Aeon Labs 4in1 Sensor – Hardwired

I know I’ve mentioned it before but battery powered devices included in a home alarm or home automation system are, at best, temporary fixes and more likely long term headaches.

In our case I HAVE been feeding batteries to three Aeon Labs 4 in 1 sensors used in our home automation setup. Four “AAA” batteries seem to last around three months (and that is a few bucks out of my pocket if you’re keeping track – I am).

I sourced some automotive 12VDC-USB devices and as the outdoor multi-sensors are co-located with surveillance cameras pulling 12VDC this seemed like a good way to get better service from the devices AND save a few bucks on batteries. It did, however, take me more than a little time to get rolling.

USb thimgamawhosit

I’ve now installed the first one and it seems to be working just fine. Of course this involves a song and dance with Vera – but more on that later as I rewire the other two.

Vera – Recovering from the upgrade

Just over a week since the upgrade to U17 and I am 90% certain that the system is functioning properly again. The processor is under a higher load, but routine functionality is back.

Vera Home Automation

I’ve opened two tickets with tech support (the first dealing with rolling back the firmware – which I have put on the back burner), and the second dealing with a recurring error message (the forums suggest this is a common problem, and that tech support does NOT have a solution for it).

Meh. We’ll see.

’72 Honda CB350 – Done

I think it’s finally finished.

The bike runs, is street legal and everything that should work does. I’m in the midst of replacing the front tire (overzealous effort at removing the old one punctured the inner tube and I’m waiting for the new one to arrive by mail).

1972 Honda CB350

I’m considering pulling the bike apart once more and actually fixing some of the dents/dings/scratches and maybe repainting the bike and frame, but truthfully that must be considered a “new” project, rather than a continuation of this one.

Suggestions, as always, are welcomed.

Vera Upgrade – Oh dear.

I’ve been running my Veralite with the older U16 firmware since I got it. The new and improved U17 was rolled out some time ago, but I was happy with the performance of my Vera and decided I’d put off the upgrade.

Last night I received an email from the company recommending the upgrade, and I figured “what the hell, it might just resolve some minor issues I’ve been dealing with.”

It did not.

Vera Home Automation

It broke, or more importantly ‘bent’ every facet of this system aside from manually turning things on or off. The entire “automation” part of my “home automation” system needed to be torn apart, examined and put back together by me over the last 16 hours.

Most of the issues seem to stem from the way the firmware converts scenes from U16 to U17. Examples of the malfunctions are;

– Virtual Switch set to turn exterior lights on or off – using this switch causes a runaway process where the switch turns itself on and off dozens of times a minute until the system is rebooted.
– Vera Alerts App configuration screen damaged, causing multiple pop-up window errors. Had to be deleted and reinstalled.
– Exterior Multi Sensors began reporting detected “motion” as “Low battery” alarms (regardless of ‘armed’ or ‘disarmed’ state).

There were others, and presumably issues I could not find as the system itself would become unresponsive and would fail to fire scenes when the associated triggers were activated.

I fired off an email to tech support demanding they help me roll the firmware back about 4 hours ago, but in the interim I have identified a few of the key problems and resolved them. I’m now sitting on the fence trying to decide if I should keep working on this, or roll things back to the way they were.


CB350 – Out and about

100km on the bike since it’s been back on the road. The bike runs well (once it was tuned up a bit), and it’s a hoot to ride around on.

1972 Honda CB350

There only seems to be the one remaining issue;

  • Sticky Transmission: When up or down shifting the lever has a tendancy to “stick”. I need to move sort of manually reset the lever by moving it a little bit up (or down) with my toe before I can properly shift again.

    The shifting was initially pretty rough, but has been getting better as it’s spent more time on the street.

» Read more..

HDMI to Composite Converter

Our recent CCTV DVR upgrade had a hitch, I misread the spec sheet when ordering the device and “assumed” that it had a composite output. When it arrived I discovered that the only video outputs on this DVR were VGA and HDMI.

While not a deal breaker, this makes it difficult to push the signal out onto the home CATV system. After some research I decided to buy a View HD HDMI to Composite converter. The reviews (both on amazon and youtube) were positive.

View HD HDMI to Composite converter

It was simple to set up, and appears to work flawlessly – no distortion on the video and no issues I can find. Well worth the money at approximately $60.

CCTV to CATV – An overview

We have always had our CCTV system fed into our cable so that regardless what room of the house you are in you can simply turn to a specific channel and see what the cameras see.

This is accomplished by taking the composite video signal from the CCTV DVR (usually a quad screen split or some such), feeding it through an agile modulator (a device that converts a signal from a composite source into a designated frequency specific to a cable television channel) which is then combined into the CATV line for the house (a notch filter is used to block a specific channel range so there is no interference on the channel used by the modulator).

CATV distribution system

1 – CATV feed from cable company.
2 – Signal is split – one line goes to cable modem to minimize drop loss.
3 – Cable signal is fed through a ‘notch filter’ which eliminates a specific cable band (channels 72-78 are deleted).
4 – Cable signal and CCTV modulated feed (set on channel 75) is combined, then fed to various locations.

Hey presto, your cameras are now easily accessible from anywhere in the house and you can check what goes ‘bump’ in the night by simply changing channels.

1972 CB350 – Ride Report

With a shiny new licence plate attached I could not resist the opportunity to take her for a ride around the block, followed by a few more laps.

Initial impressions are positive – the clutch problem has mostly worked itself out, if still a bit bumpy while letting it out in first (adjustment required).

The bike has some pep, feels light and nimble and was quite pleasant to ride. It’s noisy as hell compared to the Bonneville, an while I am not a fan of loud pipes I’ll admit that there is a nice throaty rumble to these ones.

Am looking forward to a real ride, but this has been a treat after 2 years of wrenching.

’72 Honda CB350 – Street Legal

778 Days.

When I started down this path the thought was that a project like this would give me a better understanding of how motorcycles work, give me some more confidence when wrenching on bikes I own and be a little fun into the bargain.

As such I’d justified the cost of this project as “tuition” rather than just a restoration/renewal.

1972 Honda CB350 K4

It’s been a long road but attaching the plates to the bike feels like a shift from “project” to “motorcycle” for the bike, and a step down the road from “motorcycle rider” to “motorcycle owner” for me.