[hackerspaces] Discuss Digest, Vol 88, Issue 12

S Charlesworth mistasteve at gmail.com
Thu Dec 3 20:39:50 CET 2015

I can put in a good word for the Open Access Board, we've used it at
Bloominglabs since 2011 with good results.

Agreed on the division of labor with Arduino handling the hardware aspects
and a Raspberry Pi handling logging, managing users, triggering a sound
sample of 'Wolfman Jack says someone's at the door baby!' from the old UCB
sketch when somebody enters, etc.

A thing we did, if anybody's interested, is we converted the USB/serial
connection to a network service running as a daemon on the Raspberry Pi
(but lock that thing down!), which made it easier to handle connections
from the web server to add/revoke access, see what's happening, opening the
door, etc. more here if anybody's curious:
The Twisted library for Python does the heavy lifting.


On Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 10:52 PM, <discuss-request at lists.hackerspaces.org>

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> We were fortunate to get some help from a guy in the security industry when
> we developed the Open Access board.  I then went to a trade show as well as
> tearing down a bunch of old equipment.
> The hardware in commercial alarm and access systems nothing special
> technology-wise.  What makes it expensive is the limited market and need
> for very high resiliance in the equipment.
> We settled on an architecture that separates the "hard" tasks (Keeping the
> doors, readers and sensors properly serviced and in-state) from the soft
> tasks (logging, Internet connectivity).
> We felt that hard tasks are best performed by a small system with a tiny
> code base and real-time properties. The RasPi has GPIOs, but using them for
> the real-time stuff ties us to specific hardware, and RasPi models turn
> over periodically.
> It also exposes us to possible issues if we manage to crash the OS.  We
> incorporated a "hardened" Arduino-compatible into the board, and made it
> possible to phsyically bolt a RasPi on and power/connect via serial on the
> GPIO header or standard USB.
> All of the inputs are protected with TVS diodes and current-limiters and
> the input power has reverse polarity, noise and surge protection.
> The soft tasks are likewise not so great on an Arduino.  Sure, we could use
> a hardware Ethernet stack and an SD card for logging, but we're starting to
> push the limits of a small device and don't get a firewall, DHCP client,
> SSL, etc.
> Anyway, this has been working well enough that we've sold close to 100 of
> these.  You can buy one here:
> https://www.wallofsheep.com
> Arclight
> (Shameless plugger of hackerspace businesses)
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