Using CH340 devices with OSX

I have several low-cost development boards that use the CH340/CH341 usb-to-serial chip for usb communication. Unfortunately, with OSX Sierra, the official CH340 driver cause a Kernel Panic (freeze + reboot) of the Mac when a device is connected. The reason is that the drivers are not signed correctly. I’ve found an alternative driver ($8) that was really worth the money.

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Owntracks, Mosquitto and Home Assistant

OwnTracks is an open-source device tracker app for iOS and Android that lets you publish location data from your mobile phone. On the mobile app you can locate other connected devices on a map and get help navigating to the devices/friends/family members. With OwnTracks integrated in Home Assistant, you can create automation rules based on presence detection (for example, turn on the lights when someone gets home) or just keep an eye on where your youngsters (their phones) are from within the Home Assistant GUI.

What I really like about OwnTracks is that the creators encourages you to own and handle your private location data. Owntracks has a public broker but supports sending the location data with MQTT to your own private broker instead. To achieve this in my current home automation setup, I need to bridge an external broker with my within-LAN mosquitto broker that I use for my home automation.

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The Sensor433 library and Geeetech transmitters and receivers

As I use 433MHz transmitters for sending sensor data from many of my IoT-nodes, I have made a re-usable Arduino library for this purpose. The transmitted sensor data is picked up by one single receiver (an ESP8266 board) that converts the values to MQTT messages on my local network. In this post I will describe this library, my setup and also a set of new 433MHz transmitters and receivers that I have upgraded to.

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Setting up a Raspberry Pi as a Minecraft server

My kids are occasional Minecraft addicts. As I want to support their creative activities, I have setup a Minecraft server at home so they can collaborate with friends on their construction endeavours. The system we use is a Raspberry Pi 3 with a Spigot Minecraft server. A few weeks ago I had an SD-card corruption so I had to start from scratch with a new Raspbian OS install and setup the Minecraft server once again. This time I have decided to write down the installation- and configuration steps if someone else needs them.

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Home Assistant – integrating RESTful switches

I have started integrating my IoT-devices and services with the Home Assistant platform. See my previous post for details on getting started with Home Assistant and subscribing to MQTT messages:

Home Assistant – getting started and using MQTT sensors

My next attempt is to configure RESTful switches in HA for interacting with an existing web service that I use for controlling 433 MHz outlets. I will also add automation rules for the switches and test the voice command in Home Assistant.

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Home Assistant – getting started and using MQTT sensors

I’ve been searching for an easy-to-get-started home automation platform that can be extended and customized as my needs grow. After struggling with OpenHAB, Domoticz and Freedomotic, I’ve found Home Assistant to be a much better fit for me. My main requirements are that the system should be open-source, have good tutorials & documentation, work well on a Raspberry Pi and be extensible for my likely future needs. I will spend this and a few upcoming posts with my Home Assistant experiments.

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