Success in limited ways

So, the plan is to run Home Assistant. If you’ve not gathered that already.

Why? I dunno. Because it interests me. Things I’d like to do with HA:

  • Monitor the charging stations
  • Monitor the solar
  • Maybe use the solar to restrict charging during solar hours, although not sure it’s worth it since we don’t have a Time Of Use tariff
  • Monitor the status of the chicken coop door (is it really open, is it really closed?)
  • Maybe control the coop door (just for shits and giggles, really, since we have a remote in the house)
  • Monitor our local air-quality
  • If I get really fancy, I might connect it to our heatpump, which isn’t terribly good at picking whether it should heat or cool. So it has about a 5-6F range of temperatures in the house that it vacillates around

I dunno what else. We have smart-lights in the lounge (although I’m still aggravated that one of them randomly changed colour temperature and refused to change back – it *says* it’s the same as the others…but it’s really, really not).

My original plan:

  • Use the OrangePi I bought to drive a small screen which displays HA on it *and* runs HA.

This is… it turns out, unfeasible. That’s because despite getting it working, it’s unuseably slow. That’s my bad – I didn’t mean to buy an OrangePi One. I meant to get something with a bit more ooomph. My backup plan was

  • Use my RPi4 that was in my Mycroft prototype.

Only… I’ve already put that in the Econet server, I remembered…after hunting for it for an hour.

The remaining RPis are a 1B(?) and 2B. Neither of those is…well, better. My OPi is the 1Gb memory version, so it’s marginally faster than the 2B, probably. 900Mhz plays 1.2Ghz.

Also, I don’t know where all my flipping MicroSD cards went (they’re probably with the ballpoint pens), because the only “spare” card I can find is a 2Gb unbranded one.

So the new plan – which I have just enacted is:

  • Buy a new SBC (an OrangePi 5LTS) to run Home Assistant (they happen to be on sale this month! Excellent!). (Don’t forget to install Mushroom, Kate)
  • Setup the OPi for the Home Assistant display I’m planning to build
  • Setup the RPi2 as a camera for the coop (which requires a second WiFi dongle because the one I used to use with it seems to have expired)

Hopefully this new plan will work well. Now I have a plan though, that means I can start setting the OPi up to be a Home Assistant screen, and I can start making the case for it too, which is going to be a lasercut affair. Whee! More projects!

I also spent some time working on the Acorn Pocketbook II today. The screen arrived, but it shortly afterwards started doing sad LCD things. It’s got some permanent black pixels in the corner, which is very disappointing, but it clearly wasn’t there when it arrived.


Also annoyingly, and I’m guessing this is related, the last few lines don’t work on the screen. It’s not a disaster, but after so much work to get it changed it’s rather sad.


The main problem is that the hinge/spring mechanism for the button bar disintegrated slightly during assembly (the Psion 3 hurts my soul the way it’s assembled). I tried gluing it – but it didn’t hold, sadly. So now I need to get some Epoxy. But once that’s done it should actually work. In fact, I might be able to build two working ones from the bits I’ve got – one Psion 3a, which will be a bit untidy, and the Pocketbook II which will look neat but have an imperfect screen.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.

2 thoughts on “Success in limited ways

  1. @admin Home Assistant needs a Disco Mode where everything Discos :)The door thing resonates with me. Wish I had a check for the gate (so the dogs don’t run out. One of the dogs do not fear other people and will happily run into other people’s homes!).Sorry to hear about the screen:( I’ve got a specific relationship to Psions myself, so they aren’t my thing. Hope you can figure it out.

    1. Well, I think for the moment I’m just going to tolerate the slightly sad screen. If I end up using it as much as I’m hoping to then I’ll keep a lookout for a new screen for it. Handily I’ve now got a raft of spare bits to keep it going, but screen wise I just need to pick up a IIIc or a IIImx.

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