Opensprinklette Single!

Posted in Embedded, ESP8266, Hardware on October 15, 2018 by asteriondaedalus


So, found some info on the board.

Where I thought there was dual through relay, it’s even better since the second set of terminals are a optocoupler. So, that would be grand for either of a rain gauge input, the audio trigger for dog barking, the flow rate sensor et cetera.

It is otherwise an WeMOS ESP-8266.

What is crazy is that the board thinks of everything and has bidirectional zeners on power and optical inputs so its really for light-industrial applications. That is, includes Transient Voltage Suppressors.

AND! One of the terminals is a regulated 5V output! Just exactly enough for the sound level detection for the dog barking.

Loving it!



Posted in Rant on October 13, 2018 by asteriondaedalus

So, if it turns out that 60,000 Microsoft patents have gone opensource (whatever that means), I am expecting my Samsung phones, and anything else that incurred a licence cost, to cost less et cetera et cetera.

Cynically, that sort of boon does not get to the back to the users.  The vendors will absorb it as profit.

The question no-one is asking is how many other relevant patents does Microsoft still have?

What, indeed, have they kept up their sleeves?

True they have given up billions in licence fees but they have as likely milked those licences dry.

How many patents covered technology that is still seen to be integral to where software is going?

How many patents were really due for lapsing?

Do I still need pay a licence for XORing pixels for when my cursor passes across my screen?


It’s finally happening!

Posted in OpenSprinklette on October 1, 2018 by asteriondaedalus

So, I have been running around in circles, trying to get a red-node server running on an OPiZ. The OPiZ would, however, keep spitting it’s LAN connection after a week or so.

I almost went back to waste one of my ODROID C1 on the task.

I even bought a Raspingdoodleberry Pi 3B+ to run thingybox. That was a laugh. The thingbox crowd didn’t have a 3B+ distro at first, then released a dockerised version of the thingbox that runs on the 3B+. That dockerised version of the thingbox, however, does not save config settings, does not save node-red flows between restarts and otherwise needs you to break into the docker image to install flow dependencies. All without any documentation or help.

The OPiZ had an older version of armbian on it. I had given up fiddling getting mosquitto built on it so I built the MQTT server using eqttd on top of erlang.

So suspects on the OPiZ were hardware (again), the armbian or purhaps either of the MQTT or node-red servers running on it. If I had to pick the original problem I would pick the older version of armbian which was likely still under test at the time.

Frustrated with the failure of the Raspingdoodleberry Pi I gave the OPiZ another shot.

With the latest armbian bionic, snap installed, mosquitto MQTT server via snap, and hand build node-red it has now been up a month.

The node-red snap image is in beta but while it snaps in place, it does not start a service so you need hand start it.

So, I hand built node-red again (since I am such a hand at it ;).

In any event, I got platformio up on my Debian laptop, sorted talking to NodeMCU 0.9 and WeMOS D1 R2 boards. I then coded up a opensprinklette arduino based version for a single relay/sprinkler. The reason I started with a single relay version is the there are a range of single relay options using ESP8266 including:

WeMOS D1 mini and shield

ESP-01 and relay board

All In One

I have a dozen WeMOS D1 minit and relays but I did splurge and get four of the “All In One”. The trick with the watering system is that they use 24VAC. So, a simple regulator and you can pump the 24VAC into the “All In One” to be the solenoid controller for a single irrigation solenoid.

I also got myself a couple to three solenoids and bits enough to build a manifold.


Setting up platformio and arduino IDE with ttyUSB0 on Debian 9

Posted in IOT, Linux, NodeMCU on September 27, 2018 by asteriondaedalus


Troubles with my 64bit Debian 9 Stretch and trying to setup for ESP8266 and ESP32 development.

This is a freshly built laptop so the USB ports had not been opened before.

I could not “see” ttyUSB0!  So I assume it might be drivers (it was for my Windoze PC).

I feel lucky to have found anything on setting up my usb serial port to see my NodeMCU 0.9 because of just how much junk is on internet about the zillions of ways of fracking your USB port.

I did find out the drivers I had to install, a great video on how to do that, and stopped short of doing that because 1) the instruction was to move stuff under the kernel devices directory (it turned out I had two kernel directories so thought better of that) and 2) when I looked under the kernel directories I found the driver already installed.

So, a little more poking around and I found I needed to add my standard user to related groups:

dialout – full and direct access to serial ports. Members of this group can reconfigure the modem, dial anywhere, etc.

sudo usermod -a -G dialout user

plugdev – allows members to mount (only with the options nodev and nosuid, for security reasons) and umount removable devices through pmount.

sudo usermod -a -G plugdev user

That is what I need as the serial port now displays in Arduino IDE. However, I did opt for also installing platformio into the MS Visual Studio Code (rather than into Atom).

I am in so much trouble …

Posted in Chapel, Everything old is new again, Hardware on September 20, 2018 by asteriondaedalus

I was poised to look into a few more ODROID or NANOPI as an extension of my cluster, then a 2U Dell PowerEdge 2950 with dual 3GHz CPU with 8Gb memory is at action, with only two hours to go, no bids so I went with $15.

So that would be 2×4 Core for 8 all up.

Good enough for a Chapel box.

Not sure how I will hide it from the wife.

So, hopefully someone will decide to outbid me.


In the last half hour of the auction, two others made a run.  One an auto bid and one manual.   I worked out that the auto bid had fizzled, they had set their max to $50 just as I had.

So, I sat poised to make a last bid as the auction was about to close – assuming that the manual bidder might be assuming both auto bids had fizzled and weren’t being tracked or that the manual bid would be fumbled in the last few seconds of the web based auction.

Tension was high.

My bid was in the browser waiting for that last button click.

The clock ticking down.

With 10 seconds to go, enough time to get the bid in but to befuddle someone trying to get a counter bid in before close, I … I … I … chickened out.

Fair the well  2U Dell PowerEdge 2950 with dual 3GHz CPU with 8Gb memory, fair the well.  I hope you went to a nice home.



He’s baaa … ack!

Posted in Orange Pi, The downside of Opensource, Ubuntu Core 16 on September 9, 2018 by asteriondaedalus

My Armbian troll, the moderator on Armbian who banned me from Armbian forum because I pointed out he was off topic and providing “interesting” but unrelated factoids, has popped up on Orange PI forum.  My Armbian troll has tagged my observations about the lack of readiness of Ubuntu CORE 16 and snap generally on Orange Pi Zero.





Don’t use OPiZ Ubuntu CORE or Snap for business critical applications

Posted in Orange Pi, Ubuntu Core 16 on September 8, 2018 by asteriondaedalus

On the Orange Pi Zero version there appears to be a problem with the Ubuntu CORE update mechanism if there are delays on the lan/internet.

Whenever I try connecting to ubuntu core device at night time southern hemisphere I will often get a snap does not exist message or connection timeout with some message about missing headers. This is likely round trip problem over the internet over distances or server loading.  It get the same behaviour on my PC late at night if I try to connect to github during the week.  It might also be a local server being thrashed at night here by overseas being awake.  Same same.

This morning (saturday morning southern hemisphere and northern hemisphere asleep) I reburnt the Ubuntu CORE 16 Orange Pi Zero onto SD, loaded it, started device, let device go through it’s obligatory first update and it came back up! That is it did not lock into config loop after update came through.  I was able to get mosquitto and node-red snapped in without lan error messages.

This lan connection problem indicates that the update, also prone to having to travel across internet, is sensitive to timeouts and frags the device that is updating.

The only solution, since you cannot avoid the updates, is to set the updates to quiet time in northern hemisphere.  That will NOT guarantee you won’t frag the device – since it would only take a timeout during update to frag it.

The other problem persists, however.  That is the device drops off the LAN.  Although I think this is the reboot after successful update.  It just goes off line way too long and at random times.

As I am after a server up all the time I settled for the latest Armbian Bionic which, coincidently, allows you to install and run snapd daemon required to use snaps.  This does not act as a device the same why CORE does, or at least it does not cycle through random restarts.

I was able to snap mosquitto onto the Armbian Bionic OPiZ.  However, node-red for armhf is in –beta only and that is the node-red that would not start as service on Ubuntu CORE 16.  At least we are back to one and only one problem.  The node-red team are sorting it.  I simply went back to install nodejs, node-red and pm2 as per the hand built way.

I will revisit if node-red snap for armhf is fixed.

Although, I think also I might have to get my head around the role of CORE.  As it is for IOT I likely should not use it for a server per se.  I will investigate snapd onto an Armbian mix, however, as that would suit for a server – I think.