Monday, September 5, 2011

Random Bits

I just finished my first week at my new startup and I'm already buried. New designs & new methodologies to learn and I need to know it by yesterday. I've spent a lot of time this 3 day weekend going over some training material I got from a co-worker. I did, however, get around to some minor automation stuff.

I finally hardwired some contact closures which were connected to DS10As. I just needed a little more accuracy for these sensors and sometimes I would get collisions with other X10 wireless devices which would cause status updates not to be received. I've wired these sensors to a USB gamepad connected to the thin client that interfaces to our Brultech power monitor. My xPLGamepad app relays the closure state via xPL.

This weekend I also upgraded to the kids from Rio Receivers to Squeezeboxes and turned off Medianet for good. It was a good run, but most of the house was running Squeezeboxes so it was time to consolidate to one music server. Medianet really helped push me deeper into home automation. Years ago, while searching for alternate servers for the Rio Receivers, I stumbled onto Medianet's predecessor, xPLRioNet. Installing it not only gave new life to the Receivers, but introduced me to xPL which has become such an intricate component of our HA system.

Finally, we've got these chef's mats on our kitchen floor, which are pretty thick. The Roomba will go up one of the mats, but will never go down due to its cliff sensors. This makes for one very clean mat, but that's about it. The cliff sensors work by bouncing IR off the ground and if it's not reflected back strong enough, the Roomba thinks it's on an edge and won't continue in that direction. I never use the Roomba upstairs so I chose to disable the cliff sensors. Fortunately, I had some aluminum tape from some HVAC work I did and used it to tape over the cliff sensors. The aluminum works perfectly and reflects the IR back to the cliff sensor and our kitchen floor is now clean again.