In a few weeks, we’ll have a new patio. Like any new project I get into, I have to introduce a flavour of something DIY and electronic into the mix. Like most guys, I’m planning for sound. However, I’m also adding custom LED lighting to light up the armour stones, deck and pergola areas. As part of the patio job, we are also planning on having a variety of plants and shrubs around the patio. I figured it would be neat, for when we are entertaining, to have LED RGB glowies that I could place in each of the shrubs/plants and have a RGB glowing garden as an entertainment piece. Read More >>
BTBotControl is an Android application that allows you to remotely control a micro controller-based robot using Bluetooth (i.e. Arduino). It also allows you to (optionally) view a video stream from an IPCamera mounted to your robot. This could be any type wireless IP camera or phone that has the ability to broadcast a video stream/images to the web. Example Foscam, Ai-Cam etc.
As a parent of 2 children and an obsession with cramming my hobbies in whenever I can, I decided to devise a means to remotely monitor my CNC (a ShapeOko) and also provide the ability for me to remotely shut it down if things go arwy during a milling session. I picked up a Foscam FI8918W IPCam at a ‘car boot’ sale (I love that name) when I was visting in England this past summer. For 5 quid nonetheless! I don’t think the folks selling it had any idea what it was worth. When asking the woman the standard “does it work” question, I knew I was going to get it regardless of my knowing that there was a good chance it would not work. Well, my luck prevailed, as the unit worked flawlessly with the exception that the smell of smoke was embedded in the plastic (would hate to see the previous owners lungs!). Yuk. Oh, and I also had to pickup a North American plug adapter – for all about$2 from DX.
My original plan was to pickup up an Arduino Network shield and use the camera to watch the CNC via custom webpage using streaming video and then, with some buttons, call the Arduino to trigger a servo to hit the Esc key on the CNC keyboard (which in turn would trigger Mach3 to shut down the CNC). There were a few problems with this. 1) I have to wait for the Network shield to come from China (about a month or so), and I did not want to run a lengthy network cable from my router in the basement into the garage. An Arduino WiFi shield was also out of the question as they are costly.
Then it hit me.. The Foscam has the ability to remotely trigger the IR LEDs to go on or off. I managed to trace the signal wire to a wire on the mainboard that goes HI (1.5V) when the IR LEDs are on, and LOW (0v) when off. Voila! Tapping this signal then bringing it out to an ATTiny85 with a bit of simple code, I could control a servo connected to the keyboard.. So, onto the Arduino IDE, and out came the soldering iron. A few hours later, here we are.
Lately, I’ve been toying around with different LED strips for my projects. I’ve had the chance to use a variety of LED strips (both RGB, and single colour types). They come in many flavours – water proof, 3m-backed, silcone encased, sealed, non-sealed, exposed etc. All have their advantages / disadvantages.
I’m a sucker for not conforming to status quo when it comes to my toys.. This includes my new Nissan (2012) Juke. In this mod, I added a set of LED light strips to the tail lights with a twist – I wanted to also monitor and react to braking to enhance the effect. I decided to go with an ATTiny85 using the Arduino core. It only needed 1 input from the 12V brake power and 1 PWM output to control a MOSFET which in turn powered the LED light strip @ 12V. I built one controller per tail light. Check out the video to see it in action:
I’ve been involved in microcontrollers for some time – but of the LEGO Mindstorms flavour (and BASIC Stamp to a lesser extent). Lately, I’ve jumped on the Arduino bandwagon. I’ve always had the natural nack to fix pretty much anything that has batteries or a plug running out of it. As the Arduino revolution has picked up dramatically over the past few years, so to has my desire to do DIY projects around the house. At some point in the future, we plan a kitchen reno. Part of that reno will the addition of under-cabinet LED lighting. Since that is far off, but I also had the need for better lighting in my office, I figured this would be a great time to proto something for the kitchen upgrade, while making something functional for the office. So, here it is..
Over the summer we installed hardwood flooring – which needs constant sweeping and cleaning . What to do… What to do… Well, most of us would just sweep it, right? Some of us might even go buy a Roomba. But, then again, some of us build something to do it for them. Why? Because we can…
Pulito (Italian for ‘clean’) is simply put, a sweeper robot. Much like a Swiffer and Roomba combined. The intent was to build a robot that could navigate around sweeping hard surface floors, stay away from carpeted areas, make its way under our couches and seek out a docking station when the battery runs low.
We recently picked up one of those Aquasaurs kits for the kids – which lets you hatch and care for some neat little aquatic fish (or shrimp) that date back to pre-historic times. After reading the instructions we got everything set-up and all was good, until we read the part about the temp of the water needing to remain between 72 – 80F. Problem is, we tend to keep our house around 70ish, and during the day, we have our automatic thermostat drop the temp to more frigid temps (to conserve you know!). We quickly realized that these things would likely not get past the larvae stage at those temps. For the first two days, we had the tank propped up on the stove under the halogen lights to keep the water warm. However, over time, they would heat the water too much and need to be monitored / turned off for periods of time. We needed to come up with a longer term solution.
One option would be to simply go out and drop $$ (insert cost here – I don’t know) on a aquarium heater – but that would be too easy. I’d rather take my $300+ extra NXT & temperature sensor and make them work for a bit. Now you ask yourself, how the heck would the NXT heat the water. Well, that’s where dSwitch from Dexter Industries comes in. Interestingly enough, the dSwitch did not come to me with the intent of using it to heat the Aquasaurs tank. It was more like irony and good timing that I just received the dSwitch and we got the Aquasaurs going.
At some point I would like to use solar energy to supplement our home power usage. Of course I was not going to jump into a full-out solar power array on my roof and out myself thousands of dollars without fully knowing the risks and potentials of photovoltaic solar power in my area. Instead, I decided on a proof-of-concept project – a small 10Watt 12V solar charger.
So, since I find myself constantly taking things apart because they are broken,
needing repair and cleaning, I figured why not post about them on my blog! Surely someone out there will take on the same task at some point in time. That said, here is a DIY cleaning for the Microsoft wireless notebook laser mouse 6000.