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Author Topic: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded  (Read 18902 times)

SinkingFeeling

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Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« on: January 04, 2007, 01:46:00 AM »

Greetings Everyone,

I have an HP T5720 Thin Client computer running Windows XP Embedded that I'm attempting to use as my home automation control interface, among other things.

To make a long story short, the Active Home Pro application software installed fine.  When I start the application, it always comes up with an error message :

"The ActiveHome Pro USB Interface isn't connected to your computer.  To control your X10 modules or store data in the interface, please connect the interface...etc. etc"

I've followed the troubleshooting procedures to the letter:  Unplugging the USB cable, plugging it back in, putting new batteries into the CM15A interface, and so forth.  I pulled up the Device Manager from the WinXPe control panel, and it states that the CM15A is an "Unknown USB Device."  I've tried manually installing the x10ufx2.inf file from the DriverInstall folder buried within the Common Files area of the Program Files folder. 

Everything I've tried simply doesn't work.  Windows XPe always says that the CM15A is an "Unknown USB Device" and that's that.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it. 

I know the USB ports on the T5720 work fine because I have a Speedstream SS2501 Powerline Network Adapter along with a Lacie 500GB Netdisk plugged in to the USB ports.  Both work perfectly.

Has anyone tried running ActiveHome Pro on a Windows XPe machine?  Perhaps the driver that works OK under Windows XP won't cut it under Windows XPe? 

If I can't get this driver problem resolved I guess I'll have to continue to use my old X10 controller I bought from Heathkit 18 years ago (it has a serial port and the software runs under DOS).  It's been running continuously for 18 years now without a problem.  Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice any of you could provide.

Cheers,

SinkingFeeling
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2007, 10:16:40 AM »

I did some searching for Windows XP Embedded and all I came up with is it's a subset of regular XP, mostly for developers.  I don't think X10 is going to create a driver for a tiny part of the XP world.

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Tuicemen

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2007, 12:57:35 PM »

Heres a couple of things you can try:
    #1
[li]unplug cm15a from wall and usb[/li]
[li]remove the batteries[/li]
[li]leave the batteries out as they aren't needed yet[/li]
[li] wait 5 min [/li]
[li]plug cm15a into wall[/li]
[li]plug in USb cable[/li]
[/list]
The order in which you do things is important! ;)
    #2
[li]remove the usb cable from the PC[/li]
[li]Power down the pc and boot to Safe mode[/li]
[li]plug in the USB cable[/li]
[li]if windows still doesn't detect and load the proper drivers try loading manually some things must be done from Safe mode on some PCs[/li]
[/list]
[/b]If that doesn't work
    #3
[li]unplug usb[/li]
[li] powerdown[/li]
[li]plug in usb[/li]
[li] reboot[/li]
[/list]
Note: you may need to do #1 while in safe mode as well!
One other thing if you can upgrade to a newer USB port that may solve the problem as well!
some older usb ports won't see newer usb devices especially if one is usb1 and the other is usb2(newer & FASTER standard) ::)
Good luck!
***Cheers!***
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2007, 02:41:03 PM »

I don't think that will do any good.

All I could find, both from a Google search and searching the Microsoft site is that Windows XP Embedded is a version for developers only, not for the general pubic. The section at Microsoft also refers to Windows CE Embedded.  You cannot buy either at any retail computer store, only directly from Microsoft. Also, the info you can get are all .pdf files. Nothing else.

If the OP will give us some more information on the O/S itelf, we may be able to give a solution.  Both of us are taking stabs in the dark.
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SinkingFeeling

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2007, 06:14:24 PM »

Dan & Tuicemen:

Well I tried the steps outlined by Tuicemen in the previous posting and got the same results:  nothing.  So, what I did was to go ahead and close out the Warning Window that Active Home Pro displayed (i.e. the window which stated that the CM15A couldn't be found connected to any USB port). 

I then proceeded to screw with the settings under the Tools Menu in AHP.  For kicks and grins I selected the option entitled "Clear Interface Memory."  I didn't expect anything to happen, so I continued screwing with the software and selected "Hardware Configuration" option under AHP.  I selected the locale closest to where I live and then clicked on the "Update Interface" button.  To my astonishment, the interface came alive and AHP was then prompting me to construct a Macro in order to test the powerline communications.  I connected a fan to an appliance module configured to address A1, and after building the Macro I clicked on it and lo-and-behold, the fan turned on!!  I then pulled up Device Manager in XPe and sure enough, the CM15A was listed as an active USB device. 

I don't know what all of this is about, but I can say that the CM15A will definitely work under XPe.  I saved all of my settings on XPe and to this time I still have full control over the X10 appliance module.  The CM15A is hanging in solid with the XPe computer.  So, what else can I say.  The thing actually works now.

Thanks to both of your for your ideas and pointers.

Cheers,

SinkingFeeling
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2007, 06:29:12 PM »

Glad everything worked. Now you can begin to use AHP and do what you want.  As I mentioned, always back up the .ahx files (where eveything you create, modules, macros and whatever reside). You never know when anything will throw a hissy fit.

When you get the chance, you may want to PM both of us with more infomation on XPe.  I worked in the PC support industry for close to 15 years and I never heard of XPe, nor do any of the PC magazines I subscribe to.  They follow MS and the PC hardware world, and not one mention of XPe since XP was first released.
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SinkingFeeling

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2007, 07:13:42 PM »

Dan,

I would like to know more about XPe myself.  I can tell you from a user standpoint, there's no difference between it and standard XP as far as the GUIs go.  XPe is slimmed down quite a bit, though, especially when it comes to clicking on any of the Help buttons.  If you do that, XPe will simply say that "this feature is not supported."  I can understand the reasoning behind deleting the various Help files in XPe, which do exist under standard WinXP, in order to save memory space.

What is apparent, though, is that the XPe binaries either parallel or are exactly the same as those in WinXP.  Otherwise the driver supporting my Speedstream SS2501 wouldn't work under XPe, nor would the CM15A.  So my guess is that XPe just removed a bunch of the fluff one sees in XP but left enough of the binary framework in place such that many of the device drivers under WinXP will also work under XPe.  Just speculation on my part...

My HP T5720 has 512MB flash memory built in, and XPe takes a little more than half this space.  The remaining space is allocated to whatever applications you have which can fit in with what's left.  In order to save anything to the flash disk, though, you have to use a special utility, otherwise your changes will be lost during the next boot up.  This is a bit of an annoyance, but HP said it was necessary to keep the flash disk from constantly being written to.

Sorry I couldn't offer you more insight into XPe.  It's nearly as much a mystery to me as it is to you.  Like I said from the user point of  view I can't see much difference.  It's just as easy (or as hard) to use as regular XP.  It may not be much help, but perhaps you can visit the HP website and take a look at the specs for the T5720 that I'm using.

Cheers,

SinkingFeeling
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2007, 08:00:27 PM »

Looked up the HP T5720 Thin Client computer on the HP site. It's listed as a HPCompaq T5720.  HP bought Compaq. The description mentions Windows XP Embedded, but doesn't go into great details. When I worked in the PC support industry, the boxes with the most oddball stuff in them was always Compaq. HP is infamous for putting embedded video in desktop machines. If you don't buy a video card later and don't install it right away, if the embedded video chip dies, you can't get into the BIOS to tell it to use the card. The machine is hosed. Happened to 2 friends of mine. The only solution is buy a bare-bones box, transfer your hard drives and CD Drive and you re up and running.

Windows XP Embedded sounds like another HP oddball PC deal. HP printers, I don't buy anything else. They run forever. I had a HP lasetJet IIIP that was replaced when the paper tray wouldn't feed any more - after 15 years of use. Their PC's, I wouldn't touch one with a 25 foot pole.  :(
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KDR

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2007, 08:14:22 PM »

To learn more about XPe take a look at this site...
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/embedded/eval/xpe/default.mspx
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Tuicemen

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2007, 10:40:40 PM »

SinkingFeeling
Hey nice to hear you got it working! That was going to be my first suggestion! As thats what I had to do after my wife unpluged my CM15A and forgot to plug it back in! ::) But in my case I had already established that the usb conection was good, yours we hadn't!
 I'm glad you persisted with it ,as I'm sure your experiance will help others which may have this problem ;) :D ;D!
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2007, 11:18:00 PM »

To learn more about XPe take a look at this site...
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/embedded/eval/xpe/default.mspx

Like i posted, it's for developers, not for the general public. 

What SinkingFeeling got from HP with his T5720 Thin Client laptop is another wieird HP thing. They were wierd before they absorbed Compaq, which also did wierd things.
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SinkingFeeling

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Re: Active Home Pro And Windows XP Embedded
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2007, 11:29:47 PM »

Dan,

The HP T5720 Thin Client isn't really a laptop, it's just a 1GHz WinXPe computer in a fairly small form factor.  Not quite as small as those car radio sized PC's that a place like www.caseoutlet.com sells, but it's still fairly small.  It has a rather small on-board flash drive (512MB), so if you want to do anything useful with it you need to hook up an external USB drive.  I connected a Lacie 500GB drive to it for this purpose.

The original purpose of the T5720 was to simply serve as an Internet radio recording  computer to record various Internet radio shows while I'm at work for playback when I get home.  To do this I use the Replay A / V package from applian technologies (www.applian.com). 

Now, with the Active Home Pro software installed, I've pressed it into service as my interface to the CM15A module as well.  And, since I already have a 500 GB drive connected to it, I also use it as one of many backup destinations to store my files from my main computer.

I have the T5720 and its attachments tucked away nicely inside a shelf -- out of sight and out of mind.  Of course I do need to access it from time to time, so I use the TightVNC application software to remotely control it.  TightVNC works similar to the Remote Desktop software by Microsoft, except TightVNC is freeware.   I just kick back, start up the TightVNC viewer on my main computer, then watch as the T5720 Console Screen appears within a window on my main computer.  From there I can start and stop applications just as if I was directly connected to it with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.  TightVNC is a really cool package and the price can't be beat (free!!).

So far the arrangement with the T5720 is working out well.  I was especially relieved when it finally started working with the CM15A.  Let's just hope everything stays that way :) ;)

Cheers,

SinkingFeeling
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