and the full gas flame.

Found this javascript based Twitter monitor that can be easily embedded in your own pages – and keeps on updating your Twitters.

I quickly changed a copy to fetch messages from a based site

monitter? what is it?
Simple. It’s a twitter monitor, it lets you “monitter” the twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are saying. Cool huh?

[From monitter : real time, live twitter monitor | free live twitter embed widget]

Skype is opening up its interconnect options for PBX’s:  

Skype for SIP Open Beta

Skype for SIP is now in open beta allowing businesses to complement their existing SIP-enabled PBX with Skype functionality.

Overview Benefits Requirements Support PBX Vendors Pricing Get it now
Enhance your PBX
Skype is taking business internet communications to a whole new level with Skype for SIP Open Beta. Businesses can complement their existing SIP-enabled PBX by integrating Skype for SIP without the need for new hardware or software. Any business can now configure their SIP-enable PBX to enable Skype calls to be made directly from their desk phones at Skype’s great low rates.

Also, businesses may choose to purchase separately, online numbers wherever they are located to let customers in that country call them at local rates. By adding click to call buttons on web pages and emails all registered Skype users worldwide can reach your business, reception or call center for free using Skype.

The free web-based Skype Manager™ centrally manages all aspects of Skype for SIP Open Beta set up – from creating a SIP Profile to allocating Skype Credit.

[From Skype for SIP Open Beta – Product Overview]