Welcoming in 2018

Here we are in 2018 and I’m sure it will be another great year for IOT.

It could be a while before I’m back in the driving seat but for those who have been firing in questions about my health, just to let you know that I am still in hospital and am getting physiotherapy with more to come.

Armed with only a mobile phone, creating new content could be a challenge for now but I will do my best to answer comments and even add some short replies.

Thanks to everyone for your support and a special thanks to my beloved wife and good friends for making this a lot less depressing than it would have been otherwise.




104 thoughts on “Welcoming in 2018

  1. Finally at keyboard and can remember my sign in credentials. Just wanted to mention that I was reading through the Hackitt and Bodgitt “guide” when I came across the LED ring clock – haven’t been able to work on anything else, since. I did all the programming in the Arduino IDE. Biggest challenge was re-orienting the display so I could have the connections at the bottom of the ring, rather than the top as seems most common. Challenge for me as I am not a programmer. But I wanted to say “Thank You, Sir!” for the inspiration. I’ve also added one of those SSD1306 displays in the center of the ring to display the time digitally, just to be sure. A future component will dim/turn off the LEDs for the night time hours – everybody is sleeping, why light up the room?

  2. Thought I’d add to the fun. I’ve been busy with integrating the Blackbean (RM3 mini IR) into my Node-Red setup. Right now it’s a lot of trickery. I have a python server keeping TCP connectivity to the RM3 (I have 2). No error checking yet. Then I added the RM3 to a count down timer so my wife can set it and fall asleep and the lights and TV go out after a user preset. Couldn’t make heads or tails of Pete’s BigTimer so wrote my own. Still a lot of cleanup and the timer/device flow is rather complex. But if it works my wife will be very happy (as will I).

    I’ll eventually replace the RM3 with a Wemos & IR Blaster shield I found online (already ordered – need to build). I hope I can use that to decode IR so my wife can use a few spare Tivo buttons to control the timer. I can’t quite figure out how to decode the IR with the RM3

      1. Thanks I’ll take a look at that. What I really want is to get a simple Node-Red package that will handle the TCP communications with the RM3. But I need to figure that out. Right now my python server subscribes to the appropriate topics (I have 2 RM3s) and sends. I have another python script to learn with. No need to keep that in the server.

  3. How are you getting on Pete?
    Out of the blue I managed a week of hospital food this month, first time in there since 1976 or 77! I hope the NHS do a better job than the HSE in Ireland on the food front!
    Just updating/upgrading the “Scargill Script Equipped” Pi that lives inside the panel of my home alarm and which automates half my house and my remote setting shed alarm. Still working a treat!
    Give us a nod, let us know the physio is working out?

    Pic to cheer you up is an MQTT/Pushbullet equipped DIY store smoke alarm with zero quiescent current (above the sensor) that sits in my attic with some electrical stuff I don’t 100% trust.

    Get well soon lad!


  4. Here’s another one which might be of interest to people here (you there, TornTrousers? πŸ™‚ ). It’s a working demo of an ESP8266 gateway for ESP-Now sensor nodes, using one of the cheap, W5500 ethernet boards (available from the usual sources …but not until the new year’s holidays are over!).
    It receives packets from the ESP-Now nodes on the ESP8266 radio and then simply squirts them out onto the LAN through the attached W5500. It’s fairly fast.
    Lots of room for improvement, so additions and pull requests welcomed.


      1. Sorry Bob, should have put it in the body. If you click on “PuceBaboon” next to this post it’ll take you straight to the article and the link to the code is right at the top of that page. If all else fails, just type PuceBaboon into the GitHub search box.


  5. I’ve seen the very cheap TTP223 touch switches discussed here. Recently I had a need to use one of these latched with active low outputs. This requires bridging the two links on the PCB.
    I tried this & it’s *#!&@* impossible!!
    Maybe it’s my iron/solder? Maybe it’s the switches I have?
    Has anyone ACTUALLY done this?

    1. You have to use a wire to bridge the links. You are right without a wire it is IMPOSSIBLE to bridge the links. A little mistake in the design!

      1. Thanks Leo, I’m glad it’s not just me…
        Another TTP223 woe:
        My application requires that the switch may be touched for a long time. According to the Chinglish datasheet this should be ok. There is a MOTB (maximum on time) function which should be infinite on the 6 pin chips.
        However, in testing, a touch of only 5 or 6 seconds is possible and the device seems to switch off & recalibrate.
        I bought 20 of these things. Half didn’t work at all & went in the bin. The other half work but exhibit this annoying ‘time out’

        1. I have used a few, but do not have these troubles. I only use as NO switches. I can touch them as long as i like and they stay on.

  6. Get well soon Pete, I really enjoy reading your blog and I’m pleased to see that you are on the road to recovery :). I only stumbled across your site a couple of months ago, and I’ve been reading a lot of your Arduino and Nextion articles – the videos are great. Always good to hear a fellow Geordie!

  7. I am searching for the defintion which fonts are built in in the latest HC2017. There are 12 numbers to choose from($F(0-12). There is nothing in the .doc what these fonts are looking like.
    What are those Icon sets in the appendix of the doc?
    Can you load another font if necessary with the help of that free software?

      1. Great to have you back Peter but I guess you will be taking things slowly. all the very best for your continued recovery.

      2. Nice to hear from you personally.
        I have found your tables in the source, however there is no information other then the data in the arrays .Can i find them somewhere online,how they look like?

          1. Are you joking? Then I have to remember them all or draw them by hand. Anyone with a better suggestion?

            1. Try them out as above and photograph the results, then you will have a permanent copy. You could even post them here for others.

  8. Those of you who make/use PCBs might be interested in:
    I had some boards back today & they’re great πŸ™‚
    They have an offer running ATM and their prices are difficult to beat(?)

  9. Here’s a random tip for anyone who orders stuff via aliexpress. About a week ago I cleared cookies down for the aliexpress domain and noticed that they’re running a $4 coupon promotion apparently intended for new customers only.

    For some reason I ended up being given this coupon when I logged on even though I’ve had an account for some time. Then a couple of days ago I placed an order for 3 wemos D1 minis from the official wemos shop within aliexpress and I was able to redeem this voucher at checkout time so I now have these 3 boards winging their way here for the sum total of Β£6.48.

    It feels like a bit of a bug in the setup of this voucher promotion. Give it a try it might work for you too. If not perhaps just creating a new account would work too.

  10. Hi all,

    I believe this is interesting for many of the blog’s readers.

    SonOTA project (https://github.com/mirko/SonOTA) has reported an issue with sonoff ‘s firmware >=v1.6. They are requesting itead to allow downgrading the firmware. Please, follow the link to their github where you’ll find further information.

    For those of you who don’t know about SonOTA, it allows flashing custom firmware to a SonOFF without soldering.

    1. Hi all, I took a look at the SonOTA project and it looks like a very good piece of work but I have one reservation and that is turning off the firewall(s) to use it. The well written description specifically says to turn off the firewall in order to download the code to the Sonos device. That seems rather risky to me or am I being over cautious?

      1. A little bit… lol πŸ˜‰

        At first sight, the code “just” mimic itead bins server (more info https://goo.gl/mqy5a5). It uses a Tornado web server and opens some ports (in your machine, not visible outside your network) that’s why firewalls have to be disabled. If you want, you can open only the ports used and keep the firewall running. Later you have to connect to the sonoff AP, so no internet connection during the flashing.
        I’d trust…

    1. Hi Ian,
      Reckon you could be interested in this RX sketch for an Arduino UNO.
      (N.B. sometimes you have to alter the value of
      #define minStartLow 6000
      #define minStartLow 4000 )


      It uses a cheap 433 Mhz AM receiver to receive data via pin 2 on an Arduino UNO .
      It works pretty well in sniffing out most (AM) 433Mhz comms.
      When it sees something valid, it outputs a code to serial.

      All you have to do is cut and paste the code to the sister TX sketch which runs on another Arduino UNO and compile it. This 2nd Arduino outputs data on pin 3 to cheap 433Mhz transmitter to replay the signal
      Sister sketch is here

      1. Cheers Pete,
        I’ve had a quick look & it’s very promising πŸ™‚
        The ONLY 433MHz sniffer code I’ve seen which reacts *at all* to the 1byOne bells I have!
        I’ll take a look at your transmitter over the weekend.
        Well done πŸ™‚

  11. Best wishes for a quick recovery. Based upon the deluge of well wishes you are a very rich man as defined by your huge number of friends.

  12. I hope Peter is getting better! He’s still very quiet…
    Maybe I can help to keep his blog going?

    By day I’m a university lecturer & have an interest in IoT. I’ve used the ESP8266 in my teaching with mixed results, some good, some bad.

    Recently I designed a ‘one stop’ board for use in a teaching environment. Gathered some code together & this is what I came up with:


    The notes are still ‘beta’ but the hardware is good. I’m happy to receive constructive criticism, suggestions, even code!



    1. Ian – That’s a well thoughtout prototyping board. As far as code goes, I believe your taking the right approach, keep it in smallish chunks, and then let the students pull the different parts together to suit the project they are working on.

    2. Hi Ian great job. Makes me wish I was back in University now learning something useful with you..rather than what I did have to endure back in the day on my comp sci Bsc course in the 90’s πŸ™‚

      I like your approach to “live data in a static web page”. It’s the same pattern that I described here: https://jjssoftware.github.io/dynamic-web-forms/

      I also like your RFID data capture device project. You might have the beginnings of a real product there.

      1. Hi Joe, you’re lucky! I did EE in the 80s! πŸ˜‰
        The “live data in a static web page” thing took a LOT more effort than I like to admit – where were you when I needed you!? πŸ˜‰

        Thanks for your encouraging remarks re RFID capture. I MUST get this finished!

        Pete is at home now. Not sure when he’ll be blogging again though. I’ll try to add a few bits & pieces.

        1. Ah EE..that’ll be why you’re good at designing boards whereas it always takes me about 5 attempts to get any PCB semi-working πŸ™‚

          Incidentally I open sourced my ESP8266 web based firmware onto github today. If you’re interested to see how I tackled the dynamic / live web page problem, it’s all here: https://github.com/jjssoftware/iD8266

          1. It takes me at least three attempts so don’t lose heart! I’ve checked some of your pages – don’t use Eagle, it’s dreadful IMHO. I use Diptrace which I like a lot. OSH Park do great PCBs but they are expensive. I’ve been using Seeed Fusion who are excellent.
            Had a glance at your firmware. Quite a project!! I’ll try it out when I get a mo…

      2. Hi Jo, I took a look at your blog, very interesting. I liked the article on ‘Strings’ I have used the PROGMEM technique with good success too. I am looking forward to becoming a regular reader!

        1. I did my EE in the 70’s, Took my first computer class in ’68….IBM 360 hardware & architecture. Then onward & upward – still learning all this time & sometimes re-learning! Pete’s done a phenomenal job & hope he continues. Now I need to look at Wemos…

      3. Joe,
        I have been trying to work with your software but I’m struggling as someone new to Eclipse and PlatformIo to understand how to flash the firmware to my ESP8266. Everything I read points me to something else and I feel I am just going down rabbit holes that lead nowere and learning nothing. Can you point me at anything that explains for beginners how to Flash the images to a ESP8622?

        Thanks for the work you have done and published. It’s through people like you doing all the hard work that people like me can learn.

        1. Hi Mike,

          I admit the documentation isn’t great in the wiki in my project on github at the moment. It does assume some knowledge which a lot of people will have after fiddling around with ESP8266 devices for a while.. but obviously not everyone does. I’ll have to improve that.

          Arduino, Eclipse and and PlatformIO all work with my stuff and IMO PlatformIO is probably the easiest method to flash the code and html resources. If you want to go down that road then start here to install PlatformIO: https://platformio.org/platformio-ide.

          Once it’s installed you should be able to flash the firmware directly over a serial connection with PlatformIO at the command prompt with:

          platformio run –target upload

          ..and you should be able to build and flash the html, css and js with:

          platformio run –target buildfs
          platformio run –target uploadfs

          The official docs are here:

          In my experience the only part where this can come unstuck is if you’re using a non-standard serial connection because PlatformIO can be a bit picky about board reset startup before flashing will successfully start. If you use something like a WeMOS D1 mini connected via a USB cable it’s super easy (https://wiki.wemos.cc/products:d1:d1_mini)

          If you get stuck just create an issue over at github and I’ll try and help..I think that’s probably best rather than us clogging up Pete’s blog comments.

    3. Hi Ian, an excellent project. One little trick that I have taken to using in my ESP projects is to add wmos.h header file with the Wemos pin assignments set as;
      “static const uint8_t D0 = 16;” I do this for all the WEMOS pins. Then if I use some example code that uses the Wemos pin references it will run on a non Wemos board without having to change the pin assignments.
      This might help others?

  13. All the Best Peter,
    Thank you for everything you do for the LOT world. Hope you get well soon thinking of you and your family.

  14. I think this is very interesting stuff! I have not yet explored this, but there are a number of solutions in there Pete has tried to handle which could be integrated into his HC.( https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_wifi_repeater ). There is even more very interesting stuff from the same author(s) in that Github repository!!! And it is written in C! Must sound as nice music to Pete’s ears. Pete start reading this and we hope you can come in action when this stuff has landed completely in your mind.

  15. Ahh! Physiterrorists πŸ˜‰ You got to love ’em as much as you hate ’em!

    Best wishes from Ireland, hoping that your rebound is quick and painless. Take it easy and keep us posted.

    Happy new year to you (and your support crew) too.


  16. Hello Pete,
    Wonderful to read your post! Wishing you a full and speedy recovery. Your public is rooting for you!!

  17. Considering the pace at wich you have been posting new things in 2016/2017, I’m still lagging several months, just to test what you developed.
    So stay calm, get well, do your exercises, (maybe put some buttons here and there to keep count of your progress and publish it to a dashboard… joking! donΒ΄t stress yourself)

  18. Happy to hear you are improving, Peter. We all miss your posts, but only when you are healthy!

  19. I can only echo the sediment of everyone else. It’s great to hear from you! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  20. Hey Peter, great to hear from you in person.
    It’s worth making the physio your number one goal for now.
    When my wife suffered her stroke she lost the use of her right arm, which was a real blow because she was right handed. However, she quickly began to be able to use her left hand instead and that meant she didn’t have as much incentive to get the right arm working again. Four years on and her right arm has very little movement and her shoulder has seized-up as a result.
    It’s a pain to keep-up the hard work, especially when there’s other medical stuff to focus on and other stuff happening as well, but doing the hard and boring work now will pay dividends if you can persevere.

    All the best for a speedy recovery.


  21. Very good to hear from you again. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!
    If you take it slow, there will be so much more new electronics stuff to play with when you are back for good πŸ™‚
    Hope you are not too bored yet, though.

  22. Glad to hear from you, and that you seem on the mend. Take it easy and look after yourself! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  23. So glad to hear from you. Keep up the hard work and good spirits.
    You’ve taught me so much, I wish there were something I could do to help you now.
    I think i speak for everyone when I say, please let your readers/viewers know if you need anything at all; it would make us happy to do something for you.

  24. Good to hear from you. Keep up the recovery.

    I took the plunge and ordered the Tevo Tarantula Prusa i3. It arrived yesterday and it is quite the piece to set up. I’ve already broke one of the “L” shaped brackets used in one of the first steps.

    If I can get things setup and operating, I may give you a small write up on my thoughts.

  25. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery, and a massive thank you for all of your hard work, that moved me from pic’s and 433 RF Modules. to a amazing, reliable, home automation system. For giving me the inspiration to learn (no expert yet) :-
    Node Red
    SSL cert’s
    IP etc, ect
    Plus so much more.
    After long shitty days at work, something to look forward to when you get in, and switch the phone off.
    and for boosting the Chinese economy by making all of us buy everything you seemed to get and hack before us
    Chris xx

  26. Glad to hear you are on the mend, miss the updates to your brilliant blog. Hope it’s not too long before you are back home.

  27. Hi Peter, finally, write us!
    Many best wishes from Italy for a speedy recovery, but only committed to healing.
    Then there will be a long time for IoT.


  28. Hope you get better soon, Pete. But take your time, it’s yours!

    Marc, Belgium

  29. It’s good to hear from you Pete, as other have said, just concentrate on your recovery and we all look forward to further postings, when your ready and able.
    I think Aliexpress & Banggood also wish you a speedy recovery.

    Take care


  30. Yay. Good to hear from you.

    So, is that ‘scope/meter/analyser etc. going spare eh?….

  31. Really glad to hear from you. Get well soon!!

    Looking forward to read new posts from my favourite blog soon

    What about a review of a pulsoxymeter or whatever arround you? (kidding)

    Take care and best wishes from Spain


  32. So pleased you are with us again. Recovery takes time and a lot of effort of which I have no doubt you have plenty off. Just concentrate on regaining your strength and mobility. We all I am sure wish you a speedy return to your family and friends

  33. I hope you get well Pete and greetings from snowy Finland! You have been great help to me about learning Node-Red and its dashboard functions.

  34. use the time to think up new and different things – boredom is a great instigator – Get better real soon….

  35. Hi Pete,

    I’m sure that your are tempted to hack the stuff around you…but just don’t!
    Wish you a fast recovery can’t wait to read your new posts.
    I’m also thinking of all the new goodies that are now piling up into your lab…

    best wishes

  36. Hello Pete, as a new kid on the block here but after days and days of reading your web and all the comments of your followers, it’s clear that you are much missed and not having you blog is a great loss to this community. However I know that everyone of us would prefer you to make a full and speedy recovery, so please just focus on your recovery and don’t feel the need to add more content until you are ready and able. The last thing any of us would want is for you to stress out about not being able to contribute at this time.

    Wishing you a full recovery Pete and looking forward to your ideas on automation in the NHS when you get out!

    Best regards

    1. I’d like to echo what Chris has said from a newcomer and reader of your blog here in Canada !

  37. Hi Pete it’s good here from you.
    I can only eco what has already been said and just take it easy and one step at a time.

    We want you fighting fit for 2018

    1. Thank you. So do I. Could take a little while before my typing arm is up to it. I hate not being able to get to my gadgets.

  38. Thank you for the post, Pete. It’s good to hear from you. You are missed. I wish you a speedy recovery.

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