Submission by Kevin Hawkins – OK – another update. This is of the Rabbit development system with the following piggyback boards installed – a Rabbit 3200 core attached lower left corner, plus the C Bus SIM upper centre (blue board) and a 4 line graphic lcd display with keypad and LED’s.
A very productive week really – I have totally re-coded the web server and the ftp server – I had borrowed some code earlier and I think in later versions of Dynamic C (v8) more extensive libraries now allow me to implement these in a much neater fashion. However I learned an awful lot from the previous code both about how web servers actually work, how to implement pages with dynamic content and about C itself so it was well worth it. So we now have a web server with dynamic pages for C-Bus content, and an ftp server with both anonymous (read only) access and an administrator who can create pages for the web server to use. I am just now looking into the best way to allow people to include their own dynamic content. I have the C based cgi routines working too. The C-Bus side has been running reliably now for some time and only balks at a few of the more complex message streams (ignored). I have still to incorporate some group naming into both the web displays and the xAP messages, this means reverse engineering the C-Bus project files format or manual entry
I have also made progress on my hardware solution. I have got ten boards made up as a partial hand build so no fancy silkscreens/solder masks, plus there will be a couple of link wires on the board. Photos soon when I receive the boards. These look nothing like the photo btw, they are much simpler in design incorporating power supply, Rabbit mounting sockets , extra I/O headers, serial port level converters and C-Bus SIM mounting.
These units will simply offer a C-Bus interface (via a SIM) and a spare RS232 port. I will use this port as a serial to Ethernet xAP bridge (probably not in initial software release ). Actually there is another spare serial port that can either be connected to a C-Bus RS232 computer interface obviating the need for the C-Bus SIM – or in my case I will be using this for a connection to the Galaxy Alarm panel. As few of you need this I >MAY< look at other options, for example connection to a Meteor Caller ID unit or an X10 interface or to provide a basic control protocol (non xAP) for connection to say HomeVision or ACE. We’ll see. This would all be extra functionality, possibly chargeable.
Later on I may have a more capable board with other interfaces but I’ll see how these go first.
So… it looks like I may need some early adopters soon – the board uses a Rabbit 2200 core and needs a SIM too unless you connect directly to your C-Bus PC interface. The cost of the board, including the software will be approx £50 to UKHA’ers. In addition you need a Rabbit core with Ethernet interface at around £45 (2200 – 256/128K)or £65 (2250-512/512K) depending on what size RAM you choose – I stongly recommend the latter. You need also either a C-Bus RS232 interface which you probably have already or a C-Bus SIM which will add another £50. So if you are interested in reserving a board email me now. If I get a very low level of interest I shall probably not make any more. Please note the board is not in any way cased or CE approved and does not come with a power supply either – you need to provide a small wall wart that provides 9-12V DC – I can supply these too if you like. I should have boards available in around 3 weeks or so. I have assumed the sale of 10 units to get a small price break on the cores.
BTW – early on in the products life there are inevitably going to be bugs. You can’t upload new firmware to these units from a PCvia a serial port – either the units will have to come back to me or you will have to buy a programming cable from the UK distributor which costs around £25. If you do the latter I will be posting updates on my website for new features / bug fixes.
Please note that I am making no profit on these early boards and I am not charging for the software either. Accordingly nor am I promising to continue to develop the product either, however I will ensure that the current C-Bus feature set works as it should. Extra features may be chargeable later but it will always be a low cost upgrade. Later on in a commercial release when the product is more mature the C-Bus option may well be chargeable as a software option for the board.
Hope that makes sense I am trying to be as fair as possible, months of work has gone into this from my side and although I don’t want in any way to profit from the UKHA members for this (I did it for my own need) I am not going to expose myself to a loss on building and selling hardware either. You can buy the Rabbit (and programming lead) from the UK distributor and the C-Bus SIM from Clipsal if you prefer, and just the board and software from me at £50.