This new section looks pretty empty at the moment but I have lots of exciting things I’ve been working on. I’ll try and get some of them documented here soon.
Energenie Integration with Python on a Raspberry Pi
- Using pyenergenie to do Energenie automation with out need for the cloudIt is disappointing what IoT hardware manufacturers provide regarding software with their products. I don’t want to single out Energenie - at least they created a tremendous hackable radio board specifically for the Raspberry Pi. The ENER314-RT provides two-way communication with all Energenie products including all their power switches, energy monitors and radiator valves. This means that you don’t need to buy an Energenie Gateway MIHO001, and you also don’t need cloud connectivity and the worry that somebody might be snooping on your data.
My Experience Building an Alexa Skill
- Headline: it is actually pretty easyBack in November I attended a talk on creating your own Amazon Alexa Skill at Bristech. It’s been something I’ve wanted to play with for a while, so when Amazon had their Black Friday sale I couldn’t resist. I was pleasantly surprised by Amazon’s own tutorial using Lambda: Alexa Python Tutorial - Build a voice experience in 5 minutes or less. It really was quite simple and quick. Amazon have worked hard to make it easy for you to get a custom skill up and running on real hardware.
- ...and I thought software was hardI spent a good few months working on and off on the drone. Almost every day I’d get a nice little package in the post from China with a component or such like in it. Unfortunately, the last few things I received still sit unused. After I’d solved the basic architecture of the drone system in as far as how to get easily updatable algorithms both on board and on the ground, things got harder.
Beginnings of a Programmable Drone
- The struggle to put code in the loop airside and ground side of an autonomous droneI think it was the final episode in season 3 of Black Mirror that motivated me to start thinking about building a drone again. That episode - Hated in the Nation - involved swarms of autonomous drones deployed across the UK to replace recently deceased bee colonies. In this work of fiction the drones wreak havoc. However the connecting of computation and AI to real moving entities in our world really intrigued me.
Building a Pi Zero Photo Frame
- a self contained photo frame connecting to an RSS feedThis project builds a self-contained photo frame using a Raspberry Pi Zero and an old monitor. (Old monitors are better as the 4:3 ratio suits a mix of vertical and horizontal oriented photos better than a 16:9 ratio.) Figure 1: Finished Frame on wall Hardware Parts List Raspberry Pi Zero with micro SD containing Raspbian Power supply for Pi (see below) USB WIFI dongle VGA computer monitor VESA wall mount Custom made photo frame to fit monitor HDMI to VGA adaptor I had a photo frame made by a framing shop with the inner dimensions of the monitor.
Radar Speed Camera Rebooted
- building a radar speed gun with a Raspberry PiBackground This post is a follow-up from my previous post Building Radar Speed Camera and Traffic Logger with more information, improved design and experience from using the device in the field for nearly 2 years. This project is a self contained speed radar that can be used to give realtime traffic speeds, log traffic flows and statistics over a period of time and also possibly capture speeds of other objects in sporting environments, for example, though I haven’t specifically tested and tuned the code for this.
Power Regulator repair on Photon
- How to bypass and replace power regulator on Particle PhotonI accidentally shorted the 3.3v pin in the Particle Photon with ground. Within a second a puff of smoke rose from the circuit board and the photon no longer worked - when I connected power nothing happened, no LEDs lit and no boot. After a little looking around I discovered that the problem was likely the regulator which lowers the USB input voltage VIN down to 3.3V which all arduino like platforms use.
Published Dec 21, 2016 1 min read internet of things
Home DashboardBackground There is something immensely satisfying about having something to hold which has been hand crafted. Working with code most of the time it’s rare to get an outcome that is tactile. This project recreates a Hive-like user interface experience with a few readily available components. These components connect easily to a micro-controller such as the Particle Photon. Figure2: Hive smart thermostat Figure1: Dashboard Construction Guide Parts List Photon Particle 500mA micro-USB power supply Breadboard 1602A LCD Display with I2C interface rotary encoder module knob for rotary encoder 2x 0.
Published Jul 15, 2016 2 min read internet of things
Aquarium Lighting ControllerBackground I’ve had a modest home aquarium for a many years. It has always been lit by a specialist aquarium fluorescent tube. This gave out a nice light which both helped plants to grow and counteracted the excess of green caused by plants an algae. Figure1: Spectrograph of Hagen Aquaglow fluorescent tube There were two problems with this fluorescent lighting solution however. Firstly, it switches on and off instantly which can be quite unnatural and startles the fish.
Published Jul 1, 2016 10 min read internet of things
Build a Spectrometer
- using a Raspberry Pi for less than $50This project promises to give you super-human powers. I still find it amazing that our eyes construct all the colours for the most part1 from the mix of red, green and blue that the cones in our eyes can detect. Despite this simple three valued approach to colour that pervades our eyes, cameras, monitors and computer graphics there is a deeper reality to colour in everyday life. This projects opens the door on that reality.
Building Radar Speed Camera and Traffic Logger
- with a Raspberry PiThere is a major update to this article, please see this later post Radar Speed Camera Rebooted. I’ve always been interested in connecting things up to computers that they were never designed for. I could reminisce about my first drawing capture arm that used captured the two joint angles with potentiometers and used them to control the pulse width oscillators that fed into the cassette input on a ZX Spectrum.
Home Monitor ReloadedI can’t believe that the last time I mentioned my home monitor project was exactly six years ago! For those who haven’t heard of it before the home monitor project is a home automation system running in my house which attempts to capture as much useful information and control as much as is possible with the absolute minimum of expensive equipment. It is also acting as a bit of a playground for doing fun things with NetKernel.
Published Feb 10, 2011 4 min read internet of things