Linux Home Automation History

I've removed a good chunk the of the updates and moved them here so I can have a history of the changes. Also to lessen the clutter of the main page. Don't trust these links as they are old and unverified. Many have gone out of existence. The main pages should have valid links but it's tough to keep up some times.


07/01/2005 - Micheal LeMay has create a device driver interface to the CM19A (X10 USB Wireless transceiver). It can be found on his web site. It comes with the driver and the cm19a command line program.

06/19/2005 - Well it's been hectic around here and the worst part is that it's stuff I can't talk about yet (ARGH!), hopefully soon. Anyway I found a nice link called the Linux thermometer project. Joep Verhaeg has created a page where he gives the hardware and software for setting up a Dallas onewire DS1621 temperature sensor (yeah, I know it's 2 years old, so I'm a bit slow).

It appear that Computer Solutions Ltd (ComSol) has a LIN Interface and Gateway with Linux drivers. I'm not sure where you'd use it but I'm seeing more and more CAN stuff for Linux and thought this might be useful.

06/03/2005 - Dave Houston and I have been exchanging more information on the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. Dave found the Open Source web site Maemo, which is the development web site for the Tablet. The term, maemo, was created using a password generator, pwgen. It was a substring of one of the suggested passwords and it was chosen because it sounded good and apparently didn't mean anything offensive in any existing language. They also have a and SDK tutorial for Maemo. Also available for download is the source and some apps. This bodes rather well for the Nokia 770. I hope to see a long life for this project. The only thing I'm confused about is the license for the maemo extension, which is non-free but so far I haven't found out what that means (???).

06/02/2005 - OK, a couple of links today. Dave Houston has found a nice little device which may replace the Audrey as a favorite touch screen (for lack of a better name) for HA. The Nokia 770, it's a tiny computer that runs Linux, it has a 800x400 screen, uses MMC cards as storage, has a 802.11 b/g wireless network interface, Bluetooth interface and a USB device interface (it connects to a PC as a device). The price looks to be about $350 (US). It has a stylus so it looks to be a touch screen. Team this up with Misterhouse and some other goodies and you'll have yourself one very nice setup! :-) It's only draw back appears to be the battery life, 3 hours running, 7 days standby. If the stand has a recharger then this should be too much of a problem.

Our favorite Dr, Dr. Edward Cheung has modified his water usage monitor to use a newer, more sensitive sensor. His Water Meter Monitor page gives a really good description of how to do it. Of course it helps to have a really good knowledge of electronics, familiarity with sensors and a bit of imagination. But that's why he put the page up there so the rest of us can find it and learn (Thanks Doc!).

And finally, earlier this week CNN had an article on home automation with nice little sidebar links to related topics. It was in there Tech section and it was titled: Smart' homes not far away By Julie Clothier (for CNN). It about a family of 4 living in an experimental home that will adapt to the user's routines (this aught to be interesting). And then it goes on about water main breaks and using your cell phone to control your home. Rather mundane stuf to those who are already doing it. ;-) Still an interesting read and the sidebars have some interesting side effects. I think it's worth a read.

I've updated the Pluto entry in the projects section of these pages. I've also found a work around for posting my BLOG entries. Seems that Blogspot can't recieve emails from my Comcast email account. So far support hasn't sent anything back other than an automated response.

05/20/2005 - Mike sends me this HA BLOG link called Home Automation Gadgets and News. So I've added it to the HA Blog links page. It's good to have a few more HA Blogs.

OK, here's one that stumped me for a while: How do I get CUPS to let me issue X10 commands to control my printer's power? Well after sifting through lots of information I finally found this example of ACCSNMP - A Perl backend wrapper that accounts for jobs by querying the printer over SNMP for its pagecount before and after the job. I'm currently testing it with my X10 (snmp doesn't work very well with my Jetdirect, ARGH!). So far the test are going well.

05/14/2005 - I'm currently working a few new things, one I can't talk about while the others, not quite yet. One of the other things I can't talk about I hope will be well met by the Linux Home Automation community. We'll see.

The one thing I can talk about is the Insteon Development Kit. Jennifer @ UnrulyGrrl sent me the funds to purchase. In exchange I'll put together software for the RS232 Insteon controller. Now I just have to get my butt into gear and write software. Thanks UnrulyGrrl!

Lastly, I had been wondering how to take advantage of turning my printer on and off remotely via the cups scripts. Well I found some info on how to do just that. Here at: While I'm not sure it's the best way to do this it is useful. One thing I need to add is SNMP so I can see if the printer is still printing and wait until it's done.

05/06/2005 - Sorry not to keep updating the page, got a little too busy for my own good! It's all HA related of course but it requires a lot of time right now. Hopefully it will pay off big time. :-)

Craig Woodward has taken my cm15 driver and cm15d and modified it a bit and posted it to his cm15a page. I now have to figure out who to squeeze in the time to take his changes and integrate them with mine.

Much more to follow including some Insteon and a few other odds and ends I'm not at libert to discuss yet. :-)

Well it's been a while since I last posted an update. I've been busy but I'm not ignoring my web site.

Ben Suffolk has post this site: Ben describes it as "Home of the opto isolated, bus powered, DMX512 interface with both in and out universes." That seems like an apropos description!

02/25/2005 - The day before my final in Culturual Anthropology (8 week course) and I need a bit of a diversion so I'm updating my pages. Two weeks ago Brian let me know that I need to add the Linux K8000 House Alarm System to the K8000 section. Well I've finally gotten a round tuit ;-) and updated the section. Sorry about the delay. BTW, the links goes to the same place as They're the same project.

I found this, yesterday, on Slashdot: Tivo HME SDK. Basically it allows you to develop applet that run on the Tivo when selected. Not quite like adding a program to the Tivo but not bad. I like the idea of being able to use the TV to interface to my HA system and when it becomes almost another channel that makes it that much easier for my wife to use.

Another link, again found in the Slashdot comments (not everything is useless on Slashdot) is Java Home Media Option which is replacement software for Tivo's HMO which only runs under Windows. The JavaHMO software has more features, but I haven't started using it so I'm not familiar with it yet.

01/10/2005 - Robert X. Cringely makes his 2005 predictions in Betting a Billion. While it's not HA related it tend to give us an idea of the enviroment for the next year. Let me add my predictions to his that we'll see a lot more HA this year and that many of the systems will be Linux base but built for Windows use only (ARGH!).

PC Magazine has an article entitled The Digital Home. It has various articles on monitoring this and that Win Media Centers and using X10. While not perfect it's still interesting.

01/05 - While hunting around for HA BLOGs I came across this: Momitsu DVD-V880N Networked DVD Player. An interesting toy, a networked DVD player. It is capable of playing MPEG 1, 2 and 4, AVIs, various audio (like OGG and WMA), display JPEGs, and Shoutcast. It comes with support for Windows but you can get their Momitsu Media Center for Linux and OSX by sending them an email. Not too bad!

12/31 - Martin Leclerc has create a Java program (Omni Link) that allows you to retrieve statuses and send commands to the HAI Omni and Aegis systems via the serial port. The library has been tested on both the Windows and Linux platforms.

12/31 - While not quite Linux (but it will work on Linux) we have a (we may already have a Linux driver too).

12/30 - I've quickly thrown together a page for the cm19a currently it's not much but it's enough to get folks started.

12/28 - My faith in humanity is gone! (Not really I'm a New Yorker :-). This year Alek Komarnitsky's Christmas lights web page was a hoax!

OK, now that I got that out of my system I really want to know the technical details of this hoax. It actually sounds more interesting than the lights themselves! In fact it could probably be a very useful thing for other sites that want to do the same kind of thing as Alek's Christmas lights. I mean what really changes that much with Christmas lights. Com'on Alek, do tell!

Well ZigBee has been a hot topic in the news lately and it looks like Linux is going to be part of the mix through the Linux Wireless Sensor LAN Project. Basically it's 802.15.4 standard low-rate wireless personal area networking.

In addition to my cm15d page Woody Wilson has put up a CM15A page with his code and specs.

Here's my cm15d pages. Currently it's not even a release candidate but is compilable code which may be of interest to folks doing there own work related to the X10 CM15A. This was a rush job to get this up and I haven't cleaned up the code so don't expect perfect looking code. I'm hoping to get time over the Christmas holidays to work on the cm15d code and all the documentation.

OK, here's a new open source project Pluto but for the life of me I can't quite figure out how to download it. They have a developers section and a download section. The package has support for Windows and Linux. I'll investigate this more to see if I can figure out anything!

11/23 - I'm adding the link to because of patents such as: Microsoft's IsNot patent. I really don't understand what the USPO is doing giving patents for the blatantly obvious!

11/20 - While reading the newsgroup comp.home.automation someone asked about products from AAG Electronica. They've been around for a while, initially selling the 1-Wire Weather Instrument Kit and now they've added, humidity, pressure, relay, LCD and other kits, all 1-Wire. Very cool stuff!

I've also added various links to other 1-Wire/IButton information. This includes device interfaces, hardware and stores to buy IButton hardware.

Lastly a little bit of dead link pruning. Even brought one back from the dead!

11/05 - While searching for information on USB for libusb (available for Windows, *BSD, Linux and MAC) I came across The K8055 interface board from Velleman on Linux project. It's an analog/digital I/O board from Velleman.

11/03 - I've added Dave Houston's pages back to my links collection. Dave just has way too much valuable info to leave it off (he had taken down his original pages due to health problems).

11/02 - I was poking around and I decided to further check out UPB (Universal Powerline Bus). It looks like it could be the X10 replacement we've been looking for. Two-way communications (commands are ACK'd), better response times (<.25 sec), not too expensive (about what you would pay for better quality X10) and can address more devices (I think). I hope to check them out sometime this month.

10/31 - Happy Halloween! I've just corrected some link. must keep everything tidy.

10/25 - CNN has a AP article on smart buildings. It's interesting mainly because it discusses the ideas used for the automation of air conditioning and determining the number of people in a room (very briefly mentioned) and the purposes behind the sensors.

10/20 - I decided to wait a few days to allow Alek Komarnitsky's web page to recover from the beating it took from being posted to Fark and Slashdot (AKA the Slashdot effect). Alek has a Halloween lights & Webcam page and a Christmas lights and webcam page Check out his other links as he has quite a few that are interesting. Somewhere on his site I found a link to where he discusses surviving a 'Slashdotting'. I've got to find that again!

10/17 - Robert X. Cringley, of PBS's i, cringley fame, has written an article titled: "The Limits of SpongeBob SquarePants". Robert goes on to tell a tale of Open Source, wireless internet, new technology (VoIP and Wireless TV ;-) and the ingenuity of one individual. Definitely an interesting read.

10/16 - Hey something actually related to HA. :-) Joe Barr at Newsforge has an article titled: "ZoneMinder: Linux home security par excellence". Basically giving the details of how you take some IP cameras, Linux and Zone Minder software to create a video surveillance setup for your home.

10/16 - Again nothing to see here. Just fixing up the CSS so that it's correct also.

10/12 - Nothing new to see here. I've been busy fixing the HTML errors and bringing this document up to XHTML 1.0 (transitional). It was a lot of work and I've brought it up from HTML 3.2 (loose ;-).

09/30 - Dilbert's Ultimate House (duh) - though it's not really HA it is a engineering kind of thing. :-) In fact they rejected HA because it was too complicated. :-O There is a tour but it will require Quicktime and Flash to access it. They have pictures and the specs also. I must say that though I kind of like the house it wouldn't work in the North East or the north part of the mid-west. It's just too cold and we need real heating in the winter.

09/19 - O'Reilly has a new news letter for the DIY (old time type hackers :-). It's called Make. Personally I think the name isn't very good but it is to the point. It's touts itself as "The First Magazine for Technology Projects". I think it will follow along with the "Hacks" (Hacks - n., A clever solution to an interesting problem) series of books.

09/11 - I've added a new section dedicated to HA related BLOGs. I've now added a 3rd BLOG to the list (mine and 2 others). The latest BLOG is from the author of the upcoming O'Reilly Book: "Smart Home Hacks". It won't be out until November but I've reserved a copy to review.

09/09 - Comcast had said that the old web URL would last until Dec 2004. The URL: no longer works and has been replaced with I had a false alarm scare this morning the the first link no longer worked. It still does but it's time to go about fixing the links. 4 months is really not that long to get things corrected.

09/08 - Wade through the miscellaneous blatherings of someone who thinks they know something about Home Automation... That's right folks I've created a BLOG for my home automation ranting and ravings. Hey everyone has an opinion and with the help of the internet I can inflict mine on people who will actually read them. Anyway, here is where you can find my: Linux HA BLOG.

09/08 - Have you ever wondered where old links go when they die? Well I have so I've created a Bone yard Page. When a link goes dead I'll move it there. Really not too useful but it comes in handy when looking for stuff.

I've also spent quite a bit of time reworking the page in an effort to reduce the size. More changes to follow.

09/06 - Finally got rid of that pesky regex in my Link Check code. I don't know if anyone uses the code but I find it useful. Now if I'd only get work fixing those bad links! ;-)

I've also shrunk the update section and move the older updates to the new History Page. This will trim the page size a bit but not enough to really matter.

09/03 - Hmmm, I've just discovered that this pages is really huge! Just over 100K for just this page! To all the dial-up users out there I am sorry I never knew it grew this large. Anyway the time has come for me to break it up (I've been threatening that for a while now). So over the next few weeks this front page will change and if I can I'll try to work in a Google search engine so things can be found. At 100K there has to be a lot of stuff which can't easily be found here.

09/03 - The JavaOcelot project has been rename and has new software called HouseMonkey. It a CMAX replacement for Linux (but I'd venture a guess that it will work on a few other systems). The screen shots are pretty and I'll be downloading it to see how it works. Currently my Ocelot is using ocld to compile the code but I don't remember what I used to upload the code. I think it was cpuxad.

09/03 - I still seem to be having some trouble with automagic updates but I'm getting a handle on it. In the mean time I'll be reworking my collection of sites (such as the one at Geocities and Fortune City. They'll still be there but they'll be more for redirecting traffic to my newer Linux HA site hosted on 1 and 1 Web Hosting

08/30 - Hmm, something is broken on my end. This page is supposed to update automagically and it didn't. So I've manually updated it. I also seem to have about 30 links with are error 404 (links gone bad). I'll try to clean those up over then next few weeks. Ah summer is coming to an end ... ;-)

08/15 - VSCP - Very Simple Control Protocol - The VSCP protocol, a very simple and free protocol for SOHO automation tasks. It seems to interface to CAN and the EDA sourceforge has been combined with VSCP. I'll clean that up and combine the 2.

07/27 - Frank Hitzel's VIMMS - Visual Module Management System. frank has built a system powered by the ATMEL AT90S2313 micro controller and a Linux PC that controls a digital I/O interface and hardware watchdog interface, a stepper motor controller and a RS232 multiplexer.

07/16 - OCAN - Open-CAN is a device driver for the Intel 82527 CAN controllers. It's quite lightweight and is equipped with a tiny hardware abstraction layer to support different hardware mountings of the chip.

07/13 - I'm working on a howto for my use of the Floppy Firewall and it's packages. So far it's nothing more than a description of what I'm doing.

07/03 - manic_marv has pointed out that I had his name was wrong (now corrected) and that he has updated his code and included a 50 Hz version. I've also finally started to add the Parallel Port section.

06/23 - I just noticed that I didn't have the link to manic_marv's creation. He has created replacement firmware for the CM11A. It's currently up to v0.4. It may not do everything yet but at least it's a step forward.

06/22 - OK, so I've been bad! It's summertime in the Northern hemisphere and I tend to do outdoor kinds of things. I've been spending a lot of time working on Etherboot, Floppy Firewall, Firewall Builder (Beta) and I just started on Asterisk and VoIP. Those aren't the outdoor things. The outdoor things include a double century, additional stone patio work, pool work, etc.. But I've really needed to up this page so here it is:

DRACONi Automation - aims to be a home automation and digital entertainment control package. It's designed to be modular, meaning new kinds of functionality can be added easily. It supports the CM11A/CK11A, Applied Digital (ADI) Ocelot/Leopard/Leopard II Home Automation Controllers, XMMS Music Player, and Festival Speech Synthesis Software.

05/20 - Sorry for the long delay in updating these pages. I've been a bit busy with lots of other stuff and nice weather ;-). Over the next few weeks I'll try to get the pages caught up (notice that the info from November to February is missing). I had to shutdown a bunch of computers at home and I don't have all the updates on the one that is running. Nothing has been destroyed just energy prices as way too high for all of my experiments. If you think this is bad you should see my HA system which was also completely shutdown. I currently have the ADI Ocelot up and running as the sole HA controller. Also I'll try to convert as much of the HTML to XHTML 1.0 while I'm at it.

The best news I currently have is that the HCS_C hardware is up and running! Now it's time to build an OS. This will be an interesting and challenging project that has the promise of some very interesting things for my HA system. More to follow ...

05/12 - Sorry I haven't been posting anything new lately. Been busy with various projects and work (Spring in the northern hemisphere is always a nice time to do other things). Also I had to shutdown most of my HA equipment and I'm now in the process of consolidating it. More to follow ...

02/09 - I think we have enough parallel port projects to warrant giving them their own little section. So introducing the Parallel Port section (yeah) and the newest addition to that section, the PPort Sourceforge project. Just one thing that drives me nuts about this project (and others like it). Why doesn't the PPort Home Page point to anything useful?! If someone were to go and search Sourceforge for this type of project they'd just find the project summary page. Not very useful if you ask me!

01/14 - Wired has a story, Welcome to the Broadband Home of the Future - Not really home automation or a futuristic home but a bit interesting.

01/13 - Dave Houston has his BX24-AHT pages back up at BX24-AHT Page

01/11 - An interesting link was posted to the MisterHouse message list. It appears that there is a Onewire File System (owfs) which will allows 1-wire devices to appear like files in a directory. Very cool!

01/10 - I've added my modified TW523 page back again. It's got some useful info for research when building X10 devices.

01/09 - Another Slashdot article about TiVo's New offerings . Tivo/DVD Recorder, TivoToGo where TiVo users with Home Media Option will be able to transfer files off their TiVo onto their PC and XM Radio for TiVo. It will be things like Tivo that will make it easier to add other home automation offerings to customers.

Wired magazinehas a few interesting articles on Home Entertainment (and by association Home Automation). The first: Home Is Where Intel Wants to Be - the short of it is consumers want to simplify the entertainment stack (VCR, DVD, Stereo, CD, Amp and TV) and Intel think it can deliver (big screen no less) and at an affordable price. The next article: Future Home Full of Web Wonders - I think you've just got to read this. :-)

01/07 - Found 2 more interesting sites. The first is the French site: Logiclic - Bruno Regnier's site, he uses the TINI controller for home automation, source and electronic diagrams are available.

The other site is Francisco Castro's YASP (Yet Another Scalable Protocol). He uses Microchip PIC and has the source code and schematic available.

01/03 - An article about Pluto appeared on Slashdot (no I'm not going to link to the article too much yapping not much to say!). It's a complete home control system to incorporate all 5 major home electronic systems including security, telecommunications, home automation, entertainment, and personal computing. It looks like a nice system but at $15K (US) it seems a little steep and I'm not sure I like having everything running in one box. Now I can do all these things (I don't have the video setup and I don't have a PBX, yet) with MisterHouse but it's not a consumer setup. So you decide.


12/29 - Steve Haehnichen X10 Comparison - A really interesting look at various X10 transceivers, guts of various devices and the burnt remains of 2 UL listed devices that fail with about 50% load! Yikes.

12/28 - I've created a new section called Temporary links. Basically it's for news items that may not stick around for long periods of time but may be of interest to some of this web sites readers. The first group of links come from a Slashdot article on Home Network appliances (such as your oven, refrigerator, washing machine, etc). Some useful links and info can be found in the article.

11/12 - Pascal Scheffers has create a TCL library to interface with the CM11A. He created it because he wanted a 'Pure TCL' solution.

11/09 - Quite a few things have happened in the last month or so. Dave Houston has taken down his page at Dave had a great resource for hacking X10 Wireless technology. It's sad to see that resource lost.

While poking around the PIC List, I came across a note on a Microchip App Note (AN236) "X10 Home Automation Using the PIC16F877A". This has the full description and source code to make your own X10 module using X10 and a PIC. Very cool stuff!

Lastly, I've note a number of links have disappeared I'll be cleaning those up over the next few weeks. My finals will be coming up soon so don't expect to see huge changes take place. My next priority is to get the HCS II/HCS_C Open Source pages updated.

11/04 - I just read an article on how the 'net has numerous abandoned sites. I'm posting to let everyone know this isn't one of them. I'm currently busy with school (2 classes) and I have spent some time working on a new controller (the HCS_C, Open Source and yes I know I really need to update that site) for HA. Exams are in December so I expect some work will be done then.

09/21 - Hmm, seems I've forgotten to add the link to Raditex AB IP IO-module - Raditex AB has developed an IO-module suitable for mounting on a DIN-rail. This module is commanded by IP. The module has 4 relays, 4 digital in/out ports and 4 out ports that gives 0-10 volts. The module is driven by 12V. More info to follow ...

Also from the same site is Free SCADA (Supervisory, Control and Data Acquisition) which is an Open Source SCADA system (used in industrial automation).

08/19 - Comcast has finally made the site available to me and now I'll start notifying everyone of the change. Of course the only reason I found this out was that I put the effort, every day, into checking if the site was available. ARGH!

07/31 - Comcast has informed it's users that it's these web pages will be moving (boo!) but they'll forward the web pages to the new link until Dec 2004 (yeah!). The future link will be . currently it's not there and when it does become available I'll start sending emails out to all the sites that Google can find to have them update their links.

In other news, I've managed to get the driver module for the Quickcam Web camera to compile under Kernel 2.4.21-ac4. So I'm posting it here. It doesn't work perfectly (auto brightness goes nuts) but it is usable.

07/26 - Ido Bartana has updated his site and the primary site has now changed to This is good for 2 reasons, first it has unlimited bandwidth (Geocities has limits) and second no more Geocities pop-up boxes (never seem to work on my browser anyway ;-). I've also finally found a working web camera that I can use. I have an old Logitech Web Cam and I found a driver for the 2.4 kernel (which I had to update to work with 2.4.21). I'll post it here when I get a chance. I'm still working on the VA11A as that handles my X10 cams which I have use for :-).

07/22 - I'm enjoying summer (outdoors) so far and I've managed to get my Labjack to respond to to some commands (thanks to Eric Sorton for writing the driver and libjabjack). I hope to spend some more time learning USB so I can help with the driver & library for the USB device. Currently I'm just happy to have it working properly.

07/09 - Well as usual things are a little more complicated than I thought they may be. A friend of mine has lent me his VA11A (X10's Xray Vision). Turns out that there are at least 2 versions of the VA11A. The first with a USB id of 0x533, 0x2000, this one can use the driver found on the Nogatech site. The second version (the one I have) has a USB id of 0x733, 0x430 (same as the Intel PC Camera Pro, which it's not) and it can be found here at SPCA50X. This driver is untested and the latest patches appear to not be included yet. So there is more to follow.

07/07 - A friend of mine gave me 2 X10 wireless cameras (X10 insecurity cameras ;-) over the weekend. So I went looking for ways to hook them up to my Linux box. Along the way I found a set of drivers for the X10 VA11A USB Video Capture adapter. I don't have one yet but I'm looking into it.

07/03 - Correcting a bit of confusion I may have caused. It turns out that the old iButton DS9097 (note lack of U and any other part number) is best not used. The newer DS9097U-009 & DS9097U-S09 are to be used. The 009 comes with a sensor and the S09 lacks the sensor. I learned this after d/l'ing the Perl iButton module (see CPAN) which uses the DS9097U-009. Brian Lane's DigiTemp supports both the DS9097U-009 & the DS9097U-S09. The only package I know that now supports the old DS9097 is the onewire.tgz and it requires the use of 16550 compatible serial port.

06/06 - Hal Fulton is working on an HA project called Domo which he describes as a distributed, full-featured home automation software system, written in Ruby and running on Linux.

06/01 - Still cleaning up links and I'm still working on the redesign and hope to have a working set of pages by the end of June. Yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah etc. ... ;-) Oh, I've added a link to my directory indexing program. I couldn't find a simple tool so I wrote one in Perl. Perl has become one of my favorite languages for quick hacks.

05/30 - John C. Peterson has donated his Perl X10es code (x10es-1.0.src.tar.gz and x10ex-1.0-2.noarch.rpm). Here's a blurb from his readme which pretty well sums it up: " The x10 event scheduler, or x10es for short, is a program designed for Unix systems to facilitate the scheduling of x10 control command (on/off) events. The program is not a daemon, it only runs once a day (using "cron"). At runtime, x10es will parse your event definition table, and schedule individual command events for the coming day (using "at")."

The History page - where the old updates are moved to.