Smartmeter update: permanent cable

Today I received a FTDI DS_TTL-232R cable ($12 on ebay), this cable allowed me to create a more permanent solution for my smartmeter. Here is the old cable/test setup:

And here is the new cable (I replaced the six pin female header with a RJ11 crimp connector):

New smart meter installed (Iskra ME382 and Landis + Gyr gasmeter E06140)

Last week Liander, one of the biggest energy network maintainers in the Netherlands installed a new smart meter at my place. Actually they installed two new meters: the Landis+Gyr E06140 to measure gas usage and the Iskra ME382 to measure electricity. Both devices are linked together and the electricity meter provides a P1 port, this is a open and accessible port to retrieve data from the meter. More information about this P1 port can be found here.
Of course I couldn’t resist that P1 port, and I just had to try and get the data out! Here’s a picture of the smart meter with the P1 port annotated (click for a bigger picture):

Installing Fusion IO driver on VMware ESXi 5 using vSphere Update Manager (VUM)

This blog post will describe how to install the Fusion IO driver on VMware ESXi 5 using the vSphere Update Manager. First things first, grab the latest driver from the VMware website, at the time of writing the driver is available here.

Next we need to import the patch file into the vSphere Update Manager, the patch file is included into the downloaded zip file. It should be named: From the vSphere Update Manager click the “Import Patches” link:

GreenWave Reality PowerNode (bar) first impression

Recently my colleague Frank (props to him) discovered this device which could well be a good alternative to the (ever delayed) Qees power strip. We both decided to order one of these devices. It’s a very reasonably priced device (€50,-) for it’s specifications:

  • 6 switchable and measurable sockets
  • Overcurrent (10A fuse) -and surge protection
  • 0.1W precision on load monitoring (energy measurement)

Here’s a picture of the device:

FSRM: Failed to send the test e-mail due to the following error: Cannot send the email due to an error.

I was working on FSRM (File Server Resource Manager) today and I was trying to get e-mail notifications working. Using the test button, the following error appeared:

Further investigation in the Windows (application)eventlog showed me the following information:

A File Server Resource Manager Service email action could not be run.

Error-specific details:
Error: IFsrmEmailExternal::SendMail, 0x8004531c, Mailbox unavailable. The server response was: 5.7.1 Client does not have permissions to send as this sender

As it turns out you need give send permissions to the computer running FSRM. You need set this send permission on the mailbox you specified in the “Default From e-mail address”. To do this, type the following command from the Exchange Management Shell:

Add-ADPermission -Identity "MailboxName" -User "DOMAIN\Computeraccount$" -ExtendedRights "Send-as"

After setting this send permission the error no longer occurred!

My home server setup part 1: basic setup and hardware

I have been running on a new home server setup for a little over a year right now. I am very satisfied with the setup and I figured it might be of interest to others out there.
So, in a few blog posts I will explain my complete setup (from hardware to backup).
Let’s start of with the hardware used in my home server, nothing fancy really:

Motherboard: Intel Desktop Board DH55TC
CPU: Intel Core I3 530 2,93Ghz
Memory: OCZ Gold Low Voltage OCZ3G1333LV4GK (8GB)
Harddisk 1: Kingston SSDNow SNV425-S2BN/64GB
Harddisk 2: 500GB Western Digital Green

All of the hardware is housed in a small desktop enclosure (as shown on the picture)

Stupid spammers

Everyone that runs a weblog has to deal with them: spammers!
I installed all sorts of counter measures to prevent spam, but every now and then one or two messages get through.
This week I had a spam message that made me smile, obviously this wasn’t the most intelligent spammer and coder of them all:

I think his/her spambot had to a pick a random word from those lists, but somehow it failed :-)
So, here’s a lesson.. if you do things like this, do them right and properly!

Programming and debugging an ATtiny85 using USBTinyISP and an USB-BUB

I have been working a bit on hardware again lately, and I am currently playing around with ATtiny micro controllers
These tiny little buggers have 8 pins, out of these pins a maximum of 6 I/O pins can be used (you would have to re-purpose the reset pin for 6th I/O pin, which is a very bad idea! This basically makes the chip unprogrammable from an ISP. So just stick with 5 I/O pins.). Some other specs of this of this MCU:

– 8Kb flash (yes, space does matter!)
– 0.5Kb SRAM
– Maximum operating frequency (20Mhz, using an external crystal)

Here’s a picture of this MCU:

Byebye RabbitMQ, hello 0MQ!

The core architecture of HouseAgent is build around a messaging system known as RabbitMQ. This worked out fine so far, however during development we discovered a major drawback of RabbitMQ.
RabbitMQ uses Erlang, which is a 70MB download.. *yikes*. In the future I want to be able to run HouseAgent on low memory platforms: for example routers/NAS devices etc. Most of these devices have a maximum of 16MB flash. RabbitMQ is just no option in those scenarios.

Looking for alternatives ZeroMQ caught my eye. A major difference is that ZeroMQ uses a brokerless design whereas RabbitMQ uses a broker based design.
Let’s have a look at both designs:

Old HouseAgent architecture based on RabbitMQ

Disable firewall on ESXi

I didn’t have a lot of time for blogging lately but here’s just a quick tip (I am currently working hard on HouseAgent behind the scenes!)
Sometimes it’s handy to disable the ESXi host firewall for some quick troubleshooting. Here’s how to accomplish that:

After you have done your testing, please make sure you re-enable your firewall. As it is a good practice to always have it enabled. Here’s how to re-enable it:

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