A Smarter Smart TV

My TV at home features both Google TV through a Xiaomi Mi Box, and Kodi running on an old Chromebox. This alone is what most would call, a ‘smart tv’

However Is it really smart if you still have to turn it on? and change channel?
In some occasions, HDMI CEC can help here, as it is capable of turning the TV on and changing to the input it needs ! However for my use case, this doesnt work. and it is rarely able to turn OFF the TV.

Luckily, in one of my recent posts I covered how I added RS232 control to the TV. so actually changing inputs and power on and off are now discrete commands we have at our disposal!

Using some simple logic in Node-Red it was a simple case of checking which device changes to playing, and then switching the TV on, and changing over the input to match!

There is probably a more streamlined way to do this but this is what I have come up with:

It works like so;

First we have this state changed node that outputs true, if the device is not playing.

If it IS playing, it outputs a false, which triggers the ‘Turn on TV’ call service node.

followed by a wait until node, just to add a 1 second delay to allow the TV to startup.

and finally another call service node to actually change the input!

Meanwhile, if the TV state is anything OTHER than playing, it will first go to this wait until node, and wait 60 minutes in case it begins playing again (this gives time to choose the next video or show using a remote ! I will probably shorten this though)

finally followed by the turn off switch for the TV.

I also need to get around to renaming the entities of the switches used here, as they’re not very well named at present.

Ill include the flow below!

[{"id":"4e63a44b.f401bc","type":"server-state-changed","z":"e94d3e8b.2d81e","name":"When Kodi stops Playing","server":"33a2704d.0e654","version":1,"entityidfilter":"media_player.kodi_libreelec_local","entityidfiltertype":"exact","outputinitially":false,"state_type":"str","haltifstate":"playing","halt_if_type":"str","halt_if_compare":"is_not","outputs":2,"output_only_on_state_change":true,"x":290,"y":760,"wires":[["9a3def91.d13ae"],["432da1ba.4b195"]]},{"id":"432da1ba.4b195","type":"api-call-service","z":"e94d3e8b.2d81e","name":"Turn on TV","server":"33a2704d.0e654","version":"1","service_domain":"homeassistant","service":"turn_on","entityId":"switch.sharp_tv_rs232","data":"","dataType":"json","mergecontext":"","output_location":"","output_location_type":"none","mustacheAltTags":false,"x":850,"y":700,"wires":[["9be17d6c.92cdf"]]},{"id":"11a5db01.9c8e75","type":"api-call-service","z":"e94d3e8b.2d81e","name":"Turn off TV","server":"33a2704d.0e654","version":1,"service_domain":"homeassistant","service":"turn_on","entityId":"switch.turn_off","data":"","dataType":"json","mergecontext":"","output_location":"","output_location_type":"none","mustacheAltTags":false,"x":850,"y":780,"wires":[[]]},{"id":"9a3def91.d13ae","type":"ha-wait-until","z":"e94d3e8b.2d81e","name":"","server":"33a2704d.0e654","outputs":2,"entityId":"media_player.kodi_libreelec_local","property":"state","comparator":"is","value":"playing","valueType":"str","timeout":"60","timeoutUnits":"minutes","entityLocation":"","entityLocationType":"none","checkCurrentState":true,"blockInputOverrides":true,"x":620,"y":760,"wires":[["432da1ba.4b195"],["11a5db01.9c8e75"]]},{"id":"9f2ad7cf.baa538","type":"api-call-service","z":"e94d3e8b.2d81e","name":"Change Input","server":"33a2704d.0e654","version":1,"service_domain":"switch","service":"turn_on","entityId":"switch.displayport","data":"","dataType":"json","mergecontext":"","output_location":"","output_location_type":"none","mustacheAltTags":false,"x":1200,"y":680,"wires":[[]]},{"id":"9be17d6c.92cdf","type":"ha-wait-until","z":"e94d3e8b.2d81e","name":"","server":"33a2704d.0e654","outputs":2,"entityId":"switch.displayport_2","property":"state","comparator":"is","value":"on","valueType":"str","timeout":"1","timeoutUnits":"seconds","entityLocation":"","entityLocationType":"none","checkCurrentState":true,"blockInputOverrides":true,"x":1000,"y":680,"wires":[["9f2ad7cf.baa538"],["9f2ad7cf.baa538"]]},{"id":"33a2704d.0e654","type":"server","z":"","name":"Home Assistant [Lewys]","legacy":false,"hassio":true,"rejectUnauthorizedCerts":true,"ha_boolean":"y|yes|true|on|home|open","connectionDelay":true}]

Upgrading from ResinOS to Ubuntu

My Home Assistant / Hass.io install was an old ResinOS image from the hass.io website running on an Intel NUC.

Occasionally I would have to reboot the machine, as it would loose network connectivity for an unknown reason (The machine was still connected, and the host OS, but Home Assistant could not connect out to the internet? as in, the logs were full of time outs and refused connections due to ‘max retries exceeded’

I wanted to migrate this over to a Ubuntu Docker install so that I had better control over the hardware and could do other tasks on the machine, and to hopefully repair the issue with connectivity.

I took a snapshot of hass.io through the web UI, copied it off as well as manually backed up the files, and then installed Ubuntu 18.04.3 onto the NUC.

I installed Hass.io following the manual install directions on the website, and then the samba addon. Copied the file back into the correct folder and rebooted.
Once it was back up, I selected the snapshot and hit restore.

It took about half an hour to complete for some reason, but once it had, it was pretty much exactly how it was before I started.

There was a few things that required attention, for example Node-Red was not connecting. I didn’t do anything to it but restarting and it connected once more.
There was also problems with MariaDB that I couldn’t understand, it could not connect, but was listening and running fine? I ended up just removing this addon and reinstalling it, as it was pretty simple.

Once it was all up and running again, It seemed to be working fine. I setup Portainer manually and connected it to the local docker instance, and added my other docker endpoints to it.

All was good.

Until the next day. My alarm didnt go off in the morning, which was the first red flag, I tried opening Home Assistant to adjust my Air Conditioner and it would not load, I checked Portainer and the container was still running, so it should be working? Checking the logs it looks like its running but cannot connect to the internet again. This is similar but not exactly the same messages as previously. I restarted the Home Assistant container and the logs indicated it was having connectivity problems out to the internet, but this should not stop the Local UI from working on https://IP:8123 … yet it was? I had to leave for work at this point so I figured no biggie, ill fix it on lunch over VPN.

(update: the alarm didn’t go off because the MP3 it plays is hosted on the internet, I need to switch it over to a local MP3 to remove this internet dependency)

But heres where the plot thickens.

Just yesterday I was toying with settings on my OpenVPN Server with my buddy Tom while we were trying to figure out why DNS doesnt work for local clients when connected to VPN, and something we touched must have been wrong as now my VPN is playing up and apparently he is having internet troubles too.

The next day:

So it turns out I didn’t break anything, Telstra had messed up my account for some reason and after an hour talking to them they were able to revert their changes and fix it. Now everything’s back to normal!

Updating my last Arduino based ESP to ESPHome

I have most of my ESP based IoT devices running ESPHome by now, but there was one left that I hadn’t spent the time figuring out how to adapt.

That was the one that lives inside my wall, and opens the buildings door by shorting two contacts on the intercom system.

My requirements for this were backwards compatibility so that my scripts and automations that were setup to control the door via MQTT could still function, this way I can continue to operate as normal but with the addition of OTA updates and telemetry from the node thats hardest to reach!

The original code involved subscribing to a topic, and waiting for a payload, then turning the relay on and then off again, for a momentary press.

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <PubSubClient.h>

#define CLIENT_ID "buildingdoor-singlerelay"

#define RELAY_PIN 0


// Update these with values suitable for your network.
const char* ssid = "WiFiSSID";
const char* password = "WiFiPassword";
const char* mqtt_server = "MQTTServerIP";

WiFiClient espClient;
PubSubClient client(espClient);
long lastMsg = 0;

void setup()
{
  pinMode(LED_BUILTIN, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(RELAY_PIN, OUTPUT);
  Serial.begin(115200);
  setup_wifi(); 
  client.setServer(mqtt_server, 1883);
  client.setCallback(callback);
  digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN, HIGH);
  pinMode(D3, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(D1, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(D1, LOW);
}

void setup_wifi() {
  delay(10);
  // We start by connecting to a WiFi network
  Serial.println();
  Serial.print("Connecting to ");
  Serial.println(ssid); //We don't want the ESP to act as an AP
  WiFi.mode(WIFI_STA);
  WiFi.begin(ssid, password);

  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) 
  {
    delay(500);
    Serial.print(".");
  }
  Serial.println("");
  Serial.println("WiFi connected");
  Serial.println("IP address: ");
  Serial.println(WiFi.localIP());
}

void callback(char* topic, byte* payload, unsigned int length) {
  Serial.print("Message arrived [");
  Serial.print(topic);
  Serial.print("] ");
  for (int i = 0; i < length; i++) {
    Serial.print((char)payload[i]);
  }
  Serial.println();

  // Switch on the LED if an 1 was received as first character
  if ((char)payload[0] == '1') {
    client.publish("building/door/relay", "1");
    delay(100);
    digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN, LOW);
    delay(200);
    digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN, HIGH);
  }  } else {
    digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN, HIGH);
    delay(100);
    client.publish("building/door/relay", "0");
  }

}

void reconnect() {
  // Loop until we're reconnected
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);
  while (!client.connected()) {
    Serial.print("Attempting MQTT connection...");
    // Attempt to connect
    if (client.connect(CLIENT_ID)) {
      Serial.println("connected");
      client.subscribe("building/door/relay/set");
      digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);
    } else {
      Serial.print("failed, rc=");
      Serial.print(client.state());
      Serial.println(" try again in 5 seconds");
      // Wait 5 seconds before retrying
      delay(5000);
    }
  }
}

void loop()
{
  if (!client.connected()) {
    reconnect();
  }
  client.loop();
}

The new ESPHome code, does this, in addition to supporting the Home Assistant API and reporting back some values such as the WiFi Signal Strength!

esphome:
  name: buildingdoor
  platform: ESP8266
  board: esp01_1m

wifi:
  ssid: 'WiFiSSID'
  password: 'WiFiPassword'
  domain: .local
  fast_connect: true
  manual_ip:
    static_ip: 172.16.0.XX
    gateway: 172.16.0.1
    subnet: 255.255.255.0
mqtt:
  broker: 172.16.0.XX
  username: MQTTUsername
#  password: MyMQTTPassword
  on_message:
    topic: building/door/relay/set
    then:
      - switch.turn_on: building_door_switch
api:

# Enable logging
logger:

ota:

switch:
  - platform: gpio
    pin:
      number: 0
      inverted: yes
    icon: "mdi:office-building"
    name: "Building Door Open Switch"
    id: building_door_switch
    retain: false
    discovery: false
    availability:
      topic: building/door/status
      payload_available: online
      payload_not_available: offline
    state_topic: building/door/relay
    command_topic: building/door/relay/set
    on_turn_on:
    - logger.log: "Building Door Relay Activated!"
    - delay: 0.2s
    - switch.turn_off: building_door_switch
    on_turn_off:
    - logger.log: "Building Door Relay Deactivated!"

sensor:
  - platform: wifi_signal
    name: "Building Door WiFi Signal"
    update_interval: 60s
text_sensor:
  - platform: wifi_info
    ip_address:
      name: Building Door ESP IP Address
    ssid:
      name: Building Door ESP Connected SSID
    bssid:
      name: Building Door ESP Connected BSSID

I first connected it externally next to the wall, and listened to hear that they indeed, both fired when they were supposed to, and once confirmed, I opened up the wall, switched out the ESP-01S modules and closed it all back up!

Controlling an RS232 Device over UART / WiFi

I recently had the need to connect part of my AV setup to my Home Assistant instance, however to do so I had two options, using the LAN control option built into the device, or via an RS232 serial port.

Naturally I attempted to use the LAN control part first, which involves opening a TCP socket to port 10008 of the device.
But I ran into problems as the connection kept wanting a user to login, even though there was no user account, and I was unable to figure out how to pass the login prompt and send commands automatically.

So I went to JayCar and grabbed one of these:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32722395554.html

Basically, it converts a TTL level signal to RS232 level signals.
I hooked it up to a Wemos D1 Mini, on the ESP, you want to use one of the HARDWARE UART pins, so for me, I went with D4, which is GPIO2 / TXD1.

My equipment had a 3.5mm socket for RS232 control, the manual had a pinout for DB9 to 3.5 so that was a simple cable to make, but your equipment might have something else.

Code wise, this is what ive settled on using and has been working MOSTLY well:

esphome:
  name: sharptv
  platform: ESP8266
  board: d1_mini

wifi:
  ssid: '********'
  password: '********'

api:

# Enable logging
logger:

ota:

mqtt:
  broker: 172.16.0.60
  username: rs232
  password: ********

uart:
  baud_rate: 38400
  tx_pin: D4

switch:
  - platform: uart
    name: "Power On"
    data: [0x50, 0x4F, 0x57, 0x52, 0x20, 0x20, 0x20, 0x31, 0x0D, 0x0A]
    on_turn_on:
      then:
      - mqtt.publish:
          topic: esphome/rs232/sharp/state
          payload: "ON"
          retain: true

  - platform: uart
    name: "Power Off"
    data: [0x50, 0x4F, 0x57, 0x52, 0x20, 0x20, 0x20, 0x30, 0x0D, 0x0A]
    on_turn_on:
      then:
      - mqtt.publish:
          topic: esphome/rs232/sharp/state
          payload: "OFF"
          retain: true

  - platform: uart
    name: "HDMI 1"
    data: [0x49, 0x4E, 0x50, 0x53, 0x20, 0x20, 0x31, 0x30, 0x0D, 0x0A]
    on_turn_on:
      then:
      - mqtt.publish:
          topic: esphome/rs232/sharp/input
          payload: "HDMI1"
          retain: true

  - platform: uart
    name: "HDMI 2"
    data: [0x49, 0x4E, 0x50, 0x53, 0x20, 0x20, 0x31, 0x33, 0x0D, 0x0A]
    on_turn_on:
      then:
      - mqtt.publish:
          topic: esphome/rs232/sharp/input
          payload: "HDMI2"
          retain: true

  - platform: uart
    name: "HDMI 3"
    data: [0x49, 0x4E, 0x50, 0x53, 0x20, 0x20, 0x31, 0x38, 0x0D, 0x0A]
    on_turn_on:
      then:
      - mqtt.publish:
          topic: esphome/rs232/sharp/input
          payload: "HDMI3"
          retain: true

  - platform: uart
    name: "DISPLAYPORT"
    data: [0x49, 0x4E, 0x50, 0x53, 0x20, 0x20, 0x31, 0x34, 0x0D, 0x0A]
    on_turn_on:
      then:
      - mqtt.publish:
          topic: esphome/rs232/sharp/input
          payload: "DISPLAYPORT" 
          retain: true

I say mostly, because when the ESP reboots, it sticks some data out of the pin, which the equipment holds in its buffer. So if the ESP has just reboot, and I try and send a command, the unit wont respond, as it gets more data than it thought. πŸ™‚

This can be fixed by including a line break and carriage return at the START of the command, to clear the buffer, or by sending the command twice. but i havent done that yet because i … havent got around to it… 

Ill also mention, the TX/RX might be wrong on the Chinese board because ive seen a few different photos, if it doesnt work on TX try RX :^)

Ive ordered a handful of these to test making it smaller (think a cable with a bulge in the middle)

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32834977750.html


Vivid 2018 LED IoT Apparel !

Hello! 

Continuing with the tradition of creating something beautiful and covered in LED lights, this year we have something special!

Previously, we had the LED Jacket with Tearschu, and the LED Dress with Naifel. Taking inspiration from these, and solving a lot of the problems I faced with them, I bring the latest iteration of light up fun.

This year, I have taken a pair of high heel boots, and an umbrella from Daiso, added plenty of pretty lights, and of course, this year marks the first year the entire project is connected to the internet.

 

 

The project was built using mostly the same core components for each item. 

The shoes each have:

  • Lithium Ion Battery (1000mAh)
  • LiIon Charge / Boost circuit MP2636 
  • WeMos D1 Mini
  • A random switch for power
  • A strip of WS2812 LEDs

The umbrella is similar, except instead of the MP2636 boost circuit and 3.7v Lithium battery, I used a 3s LiPo battery, and a 5v step down regulator capable of high current.

 

The physical build was pretty straight forward, hook up everything how you please, battery to boost/charge, from there to the WeMos / LEDs, and then route the wires how you please. For LED placement on the shoes, I went with up along the front as I feel this will look the best having the light cover the most area, and for the umbrella I ran the lights down the spokes of the umbrella.

Unfortunately with my design you cant really CLOSE the umbrella anymore but as this is just for Vivid I am not too fussed πŸ™‚ 

To attach the LEDs to the umbrella I initially tried to use hot glue, but it was actually melting through the umbrella, and the parts that didn’t, did not hold very well, so I ended up using clear packing tape, as it does not seem to get in the way of anything and is barely noticeable! 

The LEDs here are hooked up in parallel with each other, so each spoke on the umbrella will be the same.

Once it is all made up physically, we can move on to the code.

I was looking into using the McLighting project for control of these, as it has both an internal web interface as well as support for things like MQTT, but I could not get it to work reliably, and it didn’t support running in AP mode, only client mode, which was a big turn off for me.

So what I ended up using was the JSON LED code from BRUH Automation, because I use this for other things at home and it works pretty reliably.

One thing to note here, for my LEDs I had to add the following two lines of code, BEFORE including the libraries, to prevent flickering of the strip. (not sure why this works?)

#define FASTLED_INTERRUPT_RETRY_COUNT 0
#define FASTLED_ALLOW_INTERRUPTS 0

 

(at the verryy top of the sketch)

 

Now my initial plan included taking a small portable router, and a Raspberry Pi 3 out with me to vivid, running a local MQTT server on a local network, with the Pi running Home Assistant (Hass.IO) all locally so I could connect to it to control things. However I ran into many problems attempting to do this, I am not sure if its because I don’t know how to properly setup static IP’s in resin, or just because it hates me, but I kept not being able to connect or it wouldn’t respond to my commands, it just wasn’t working great.

 

One day though, my good friend Mark came over and we needed a project to work on, so what we set up was a private mosquitto MQTT broker, that requires authentication, running in Docker on a Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS install!

What this meant,  was I now had a secure way of connecting a remote node to my Home Assistant running back home.

 

I went right ahead and adjusted the code on the three items for the new server, forwarded the ports in my router, added the config to my production Home Assistant server, and hey presto, was I glad to see, everything JUST WORKED.

 

I made a view in Home Assistant and threw all the entities into it, and here’s how that looks:

So as you can see, we can control both shoes together, each individually, the umbrella on its own, or everything as a group!

We also can change the animation speed of the various effects.

I will be heading out to vivid to shoot a small video and some photos with this, with my good friend Tsugumi modelling it for me, on the 9th of June 2018 from about 6PM onward, Not sure if I will be at Circular Quay or Darling Harbor yet, keep your eye on my Instagram to find out! πŸ˜‰ 

 

Thanks for reading!!!

Image Recognition for Home Assistant

I was browsing the Home Assistant Community Forums earlier today, when I noticed a post by Robin Cole!

Rob has created a custom component for Home Assistant that allows us to use image classification via Tagbox, on a camera feed that Home Assistant has access to.

Following the instructions on github was pretty straight forward, the only thing I changed was to reference an external image_procesing.yaml rather than having it all in my configuration.yaml as I’m trying to be a bit cleaner.

 

In this case, my docker is running on Windows, the Tagbox instructions were fine for this, I didn’t realise you can just run the image and if its not installed, it will download it πŸ™‚ 

 

So now that it’s all setup it appears to be working great! 

As you can see, the component creates a new entity called image_processing.tagbox_name, with a state of the most likely item in the image, and then some attributes of the next most likely, and a count of any specific tags from the config.

I’ll play around with it to see what I can use it for more practically,  I can think of all sorts of things this component will be useful for! From identifying if a car spot is free or taken, to seeing if the bins were already taken out! 

 

I just wish I could specify a region within a camera feed for it to analyse.