Stitching an Dji Spark sphere and fix it for use in Facebook or Google Photos

Ok, a ton of guides already exists and I do not plan to do another one but I want to leave you with my experiences as I do not want to use the Dji Go 4 app for stitching the sphere – I work with the SD full image files.

The tool that I use for stitching is Hugin which is open source. I bet there are easier and better alternatives but as I just do it more for fun I won’t pay a $100 for a license. Hugin can be downloaded here and is available for many operating systems.

This is the guide that I used to familiarize myself  with the Hugin software

  1. I did not create a Stereographic projection but I used an Equirectangular output from Hugin
  2. I exported it as an JPG file
  3. Post export I imported it into GIMP to make sure that it follows the required 2:1 dimension and consequently resized the canvas by modifying the height to be half the width.  Expand at the top of the image
  4. Use an EXIF editor to modify the adjusted JPG. I’m using an online editor to do this
  5. Make sure that the following values are adjusted
    1. CroppedAreaImageHeightPixels = new full height
    2. CroppedAreaImageWidthPixels = new full width
    3. CroppedAreaLeftPixels = 0
    4. CroppedAreaTopPixels = 0
    5. FullPanoHeightPixels = new full height
    6. FullPanoWidthPixels = new full width
    7. ProjectionType = equirectangular
    8. UsePanoramaViewer = true

Now you are done and ready to upload it to Facebook or Google Photos to be shared with your friends.

Note: I had some challenges to update the fields in the EXIF online tool but it worked if I first cleared the file of the EXIF metadata prior to inputing the new values.

I’m showing an example in the post below. Click image to view it in full screen.


Custom Plex DVR setup with Dreambox DM500HD

Ok, I love my Plex server. I’ve been using it almost daily since 2012. But there’s been one feature missing since I turned off my Windows Media Center server many years ago and that has been to subscribe and record shows that I follow. And when the Plex team announced DVR support in Plex I’ve been meaning to look into it.
As I’m using a satellite dish to get my channels I looked for an alternative way from the official supported devices and stumbled upon a Dreambox thread in one of the forums. Here is what I’ve done if it happens to be of interest to someone else.

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 22.03.03-min

  1. I bought a Dreambox 500HD S2 (satellite tuner) on eBay
  2. As it had the original firmware on it, I first needed to flash it with the “second stage loader” in order to be able to add a custom image on it. It is described at the bottom of this page:
  3. I needed to find a firmware that supported softcams as well as it supported the PlexDVR API and after a lot of Googling I found out that OpenATV should work great
  4. I downloaded and flashed OpenATV v6.1 from this site:
  5. Next step was to enable softcams and after many tries and reflashes, I managed to fine a way for it
    1. Download softcam-feed-universal_2.0_all.ipk
    2. Use FTP to upload it to /tmp (see note below – I’ve been using DCC)
    3. Do NOT use the automated install through the Plugin Manager – Open a Terminal window (DCC)
    4. Run the command: “opkg install /tmp/softcam-feed-universal_2.0_all.ipk”
    5. Now, press the blue remote button and navigate to install plugins and softcams should be listed as an option. If it doesn’t exit all the menus and try again.
  6. I installed CCcam 2.3 and started the softcam under the Softcam Panel
    Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 23.04.39
  7. Using FTP goto /usr/keys to find a template to be used for the softcam. Modify it according to your specs and save it as CCcam.cfg in the same directory. I also updated the attributes to 755 (I don’t know if that is required)
  8. NOW – it is time to install the PlexDVR API plugin. Note that the plugin has recently been renamed to HR-Tuner Proxy
  9. Post installation follow the guide as described here:
    Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 23.22.34
  10. It works great for recording shows or movies and the new content will be stored into my existing libraries. LiveTV is not working perfectly – sometimes it works and some times not – but recording of shows has not failed once.

Other information:

  • I’ve been using Dreambox Control Center for Enigma2 (DCC) to upload and run commands on my Dreambox device:
  • Post setup I had issues with teletext flashing when watching LiveTV through Plex. This was easily resolved by changing the Plex server default subtitles settings from “Always on” to “Manual”


  • I’m still struggling with getting the correct DVB substream with the correct subtitles saved in the file when doing a recording. Really annoying.

Run Nextcloud through a reverse proxy – HAProxy – with a different webroot

I wanted to setup HAProxy as an reverse proxy towards my nextCloud 12 server and I really struggled to find proper information on how to do that. As I have a number of backend services I needed a different webroot to define the request and I finally succeeded and I want to share my configuration settings.

Nextcloud is now accessable from


        maxconn 4096
        user haproxy
        group haproxy
        log local0 debug

        log     global
        mode    http
        option  httplog
        option  dontlognull
        retries 3
        option  redispatch
        option  http-server-close
        option  forwardfor
        timeout connect 5000
        timeout client  50000
        timeout server  50000

frontend www-http
        bind *:80
        mode http
        reqadd X-Forwarded-Proto:\ http

        default_backend www-backend

backend www-backend
        #All requests should be in SSL-mode. SSL is terminated in HAProxy
        #and uses HTTP in backend requests
        redirect scheme https code 301 if !{ ssl_fc }

frontend www-https
        #My server certificate
        #Here's a great instruction on how to setup
        # LetsEncrypt with HAProxy
        bind *:443 ssl crt /etc/haproxy/certs/myserver.pem
        mode http
        option forwardfor
        option http-server-close
        option http-pretend-keepalive

        #Only allow some services to be available internally
        acl network_allowed src
        acl restricted_page path_beg /internal
        block if restricted_page !network_allowed

        # App definitions
        acl is_nc path_beg /nc
        use_backend nextcloud if is_nc

backend nextcloud
        reqrep ^([^\ :]*)\ /nc/(.*)  \1\ /\2
        reqadd X-Script-Name:\ /nc
        option httpclose
        option forwardfor
        server node1

And for nextCloud I updated the PHP configuration settings with my domain name “” and the HA Proxy IP address “” as explained here



  'trusted_domains' =>
  array (
    0 => 'localhost',
    1 => '',
    2 => '',
    3 => '',
  'trusted_proxies' => [''],
  'overwritehost' => '',
  'overwritewebroot' => '/nc',
  'overwritecondaddr' => '^192\.168\.2\.196$',

Figure out the esp8266 ADC Maximum voltage

In my quest to replace my current setup of Arduinos to esp8266 to gather sensor data I’ve been struggling with getting a similar output when using an LDR (light dependant resistor). I’ve been struggling with it for quite some time and I’ve finally come to a solution.

The issue being that the output graph from the LDR with an Arduino differs quite a bit from an esp8266 with an LDR.

After browsing for more details regarding the analog pin (ADC) on the esp8266 I realized that it does not measure between 0-3.3v but from 0-1v. When you do an analogRead on the input it outputs a value between 0-1024. But after I had introduced a voltage divider to get to 1v input I was still not getting the expected results.

In order to troubleshoot I measured the output from the ADC (i.e. digitalWrite(A0,1) ) and I received 0.6v. I thought that maybe it will output the expected max input value (but actually it was half the value).

const byte LDRpin=A0;

void setup() {
 pinMode(LDRpin, OUTPUT);
 digitalWrite(LDRpin,1); //or analogWrite(LDRpin,255);

void loop() {

As a second step I wrote a small code and instead of a voltage divider I used a potentiometer to trim the input voltage to the ADC pin and the code did output 1024 when I reached 1.2v.

const byte LDRpin=A0;
volatile unsigned int ldr;

void setup() {
 pinMode(LDRpin, INPUT);

void loop() {
 ldr = analogRead(LDRpin);

As a summary the maximum voltage for my esp8266 is 0-1.2v. I don’t know if this is a common value for the esp8266 or if it was unique only for my esp8266-12e but at least there is a fairly simple way to find out.

So instead of using a 100Ω (R2) and 220Ω (R1) resistors to get to 1.0v I used 100Ω (R2) and 180Ω (R1) in the voltage divider to bring down 3.3v to 1.2v as input to the LDR. R1 was calculated using this online tool


Simple esp8266 433MHz MQTT bridge

I’ve played around with ESP8266 on a couple of occasions before but I’ve found it too unstable due to me simply not knowing enough. But as I have struggled to find a good solution for capturing signals from the sensors of my burglar alarm I decided to have another go at it.

There are tons of guides “out there” but I have been missing a good overview so I will try to explain my steps a bit more and the challenges with the esp8266.


I have a cheap home burglar system with a set of PIRs and magnet sensors throughout my house. These are all sending messages to the central unit using PT2262 encryption.

As I am steering the lights etc. using norelite on Node-RED I want to capture these messages and simply put them onto an MQTT bus from where my norelite flows can subscribe to the topics and use the information.

I have tested the rc-switch library using an Arduino so I know that the interception and decoding works as required. I’ve previously used a 433 receiver with an Arduino Mini Pro and an nrf24l01 to send the data to a server that later puts the message on the MQTT bus – but there are too many components involved and it simply is not a good solution.


Basics: Booting ESP8266 for flash

I’ve found the following setup to be stable in setting up the esp8266 for flashing.

 VCC  3.3V (Power supply)
 GND GND Power supply and
GND Serial adapter
 TX RX Serial adapter
 RX TX Serial adapter
 CH_PD  Pull high using 10kΩ resistor. Note that if you are using the module adapter it already includes the resistor
 RST  Pull high using 10kΩ resistor
 GPIO15  Pull low using 10kΩ resistor. Note that if you are using the module adapter it already includes the resistor
 GPIO0  Pull low using 10kΩ resistor

Basics: Booting ESP8266 for run

The only difference from the boot-for-flash setup is that you move GPIO0 to pull to high as shown below and removing the serial adapter (keep it if you want to get the output in the console)

 VCC  3.3V
 CH_PD  Pull high using 10kΩ resistor. Note that if you are using the module adapter it already includes the resistor
 RST  Pull high using 10kΩ resistor. (Move to GND in order to reset the device)
 GPIO15  Pull low using 10kΩ resistor. Note that if you are using the module adapter it already includes the resistor
 GPIO0  Pull high using 10kΩ resistor

Lessons learned when programming for the esp8266

  • Don’t forget to use delay() or yield() in your loops to give the opportunity for the device to manage background processes
  • If you are using timers (e.g. using Ticker library), make them short and very simple  – set variables and then do the major processing in the loop(). This is useful if you want to only run a certain task with a timing delay: Below is a simple example where just a variable is set in the called function and then the processing is made in the main loop function.
    #include Ticker timer;
    volatile bool timerRun;
    void timerTick(){
     timerRun = true; //Just setting the variable
    void setup() {
     pinMode(LED_BUILTIN, OUTPUT); // Initialize the LED_BUILTIN pin as an output
     //Setup timer
     timer.attach_ms(60000, timerTick);
     timerRun = false;
    // the loop function runs over and over again forever
    void loop() {
     if (timerRun){
     digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW); // Turn the LED on (Note that LOW is the voltage level
     // but actually the LED is on; this is because
     // it is acive low on the ESP-01)
     delay(1000); // Wait for a second
     digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH); // Turn the LED off by making the voltage HIGH
     timerRun = false;
     * Other processing
  • Don’t run the esp8266 on the power supplied from the serial cable. Use a dedicated power supply and make sure to have a common ground. I.e. connect the serial GND to the power supply GND. Don’t forget limit the supplied voltage to 3.3V…
  • Verify that the baud rate in the console is supported by the OS and is the same as specified in the code
  • I’ve also experienced some issues with the serial adapter where the communication is lost sometimes but that is usually resolved by ejecting and re-inserting the usb cable and sometimes I have to update the port setting in the Arduino IDE.
  • I’ve also heard that it can be good to reset the flash memory when troubleshooting. I’ve never done it myself but one tool that can be used is esptool

The project

Components and schema

The below schema is for run mode. When flashing move GPIO0 to GND, connect TX/RX and GND from the serial adapter.

  • (U2)  LM1117 voltage regulator. Needed as I have a 5V input and I the ESP8266 runs on 3.3V and the 433MHz receiver is powered by 3.3-5V
  • (U1) 433MHz receiver (Superheterodyne 3400 RF).
  • (R1-R4) As explained in the basics above. These are for setting up the ESP.
  • I’m also using an esp module adapter board as these ones
  • Libraries: rc-switch, PubSubClient and ESP8266WiFi


The code

#include <SPI.h>
#include <RCSwitch.h>
#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <PubSubClient.h>

 * 433MHz to MQTT bridge for burglar alarm

#define RADIOPIN 4
#define wifi_ssid "virus"
#define wifi_password "abc123abc123"
#define mqtt_server ""
#define mqtt_port 1883

#include "os_type.h"

WiFiClient espClient;
PubSubClient client(espClient);

//MQTT topics
String burglar_topic_all;
const char* mqttclientid;

RCSwitch mySwitch = RCSwitch();

 * Common function to get a topic based on the chipid. Useful if flashing
 * more than one device
String getMqttTopic(String type){
  return "/raw/esp8266/"+String(ESP.getChipId())+"/"+type;

 * Setup WIFI connection and connect the MQTT client to the
 * MQTT server
void connection_start() {

  //Setup MQTT preferences
  client.setServer(mqtt_server, mqtt_port);
    if (client.connect(mqttclientid)) {
      Serial.println("MQTT connected");
    } else {
      Serial.print("failed, rc=");
      Serial.println(" try again in 5 seconds");

      // Wait 5 seconds before retrying
  Serial.println("Connections are setup");
void reconnect() {
  // Loop until we're reconnected
  while (!client.connected()) {
    Serial.print("Attempting MQTT connection...");
    // Attempt to connect
    if (client.connect(mqttclientid)) {
    } else {
      Serial.print("failed, rc=");
      Serial.println(" try again in 5 seconds");
      // Wait 5 seconds before retrying

 * Setup WIFI communication. I.e. connect to the access point
 * and get an IP address
void setup_wifi() {
  // We start by connecting to a WiFi network
  Serial.print("Connecting to ");

  WiFi.begin(wifi_ssid, wifi_password);

  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {

  Serial.println("WiFi connected");
  Serial.println("IP address: ");

 * Common function to turn on WIFI radio, connect and get an IP address,
 * connect to MQTT server and publish a message on the bus.
 * Finally, close down the connection and radio
void sendmsg(String topic, String payload){
    //Send status to MQTT bus if connected
    if (client.connected()){
      client.publish(topic.c_str(), payload.c_str());
      Serial.println("Published MQTT message");

void setup() {

  /* Setup MQTT Client ID
   *  As the id needs to be unique per user the chipid is used to
   *  generate an MQTT client id.
  mqttclientid = ("ESPClient-"+String(ESP.getChipId())).c_str();
  Serial.print("MQTT Client ID: ");

  //Setup connections

  burglar_topic_all = getMqttTopic("burglar");
  Serial.print("Burglar topic: ");

void loop() {
  //Reconnect network if needed
  if (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED){

  //Reconnect MQTT if needed
  if (!client.connected()) {

   * Listen for the input from the receiver
  if (mySwitch.available()){

    int value = mySwitch.getReceivedValue();

    if (value == 0) {
      Serial.print("Unknown encoding");
    } else {
      //Send message
      sendmsg(burglar_topic_all, String(mySwitch.getReceivedValue()));



Script to run at startup (node example)

I’ve browsed to find an easy way to make a node.js program to run at startup and stop and start easily and this is what I came up with. As I might be running multiple node.js programs I need to search on the parameters when killing the right node program.

What I’m doing is the following:

  1. Discarding stdout and stderr from the program at start
  2. Using a parameter sent to node.js to identify the right program to stop when stopping the service

Below is my /etc/init.d/rf24snserv program and don’t forget to make it executable and add the symbolic link using update.rc. I.e.

  1. sudo nano /etc/init.d/rf24snserv
  2. Add the code as below
  3. Save and exit nano
  4. sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/rf24snserv
  5. sudo update.rc rf24snserv defaults

Find more details on how to create a startup script here:

#! /bin/sh
# /etc/init.d/

# Provides: rf24sn
# Required-Start: $remote_fs $syslog
# Required-Stop: $remote_fs $syslog
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 6
# Short-Description: Starts rf24sn
# Description: A script to start the service

case "$1" in
                echo "Starting rf24sn"
                nohup /usr/bin/rf24sn -b mqtt:// --spi /dev/spidev0.0 --ce 25 --irq 24 -vvv --rate 250kbps > /dev/null 2>&1 &
                echo "Stopping rf24sn"
                ps -ef | grep rf24sn | grep -v grep | awk '{print $2}' | sudo xargs kill
                echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/rf24snserv (start|stop)"
                exit 1
exit 0

I had some issue to get “stop” to work but with the above statment it finds the PID and finally passes it on to the kill command.

This is an example output from ps -ef | grep rf24sn

root      3524     1  0 19:38 ?        00:00:02 node /usr/bin/rf24sn -b mqtt:// --spi /dev/spidev0.0 --ce 25 --irq 24 -vvv --rate 250kbps
pi        3554  3285  0 19:54 pts/0    00:00:00 grep --color=auto rf24sn