I’ve just fixed a bug in and generally improved my node-red-contrib-timeout node for Node-Red. This is as always, available at https://flows.nodered.org also at https://www.npmjs.com/package/node-red-contrib-timeout
In there, interested viewers will find that as well as the normal msg.payload showing the status, there is now also msg.countdown showing the remaining time in seconds.
Continue reading Node-Red-Contrib-Timeout
Back in October 2018, I received this lovely, black K88H smart-watch from GearBest. Immediately it looked like one of the better choices for a low-cost smart-watch and here we are, months later – I’ve not changed my view.
First of all, it looks lovely. Unlike many smart watches and bands, the battery lasts for days. Not only that but the touch-charging connection is magnetic, won’t easily dislodge and looks solid.
Follow-up 3 months + later - still not scratched, still working a treat - nice strap - here’s the GearBest link -
Continue reading K88H Smart Watch Heart Rate Monitor
As a DIY type you can never have too many soldering irons and this latest one has some virtues, it is CHEAP at under £18 and it has a nice display and simple temperature controls. It also uses pretty widely available bits.
Not excited about the stand but it works – and I have others. The iron however seems ok up to now and has temperature control from 180c to 480c. The cable seems substantial but of course only time will tell. Mine came with an EU plug which works well for me as I tend to lug stuff back and forth to Spain in the summer.
Adjustable Digital Display Electric Soldering Iron: https://goo.gl/188RG9
Continue reading Adjustable Display Soldering Iron
Regular viewers may recall I reviewed a rather nice TV Android box some time ago – the H96 Max Plus. I’m particularly choosy about these units, again regular readers will know that I’ve used and tested a number of mini-board level products such as various NanoPC boards and others for use as TV boxes and right now back in Spain I’ve left one such unit in place.
Here in the UK, rather than a board level product, I’ve been using the H96 Max Plus for months now without issue on my 4K 55” TV, producing quality output from Netflix, Amazon TV, iPlayer and much more. UK viewers note that few if any of these units can handle NowTV due to rather childish restrictions from Sky. I use a separate Sky box for NowTV.
Of course there is much more to quality TV than resolution (just as well as most of the material out there is not 4K or anything like it) and one TINY gripe I’ve been harbouring without knowing exactly where to pin the blame, is black level control. I got very annoyed over Christmas when I went to see a pal of mine as his TV seemed to have more consistent blacks than mine. Which brings us to the A5X Max box.
Continue reading The A5X MAX Android 8.1 TV Box
Node-RED is a fantastic and powerful yet easy to use programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. For more information on Node-Red go to the Node-Red site.
Big Timer is the the most powerful and best-ever, most comprehensive timing node for Node-Red, providing a general purpose timer as well as handling summer/winter correctly as well as (importantly) lighting-up time (for which you should provide your longitude and latitude from Google maps or similar).
After all you probably don’t turn the outside lights on at 6pm!! You most likely want them on when it gets DARK.
BigTimers can be used singly or in groups. Full support is provided for dusk/sunset dawn/sunrise and variations also for day/week/month (and special days) control.
The node offers outputs suitable for MQTT, speech and databases (but you don’t HAVE to use these). You can also manually over-ride the UTC time setting on the host computer if required.
General purpose and very powerful yet simple to use, BigTimer has three outputs, the first of which updates when there is a change of state and presents one of two messages (for, for example, MQTT or other control mechanism)
The second of three outputs offers a simple 1 or 0 every minute in the payload and also presents additional information reflecting the status message in msg.state, message.time and others – see the entire msg output in debug for more.
The third output presents a message which could be used for speech or debugging.
There is also real-time status information displayed below each BigTimer node.
As always, the latest node-red-contrib-bigtimer is available at node-red-flows and at npmjs.com - put "scargill" in the search and you'll see all my nodes and flows.
Continue reading Big Timer
Here’s something new (for some of us at least). I’ve been struggling with faulty hall wiring for some time since another room rewire – well, not faulty, more disconnected. The problem is while I can easily seal up the original wiring with just one hole in the (flat roof) ceiling and acquire new power from elsewhere, the two interlocking wall switches are another matter – they go up inside stone walls and into the ceiling space at each end of the hall … not a problem but for the flat roof and the fact that I have no idea where the two of them meet up.
I’d really rather not dismantle the entire hall ceiling to find out where the switch wiring meets the power and there is no way to get to the switches or the wiring from above. My choices were boiling down to one – some kind of battery powered remote switches – and how would I do changeover? two circuits?
Continue reading My New Kinetic Light Switches
To any readers considering Vodafone broadband – here’s the story of my first 3 months with Vodafone UK.
It begins with the promise of a free gift to join Vodafone but read on, there is more and some good news…
When we moved home last year, I was very excited to find that the village of Wark on Tyne was finally moving into the 21st century with high speed fibre broadband (no thanks to BT who get endless funding for this kind of thing), so excited that I put to one side my long-held gut feeling that Vodafone are nothing but a bunch of cowboys. After all, things change, don’t they?
Continue reading Vodafone Gripes and a Glimmer
I always think it is worth periodically re-visiting things you’ve tried before, even when the first attempt led to tears. Things change. And so it was that I pulled out and old (original 4-pin connector) Sonoff Basic recently and gave Tasmota a go. It is some time since I looked at this. Off I went to the Tasmota site looking for a binary file for the Sonoff BASIC. Voila. Binary files for lots of boards including Sonoff Basic.
Next I had to remember how to flash this on my Windows PC. I tried esptool.py and quickly realised this was not going to work on my PC without figuring out where Python is hiding. It just so happens I have esptool.exe on there, in my c:\espressif\utils folder.
Continue reading Sonoff, Tasmota and Alexa
Remember my blog entry about the T12 soldering station? I had a slight concern about tip availability.. solved..
Can’t say fairer than that… £26 inc. post for a complete set.
And these look far more substantial than those in my other soldering station so hopefully they’ll last a while. I just got them in the post. £2.60 each and that includes (I assume) the heater element as they occupy all the available space in the handle.
T12 Series Solder Iron Tips -- https://goo.gl/sMfGoH
More Soldering Tips -- https://goo.gl/KH5Kj7