Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dimmable LEDs

The first LEDs I got to replace running expensive halogens were not the best. Although they were really bright (520 lumen) their angle was only about 30º and they didn’t dim that much. So it resulted in a darker room than with the old halogens (which were less bright at 400 lumen)

I got new sets of LEDs. This time I spent much attention to getting ones with a wide beam angle. One thing to note: even though they dim much more than the first ones I got, they still don’t dim all the way down to off like halogens would, probably down to about 30-40%. (They work also very well with the LightWaveRF switches that I use to control them)

I chose 4.5 Watt GU10 COB Bulb – Wide Beam Angle for the living room:

4.5 Watt GU10 COB Bulb - Wide Beam Angle

4.5 Watt GU10 COB Bulb – Wide Beam Angle

and 4 Watt GU10 LED Bulb – Wide Beam Angle for the kitchen:

4 Watt GU10 LED Bulb - Wide Beam Angle

4 Watt GU10 LED Bulb – Wide Beam Angle

Not only these are much cheaper to run than halogens (less than a 1/10), but because of their wide angle, they end up being actually much brighter too, even the kitchen ones which are only on 320 lumen (VS. 400 lumen for halogens). RESULT !


I’ve been collecting data from my different sensors:

  • Power consumption & kitchen room temperature from CurrentCost
  • Outdoor temperature & humidity via a DHT22 sensor connected to my Raspberry Pi
  • Server hard drive temperature via HDDTemp

Logging data is good but if you can’t look at it what’s the point?

I’ve therefore implemented charts on my SmartVISU page. This is achieved by using the adapted DomotiCharts script off the original Highcharts plugin.

The result is a nice chart that integrates really well with the look and feel of SmartVISU:

Temperature chart

Temperature chart


With the recent additions of the RFXtrx, the LightWaveRF switches, the HomeEasy Remote Controlled sockets and the CurrentCost energy monitor, I have updated SmartVISU to take full advantage of these devices.

I’ve also updated the original template to use “my own” weather satellite images (as opposed to the original German ones):

And I’ve added a quick link to view my CCTV Camera feeds in real time.

To see the end result, click on the below pictures.

SmartVISU Control Center (Jan 2015)

SmartVISU Control Center (Jan 2015)

SmartVISU Weather Center

SmartVISU Weather Center

SmartVISU CCTV Stream

SmartVISU CCTV Stream

Server Upgrade

Having quickly realised that my Raspberry Pi was not powerful enough to run all the things I wanted (this wordpress blog, checking the multiple sensors connected to the GPIO ports and displaying their status on a php page), I used an old spare HP Compaq D530u desktop computer as my “server”:

HP Compaq D530u

HP Compaq D530u

Although it’s been running fine for a while, since the addition of DomotiGa, and due to its old age (and probably dust) it’s not really up to the task anymore (it did crash a few times due to overheating etc). I’ve therefore decided to upgrade my gear to something that’s closer to a real server than a desktop computer.

I’ve purchased a brand spanking new HP Proliant G7 N54L server:

HP Proliant G7 N54L

HP Proliant G7 N54L


I’ve now installed Ubuntu Server x64 on it and transferred all applications, MySQL databases, files, etc.

It comes with a 250GB SATA hard-drive which is much better than the 40GB PATA one I had before, and I still have space for another 3 (when I decide to use it as a NAS too).

Not only it is quicker than the old HP Compaq D530u, it’s much quieter too 🙂

I did have to change from tightvncserver to vnc4server. Tightvncserver would crash within 30 min or so and the only option would end up connecting via SSH to attempt to kill and restart the service. Since the installation of the alternative vnc4server, I’ve not experienced a single crash 😎