Setting up Mosquitto on your Pi as part of the home hub

To enable all your nodes to communicate we are using a protocol called MQTT, on the pi we are using Mosquitto as the broker to support this. The broker allows nodes to publish information or subscribe to get information when it is published. MQTT uses simple channels to dictate where messages go, here are some examples:


The structure of the channel is up to you, just keep it short and logical! In these articles I will have them set to how I like them, feel free to change them as you need. To install Mosquitto on your Raspberry Pi run the following commands.

sudo apt-get install mosquitto mosquitto-clients

Now you have it installed lets test it to ensure it is working. You can do this in a few ways but I’m going to use mqtt-spy. Head to the github site and download the latest version (0.3.0 at the time of writing). Once you have it open it up and ensure a default configuration is created. Now you can add in your nice new broker. In the connections menu select new connection. The Server URI is the IP address of your Pi running OpenHab. To get this if you do not have it run ifconfig in a SSH session. Click on Apply and the Open the Connection. If everything is good you will have a new green tab at the top of the window, this is the connection to your Mosquitto broker instance. Right click on the tab and select Show Broker Statistics to see the $SYS channel and data. This is a good indication of traffice going to and from the broker and you have a connection up and running from another machine. To test subscribing and publishing make a subscription to test/my/channel in the new subscription section and press enter. In the publish section enter test/my/channel as the topic and Hello World as the data (what else…). Press publish and you will see it turn up in the subscription you just made. mqtt-spy is a handy tool to have around so keep it in your home automation toolbox. You now have Mosquitto installed and running on your system. Next we need to configure OpenHab to work with MQTT to send and receive messages.

Setting up a Pi with a NRF24L01+ Radio

I’m using my PI as the central hub running OpenHAB, a MQTT broker and other services for home automation. On the Pi I am using a NRF24L01+pa+lna SMA Antenna Wireless Transceiver, this provide more range (1000m) from my main unit. All the nodes in the network will be running on Arduino chips and using a Mesh network so the house should have good coverage. First, wiring in the NRF24L01 to the Pi.Using Female-to-Female dupont cables use the following table to connect the units, the NRF24L01 is ~3-3.6V.

Raspberry PI 1 - B+ to NRF24L01 Mapping Table

Raspberry PI 1 - B+


Ground (20)


3v3 (17)


BCM 8 /CE0 (24)


BCM 22 (15)


BCM 10 / MOSI (19)


BCM 11 / SCLK (23)



BCM 9 / MISO (21)


I recommend checking the connections twice. A good Pi Layout can be found here: Raspberry Pi GPIO Layout Worksheet Now we have the wiring in place time to get the pi working. This assume you have followed guides on this site or other site and you are running rasberian. As I am using the awesome work by TMRh20 we are installing the bits in his github repo. Connect to the pi using SSH and run the following commands.

chmod +x
for D in *; do echo “Building and Installing $D”; cd “$D”; sudo make install; cd ..; done

After you run the file it will prompt you to install components. Go ahead and select yes for all of them. If you ever need to do a update of the libraries in the future you will need to delete all the folders under rf24libs. Now the pi is ready to go with the RF unit and needed libraries.

Rooting the WINK Hub with Windows

I do have a Linux machine in the house but that is on a Pi running as a squeezelite client for my house music collection. So looking at the instructions on the web I have translated them for use in Windows. Of course I have use PowerShell! The only addition I have is I use Kitty as a SSH client. This uses the approach @

  1. Open up the box and plug in the WINK unit. Do not download any app or hook it up to the internet. If you do this the latest firmware will overwrite the ability to do the hack below without popping open the case and hitting the chip directly.

  2. When you have the pink flashing light open a laptop and connect to the WINK wireless network. It starts with WINKHUB….

  3. Open a browser and go to and you should see home page or a download prompt for a JSON file. If so all good!

  4. Open up a PowerShell instance.

  5. Run:

    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri\_dev\_value.php -Method Post -Body @{nodeId=’a’;attrId=”;dropbearkey -t rsa -f /root/.ssh/winkkey.dbprv.rsa > /root/.ssh/winkkey.rawpub.rsa;”}

    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri\_dev\_value.php -Method Post -Body @{nodeId=’a’;attrId=”;dropbearconvert dropbear openssh /root/.ssh/winkkey.dbprv.rsa /var/www/winkkey.rsa;”}

    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri\_dev\_value.php -Method Post -Body @{nodeId=’a’;attrId=”;grep ssh /root/.ssh/winkkey.rawpub.rsa > /root/.ssh/authorized_keys;”}

    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -OutFile winkkey.rsa

  6. You now should have the rsa key locally. If you are using kitty/putty you need to get putty gen and open the rsa file up and then save it as a putty version of the key. You can then open up putty/kitty and access the WINK hub.

Reference Links:

Integrating ISY into OpenHAB

I am in the process of setting up OpenHAB for the extra functionality in my house. I have the ISY unit setup as the core brains for switches and scenes. All the other magic is in OpenHAB so if OpenHAB goes down the main functions of the house work. I wanted to get the OpenHAB system to be able to get the status from the ISY unit and also changes states. This was as not straight forward as I wanted. I still have a issue that the process is polling and not a subscriber model but I do not have time to create a ISY binding. Anyway, here’s the basic instructions.

  1. Generate a basic auth hash for your user/pass to access the ISY admin console. In PowerShell use the following command:

    $user = "usernameforisy"
    $pass = "passwordforusername"
    [Convert]::ToBase64String([Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetBytes($("{0}:{1}" -f $user, $pass)))
  2. Edit the OpenHAB items file and add in your switch, replace with the IP of your ISY unit and change the word HASH to the auth hash generated in step one. You use the ID of the switch not the friendly name, replace any spaces with %20 so 11 22 33 1 becomes 11%2022%2033%201

    Switch NAMEOFSWITCH "Floor Lamp [%s]" (g\_FF,Lights,g\_FF\_Study) {http="<[{Authorization=Basic HASH}:10000:XSLT(isy\_node\_state.xsl)] >[ON:GET:{Authorization=Basic HASH}] >[OFF:GET:{Authorization=Basic HASH}]"}
  3. Save the following XSL code to the transform folder under configuration and name it isy_node_state.xsl

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl=""  version="1.0">
    <xsl:output indent="yes" method="xml" encoding="UTF-8" omit-xml-declaration="yes" />
    <xsl:template match="/">
    <xsl:value-of select="translate(//nodeInfo/node/property/@formatted,'abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz','ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ')" />

Dealing with Internet Explorer ‘Continue to this website’ option missing

Found the work around here: To skip all the text on this page to the command one needs to unblock this restriction and for example set the minimum key length to 512; run the following in a elevated command line (cmd.exe ‘run-as-administrator’):

certutil -setreg chain\minRSAPubKeyBitLength 512

Now the “Continue to this website (not recommended).” is back If you want to revert this change and go back to the default of an 1024 bit key minimum, run:

certutil -delreg chain\MinRsaPubKeyBitLength

Home automation with ISY and PowerShell

I am playing with ISY and automation in my home, looking at the universal devices page today I found the API for working with the unit. Turning to trusty PowerShell I came up with the following code to enable you to start interacting with the unit remotely. Ill look at a proper module at some point in the future but this increases the possibilities of the unit! [code] function Invoke-IsyRestMethod { param ( $RestPath ) $isyEndPoint = “" $user = “user” $pass = “pass” $url = “{0}{1}” -f $isyEndPoint, $RestPath $headers = @{ Authorization = ‘Basic ‘ + [Convert]::ToBase64String([Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetBytes($(“{0}:{1}” -f $user, $pass))) } invoke-restmethod -Uri $url -Method Get -Headers $headers } # Get all the nodes and addresses you have in the system. (Invoke-IsyRestMethod “/rest/nodes”).nodes.node | select name, address # get information about a specific node. Invoke-IsyRestMethod -RestPath “/rest/nodes/28 2F 24 1” #Turn the node on, in this case my desk lamp! Invoke-IsyRestMethod -RestPath “/rest/nodes/28 2F 24 1/cmd/DON/“ #Turn the node off, in case my desk lamp. Invoke-IsyRestMethod -RestPath “/rest/nodes/28 2F 24 1/cmd/DOF/“ [/code] Next to make my desk lamp flash when I should go to bed ;)

Minecraft Mod Idea #284

It would be nice to have items sorted in chests, I have set it up with pipes before but as I am playing in Hexxit at the moment, I want a more ‘magical’ way for this to happen. What I am thinking is that you have a master chest and slave chests. The master chest is linked to the slave chests and the slave chests have the id/name of the items it automagically gets when they are put in the master chest. To power this redstone needs to be placed in the master chest, the system will always keep at least 64 pieces of redstone in there and for every 64 items one redstone is used to ‘power’ the system. Here is the walk through of the system.

  1. Craft a special chest which requires a normal chest, ender pearl and 64 redstone.
  2. This is then placed down.
  3. Looking at the chest type /magicchestsorter set master {name}
  4. On the backend this chest is marked as {userid}_{name} to uniquely call it out.
  5. Next you craft another special chest with a normal chest and a ender pearl.
  6. This is then placed down.
  7. Looking at the chest type /magicchestsorter set slave {name}
  8. On the backend this chest is marked as a slave to the master chest.
  9. Looking a the chest type /magicchestsorter set types {id},{id},{id} where id is the Minecraft id.
  10. On the backend this chest is marked as a destination for these types.
  11. Go to master throw in a stack of redstone and some items.
  12. When the events fire it takes the items out of the chests and routes them to the correct destination and consumes redstone.

Going to implement this in forge as it has custom block types, not intending to make a custom skin for the chest at this point in time.

Two-Factor Authentication and your Microsoft Account

I have just moved to Two-Factor authentication, there was a bit of work to get everything signed in again but the additional security is worth it. I use my Microsoft account as a central hub for everything, it is on all my PCs at home and work, I have a WP8 that I log into with it, I use it to log into Skype. Basically if someone takes it you have access to everything I have. In addition I have lots of photos and file on SkyDrive now and do not feel like having to deal with the issues if that is compromised. The process is fairly easy and I have the simple steps below so if you have a Microsoft Account I would recommend enabling it.

  1. Install the Authenticator App on your Phone if it is a Windows Phone
  2. Got to the account page for your account.
  3. Click on the link to enable two factor authentication (two-step)
  4. The page will give you a nice bar code that you can scan using the Authenticator application, this makes setup a breeze.
  5. Not this is done you will need to reset up your devices and accounts on your machines. If you have already trusted your accounts on your desktops you are good to go and only need to deal with things like SkyDrive by providing the Auth from your phone.
  6. Not everything likes the passcodes created so for other apps and devices such as Xbox 360, Windows Phone, or mail apps on your other devices you will need a App Password, you use this instead of your regular password to log into your account. More details can be found at the following link to setup different apps

With that you are done, all your apps now have two factor auth, if you choose to trust an account or remember the code then you are back to single access if the device is stolen, if that happens head straight to your manage page and remove the app passwords and un-trust all your devices. What was on the device my be compromised but any new information will be secured from that point on. Also you do have BitLocker enabled on your desktop hard drives, don’t you?

MYN/1MTD and setting the Start Date in Outlook automagically.

If you are using Outlook and want to force the start date to be set with a due date in the future by default you can use a macros which automatically runs for any new task item. In the VBA editor (Alt+F11) open up ThisOutlookSession In the code window add the following: [code lang=”vb”] Option Explicit Public WithEvents Items As Outlook.Items Private Sub Application_Startup() Initialize_handler End Sub Public Sub Initialize_handler() Dim objNS As Outlook.NameSpace Set objNS = GetNamespace(“MAPI”) Set Items = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderTasks).Items End Sub Private Sub Items_ItemAdd(ByVal Item As Object) On Error GoTo errHandler Dim objNS As Outlook.NameSpace Set objNS = GetNamespace(“MAPI”) If TypeOf Item Is Outlook.TaskItem Then Dim Task As Outlook.TaskItem Set Task = Item ‘1/1/4501 is None in the Outlook world. If Task.StartDate = #1/1/4501# Then Task.StartDate = Now() Task.DueDate = Now() + 3000 ‘ A due date a long way into the future. Task.Save End If End If Exit Sub errHandler: MsgBox “Error “ & Err.Number & “: “ & Err.Description & “ in “, vbOKOnly, “Error” End Sub [/code]

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