Archive for the node-red Category

Ta da!

Posted in Javascript, node-red, OpenSprinklette on August 12, 2017 by asteriondaedalus

Ah ha!

I had some trouble importing my pegjs parser function into the node console until I worked out node and/or javascript treats directories as “/” whereas windows uses “\”.

So finally the import is simply:

var parser=require('./parser.js');

I also hand modified the parse function signature which is now:

function peg$parse(input,zones, options) {};

I worked out that zones needed to go ahead of options as calling “parse(input,,zones)” wasn’t a popular choice with the javascript.

The input variable “zones” will come from the configuration node.  That way the parser will take the configuration object [{sector1:chipid()}] and return the mqtt topic fragment “chipid()/zone[0..4]”.

So, the modified parser tested using node console shows it working:

final zone parser test

Now all is needed is the use the zone “grammered” string in the google event title and snip it out, when the event starts/stops.  This is achieved with msg.payload.title as the first parameter in the call made by the node reacting to the calendar event.

The array returned can either be iterated over using a for-loop OR be returned by a node-red function to be treated as a stream of messages (aka msg).

I have a sneaking suspicion that, in fact (and having read the code and how it uses “options”), I [could|should] have injected the zones via options.

Something to play with I think, as it doesn’t seem clean to hand mod the parser code.



Posted in Javascript, node-red, OpenSprinklette on August 10, 2017 by asteriondaedalus


A parcel turned up with RaspingbreathburryDoodlePi heatsink kits.

They are the recommended source for a heatsink for the OPiZ.

Although I can certainly find the same on Aliexpress, I bought locally to get them within a week instead of 10 weeks.

Still, gotta say brrrrrrrrrrrrrr, freezy!

At least 5degreeC cooler running with heat sink.

Still not convinced that was source of ethernet dropouts on my new board.   No problems for a couple of weeks now so I will put concerns aside.

I did notice 15mmx15mmx5mm 5V fans on Aliexpress though.  Tempting.

Still tempted at getting a small peltier cooling gadget to go the whole hog – mostly for the fun of it.

But, at the moment, I am focusing on finishing the opensprinklette configurator node for in node-red.   I have a basic configurator to map sectors to WeMOS chipid(), now I will integrate the pegjs defined parser.

Small steps

Posted in Embedded, ESP8266, IOT, MQTT, node-red, NodeMCU, OpenSprinklette, WEMOS D1 R2 on August 7, 2017 by asteriondaedalus

I have roughed a node-red config node and it’s visible counterpart.  I decided to call wemos nodes “sectors” – since the usual rort is to call a single channel on an irrigation controller, controlling a single solenoid, a zone.

I have set up for 4 sectors each using a WeMOS D1R2 with a quad relay shield.  That provides up to 16 zones (4 per WeMOS).

You need to mod the relay shield with a couple of pullup resisters.  This is to get around a design shortfall on the WeMOD D1R2.

I am using a protoshield in between the WeMOS and the relay shield to allow for fidgeting with design changes. I added a four position dip to set the zone id BUT I dropped that in favour of the config node concept.

That gives me back 4 pins for GPIO. The problem is the out and out lie that the WeMOS is a Uno form factor. The ESP8266 has to cheat by using the same GPIO pins across a couple of Arduino socket pins.

I will add the rain gauge input later.

The idea is an input line such as the following as the title of the google calendar event:


The line above shows you some of the input features I will aim for, being:

  • You don’t need to nominate all four sectors or even all four individual zones of a sector.
  • You can order the sectors in any order.
  • The zones per sector are number 0..4 with 0 being the global all on/off id for all 4 zones on the addressed sector.

I did think about using JSON as input but the problem is that if you have two tokens the same then the object construction takes the later value in the line for the key.  Oh well.

For this to work you attach two google calendar event sniffers, one to flag the start of an event and one to flag the end.  Both feed into the opensprinklette-configurator to decode the events into MQTT calls to the 4 WeMOS D1 R2.

Of note, the configurator maps between chipid() and sector# (and back again) so planning the sprinkling can be in people-talk (relatively speaking).  At least you don’t have to remember which WeMOS chipid() was allocated to what sector.

Of course, there are quirks to do with the distributed system.  There will be a watchdog on the WeMOS to automatically turn off the water to a zone after 45min.  To plan out longer watering you will need back to back calendar events (shorter than 45min to avoid the watchdog).  If that is offensive please send money to help me pay the water bill of a runaway commercial setup ($3,000 in fact).

The other option I guess is send the duration to the WeMOS node and let it do the countdown.

I will play with a couple of timing approaches to see what is most robust – given you could have the ISP gateway drop out, the node-red crash, the emqttd crash, the OPiZ drop of the network.  Not to mention, google calendar hickups – I occasionally get a baulk around credentials lapsing that somehow comes good again.  Oh and of course, the WeMOS could also behave badly.

All in all needs a good bashing to help weed out nuisances.

Back to work

Posted in ESP8266, Lua, MQTT, node-red, OpenSprinklette, Orange Pi, WEMOS D1 R2 on August 5, 2017 by asteriondaedalus

So, at last, now that the OPiZ setup saga is over (fingers crossed) we begin over.

I built a new nodemcu firmware for the WeMOS to include:

  • bit
  • end user setup
  • file
  • GPIO
  • MQTT
  • net
  • node
  • RTC Time
  • SNTP
  • timer
  • UART
  • Wifi

A few coding snippets later and  the WeMOS can catch the mqtt topic running on the OPiZ feed by the node-red on the OPiZ.


So, I can now parcel up the OPiZ as the house server and tidy up the sprinkler system.

I did note that the WeMOS did not come up first time I bombed the firmware.  That was sorted (it seemed) by selection the 4MB Flash option on ESP8266Flasher.  The ESP-12E on the WeMOS has a 4MB flash and I noted that there is a branch of the nodemcu frozen in time now for the 512kB chips – so go with the master branch if you have the WeMOS D1 R2.

I did also manage to break a hoodoo now that nodemcu does away with autoconnect for the MQTT.  The timer callback scheme works a treat.  I can reboot the OPiZ and the WeMOS will reconnect once emqttd is up and running again.  Of course, I have a LWT setup so that the emqttd server will tell the node-red if the WeMOS drops off the channel.

This is getting exciting now.

So far so good

Posted in MQTT, node-red, Orange Pi, Python RULES! on August 2, 2017 by asteriondaedalus

OPiZ is still up.  So I have avoided the hiccup of ethernet dropping out somehow.  I am always queasy when the problem just “disappears” but small mercies right?

The only thing that I noted was that, when the system has dropped its ethernet, I have not had a console connected.  So I have shut down the TeraTerm session, that was watching the memory usage, and left the device running now with the node-red and python test harnesses running.

We may be good now.   I hope I have properly documented the steps I went through.


Posted in Armbian, MQTT, node-red, Orange Pi on June 28, 2017 by asteriondaedalus

Given my journey here, to have node-red and emqttd running as services on Orange Pi Zero, I have to say the finale was not unexpected.

Re-burnt SD with Etcher as people were convinced I had caused problems with FS corruption using WIN32DiskImager.

Built node-red and emqttd as services (again).

I then started the Orange Pi Zero and left it running for two days.

I went to open on node-red in my browser this morning.

No connection.

Same for emqttd.

They were running last night.

The COM port to the OPiZ is still up as it shows up on the TerraTerm drop down.

I start up a console but not a sausage.

It should drop straight through to the root prompt for password.

For the halibut I tried sshing in via its static IP.


What The Frack Over?

And, pulling power then reapplying sees the board not come up without IP address – but with node-red and emqttd running.

no connection

Setup for home automation server

Posted in Linux, MQTT, node-red, Orange Pi on June 25, 2017 by asteriondaedalus

So, setup for house server on Orange Pi Zero 512kB using:


Ignore my previous posts where I use WIN32DiskImager.  Seems it has fallen out of favour (and might be the root of all the other problems I was seeing??!!).

Use Etcher as directed on the site, as well as a good quality Class 10 SD card.

On Windows you will get a fright because dopey Etcher does not nominate your SD card as a drive number (J: for example on my PC) – heaven forbid.   So it takes a while to work out it is happily point ONLY at your SD card.

Given all the warnings about using WIN32DiskImager (and trashing your computer) it was a bit arrgh! of the authors of Etcher.   I think they are trying to be hip *yawn*.


I just notice the windoze drive letter on Etcher.  You have to swipe your mouse over a tiny group of pixels accidently for a hovering text to show up.

Once I saw that I did go back to the drive selection to find a very light gray “j” over a dirty white background in contravention I suspect of accessibility laws – if not plain old simply human factors and HCI design rules.  I am 50+ and have glasses (often smudged) so what can I say … I easily miss things.


Login into distro for first time and set up root and user accounts.

Setup static IP for your Orange Pi Zero using nmtui or nmcli (for power users).

Reboot and  then run:

apt-get update

Grab binaries for nodejs and install them:

tar -xf node-v6.10.3-linux-armv7l.tar.xz --directory /usr/local \
      --strip-components 1

Check install with:

node -v
npm -v

Use npm to install node-red with:

npm cache clean
npm install -g --unsafe-perm node-red

Test node-red out with:


Then go to your OPiZ static IP with your browser on another computer in your network.

1880 node-red Port

Next we are going to setup PM2 so as to start node-red as a service on boot:

npm install -g pm2
whereis node-red
node-red: /usr/local/bin/node-red
pm2 start /usr/local/bin/node-red \
      --node-args="--max-old-space-size=128" -- -v
pm2 save
pm2 startup
export PM2_HOME="/root/.pm2" # because I installed in root 
reboot #takes a while after rebooting but it should come up

Then go to your OPiZ static IP with your browser on another computer in your network – you should see node-red running.  Be brave, close the browser tab and re-open it, or refresh it.

Now let’s add erlang with:

wget &&
dpkg -i erlang-solutions_1.0_all.deb &&
rm erlang-solutions_1.0_all.deb


apt-get update && sudo apt-get install erlang erlang-dev elixir

Note you can leave elixir at the end of the previous command but emqttd following will rebuild elixir blindly over the top – bad citizen!

Now fetch and build emqttd:

git clone
cd emq-relx && make

Try out emqttd with:

cd _rel/emqttd && ./bin/emqttd console


18083 MQTT dashboard port

Go to your OPiZ static IP with your browser on another computer in your network – you should see node-red AND emqttd running.

Now let’s set up emqttd to start on boot:

cp -R emq-relx/_rel /opt/emqtt/
mkdir /usr/lib/systemd/system
nano /usr/lib/systemd/system/emqttd.service

---- inside of nano ----

Description=emqtt daemon

ExecStart=/bin/sh /opt/emqttd/bin/emqttd start
ExecStop=/bin/sh /opt/emqttd/bin/emqttd stop


---- exit and save from nano ----

chmod +x /usr/lib/systemd/system/emqttd.service
systemctl enable emqttd.service

I copy the whole _rel directory over to /opt because I tried moving only the bin directory BUT when I tried running it came up with an error.

Go to your OPiZ static IP with your browser on another computer in your network – you should see node-red AND emqttd running without having to login!