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July 08, 2005

Faulty Magellan GPSr Cables

Back in May I kept having troubles connecting to my GPSr which eventually got isolated to a fault in the serial cable. Someone else mentioned they had this same problem, so I thought I'd jot it down. Since its not a cheap cable to replace and only the common serial side was broken, I went down to Princess Auto to find a cheap replacement serial connector/cable. $1.40 later I've got the cable cut open and start mapping the pin out, it doesn't match the one I found online. Then map the new serial cable, solder the wires together and add some heat shrink tubing. My pin out for Magellan Merdian Gold serial cable:
Holding the GPSr connector with the contacts towards you and the cable down on the left side. From left to right.
DB9 Pin 2 - Yellow Wire (PC Receive)
DB9 Pin 5 - Black Wire (Ground)
Unconnected (Power?)
DB9 Pin 3 - Orange Wire (PC Transmit)

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July 07, 2005

X10 and Automation

I finally got my home automation system configured. The primary backbone is X10 and expanded with features from X10 Inc. I have 3 basic device classes under control. Lamps via X10 lamp modules, lights via SmartHome Togglelinc Switches and equipment via X10 appliances modules. The biggest problem was the 2 phase electrical system in my apartment which impedes X10 signals. The typical solutions weren't appropriate for my apartment so I invented one. I took a CM11A serial X10 interface put it on phase A and plugged it into my computer. This picks up all the signals on phase A. I created a list of alias and macro X10 devices on phase A, which the computer then relays to the appropriate devices on phase B via the CM17A (Firecracker) serial RF interface. On both phases there is a TM751 RF X10 transmitter. The computer uses Dan Lanciani's X10D, HomeDaemon and BottleRocket software to accomplish this. I also have 5 classes of human interfaces. For the lights, there is direct control at the switch. I also have an IR543 infrared interface so that my universal remote can control the lights, several different X10 RF remotes, a fixed/wired X10 controller and finally the Homelink system in my car. I can also add a web interface via the HomeDaemon software. I got some of the more generic and inexpensive parts from X10 Inc., the switches from SmartHome and other parts from Automated Outlet.

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