Hacking Eaton HomeHeartbeat Part 5: Ack! No Time!

Between one daughter’s wedding and another daughter’s surgery I haven’t had any time to play with this stuff this week.  I did, however, clean out my friendly Ebay vendor’s supply of $5 sensors for my collection, adding a few more motion detectors, a couple door/window sensors, and some other miscellaneous stuff.  Plenty of devices to tear apart and experiment with.  More information to come…

18 thoughts on “Hacking Eaton HomeHeartbeat Part 5: Ack! No Time!”

  1. Steve:

    I was really disappointed to see that Eaton discontinued the broadband service for HHB. I now have an installation of the product (with a lot of sensors) in my house that will not notify me if there is a water leak, etc. I was searching for alternatives and came across your blog. Anyway you know of to make the base station dial my cell phone directly vs. the service line that Eaton had setup for it to ‘call home’ back to them? Or any way that I can have the broadband gateway talk to a web service that I can use to notify me via SMS, etc? Was hoping you might have some thoughts on the subject. Any comments back are appreciated.


  2. I am looking for an answer to the same question Hunter posted… Please let me know if you find a way to have the base station call my cell phone directly.


    1. Direct dialing is not possible with the installed firmware. Doing so would require custom firmware development, which would require detailed knowledge of the hardware installed as well as a development toolchain from Ember. While this may be possible, it is well outside of the scope of what I am trying to accomplish.

      1. Got it..

        I am a novice at this sort of thing but i would think that connecting eaton’s base unit to a ConnectPortX2 gateway may make notifications over internet possible. I don’t necessarily need the system to call my cell – but somehow get a web service to send me an email. I really appreciate your help.


  3. Just bought an Eaton Home Hearbeat starter kit and Water Sensor.
    I knew the homeheart.com remote alerting service has been discontinued.
    But, I was disappointed that the product doesn’t include a continuous local alarm.
    The single, quiet beep from the Home Key is hardly enough to alert when there is a water leak.

    Maybe there’s a way for a computer attached to the USB port on the base station listen for an alarm indication? Seems like this might be a simple program. If so, there are lots of possible ways to provide alerts.

    Anyone have a solution?


    1. This will be easy to accomplish once the basic protocol is better understood. I will be spending some time with this today and will document my findings.

      For a basic alarm like you mentioned HHB is somewhat overkill, especially if you are only looking for a local audible alarm. You can accomplish this with a few dollars worth of hardware store parts. Check out sites like instructables.com and make.com; you will find dozens of examples of this application ranging from incredibly simple to insanely complex Rube Goldberg-esque designs.

  4. I know I’m late to the game – these posts are well over a year old but I wanted first to thank you for putting up this web page! I grabbed my HHB a few weeks ago and using the work that you’ve done, I’ve finished up some C code to talk to the base station.

    To Wayne’s point (and I think you mention it in other posts) coding up something to ask the Base Station what’s new, is pretty easy.

    I decided to go a bit overboard and I have added logic to that the system send Status and Alarm messages over an MQTT broker. Now all I have to do is create a small client to watch for these messages and if, say we see a Water Leak alarm, SMS me, email me, dial me, etc.

    But again – I couldn’t have done this without your help!
    thank you!

    1. Very cool, would love to see the code. Do you have it shared in GitHub or somewhere similar? My “free” time has been almost nonexistent of late but would be interested in seeing what you’ve come up with.

      1. It’s not up on github but I’d be more than happy to send you the code I’ve got. I did see you mention that you’ve got it up and running on your RPi. That’s my target as well, but when I plugged in the base station I had a little trouble getting the FDTI driver to load. I only goofed with it for 10 minutes but I wasn’t able to get the device driver to load so I could talk to the base station. Do you recall if you had to do anything special to get the FTDI USB/Serial driver to load? Thanks!

        1. The Pi USB is troublesome unless you use a powered hub. I can get away with using some devices without the hub – the little WIFI dongle that Adafruit sells, for example. Folks will tell you that this is unnecessary; I get the distinct impression that they aren’t trying to use their Pi for anything requiring long term stability.

          The FTDI drivers should “just work.” If you run into errors, check the system logs – they contain a lot of good info. If you see a lot of retry/reconnect messages then power is a likely culprit.

          I would love to see the code you’ve built for the HHB! When you get around to it can you send me a copy?

          1. Steve – Sorry – been busy at work. Email me and I’ll zip up and send you source. It’s not clean enough yet for me to github it. 🙂

          2. Patrick/Steve,
            I would be interested in taking a look at the code you have written also if you can send me a copy. I had started writing some code over a year ago and then set it aside.

            I seen this thread come back alive in my feedly and it has sparked my interest again.

          3. Patrick’s C implementation is much farther along than my Python version. Mine is nowhere near a usable state at present, it’s just a giant pile of conditionals to aid in interpreting HHB packets. I may have some time this weekend to play with this stuff, I’ll see what I can put together.

  5. I can’t speak to problems with connecting to an RPi, however I had FTDI woes at first and found that apparently Eaton used a unique USB device ID. Add this to your modprobe config:
    echo “options ftdi_sio vendor=0x403 product=0xde29” > /etc/modprobe.d/ftdi_sio.conf

    If you then reboot with the base station connected you should find a new /dev/ttyUSBx device (or just reload the ftdi_sio kernel module).

    I’m very happy to have some basic perl code digesting sensor data now, thanks for the effort you guys have put in to this. I am now curious how hard it would be to create new zigbee sensors for the system. Being able to add more environmental sensors would be awesome.

    1. I was easily able to sniff traffic with an Atmel Raven, so in theory it should be easy to experiment with sending different packet data. So many projects, so little time…

  6. I was thrown off by the base station saying something about “channel 0x09” which is a 900MHz frequency which is much less common (and not supported by the Raven as far as I can tell). However looking up the datasheet for the transceiver IC shows that it’s definitely 2.4GHz. I’ll probably go the Freekduino route as I’m more comfortable with the Arduino.

    All that being said, I’m looking at repurposing some of the modules to detect different things. If that can be done it would be much cheaper to just hack existing modules.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *