I created a new page, which will be a place where I’ll jot down various tips for playing the No Man’s Sky game. The new page is called A Practical Beginner’s Guide to No Man’s Sky.
Cable ties may not seem like a big deal to many people but any time you’re dealing with a lot of wires I strongly urge that you consider using them. When I first setup a number of devices in a new entertainment center, when we moved into the apartment, I only used cable ties on a few devices and I regretted it ever since.
More recently, when moving to a new entertainment center, I decided that I would use cable-ties on everything, and I’m already glad that I did. Trying to route new cables can quickly become a chore when they get hung up on other cables and you’re having to feel your way through the various problems.
The Velcro Brand One Wrap Thin Ties I had purchased, from Amazon.com, of course, worked perfectly for this job. It has 100 ties rolled together. I used a large number of these on the latest project that involved pulling everything out of one entertainment center and setting those devices up in a new one…
Admittedly, I used them only after being unable to find them, stealing a bunch of cable ties from rolled up cables in storage, and then stumbling upon them later, about two-thirds of the way through finishing this project.
Just do it. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, it might add a good half-hour or more to setting up your electronics, but… it… is… worth… it. This is a case of where a little bit of extra work on the front-end will save you a significant amount of time and frustration down the road.
But think it through a little. For example, I primarily used the cable ties simply to tidy up excess cable length. There were very few cases where I actually tied different cables together because doing that can actually make it a pain to remove a single cable down the road.
I’m sure you can find better deals with a higher volume of cable ties, but this particular set worked great for my needs.
Home Automation has been a hobby of mine for almost eleven years. The technology has existed in various forms, for far longer; there are many other individuals that have been experimenting with home automation for far longer than I have.
I’ve added a new project page titled Home Automation with Indigo (Indigo Domotics), which focuses on my home automation projects that involve Indigo. It has some tips as well as links to various blog posts related to this project.
I ran into a very frustrating problem last night while trying to work on some scripting within Indigo for controlling the LED colors of a new LED strip. I had no problem with actually controlling colors using the built-in UI tools for updating colors, but a slightly more complex usage presented a major problem.
The issue started with a need to save the current state of the individual RGB values in the LED strip, before I apply a change, such as when a notification occurs. This is to ensure that after a notification “flash” occurs that the colors will go back to the same values they were before the notification.
Via scripting, I had no problem getting the values. The problem occured when I went to restore the values. As it turns out, I struggled with this issue most of the night until I finally figured out that it was a difference between how the UI treats RGB values and how they are actually stored in the device.
The problem is that I was retrieving RGB values that were based on a scale with a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 255, but when I passed these values back the UI was converting those numbers, incorrectly, into values on a scale of 0 to 100. Eventually, I realized that before I can restore the individual color values, I must first convert them to the UI’s scale.
In addition, and perhaps I confused this with that issue, before I figured it out, I also had problems changing the color more than once in the same script. This may have been more of a timing issue (a kind of race condition) so I split the two scripts into seperate actions with a 5 second dely for the second script.
Here’s the first script that reads the LED strip’s color values and stores them into Indigo variables. The last line changes the RGB settings to display a yellow color, for notifications.
dev = indigo.devices indigo.variable.updateValue(indigo.variables,value=unicode(int(dev.redLevel))) indigo.variable.updateValue(indigo.variables, value=unicode(int(dev.greenLevel))) indigo.variable.updateValue(indigo.variables, value=unicode(int(dev.blueLevel))) indigo.variable.updateValue(indigo.variables, value=unicode(int(dev.brightness))) indigo.dimmer.setColorLevels(dev, 100, 100, 0, 0)
The first ID used represents the Indigo ID for the LED strip. The other four IDs are for the Indigo variables. All of these devices are unique to my Indigo setup, my devices and my variables. The correct values can easily be acquired by right-clicking (or Control-click) on the item within Indigo to select the ‘Copy ID’ option.
The next part of the script restores the value of the individual color variables. It first converts each value to an integer (all Indigo variables are stored as strings, so they must be converted for this type of usage) and then do some simple math to convert the RGB values to the appropriate scale. The original equation I found had more components but I removed them since the minimum value in both scales is always zero; by removing the zeros it had no effect on the final calculation.
Note that RGB values being set should be integers as well, before being used to actually change the color values.
dev = indigo.devices valRed = ((int(indigo.variables.value) * 100) / 255) valGreen = ((int(indigo.variables.value) * 100) / 255) valBlue = ((int(indigo.variables.value) * 100) / 255) indigo.dimmer.setColorLevels(dev, int(valRed), int(valGreen), int(valBlue), 0)
So far, this seems to be working properly.
My desire to integration visual notifications into our home automation setup has remained, despite taking the color-changing LED bulb out of the setup when we moved. I recently begain toying with the same bulb and in the process I realized it might be fun, and useful, to find an LED strip that I could place behind the TV. It would add a nice atmospheric effect and also provide another source of visual indicators. I have started working on using the bulb for washing machine notifications and other events, but those notices are suppresed after 10 pm at night, and that light spends most of it’s time simply functioning as a normal lamp in the bedroom.
With any home automation setup it’s always best to ensure that a device is compatible with your controller, before purchase. Fortunately, someone had developed the FLUX LED plugin to make certain Magic Home devices available to Indigo. I decided to order a wifi and IR controlled Nexlud LED Strip Lights set, which only cost about $30.
It’s taken some work, and I had a color value conversion issue that I’ll mention in another post, but it appears to be working great. My next step is to set it to automatically turn on when the TV is powered on, and to turn it off when the TV is powered off. I’m not sure, yet, if I can accomplish this via Indigo. I test the Harmony Companion plugin, but I think it is only aware of Harmony interactions initiated within Indigo. I could be mistaken, which I’ll find out of for certain. If that doesn’t work, I’ll train the Harmony itself to interact with the device (Harmony didn’t automatically recognize this device in its database of codes).
Updated 2018/08/08: I also have it setup to be controlled via the Harmon Hub. This just required training the device to recognize the remote commands, which wasn’t difficult but did take some time to program most of the color modes. I also added control via Alexa, though now I only control the on/off state through the Hue Bridge emulation between Indigo and Alexa, instead of using the Magic Home skill.
The Indigo Smart Home platform supports plugin development. In addition to the built-in plugins, my setup also has a few custom plugins developed by third-parties. Every now and then the plugins need to be restarted (reloaded). I decided to setup a scheuled proces to restart a plugin and fortunately, this can easily be one via scripting within Indigo.
For security reasons it is only possible to reload an active plugin. One cannot load a plugin that isn’t already enabled.
The python script required to do this is very simple, within Indigo.
plugin = indigo.server.getPlugin("uk.co.greensky.flux") if plugin.isEnabled(): plugin.restart()
In this example I’m restarting the FLUX LED plugin. You’ll need to replace uk.co.greensky.flux with the appropriate plugin ID. I wasn’t able to find the plugin IDs directly within Indigo but they can be obtained by looking at the plugin filenames located in /Library/Application Support/Perceptive Automation/Indigo 7/Preferences/Plugins/ and leaving off the “.indiPref” file extension.