Category Archives: VSCP

State of VSCP

Just a short info about what is brewing in the VSCP world.

Over the years that VSCP has existed it has been times with pretty good interest and times with very low-interest.  This comes and goes and have done so many times.  At the moment we are in a  low period.  Contributions to the project has never been very high even in periods of high interest,  almost non existing in fact, and of course that is not better during a low period like this.

I have been working with this for so long now and coded a lot of code with other people’s needs in mind. Mostly broadcasting free stuff with a lot of effort behind it out in an empty space. It feels a bit awkward to continue that road ahead forever. As it feels now I will switch to do more “fun stuff” for my own needs instead of doing a general package for m2m/IoT in the future.

New drivers on the way

For my own projects I need some drivers for the Raspberry Pi and  I therefore is building three Raspberry Pi specific drivers at the moment

vscpl2drv-rpigpio and vscpl2drv-rpigpio-if2

This is a driver that handle general GPIO on the Raspberry Pi (used pigpio/pigpiod). It can be programmed with a decision matrix so you can send for example CLASS1.CONTROL, TurnON/TurnOff event(s) to control specific I/O, PWM, Servo and frequency support is there. Also input monitoring. Event based and periodic. It comes in two versions one that uses thew pigpio lib and one that use the pigpiod server.

vscpl2drv-rpilcd

With this driver you can control a LCD connected to the Raspberry Pi by sending/trigger on VSCP events. parallel mode and I2C supported.

vscpl2drv-rpimax6675

Interface a MAX6675 for K thermocoupole temperature measurements.

The driver is build if –enable-rpi is used in the configure script.  It will be a month or so before they is officially released.

Abandon wxWidgets

I have decided to leave wxWidgets for future work. This affects all components except VSCP works. Expect this to take a year or two before it is completed. The new drivers mentioned above already have this change in them.

XML configuration

For the future all Level II drivers will use a XML variable for configuration.  This is true for the drivers mentioned above and will be for all current drivers as well. The old variable model will still be there for backward compatibility.

Bluetooth mesh

I have used a lot of money to collect Bluetooth mesh capable hardware for some time. And this winter will be used for work with these. VSCP is very well suited for Bluetooth mesh. I can’t almost wait before I can start this work.  Excited!

OK that’s all for now folks.

 

 

 

#VSCP: New client id assignment

From version 13.1.1.4 a new more deterministic way is used to generate automatic client id’s. VSCP daemon internal events will use id’s from the high part of the client id that will always be the same.

Client id’s for drivers and other configuration parts that before was generated from the order the item was loaded  also now work that way If the client id part of a GUID is zero (byte 12/13). If however it is not AND the client id is not already used in the system the VSCP daemon will use the set client id for the item.

This means that drivers with set GUID’s will always have the same interface GUID being more deterministic. tcp/op connections, websocket connections rest i/f connections will be assigned client id’s on the go as before.

It is recommended to use the Ethernet/IP GUID series as a basis for interfaces.

HowTo: SMS Alarms

The problem

Just last week a house burned down to the ground here in my hometown. The family of two adults and three kids just made it out. This reminded me of the importance of alarms. My family as any family I guess have had some incidents over the year. In our case with a four floor building, cellar, office, apartment where we live and the attic it can be hard to, despite alarm equipment, to recognize what is happening in the cellar when your are in the apartment watching a film or even worse, sleeping. We have had our incident over the years as most people do. I use VSCP here of course. This system is intelligent enough to close down functionality  when things get bad. But a few weeks ago I had a bad incident. I have a VSCP node that control the water boiler in the cellar for warm water. This is a very simple setup. A relay, a sensor and a control node. I can thus remotely control sense and control the temperature of the hot water in the house. Sitting in the office I noticed a strange sound. I usually play music loud so it had been going on for some time I guess. I went around the house investigating the sound and when I came down to the cellar I heard that the boiler literally boiled hard. Not a good thing. There is a risk for a steam explosion from this so I got really worried. I turned of the power. Opened valves for hot water in the office and got steam and boiling water coming out. I checked the control unit and it had turned of the relay. Still the temperature was way over the limit. There is an independent security unit inside the boiler that should turn off power when it get over a certain temperature. Apparently this mechanism had not done it’s job. Also the security valve that prevent to hot water from going out in the system also malfunctioned otherwise I should not have got steam hot water out of the office valve. Two faults. The pressure security mechanism on the other side worked. But the boiler never got up to the 10 bar needed to release it. So things were actually not to bad. Bit could gone worse if I had been away for example. I later checked the cause and detected that the relays had gone stuck in the on position.  Something that happen to relays some times when load is heavy or control is a bit jumpy.  I also tested the overheat protection and it worked as it should, probably it would have just needed a bit more time to cut the power. The blender protecting the water line from to hot water was the only faulty component. Still this was a bit scary. I need to be alarmed if this happen again.

GSM Modem

I previously sold professional GPRS modems in the FrogShop from Caimore. Still have some around so I decided to put one to work. You can find may similar on Aliexpress or ebay. and even lower cost modules intended for Arduino or similar as the one below. They all have there pros and cons.

SIM Card

Next thing is to find a SIM card. In Sweden this is not a simple thing if you just want a module that sends a few SMS’s per year. The solutions available are highly overpriced. I know there are other and better options available in other countries. I just select a cash card to get started.

Software

Initially I thought about writing a driver for the VSCP daemon and this may still be an option, we will see. I have for a long time used Smstools a wonderful package for uses like this. With the help of the decision matrix of the VSCP daemon it will be possible to do plenty without a driver. So this is the solution I go for. There is a nice getting started tutorial for smstools here. Thus no need for me to write one again. The only thing i ned to do to get things working is to set the device and the baudrate lines in /etc/smsd.conf file
device = /dev/ttyUSB0
as I use an USB adapter for serial communication. And
baudrate = 115200
as i use that higher speed. Then I just restart the smsd daemon with
sudo service smsd restart
and everything is working.

Sending SMS’s

We are just interested in sending SMS’s here so we stick to that. But receiving SMS’s (we look at that in a later post) is also equally simple. To send a SMS one just copy a formated file into the folder /var/spool/smsd/outgoing. So to send an SMS to +467012345678 one send a file
To: 467012345678
ALARM: The water in the boiler is way to hot!
Write this to a file and copy it to /var/spool/smsd/outgoing and the SMS will be delivered to the set recipient. You can set the header to
To: 467012345678
Flash: yes

ALARM: The water in the boiler is way to hot!
to send a flash SMS (is displayed on the users screen directly but not saved). It can hardly be simpler.

Voicecall

Another possibility is to make a call to a receiver instead. Add Voicecall to the header like this
To: 46730533146
Voicecall: yes
TONE: 5 #,#,#
Here the mentioned precipitant will receive a call and when answered five groups of three “#” DTMF tons will be sounded. Tones that can be used to tell the recipient about the cause of the alarm. I will for instance use the number of “#” sounds as an indication of what floor the alarm happened. Possible with different tones for different alarms.

vscpd and smstools

So now lets put this to work for our VSCP based system. Alarm related events is collected in the class CLASS1.ALARM. The CLASS1.ALARM, Type=2, Alarm occurred is intended for alarm conditions.  So if we let sensors that generate alarms send this event and trigger on it in the decision matrix of the VSCP daemon we can send our SMS and voicecalls from there. The zone and subzone can be used as markers for where the alarm occurred. The originating GUID can also be used to identify this.
<row enable="true" groupid="alarm" >

	<comment>Send alarm.</comment>
	
	<mask priority="0" class="65535" type="65535" guid="00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00" >
	</mask>
	
	<filter priority="0" class="1" type="2" guid="00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00" > 
	</filter>
	
	<action>0x10</action>
	<param >/home/vscp/doalarm.py %zone %subzone event.guid %isodate %isotime "Current boiler temp is %vardecode:[boiler-temp]"</param>
	
	<allowed_from>0000-01-01 00:00:00</allowed_from>
	<allowed_to>9999-12-31 23:59:59</allowed_to>
	<allowed_weekdays>mtwtfss</allowed_weekdays>
	<allowed_time>*-*-* *:*:*</allowed_time>
</row>
So what do we have here? We trigger on any alarm occurred event regardless of priority and from which originating GUID (which unit) it comes from. It would have been possible to do several DM rows for different GUID’s (originating nodes) of course to handle alarms from them different. The time block (form <allowed from> to the end) just say that this can happen anytime. Leaving this block out has the same meaning. And last the important action.  In this case, execute external program (0x10) and in the parameter for the action the actual program to execute is specified with the path to it (/home/vscp/doalarm.py) is given. The rest of the action parameter line is arguments to this external program.
  • %event.zone – Zone for alarm event.
  • %event.subzone – Subzone for alarm event.
  • %event.guid – GUID for alarm event.
  • %isodate – Date on ISO format for alarm.
  • %isotime – Time on ISO format for alarm.
  • %vardecode:[//alarmtext//] – Specific text for alarm.
The description of the decision matrix is here. Zone and subzone is numericals that can be used to specify the place and equipment that generated the alarm. I have floor plan in zone and a room on that floor plan in subzone. The vardecode writes out the content of the given variable if it is present. We will come back to it later. When this row is added the external script will be executed when CLASS1.ALARM, TYPE=2 is generated by a node and received by the VSCP daemon. It is good if the script can do both voice calls and SMS sends and that both can be sent to a list of numbers.

The doalarm.py script

import sys
import uuid

filename_voice = str(uuid.uuid4())
filename_sms = str(uuid.uuid4())

# Dir that holds outgoing SMS messages
OUTDIR="/var/spool/sms/outgoing"

# Voicel recipients (comma separated list, empty for non)
VOICE_RECEIVERS="4673xxxxxxxx,4676yyyyyyyyy"

# Set to true for flash SMS
bflash = False

# SMS recipients (comma eparated list, empty for non )
#SMS_RECEIVERS="4673xxxxxxxx,4676yyyyyyyyy"
SMS_RECEIVERS=""

SMS_TEXT="An alarm condition has occured!"

# -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

voicetone="5 "
for x in range(0, int( sys.argv[1] ) ):
	voicetone = voicetone + "1,"

voiceRcvList = VOICE_RECEIVERS.split(",")

cnt=0
if VOICE_RECEIVERS != "" :
	for receiver in voiceRcvList:
		print( OUTDIR + "/" + filename_voice + str(cnt) )
		with open( OUTDIR + "/" + filename_voice + str(cnt), "w") as text_file:
			text_file.write( "To: {0}\n".format(receiver) )
			text_file.write( "Voicecall: yes\n\n" )
			text_file.write( voicetone )
		cnt = cnt + 1

SMSRcvList = SMS_RECEIVERS.split(",")

if SMS_RECEIVERS != "" :
	for receiver in SMSRcvList:
		print( OUTDIR + "/" + filename_voice + str(cnt) )
		with open( OUTDIR + "/" + filename_voice + str(cnt), "w") as text_file:
			text_file.write( "To: {0}\n".format(receiver) )
			if bflash:
				text_file.write( "Flash: yes\n" )
			text_file.write( "\n\n" )
			text_file.write( SMS_TEXT+"\n" )
			text_file.write( "Zone={0} SubZone={1} Time={2} Date={3}\n".format(sys.argv[1],sys.argv[2],sys.argv[3],sys.argv[4] ) )
			text_file.write( "{0}".format(sys.argv[5]) )        
		cnt = cnt + 1
This is the script. It is written i Python to make things simple to edit and/or change. You can find the script in the VSCP repository. Just edit the variables in the beginning of the script to fit your setup and you are set to go. Note that the voice call will do five groups of a series of “1”-press DTMF where the count is the same as the supplied zone parameter. In my case this is the floor plan so I know instantly where something happened and runa way and fix it. The SMS also give me more info.

The variable

To come back to the variable that is sent as a parameter. Perfect is to save a  measurement value in another part of the DM. Like this
<row enable="true" groupid="temperature" >
    <mask priority="0" class="65535" type="65535" GUID="FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF" > </mask>
    <filter priority="0" class="10" type="6" GUID="FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:3C:00:08:01:92:9D:3D:10" > </filter>
    <action>80</action>
    <param>boiler-temp;float;true;0;0x777;%measurement.float</param>
    <comment>Store boiler temperature in variable</comment>
    <allowed_from>0000-01-01 00:00:00</allowed_from>
    <allowed_to>9999-12-31 23:59:59</allowed_to>
    <allowed_weekdays>mtwtfss</allowed_weekdays>
    <allowed_time>*-*-* *:*:*</allowed_time>
</row>

An alternative way to do it

Another way is to do measurement compares, as in this case check the boiler temperature, you can read more about this method here and it is in many ways the same as the one we described above but more specific for boiler temp alarm.

And next?

Now you should be able to add your own alarms to your VSCP setup. Maybe something that will do good work in your remote cottage, alarming  freezing conditions before bad and costly things happens. In my house we will now sleep much better knowing that we will get alarms when things go wrong. I promised to continue with a follow up on how to react on incoming SMS mesages. This makes it possible to remotely control things as well such as turning on the heat in that remote cottage I mentioned above. I will try to write that story up soon. Time is my enemy, or rather lack of it. Cheers /Ake
   

#VSCP ‘s 18th birthday today

It is VSCP‘s 18th birthday today.  That is a a long time. At least for me, the (main) developer. There is enormous amounts of time put down into this project. Crazy amounts of hours. Every release gets around three, in best case up to ten downloads. That makes it worth it. That and the sheer happiness to truly believe in something.

Happy birthday little bumblebee.

 

State of VSCP

The thought was that I would do the 13.1.0 release today. But I have to postpone this until after my summer vacation. Well it to should have started today, but it also is postponed until Tuesday. But then I will be four weeks away from the computers and the  bugs. It is very warm and dry in Sweden now, and has been so since May,  and actually an office is NOT the place to be.

I work with a full Debian package for VSCP at the moment. It is a lot of rules. A lot of info to take in. A lot of things to add and change. After this is finished I will hopefully manage to get a sponsor/mentor at Debian and after that VSCP can enter in the golden path of Debian distribution, meaning much simpler installation and update for all in the future.

So I will silence for a while from now on so don’t expect rapid replies and fixes during this time. Hopefully I will come back after the vacation with a lot of new energy.

Have fun!

VSCP Events

VSCP event files and docs now is auto generated.  The docs for the scripts that generate the misc. file is here if you are interested.

Updated files will be available here https://www.vscp.org/events/ The docs sub folder here contains event documentation in markdown and also a zip and a tar of all content. This information is generated for the VSCP specification document.

All files generated contains version information which is the date and time when the docs was generated. This information is embedded in the generated files (if possible) and also available in JSON form here (version.json) and in JSONP form here (version.jsonp). In automated processes compare the on-site version information in one of there file with the downloaded version and download a new version if a newer one is available.

C header files are are here for event classes (vscp_class.h) and here for event types (vscp_type.h). The files are automatically included in the vscp and the vscp-firmware packages.

Python VSCP event include files are here for VSCP classes (vscp_class.py) and here for vscp types (vscp_type.py). The files are automatically included in the pyvscp package.

The vscp_hashclass.h and vscp_hashtype.h files are headers for the vscp helper class.

For JavaScript VSCP events are available in JSON format (vscp_events.json) and in JSONP format (vscp_events.jsonp).

vscp_class.js and vscp_type.js holds VSCP class and VSCP type information suitable for JavaScript.

XML format is available here (vscp_events.xml).

SQL format is available here (vscp_events.sql).