About Matthijs Hoekstra

Posts by Matthijs Hoekstra:

Fixed my Bryant two stage furnace with my NEST

When we bought the house we learned it had a fairly new Bryant furnace installed. The previous owner upgraded from an electric furnace a few years ago. When we had an HVAC guy over for an AC quote he mentioned it was a good two stage furnace, better than the one we had in Bothell. Ok, I didn’ really think about until a recent discussion with some colleagues at Microsoft.

When inspecting my connections of my NEST, I assumed the R, G, C and W1 wires needed to be connected. C is for power, the other ones for the fan and heater. In my previous home the Y was used for the airconditioning. I don’t have one in this house yet. Although if you connect the wire to the Y on the backplate of the NEST, the nest assumes you have a AC connected.

Since you need to hook up the W2 on your thermostat to work with a two stage furnace to make it work. I connected the spare wire to the W2 on the backplate. The NEST gives you a message the wiring is changed and now a two stage heating system is connected. That looked promising. One of my colleagues mentioned it might not be smart to just randomly connect wires and he was correct of course. So disconnected the W2 wire from the NEST and took a better look at my furnace. (In the picture below the W2 connector is lefr from the blue wire)

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Great thing about internet is you can find all kinds of information. I happen to have a Bryant 355MAV042080F model. Some googling on Bing pointed me to the user manual and the installation instructions. Cool.

Also on the inside there are some schematics of the furnace.

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After some reading and inspecting the furnace after opening it up I saw the yellow wire wasn’t connected at all. So i hooked it up to the W2 connector, checked if the SW2 switch was on (which was). Hooked the wire up on my NEST and voila, two stage furnace worked. Yellow light came on when HIGH HEAT was switched on (just cranked the NEST up to 90) and the green light came on when in LOW HEAT mode (when I switched the NEST to 1 degree more than the current temperature).

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No idea why the W2 wire wasn’t hooked up. The original Honeywell thermostat supports this system as well. I took some pictures before I installed the NEST and it wasn’t connected when I removed the old thermostat.

So I am kinda proud of myself I increased the efficiency of our thermostat.

How to disable the SIM error message on your Windows Mobile device

wp_ss_20160124_0001Some people use Windows Mobile devices without a SIM. I use it to test different things during my job and also on my developer devices at home. I just started a little project where I want to use the Lumia 640 as a control device and these devices will never get a SIM. So this pesky little warning prevents the device from automatically starting up and run my control software.

Fortunately this is easy to fix. If you install the Imaging and Configuration Designer (ICD) you can set a configuration setting and provision your devices to this setting. Installing the ICD is easy. Instructions can be found here. The cool thing about provisioning package is you can mimic a lot of the more fancy Mobile Device Management features. So if you need to test deployment, settings like WiFi and email you can do that without any MDM server and just use provisioning packages. These packages are just a bunch of zipped up XML like any MDM syncml is as well. So easy to test your things without needing to go to the IT guy and ask him to setup some policies and you enrolling the devices in a work account.

The setting you are looking for is called AllowSIMErrorDialogPromptWhenNoSim under the experience group.

Since this is the first time I will show a step by step guide. Future posts will just mention the settings involved.

First you create a new project (File New Project). Enter the name RemoveSIMErrorDialogPromptWhenNoSim
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Hit next and choose Provisioning package and hit next again
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On the next screen choose ‘Common to all Windows mobile editions’ this will give us all the options available for mobile and not just a subset.
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You can skip the page to import a provisioning package (or import my package linked to this blogpost to see what I did) and click Finish

In the search box type SIMerror and click on the AllowSIMErrorDIalogPromptWhenNoSIM and configure it to No.
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Save your project and choose Export – Provisioning package. Leave the defaults and click Next (if you want to change your package the next time make sure you increment the version, otherwise your device won’t take the changes.
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I leave the encrypt package and sign package checkboxes unchecked and click next.
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Select the location where you want to store the provisioning package and click next.
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On the final ‘build the provisioning package’ you click the build button.
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And you are done. If you navigate to the directory you will find the RemoveSIMErrorDialogPromptWhenNoSim.ppkg file.

You can drag and drop the file to your connected phone in file explorer.
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On your device you will see a message popup asking you if you trust the package which is trying to be installed.
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If you click Yes, add it your device will be provisioned. If you reboot your device now you will not see the annoying screen anymore. Mission accomplished.

If you decide you want to remove the setting you can do that by going to the settings screen. Accounts, provisioning.
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You can find this provisioingpackage over here. Make sure you check it before you install it since these packages are really powerful and can totally mess up your device settings.

New project: Lumia 640 as touch control device for my home automation

The other day I was chatting with Morten Nielsen on twitter about some ideas for home automation. I want to be able to control lights, temperature etc in some rooms in my home. Ideally that would be done with some kind of easy to use touch screen device. The Raspberry Pi came to mind. There are some screens you can attach to it. It’s low power and pretty easy to put inside the drywall and make the screen look nice on top of that.

14528240889_5d4fde6341_k-728x420Morten mentioned he used a Dell Venue Pro 8 is also a nice and affordable device. But when I found out you can switch your Windows 10 Mobile device to embedded mode it sounded that a really affordable Lumia 640 (last one I bought was just $60 on AT&T and I got a free unlock code as well) would be a perfect fit too. It has al kind of sensors, so you can undim the screen when somebody is in front of it. Cortana should work for voicecommands. It runs any Windows 10 Universal App (Morten is working on an AllJoyn solution).

We have provisioning tools to configure the devices, heck, i could use my intune test account to maintain the devices as well.

Plenty of ideas to look into and so I will try to post some of my findings during the way about what I want to do and what the results of these investigations are. Some of the things which needs to be solved are:

  • I need an app which is a dashboard which can control my z-wave lights, temperature, perhaps music and intergrate with security cameras
  • It need to be easy to configure the devices in every room and easy to update the software as well. So i am looking into writing my own updater app (packagemanager) and provisioning of the devices by using our provisioning tools
  • Cortana integration would be cool
  • Device could be a bluetooth token which opens some possibilities
  • Device could be a IP camera for security purposes
  • AllPlay music services, control music playing in the entire home, although i need to hook up some good speakers instead of just the device

Plenty of stuff to figure out and probably never a project which will be completely done.

Posting blog posts through OneNote

Microsoft introduced a new plugin for WordPress. This plugin lets you use OneNote pages as input for your posts. That’s pretty convenient. You can write and scribble in OneNote every time you want and once you’re finished you can just move that page over to WordPress with a single click.

To make this work you need to install the OneNote published plugin in your WordPress blog. After you have installed it you need to configure the plugin according the instructions (you need to create an application so WordPress can access your OneNote files which are stored in your OneDrive)

After this you can add a post in WordPress and select one of the pages from OneNote. Pretty cool. This pages was written in OneNote as an example.


And of course a screen clip can be inserted in OneNote as well 🙂

SmartThings, how to handle guests and nanny’s in your house

Using SmartThings lets you automate most of the stuff in your house. Leaving the house automatically turns of all the lights and heating, but only when all of us leave the house. When one of us returns in the house, the lights go back on and the heating is on as well.
The last few weeks my mom was visiting and when both me and my wife left the house she got stuck in the dark because both presence sensors connected to our keys were gone and the rule in SmartThings is when everybody leaves the house switch everything off. Not a huge problem to switch back on the lights and heating but not something you would expect from your home automation system.
There are several ways to solve this. I could buy another presence sensor and give that to our guests. Only when the guests leave you have to switch it off. This might work for a nanny who gets out the house with the kids for example. The one thing which is missing in SmartThings is the ability to easily switch off the presence sensor. You either remove it from the system or remove the batteries when not used. I saw a suggestion creating a new device type with a enable/disable capability so you can switch off the presence sensor when it’s not used.
The other way is to create new ‘modes’ for your home and switch to these when you have a babysitter staying for example.
The 3rd one is what i used now. You can create a new device type which is called Virtual Presence Sensor. That’s a presence sensor you can create to develop your apps and test somebody leaving your house for example, but in my case it would work as well. Whenever my mom or the nanny stays home, I just enable the presence sensor and everything keeps working how it’s suppose to work. Lights will automatically switch on around sunset, or off around sunrise etc.
So how do you create one? Go to the web IDE login and go the My Devices at https://graph.api.smartthings.com/device/list and click on +New Device
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Select as Type the Simulated Presence Sensor
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Give it a name (in my case Presence Sensor Guest). The Network Device Id can be anything. Select a location or your hub and finally click create.

Now you only have to change your different modes. For example the ‘I’m back’ responds to anybody arriving and you have to add this virtual presence sensor to the list of sensors you want to use (already mine and my wife’s sensor are in that list). Also ‘Goodbye’ needs changing when you want to lights to switch off when everybody is gone.

I thought this was a simple but neat trick.

My new Intel NUC desktop computer

A while ago my desktop at home started to acting up. So I decided I wanted it to replace it with something new. I was looking for something small yet powerful and it needs to be silent!. My colleague Galileo recommended the Intel NUC.
So after some searching and reading reviews I decided it looked good and would fulfill my requirements. It needs to be silent, powerful enough to use Visual Studio, enough memory, enough disk space. And it needs to be able to hook up different screens. (At least 3).

So i ordered the following parts at Amazon:

Enough memory, 512GB disk, a USB to VGA cable to hook up a 3rd screen. 2 short cables to hook up the mini display and mini HDMI connectors at the back to 2 other DVI screens I have.

So far I really like the device. It’s fast, quiet (you can hear it, and when the blower starts you can hear that too, but it’s not annoying, it’s a soft sound). I use a BT keyboard and Mouse. It’s fast enough to use Visual Studio. I can even build my own Windows enlistment which is a pretty heavy task. Happily running Windows 10 at the moment.
The NUC has a I5 processor. The case can hold a small notebook SSD drive (there is also an option to use M2 storage for future expansion).
Here are some pictures of the device. It is really small:WP_20150302_004

The package also contains a little Vesa mount so you can screw the device to the back of your monitorWP_20150302_005 WP_20150302_006 Enough USB3 connectors on the back and the fronts, 1 USB connector at the front you can use for charging (will have power when the device is shut down)WP_20150302_007

2 memory modules for 16GB total memory. Works great for running multiple emulators and hyper-v images.WP_20150302_008  WP_20150302_010 WP_20150302_011

The hard drive fits in neatly too (512GB SSD)

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USB to VGA dongle for my 3rd screen. After installing the display adapter drivers it works great.WP_20150303_006

So all in all I am happy with the device. 1 wish would have been a TPM chip. That would made it easier for me to authenticate for work stuff with a virtual smartcard instead of my real smart card (and perhaps forget it to bring to the office because it’s still in my smartcard reader at the home office)

How to use a video as your account picture in Windows

I just found out you can use a video instead of an image as your account picture in Windows (works with Windows 8.1 and up). Pretty neat effect.

 

So this is how you set it up. Go to your start screen, click on your name, choose ‘change account picture’

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Instead of browsing for a picture you click on camera. In the camera screen make sure you switch to vide mode.

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That’s it. Pretty cool he?

Oh if you want to build your own app to do this, there is an API for that too: https://code.msdn.microsoft.com/windowsapps/Account-picture-name-sample-912baff1 

Pibow Coupe enclosure for my Raspberry Pi 2

When I ordered my Raspberry Pi 2 I also ordered a little enclosure called the Pibow Coupe. Since the layout of the Pi 2 is the same I assumed every case would fit. Unfortunately that was not the case for this specific enclosure. But with a little help of my Dremel I managed to adjust it a little bit and it now fits perfectly.

When you build the case around your Pi board they little layers are numbered. Number 1 and 2 are at the bottom, than you put your Pi on top of it, than layer 3. This layer needed some adjustments. I removed a little part of the plastic at 3 areas. After that it fitted perfectly.

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I am happy with the end result

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I like this case because it exposes all the GPIO ports so it’s easy to fool around and play with the device when adding sensors and other circuits.

Raspberry Pi 2 arrived

Last month Microsoft announced support for Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi 2. That was a perfect excuse to order one myself as well (I ordered mine at MCM Electronics).

Although it was in backorder it took less than a week to arrive. I also ordered a good power supply and a nice little case. Of course you need a memory card. 8Gb micro SD card should be enough for most situations.

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Installing the Raspberry is easy. Download the Noob zip file. Unzip it to the already formatted micros SD, put it in the Raspberry, connect your screen with HDMI, mouse and keyboard through USB and a network cable in the network connector. Plug in the power and you are good to go.

First question is what you want to install. The Noobs install comes with a few choices. Pick the first one.

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Wait a little bit.

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And you will see a lot of linux stuff appearing on the screen.WP_20150217_005

Final choices. I just clicked Finish.WP_20150217_006

Et voila, a $35 computer is waiting for instructions.WP_20150217_007

Of course I want to put Windows 10 on this device. Yes I do have access to internal bits but I cannot blog about that stuff just yet.

SmartThings: Switch dimmer to 100% and return to original value when contact closes.

This was bothering me for some time. In the hallway we have a wardrobe closet but that part of the hallway is kind of dark. I was already planning to change the dimmers (2 way) for z-wave ones, but I want to have something smart here as well. Whenever I open the closet I want to lights to go to 100% but when I close the closet they should return to the original value (either it off, or dimmed etc).

That happens to be really easy, I found this thread in the SmartThings forum http://community.smartthings.com/t/smart-light-timer-dimmer-modification-is-this-possible/11133/6

You need a little smart app. When a contact opens it turns the dimmers to 100%, remembers the original value first and subscribes to the close event of the contact, when the contact closes again the original value is restored.

Sounds what I need is possible, so ordered the contact sensor from Amazon (click click Smile)