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Archive for December, 2009

Merry Chrimbo Limbo

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, so Merry Chrimbo Limbo, that time in between Christmas and the New Year!

I’ve been helping out my friends again, whilst they catch a small break, feeding the pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep and rabbit. So I’m just thawing out….in between trying to work out why:-

  1. my 5,000,000 candle power halogen torch has stopped working;
  2. the 32A socket ring main tripped again - the last plugged to be pulled out, was the Chrimbo tree lights…!!!! and the fault cleared!
  3. and the car has decided to think it’s at the North Pole, reading greater than -15 degrees C all the time!

oh, and this is the best way to poach an egg, after many attempts, and with two free range eggs this morning I fancied poached eggs on toast for brunch. So I googled the net, and found this website.

The clingfilm method works!


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Merry Christmas from andysworld!

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Merry Christmas from andysworld!

Peace and Goodwill!

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Cold as ice

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Still cold up here (-1 degrees C), but at least the roads are thawing, and I’m able to get the car out, and get some some diet coke, Red Bull, chocolate and crisps..

Icicles

Icicles

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Programming an X10 Socket Rocket (LM15EB, LS100BC)

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The X10 LM15EB or LS100BC, commonly called the “Socket Rocket” ,does not have dials to set the X10 House Code and Address. It must be programmed. Many websites state this must be programmed via an X10 transmitter e.g. IR7243, Mini Controller, Maxi Controller, etc and that you cannot use a CM12/CM15 to set the House Code/Address. Absoulte rubbish!

I don’t know if these websites are trying to generate more sales/income by selling an X10 transmitter. Anyhow, here’s how to program a “socket rocket”, LM15EB or LS100BC WITHOUT an X10 transmitter using a CM15 to set the House Code/Address. Using your grey matter!

When you apply power to the “socket rocket”, the first 30 seconds, it enters programming mode, if you send an ON X10 House Code/Address signal every second for three seconds, if will program the “socket rocket” and remember the X10 House Code/Address after powering off.

For ease, I used a standard lamp, near the computer, and wrote the following macro. Select an un-used X10 House Code/Address for the “socket rocket”.

This is the macro I’ve used, A11 is the House Code/Address, I’ve selected, so send an ON delay for 1 Second, another ON delay for 1 second, final ON delay for 1 second. After the third and final ON, the lamp should light. Don’t forget to Save your House file, and Download the Macro to your CM12/15, before executing.

Programming a Socket Rocket Macro

Programming a Socket Rocket Macro

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Vintage/Rare Pifco Christmas Tree Lights

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

This morning, I’ve been using a digital volt meter to buzz through the Christmas Tree lights, a regular Christmas tradition, because they’d failed, a bulb had blown! So meter in hand, checking through 20 bulbs working out which bulb had blown, the first fuse bulb had blown, and the last twentieth bulb in thre set had blown. It was quick thinking I purchased many replacement sets, man years ago, when  Woolworths were still trading.

Woolworth S1 12v 1.1w bulbs

Woolworth S1 12v 1.1w bulbs

Christmas Lights S1 Bulbs 12v

Christmas Lights S1 Bulbs 12v

Christmas Lights S1 Bulbs 12v

Christmas Lights S1 Bulbs 12v

These light sets are vintage (42+ years old)  Rare Christmas Tree Lights manufactered by Pifco. Pifco manufactuered many plastic items in the 70s, and bicycle lights, and also Christmas Tree Lights.

Pifco Christmas Tree Lights on Christrmas tree

Pifco Christmas Tree Lights on Christrmas tree

Modern christmas tree lights don’t have any shades, and are just bulbs or more modern LEDs, and I rather boring in my opinion. It gives our Christmas Tree that retro look…

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The Cats

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

An un-usual photo, a gathering of all the cats on the sofa…now where do we sit?

from left to right, Esther, Angus and Tilly

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Goodbye Mr 3COM!

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I’ve been using 3COM networking kit for at least 20+ years, it was a real shame that 3COM in 2000, exited the high-end enterprise markets, concentrating on the SOHO market, 3COM switches were never the same again.

I’ve now decided to replace all my 3COM networking equipment with HP Procurve kit, and shortly after doing this, Hewlett-Packard announced, it will be acquiring 3Com for $2.7 billion in cash! So maybe 3COM technology will appear in HP kit in the future.

I’m dumping all my 3COM Switch 3000/3300/1100/1000 switches for HP Procurve 1810G-24 fan less, lower power switches. I’m still keeping the Intel Gigabit Fibre switches for the moment, because the servers all use gigabit fibre connections, so I’ll connect the fibre to mini-Gbics (SFP - small formfactor pluggable) in the Procurve switches.

old 3COM 3300 and new HP 1810G switch

old 3COM 3300 and new HP 1810G switch

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In the bleak mid winter…

Monday, December 21st, 2009

More snow fell last night, making it now impossible to get to the local town as the roads are so bad. So we’ve been snowbound for 48 hours, and the weather doesn’t look if it’s getting any better. For the first time, the condensation inside ther front porch froze, as temperatures reached -11 degrees C, and this morning I had to pour boiling water over the lead drain pipes, leading from the bath tub, because the water wouldn’t drain away, so up a ladder with a kettle full of boiling water. So here’s a short video clip and a few snowy seasonal photos of the front garden. In the meantime, food is getting low, I’ve not eaten chocolate in the last 24 hours, and not had any Coca Cola in the last 48 hours, and I’m getting witdrawl symptoms. Must walk to town tomorrow in the snow!

Christmas Lights on the Magnolia Tree

Christmas Lights on the Magnolia Tree

We put these lights up yesterday afternoon.

Same tree 24 hours later!

Same tree 24 hours later!

snoweygarden2

snoweygarden3

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Wireless (WiFi) Remote Control of X10 Modules using USB Remote Access

Sunday, December 20th, 2009
  1. The Active Home Pro software is installed on/in a virtual Windows XP Professional computer, I don’t like cluttering up my main production Workstation which happens to be Vista 64-bit Ultimate.
  2. The CM15PRO Programmable Computer Interface is connected by USB to this computer. The Active Home Pro software is the software that drives the computer interface, I’ve saved the “house file” house.ahx on my NAS (network attached storage) device, so it can be easily shared on my network.
  3. This is the clever Tech bit, USB over Network by Fabula Tech, I’ve been using this software in the virtual work I do for a few years, and it allows you to share a USB device over your network, e.g. you can plug in you USB device on one computer, and connect to it on another via your network. Very handy… USB remote access!
  4. The USB over Network by Fabula Tech is installed on the computer connected to the CM15PRO Programmable Computer Interface. We will call this the server.

USB over network

USB over network

The above snapshot, shows the USB over Network server software running, and the current USB devices attached to the server, which can then be shared, just like any resource, disk, printer etc.

USB over network device shared waiting for connection

USB over network device shared waiting for connection

The device is shared, and is waiting for a client computer to connect to it.

USB device properties

USB device properties

You can give the devices meaningful friendly names, that you’ll remember. On the client computer (remote computer), install another copy of Active Home Pro, making sure the drivers are installed for the CM15Pro. Run the USB over Network client software.

USB over Network client setup

USB over Network client setup

Select USB Device, Add, browser for the computer or enter IP address. You should see, a list of devices that can be connected to.

Client connecting...

Client connecting...

Right click the device, and click connect, if this is the first time you’ve connected to the device, you’ll get the usual, bing-bong tones, and plug N play will start and register the drives.

Now you can use your ActiveHome Pro software on another wireless (WiFi) computer, just open the *.AHX home file, from a shared location.

Client Connected to device

Client Connected to device

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X10 Computer Control

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

With this blog post comes a warning, this post is for Geeks, Nerds, Techno-freaks, or people that just like 100% Tech! (you’ve been warned!).

This isn’t new Tech, the X10 protocol was invented 30 years ago, the X10 protocol sends packets of information across house hold mains wiring to receivers to turn items on or off. Computer software is then used to build macros and timers, which can be downloaded to the standalone programmable computer interface to instruct various modules (appliances) to turn on or off, so no need for a computer to be left on and running. What X10 can do for you is limited only by your imagination or programming skills!

I’ve recently invested in X10 computer control, because

  1. various appliances which need timers.
  2. take more advantage of Economy 7 and reduce electrical consumption.
  3. and I like my tech!

okay, I could do this with manual/electronic timers from a well known DIY store, but there would be no fun, but on a serious note, the timers I’ve been purchasing in the last few years, have all failed, the manual segment timers (which I need for the fish house, because digital timers will not start the ballast units on the lighting circuit, because digital timers will not start-up fluorescent tubes). Also various other projects, and I also wanted to create a moonlight light in the fish house, a ceiling rose light which comes on before tank lighting (goes off), and then on before tank lighting goes off - since I’ve turned off fish house main lighting 2 x 70 watt tubes, the fish frighten to easily from dark –> light (vice versa).

So I’ve purchased a Marmitek CM15PRO standalone programmable computer interface, and various X10 Modules, the modules I’ve purchased are plugin modules which plug in to a standard UK 13Amp socket, your appliance then plugs into this socket, you can also get DIN rail modules, wall switches, micro modules as well, and wired modules, and also lamp modules which plug into bayonet or edison screw light fittings. The modules I’ve purchased are:-

  1. AM12 Appliance / Switch Module
  2. AM12W Appliance / Switch Module (Wired)
  3. LM15 Bayonet Lamp module

The following screen shot shows all the modules (appliances) in the house, that are currently being computer controlled. The green light currently indicates they are on. Macros and timers vary the on and off times for every module.

Active Home Professional Software

All Rooms in the house with modules

Screen shot of the software, rooms can be created to organise your modules.

ActiveHome Professional screen shot

ActiveHome Professional screen shot

Here are some pictures of the computer interface and the actual modules in use:-

Now if you think this Tech is OTT, it gets worse, I’ve also found that sometimes I need to be able to control these modules when I’m not at my main production workstation. I could purchase an X10 remote control to send signals to the transceiver to send to the units, but hey that’s too easy, lets find a Tech way to do it!

I leave this to another exciting Geek, Nerdy, Techno-freak blog entry here!

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