Jan 182015

The reverse engineering of the Home Heartbeat was accomplished through use of a little monitor program I put together. It runs in your web browser and displays all of the state information of the sensors in real-time. You can see a running demo of the monitor >>>HERE<<<. You can grab a copy of the monitor and its source code here:

Download The Home Heartbeat Monitor

The monitor is written in JavaScript with a little bit of C for communication with the Home Heartbeat Base Station. There are three files which come into play. The first is the web page itself which is named hhb-monitor.html, and it includes another file called miniajax.js. Place these two files in the document directory of your web server. The server-side code is contained in hhb-get.cgi. Place this file in your web server cgi-bin directory. The included copy of hhb-get.cgi is known to work under Linux. It may have to be updated and recompiled for OS-X or Windows.

You will have to have properly installed serial drivers that communicate with the Base Station. If you have not already installed the drivers, then look >>>HERE<<< for assistance.

The code assumes that the device for access to the Base Station is at /dev/hhb. If you wish to use a different device name then edit hhb-get.c and recompile to get a new hhb-get.cgi. Recompilation is as simple as running make.

May 102012

The first document I am publishing describes how to install and test the USB serial drivers for Windows, Linux and the Macintosh. You can get started by reading this document entitled USB Drivers for the Home Heartbeat. Once you have the drivers installed and working you are going to want to try out the command set of the Home Heartbeat. The document called Serial Commands of the Home Heartbeat lists all of the available commands and sample outputs returned by the Home Heartbeat.

The most useful of all of these commands returns the state of the sensors and other devices. Its this data that enables us to create software that will monitor our homes. These state commands are extensively investigated in the document entitled State Table of the Eaton Home Heartbeat.

The state values returned for each device type are tabulated in these documents:

Apr 192012

Since the demise of the Eaton Home Heartbeat monitoring services back in June of 2011, their customers have been left without any remote notification of their home’s status. Some enterprising hackers have taken up the cause to bring this abandoned system back to life. A few are frustrated home owners with idled Home Heartbeat systems, while others are tinkerers itching for a new project.  They took advantage of the hoards of surplus Home Heartbeat hardware that suddenly came on the market at pennies on the dollar.

The hardware has been dissected, photographed, analyzed, and documented. Investigations hoped for any avenue that could breath new life into these systems. They thought of interfacing the Eaton sensors with other ZigBee networks. They pondered the idea of reprogramming the on-board micro-controllers. But the idea that stuck is to use the Home Heartbeat system, unmodified, by interfacing to its unutilized USB port. Continue reading »

Apr 092012
The Eaton Home Heartbeat System

The Eaton Home Heartbeat System

The Home Heartbeat was a monitoring system for your home’s vital signs. Introduced by Eaton Electrical, Inc. at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas during January of 2005. It was officially retired on June 1, 2011. Not to be confused with a home control system, the Home Heartbeat ostensibly provided status information about your house. Sensors could monitor doors/windows, movement, water leakage, and power consumption of plugged in appliances. Any trouble detected would be sent to a wireless key fob carried by the homeowner. If the home owner was out of range of the system (60-90 feet), these alerts would be sent via SMS or email. That’s about all there was to it. Now that Eaton has discontinued the product line, the remote notification support no longer works. Continue reading »

Apr 082012

Having been a long time devote of the MythTV DVR, I was lulled into a state of complacency. I came to believe that my home-built DVR was an appliance that would perform its duties ad infinitum. About a year ago, the cable company insisted that I take several of its digital converter boxes. They said that I would need them to continue to get cable service. I put them in the closet, and put it out of my mind. For months, I said to myself, “My cable TV works fine, I don’t need no stinking boxes”. Then, one day, more than six months later, I sat down to enjoy my favorite TV programs, faithfully recorded on my DVR, as had always been the case. The horror of it all, was that there was nothing but snow recorded for many of the programs. The sneaky cable company had switched off nearly all of the channels, without so much as a “how do you do”. Continue reading »