Author Archives: Mike

Bridging Texecom’s Alarm Signalling Protocol to MQTT

Texecom Premier Elite RKPTexecom makes a nice range of alarm systems called Premier Elite, with products suited for everything from high-end domestic up to large commercial deployments.  The range includes two IP-based communicator modules for wired (Com-IP) or wireless (Com-WiFi) operation.

Normally these communicators would be used with Texecom’s own alarm receiving service, or with a paid-for third-party monitoring service using proprietary software.  I wanted to have a way to integrate the alarm with my own monitoring infrastructure, and with some other IoT projects I’ve got going on, so I spent some time reverse engineering the protocol.

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ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro VHDL on GitHub

Spectrum +2A boot menu

Spectrum +2A boot menu

I’ve been promising for years to put the source for my FPGA retro-computing bits up on GitHub.  Well I’ve finally gone and done it.

These are essentially just the 2011 releases that are already available for download from here, but with the full development history intact.  I know that others have been doing some excellent work based on both of these projects, both in terms of adding new features and porting to other boards.  If anyone feels like forking and patching in their changes I will gladly accept pull requests in order to keep things together.

You can clone the BBC Micro from here, and the Spectrum from here, and if you missed the accompanying write-ups and videos you can find them up the top under Retro FPGA.

Introducing the Tiny Home Area Network Stack

TinyHAN MQTTIn the past I have bemoaned the resource requirements and closed nature of “standard” RF protocols such as ZigBee and other 802.15.4 based specs.  In the meantime low-cost radio modules like the RFM12B, RFM22B and the newer RFM69 series (all from HopeRF) have started to become the radios of choice in open source Internet of Things projects.  The problem is that despite a tendency towards standards like MQTT and HTTP on the Internet side, there does not seem to have been any attempt to standardise on what goes over the air, leaving a situation where everyone uses the same radios but nothing can actually interoperate.

Tiny Home Area Network (TinyHAN) is an attempt to address this in the form of an Apache licensed, highly portable protocol suite for resource constrained embedded systems using cheap sub-GHz radio hardware.  The software is written in portable C and uses a layered approach to enable interoperability even between devices using different radios.  This initial release of the suite supports basic client/server topologies currently without security, but with authentication and encryption to be added in the near future.  Various examples are included, as well as a GnuRadio based sniffing tool that can be used with an RTL-SDR dongle.

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