Enginursday: Blynk Board Laundry Monitor

Last week we released the Blynk Board – an ESP8266-based development board, with extra goodies like a temp/humidity sensor, WS2812 RGB LED, and a LiPo battery charger added on. The edge GPIO and power connectors are designed to be “alligator-clip-compatible,” so a user doesn’t have to do any soldering or breadboarding while they’re just feeling their way around the board or any associated electronics.

Example hookup picture

An example circuit from the Project Guide – graphing light sensor readings.

The Blynk Board was designed in partnership with our friends at Blynk, who have an iOS- and Android-compatible app called…Blynk. The Blynk app helps bridge the gap between embedded electronics and the magical computers we have stuffed in our jeans pockets. You can use Blynk for projects like blinking LEDs from your phone, automating your lamps, or relaying sensor data via email.

To reinforce the relationship between the board and the app, each Blynk Board includes a QR code, which, when scanned within the Blynk app, adds 15,000 Blynk energy points to your account. “Energy points” are Blynk’s form of currency. Adding widgets to a Blynk project consumes energy, but removing that widget refunds all of that energy back. So, while the energy system can certainly feel a little too microtransaction-y, the energy recycling system and an initial bank of 2,000 points both go a long way towards eliminating any energy-related worries. (Learn more about Blynk energy points here.)

Blynk Board QR Code

The Blynk Board was the culmination of not just a ton of hardware, firmware, and production work, but also a lot of support-tutorial-writing. There’s the Getting Started with the Blynk Board tutorial, which lays out the provisioning process – a no-programming-required method for connecting your Blynk Board to a WiFi network and your Blynk account.


Getting Started with the SparkFun Blynk Board

March 25, 2016

How to provision a Blynk Board - get it connected to Wi-Fi and Blynk, so you can start Blynking!

That tutorial leads into the Blynk Board Project Guide, which documents over a dozen example projects that help familiarize the user with both the Blynk Board and the app. All of those projects are built into the Blynk Board’s firmware – continuing the no-programming theme.


Blynk Board Project Guide

March 25, 2016

A series of Blynk projects you can set up on the Blynk Board without ever re-programming it.

And finally, there’s the Blynk Arduino Development Guide, which provides all of the tools you need to start loading your own code onto the Blynk Board.


Blynk Board Arduino Development Guide

March 25, 2016

How to get your computer set up with Arduino and the Blynk Board hardware definitions -- so you can start creating Blynk projects of your own!

As the primary engineer on the project, I’m still in a Blynk “cooldown” phase. I’ve at least stopped dreaming (read: nightmare-ing) about Blynk every night, but it’s still hovering somewhere around the top of my mind – I haven’t stopped thinking up projects I can center around the board/app combo. The latest project I’ve drawn up is a laundry machine monitor.


Blynk Board Washer/Dryer Alarm

March 31, 2016

How to configure the Blynk Board and app to notify you when your washer or dryer is done shaking.

The monitor combines the Blynk Board with an MMA8452Q Accelerometer Breakout to detect the persistent shaking of a washer or dryer. When the shaking stops, the board sends a notification to your phone.

Phone notification

We created the Blynk Board to solve problems – some a bit more first-world than others.

The project was a nice exploration into hysteresis and accelerometer-based shake detection. Check out the source code or read through the tutorial to learn more about it, and may your laundry days be just a bit more efficient!

Keep an eye out for more Blynk-related news, including an upcoming Hackster challenge!

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