Home Automation 2.0 – Pt 2

In my last post I wrote about interfacing my Ademco alarm panel into my Home Automation (HA) network. Since I completed the installation I have had an on again and off again problem with the Mac receiving output from the AD2USB unit.

The problem manifested itself via the Serial Bridge software (more on that later) that I am using to receive the serial feed on my Mac.  After a period of time, it simply stopped logging messages.  My initial thought was that the AD2USB was faulty. To validate this, I terminaled into the device but immediately started receiving output again.  Without ever restarting Serial Bridge, it would start receiving updated messages and all was okay for a time.

My next thought was that the problem might be with the Serial Bridge software so I shut the program down and then terminaled into the AD2USB and just let the RAW data stream flow for a few hours and then I noticed that it too stopped receiving data from the AD2USB. At this point, my suspicion was directed back to the AD2USB itself.

I contacted Sean M from NuTech and he suggested that the problem might be with noise on the line and that I should try to insert a USB1.0 passive hub between the computer and the AD2USB.  While that may have helped, I don’t have any USB1.0 hubs laying around and getting one would require a purchase from eBay or Craigslist with no guarantee that the devices would even be functional. I was skeptical of this approach so I kept looking.

My next step was to look at the USB cable that I had running between the computer and the AD2USB.  I had just grabbed a cable from my stash without really paying any attention.  What I found was a 3ft, ultra-thin, unshielded cable. Since I have so much terminating into my wiring panel it seemed plausible that the thin, unshielded cable could be picking up noise so I decided to swap it out with a fully shielded albeit slightly longer cable.

Since that change, the system has been running without issue.  I’ll sit tight for a few days before I make a final judgment.

In part 3, I’ll pick up on the Indigo integration I promised in the first article in this series.

Until next time GEEK OUT!


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