What happens when your Smart Car becomes deaf and blind

While checking my Home Assistant status, oh “horror”, I see that my “VolvoCar” requires reconfiguration.

So I reconfigure and result is a FAIL.

Next I go to the VolvoCar app and signin as usual. Result is also a FAIL.

So final step was to call the Volvo-On-Call service and they acknowledge a server failure:

“When do you expect service to be back up?”


“Do you have a backup system in the meantime?”


“Have you been hacked?”

“We don’t know”

All in all this is not a great confidence inspiring performance….


“LabNotes” OpenMQTTgateway with LoRa32 V2.1.6

Here are my notes and observations as a newbie to this hardware and package.

The inspiration for this activity came from Andreas Spiess Youtube video entitled OpenMQTTGateway Connects Many Things at your Home Automation at https://youtu.be/_gdXR1uklaY For me, this became a new, third way of interacting with 433MHz devices, the other two being the discrete Tx and Rx RF modules, and the Sonoff RFbridge especially after flashing it with Tasmota.

Concerning mi configuration

  • masOS BigSur on iMac15,1
  • OpenMQTTGateway 1.4.0 from https://docs.openmqttgateway.com running on Chrome
  • MQTT Mosquitto broker running as a service on Orange pi PC2
  • NodeRed V3 running on Orange pi PC2
  • HomeAssistant dockerized running on Raspberrypi4

Concerning the hardware

I ordered from aliexpress 2 units of LILYGO®TTGO LoRa32 V2.1 _ 1,6 versión 433/868/915Mhz ESP32 LoRa OLED 0,96  from the official Lilygo store. Cost to Spain was 47 USD including shipping. Whenever testing a new device I tend to buy at least 2 units.

First issue was an apparent confusion about the product naming and wondering whether I was sent the correct version.

Question 1: On the order and invoice it shows clearly “LILYGO TTGO LoRa32 V2.1_1.6 ” version, but the markings on the board are: T3_V1.6.1 20210104

Answer 1: LoRa32 V2.1.6 and LoRa32 V1.6.1 are the same product. The full name of his version is V2.1.6.1. V2.1.6 is defined from the perspective of product series, and V1.6.1 is defined from the perspective of hardware. Different names just omit part of the name, as replied by Henry from the LILYGO TEAM

Question 2: I bought 2 boards. One is already running OpenMQTTGateway and *SPOILER* works ok. The other has factory firmware.  It loads with PAXCOUNTER V3.2.1 and seems to count wifi and ble, with the green LED flashing fast. However I did not find any documentation on how to interact with this factory loaded firmware.

Answer 2: ESP32-Paxcounter is at https://github.com/cyberman54/ESP32-Paxcounter

Concerning the upload to T3_V1.6.1 aka LoRa32 V2.1.6

  • First attempt with iMac, OMG 1.4.0 / Option 1 upload from web / lilygo-rtl_433 / erase flash: loaded ok. Reboot dev board and never shows welcome OMG screen and no WiFi AP
  • Reboot, reload and repeat: no progress
  • Try again but this time select esp32de-rtl_433 and multiple errors result.
  • Check community board and DigiH recommends reviewing the GitHub post at https://github.com/1technophile/OpenMQTTGateway/issues/1482#issuecomment-1445158358
  • Given the expected workload, I quickly seek to borrow a WIN machine.
  • Using a windows machine and Edge, the first upload attempt is a success
  • Now opening MQTT Explorer, I see a plethora of RF sensors. Here is one of them seen on MQTT explorer at the topic OpenMQTT/….
  • I changed the top level topic from home/ to OpenMQTT/ by publishing an MQTT command to $SYS
    • $ mosquitto_pub -t "home/OpenMQTTGateway_lilygo_rtl_433_ESP/commands/MQTTtoSYS/config" -m '{ "mqtt_topic":"OpenMQTT/"}'

Comparing the sensor messages from LoRa32 and SonOff RF Bridge

While the same sensors were captured on both hardware with similar latency (of a second or so), I noticed that the decoding of the data field from a remote example are presented slightly differently. For example: (TBD)

Other feedback

From DigiH at OMG, I got the reminder to check that proper drivers are loaded, and link to this GitHub article: https://github.com/WCHSoftGroup/ch34xser_macos At this time I have not checked the status, so TBD.


Since the dev board is based on a ESP32, it would be rather beneficial to get a firmware that not only includes the 433 MHz functionalities but also the BLE functionalities.

And why not dream big: an integrated firmware that incorporates 433, BLE and also IR so that from a single board we can operate a supergateway in a multimodal way for incorporation with NodeRed, HA and so on.


On a MacBookAirM1 that needed complete setup, after loading the drivers for the CH9102 serial port chip, the OpenMQTTGateway web installer worked perfectly fine. Hmmm, so I went back to the iMac15,1 running BigSur, downloaded the ch34xser_macos and installed. Voila! OMG Web install also worked perfectly on the configuration. So it was a group7 failure (“equipment not a fault”).

Customer-centric Amazon; really Jeff?

Amazon logistics – anecdote from a **real** customer experience, not corporate PowerPoint slides.

Jeff Bezos can bring you to outer space but his company appears to struggle to bring us a box from an Italian manufacturer to our Spain lake house in the madrid province, and keep the customer informed.

Here is the event log:

6 Jan 2023 – order placed in Amazon app. My credit card gets a 299 euros charge.
Delivery date promised is “any time between 12 to 24 Jan from 9 to 10 pm”

17 Jan 2023 – transportation company calls and says we come tomorrow Wednesday. I explain we shall not be there, can you come on Friday? Yes, confirmed, thanks.

20 Jan 2023 – Friday so we drive 90km to the lake house to receive the delivery from Amazon. Once arrived I check the Amazon delivery status and see no indication that transport is enroute. I check for missed calls just in case and no one called.

Si I call back the delivery company to investigate and gave the Amazon tracking reference. They say no such delivery exist. I give the full details they still can’t find anything and tell me to ask the seller.

Contacting the seller soon became a waste of time as the method is a bot driven chat and it is so restricted that there was no way to explain the actual customer situación and need.

Called back the delivery company again indicating that amazon says delivery by Fercam. They pass me to another department. The new person repeats they don’t have any shipment matching the amazon shipment ID number. With more info they scrape their database and finally find a pending delivery that corresponds to my order and give me a different tracking number of only 6 digits adding that this is not theirs but Dascher Madrid. What is the in phone number ? It’s 916606566.

Calling 916606566, Dascher logistics announcements in Spanish and English then line is cut. Repeat same deal and line is cut again. Third time again same.

Called back Dascher Barcelona, explain the failure and they give me another number 916606677.

Calling 916606677 “the number does not exists”

Called back Dascher Barcelona again again and explain the latest fail and they give me yet another number for madrid office 916606500

Calling 916606500, after announcements I select customer service and finally they inform me that the agreed delivery for Friday today will not happen because the truck is broken

Can you send it with another truck?

No only one truck is assigned for amazon delivery in the zone and it is broken.

Why did you not call me so that I did not drive 90km to the lake house for nothing?
No answer.

We can only deliver your shipment next monday.


Then came Monday. The driver shows up, brings the boxes inside the house (thank you!) and answers about the “broken truck”. “No no, we did not have any broken truck. On Fridays we never do this routing, this is why it is delivered today, Monday.”

Schlumberger and SLB

There is an adage that “when you don’t know what to do, just reorganize“.

New colors, logos, name changes do not add much real value per se, and could be a distraction from more fundamental unresolved problems.

I hope my worries are unfounded and that there is a sound and actionable strategy at hand to deal with the enormous challenges at play. Someone show us, please.

There have been some strategy blunders in the past, some may remember the lingering “Fairchild syndrome” so one may not be out-of-line in seeking to understand if current strategy will deliver.

And indeed SLB was always the shorthand for Schlumberger and its NYSE stock symbol.

Node-RED 2.2: It looks like serialport didn’t compile properly

Living dangerously… upgrading Node-RED to version 2.2.2 brought me a few surprises. But, all is well and smooth now.

Starting point – I was running on an OrangePiPC2 Node-RED 1.6 with node version 8. As the UI started to become sluggish, I thought an upgrade to version 2 would be a good idea.

I stopped node-red with the usual node-red-stop command and issued my usual
npm install -g --unsafe-perm node-red node-red-admin and after execution, opened the browser at the usual URL for node-red and …. nothing. Reviewing the log, it was full of ERROR and WARNING messages.

Google is your friend – and the friend told me to update node. So it gave me a number of solution for each problem in turn. The final working ones are in the following list:

Node-RED not running after update – update Node

  • Node-RED not running after update – update Node
  • rbe node errors – go to .node-red/node_modules and npm remove node-red-node-rbe
  • Tasmota node not working – reconfigure the MQTT server details
  • serialport didn’t compile properly – upgrade to node 16 using the script from https://nodered.org/docs/getting-started/raspberrypi which is
bash <(curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/node-red/linux-installers/master/deb/update-nodejs-and-nodered) --node16


RTFM from Node-RED.org, in particular this page https://nodered.org/docs/getting-started/raspberrypi and when using the parameter –node16 on a OrangePi, you should be at the desired point fairly quickly.

uses a file type that is blocked from opening in this version

Screenshot 2022-04-14 at 12.27.33When clicking on old .doc microsoft Word files on the MAC, in this case an iMac 27 5K running macOS Big Sur v11.6.5, a message “[filename] uses a file type that is blocked from opening in this version” may appear. This can be annoying.  If you click on the link there is a suggestion from microsoft that the Word version does not have the latest update. However, I found the following workaround to work ok:

1. upload the file to google drive
2. then open it and download it in the odt format
3. open the odt file  with Word on the mac and save it as docx.

Alternatively the following method also works

1. upload the file to google drive 
2. then open it and save as a google docs
3. open the google doc and download as a .docx
4. open the docx on the Mac to verify.


COVID19 — Spain Lockdown Day 73

MADRID  Tuesday May 26, 2020.  Confinement Lockdown Day 73   

#coronavirus #covid19 #SARSCOV2

Lives lost: 39.002 (source: okdiario.com


AA: The government coronavirus count is raising doubts. The number of fatalities was reduced by 2000 inexplicably.

BB: The senior commander of the Guardia Civil in charge of the judicial investigation on alleged imprudent homicide by government members, was ordered by the Interior Minister to surrender his unit’s investigation report, even though it was under seal by the investigating magistrate. After he refused, the Interior Minister dismissed him for “loss of confidence”.  In sign of protest against this purge, the senior General of the Guardia Civil resigned. https://okdiario.com/espana/numero-1-guardia-civil-dimite-solo-24-horas-despues-que-interior-destituye-cobos-5662532

CC: The Health Ministry is reported to have changed several COVID19 reports, removing author names and other data, in an apparent attempt to remove evidence of clear knowledge of infection risk prior to the March 6th mass events, a matter now under court investigation. https://www.larazon.es/salud/20200526/cww3fe6ybbg77h4crbqckmf4o4.html

DD: It was revealed that 38.000 retired persons have “disappeared”, i.e. no longer collect their monthly state pensions. 

So it appears that trustable data is no longer available in Spain about COVID19 victims. On the other hand, there is a daily lot of scandals involving public servants that, in other areas, would have led to massive resignations. So far, only a top general of the Guardia Civil resign, in protest, against government interference in a judicial investigation.

== COVID19 reference portal here: https://sites.google.com/view/covid19ref/home

COVID19 – Spain Lockdown Day 68

MADRID  Thursday May 21, 2020.  Confinement Lockdown Day 68   

#coronavirus #covid19 #SARSCOV2

Cases: unknown  – Lives lost: unknown (gov data incomplete) – Source: #112 MinSANIDAD SPAIN


AA: The minority coalition government had the 15-day state of alarm extension passed by a slim margin. The major opposition parties voted “NO” give the institutional abuses committed under the measure.

BB: Former president Aznar expressed pessimism on the future of Spain, given the crises and the current government of “ an irresponsable accompanied by Chavistas, communists and separatists”. https://www.cope.es/programas/herrera-en-cope/noticias/escalofriante-profecia-jose-maria-aznar-sobre-futuro-espana-20200521_728172

CC: Riot police has deployed in the southern suburbs of Madrid following leftist gang attacks on peaceful “caceroladas” protestors  https://okdiario.com/espana/fuerte-presencia-policial-alcorcon-impide-que-grupo-ultraizquierda-boicote-caceroladas-5637693

DD: A Governement crisis just erupted following a leaked agreement between the coalition parties (PSOE & Podemos) and BILDU, the party issued from terrorist group ETA  https://www.vozpopuli.com/espana/crisis-gobierno-polemica-derogacion-reforma-laboral_0_1357064446.html

== COVID19 reference portal here: https://sites.google.com/view/covid19ref/home

COVID19 — Spain Lockdown Day 64

Screen Shot 2020-05-17 at 22.29.14

MADRID  Monday May 18 , 2020.  Confinement Lockdown Day 65   

#coronavirus #covid19 #SARSCOV2

Cases: 231,606 – Lives lost: 27,709 (or 38,588 says okdiario.com) –  Source: #109 MinSANIDAD SPAIN


AA: Regional governments have been refused access to the data used to decide in which phase of de-escalation each region should be.

BB: The Health Ministry has “erased” a technical report data March 6th, alerting of the COVID19 risks, in particular for its “extremely high contagiousness”  just 2 days before massive gathering promoted by the minority Sanchez government. However, journalised recovered the postings from archiving sites. (https://okdiario.com/espana/sanidad-borra-red-informe-que-alertaba-2-dias-antes-del-8-m-del-riesgo-actos-masas-5596833)

CC: Street protests with clamours of “Freedom” and “Government Resign” are appearing all over the territory.  (https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute-sendungen/videos/kritik-spaniens-ministerpraesident-102.html)

DD: As the Bank of Spain announced a worsening of the GDP drop to the range of [9.5 – 12.4]%, the central government increased its staff, in the already bloated administration. (https://www.lavanguardia.com/economia/20200518/481245879231/banco-espana-crisis-coronavirus-impuestos-deficit.html)

EE: The audits just released by the “Tribunal de Cuentas” uncovered 9,000 million euros of “error” from the Sanchez Governement period. (https://www.elmundo.es/economia/2020/05/15/5ebd849efdddfff8588b45fd.html)

FF: An official document from a major public hospital details the refusal to admit residences from elderly care homes. (https://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2020-05-18/ancianos-orden-pacientes-residencias-hospital_2593211/?utm_campaign=BotoneraWebapp&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social)

== COVID19 reference portal here: https://sites.google.com/view/covid19ref/home

S: = source

View at Medium.com

COVID19 – Spain Lockdown Day 63


View at Medium.com

MADRID  Saturday May 16, 2020.  Confinement Lockdown Day 63   

#coronavirus #covid19 #SARSCOV2

Cases: 230,698 – Lives lost: 27,563 –  Source: #107 MinSANIDAD SPAIN


AA: Madrid and Barcelona have remained at “phase 0” (out of 4 phases) while most of the country has moved to phase 1 of the de-escalation. The motives of the “secret” COVID19 committees have not been communicated.

BB: Having been in contact with a Covid19 family member, we requested tests but were denied, without explanation.

CC: Following the 14-day quarantine announced by Spain for foreign visitors, France has reciprocated against all travellers originating from Spain. Meanwhile, Italy will reopen its borders from June 3rd, without any quarantine.

DD: The street protests against the central government, that were initiated in a posh district of the capital, have spread nation-wide, without major incidents

== COVID19 reference portal here: https://sites.google.com/view/covid19ref/home

S: = source