Message to Eaton: Help would be appreciated!

Looking over my Google Analytics pages I’m seeing a few hits each week that appear to be coming from Eaton corporate networks. Welcome! FYI, I’ve been receiving quite a few messages from people who really like their HHB hardware. Most of these users were disappointed when Eaton stopped supporting the online HHB service, and are trying to find a workable replacement. I’d love to help out in this regard; the more I learn about this hardware and its capabilities the more impressed that I am with the solution that was developed. Kudos to the technical, engineering, and design staff – you should be proud of the accomplishment.

I’ve sent several messages to Eaton requesting technical information on the platform, but have thus far been ignored. It is quite possible that my pleas simply have not reached the correct people. If you are from Eaton and have any influence in this regard, please pass my contact information along. If you have a better email address available that you think would result in a response, please pass it along in the comments.

I will eventually reverse-engineer enough of this product to be able to build an open replacement for the previous web service. My interest in this area is not profit-driven, and I am not trying to monetize this in any way, shape, or form. Eaton has abandoned this product and has left its customers hanging. The hardware remaining in the marketplace remains perfectly usable, but without community support it will end up in the landfill. Again, if you are with Eaton, please try to encourage the powers that be to release technical information to the community. If you are not with Eaton, but would like to either participate in development or are a customer who was abandoned by Eaton and are looking for a replacement solution, please contact Eaton directly and try to encourage them to release the information.

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Hacking Eaton HomeHeartbeat Part 6: Autopsy

Well, the good news is that I got an entire day to dissect the HHB base station, and now have a much more thorough understanding of the inner workings of the device. The bad news is that I managed to kill my base station in the process, probably by mercilessly probing for continuity trying to decipher internal device connections. C’est la vie – good thing these things are cheap. I hopped on Ebay and ordered a couple of new base stations in case I manage to kill another one, should be here next week. Read on for full details! Continue reading

New MSP430 Tutorials

Gustavo Litovski has posted an updated version of his MSP430 tutorial on his site

This is a nice concise introduction to the platform. Code examples use IAR, but should be fairly portable to other compilers.

Another complete set of tutorials that I have found useful is available at the Scientific Instruments using MSP430 site. These tutorials use the free TI Code Composer Studio IDE.

I typically find the commercial IDEs to be bloated and unnecessarily cluttered. I’m not a big fan of Microsoft dev tools, and it unfortunately appears that compiler vendors view MSVC as THE gold standard. The tools are bristling with tabs, toolbars, and HUD windows that add little value to the development process; it always reminds me of a weapons-laden comic book superhero. BEHOLD MY MANY OPTIONS!

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done my time writing production C++ in MSVC, and the options that I’m complaining about do occasionally come in handy. At least some of them. Unfortunately, when learning a completely new platform, the clutter is little more than a distraction. I’ll probably be doing my initial MSP430 development in good old fashioned emacs with mspgcc. Once I get more comfortable with the platform I may look more closely at IDE options; Rowley Crossworks looks intriguing. Crossworks has a native Mac version and also supports most of the available microcontroller platforms. As an added bonus, they have an affordable personal license available.