.NET softwired

HACS - House Access Control System with fun doorbell

This is the video presentation I submitted for round 2 of the Microsoft "Dare To Dream Different" competition.

The main functions of the system are:

  • Guard dog barks when guests arrive at the door. Activated by movement detected by a PIR sensor.
  • Doorbell playing different individual tunes, stored as MP3 files on USB memory stick. Using VMUSIC2 MP3 player module.
  • Door access control with electronic door lock and door open/close sensor.
  • Door access can be controlled remote by sending SMS to the system from a mobile phone. Using a GSM modem.
  • Door alarms are sent as SMS to predefined mobile phone number.
  • Guest can write a SMS message which is sent to a predefined mobile phone number.

Unfortunately some parts of the video is a little dark, but I hope that you can see it anyway.

As the length of the video for the competition could not be more than 10 minutes, I ran out of time to show all features in the system. Maybe I will add more video clips of this later.


I have lost connection to my Tahoe-II board!

Oh no. This is not true. After only a week I have lost the communication to my Tahoe-II board :-(

While I was doing some testing with a simple program toggling a few output ports, VS2008 suddenly reported that it could not see the device anymore. My testprogram was running along fine though. I have seen from time to time that VS does not deploy successfully in first attempt, but then I just try again, which normally succeeds.

This time I unplugged the USB cable and reconnected - Argh: Windows tells me that the USB device is not recognized. Reboot the PC didn't help. Reinstall the USB driver and the SDK didn't help. I moved the board to another PC (Windows XP), but that gives the same result.

Now I have filed the issue to Device Solutions and a newsgroup for help and just hope for the best.

My "Dare to Dream Different" future is at stake.


UPDATE Problem solved: Jan Kučera has saved my future. Newgroups are your friend.

Jan writes:
"Be careful of your debug mode setting. First try to switch to USB, which you can do be holding SW3 while pressing RESET. This is too how you could change it by accident (SW2 selects serial, SW4 selects Ethernet).

The current recovery firmware does not affect this setting, so it won't help you if this is the problem."

I pressed SW3 and RESET - Eureka I'm back in contact! - Thanks Jan.


Dare To Dream Different hardware arrived today

Yihaa, today I received a package with the MF development board and other stuff.

The package contains the Tahoo-II development board from Device Solutions, a USB cable, 2 XBee 802.15.4 radio modules from Maxstream and an XBee development board so that one of the radio modules can be connected to a PC on the USB port. 

There was no USB cable for the XBee development board and there is no documentation on the XBee stuff at all! I will probably also need a USB driver for that board. - Well I guess that I just have to find it on the Internet...

XBee dev. board to the left and Tahoo-II board to the right. Two XBee radio modules on the top.


The backside of the Tahoo-II board - the Meridian MF processor in the lower left corner.


The Meridian processor board is not much bigger than a standard SD memory card! 



Close up on the two XBee modules.  


The XBee development board. 


 This just looks nice and I'm looking forward to get started playing with it.