Tag Archives: IoT

ESP8266 Based Irrigation Controller

via hardware – Hackaday

If you just want to prevent your garden from slowly turning into a desert, have a look at the available off-the-shelf home automation solutions, pick one, lean back and let moisture monitoring and automated irrigation take over. If you want to get into electronics, learn PCB design and experience the personal victory that comes with all that, do what [Patrick] did, and build your own ESP8266 based irrigation controller. It’s also a lot of fun!

[Patrick] already had a strong software background and maintains his own open source home automation system, so building his own physical hardware to extend its functionality was a logical step. In particular, [Patrick] wanted to add four wirelessly controlled valves to the system.

He started by designing the circuit that would do the job using EAGLE. An interface circuit from transistors and relays would help the ESP8266 to drive the electromechanical valves. Because these require 24 V AC to open, a clean and simple switched mode power supply circuit based on the LM2596T was employed to convert the already present 24 V AC supply voltage down to 3.3 V DC for the ESP8266. A few status LEDs were added to check the system status at a glance. One could’ve wasted a few optocouplers on the relay part – but in case of the ESP8266, why bother to spend more on protection circuitry than on the µC, right?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES[Patrick] was crafty enough to avoid a few of the common pitfalls when starting with building hardware projects. He knew the EPS8266 boots with the GPIOs set high, so he used PNP transistors in the relay circuit to avoid sprinkling his lawn every time the device starts up. Also, he added footprints for some optional components to the board, just in case something wouldn’t work as expected, which turned out to be very helpful in the end.

The board layout was then sent to a manufacturer. After assembling the retrieved PCBs, [Patrick] noticed the RX/TX pins on the programming header were reversed, so a pin-re-reversing adapter would be required. Also, the chip antenna on the ESP-03 turned out to be rather weak. Luckily, an optional U.FL connector footprint was present, so an external antenna could be added easily.

On the firmware side, [Patrick] uses his own “DWN” protocol, which allows new devices to notify the home automation server about their presence and type. The firmware also prevents overwatering by limiting the maximum ON-time for a valve to 30 minutes. Eventually, the controller board went into a rugged enclosure and not only the finished build but also the schematics, layout and firmware have been released into the wild. We’re sure you’ll find this well-documented project a great resource for your next home automation project!

Filed under: green hacks, hardware

Cat exercise wheel

via Raspberry Pi

This is not a hamster.

(I could stare at that all day.)

Cat owners among you with hard floor coverings will recognise the eldritch skittering of tiny paws at the witching hour, when all cats believe they have become rally cars. The owner of Jasper and Ruben (who, when researching this post, I thought was called Jasper Ruben; he remains anonymous for now – please leave a comment with your name if you’d like to!) has mechanised the problem. With a Raspberry Pi, natch.


This is the web interface for Jasper and Ruben’s wheel. Cat-propelled, and Raspberry Pi-monitored, it logs distance travelled, average speed, duration of feline whirring, and all that good stuff, and displays the statistics in real time.

Here’s the back, where the clever happens. (And the top of Ruben’s head.)


The Pi’s GPIO is hooked up to a coil sensor behind the wheel, which is housed in an old DSL splitter box, held as close as possible to the wheel without actually touching it. A coil sensor detects magnetic field, so the wheel itself has some modifications to make it detectable and measurable: six small ferrous nails hidden in the lining.


The Pi drives a camera board and interprets the feedback from the sensor, so it can display live statistics as the cat runs. It also enables the user to record any particularly nifty bits of cat-sprinting.

Being human, you want to see more video of the setup in action. Here’s Jasper, being taunted by a laser dot, with real-time stats at the top of the video.

And here’s proof that the cats will use the wheel spontaneously:

You can see a comprehensive photo how-to on Imgur; Jasper and Ruben’s owner is also answering questions about the build over on Reddit.

We want to see someone modify this to use the wheel’s rotation to charge a battery. What would you use it to power? (I’m thinking kibble dispenser…)

The post Cat exercise wheel appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Amazon Echo – the homebrew version

via Raspberry Pi

Amazon’s Echo isn’t available here in the UK yet. This is very aggravating for those of us who pride ourselves on early adoption. For the uninitiated, Echo’s an all-in-one speaker and voice-command device that works with Amazon’s Alexa voice service. Using an Echo, Alexa can answer verbal questions and integrate with a bunch of the connected objects you might have in your house, like lights, music, thermostats and all that good smart-home stuff. It can also provide you with weather forecasts, interact with your calendar and plumb the cold, cold depths of Wikipedia.


Amazon’s official Echo device


The Raspberry Pi version (our tip – hide the Pi in a box!)

Happily for those of us outside the US wanting to sink our teeth into the bold new world of virtual assistants, Amazon’s made a guide to setting up Alexa on your Raspberry Pi which will work wherever you are. You’ll need a Pi 2 or a Pi 3. The Raspberry Pi version differs in one important way from the Echo: the Echo is always on, and always listening for a vocal cue (usually “Alexa”, although users can change that – useful if your name is Alexa), which raises privacy concerns for some. The Raspberry Pi version is not an always-on listening device; instead, you have to press a button on your system to activate it. More work for your index finger, more privacy for your living-room conversations.

Want to build your own? Here’s a video guide to setting the beast up from Novaspirit Tech. You can also find everything you need on Amazon’s GitHub.

Installing Alexa Voice Service to Raspberry Pi

This is a quick tutorial on install Alexa Voice Service to your Raspberry Pi creating your very own Amazon ECHO!! Thanks for the view! **You can also download the Amazon Alexa App for your phone to configure / interface with your raspberry echo!. it will be listed as a new device!!

Let us know if you end up building your own Echo; it’s much less expensive than the official version, and 100% more available outside the USA as well.




The post Amazon Echo – the homebrew version appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Open Sesame, from a Galaxy far, far away.

via hardware – Hackaday

[TVMiller]’s description of his project is epic enough to deserve a literal copy-paste (something our readers often praise us about). In his own words,  “Having discovered several spare Midichlorians in my liquor cabinet, I trained and applied them to opening a large cumbersome gate. The FORCE motion travels through my inner what-nots and is translated by the Pebble Classic accelerometer toggling a command sent to the (Particle) Cloud (City) which returns to the Particle Photon triggering a TIP120 to fire a button on an existing RF transceiver. May the ridiculous hand gestures be with you, always.” Thus was born the Gate Jedi , and you’ll need exactly 47 Midichlorians, and some other trivial parts, to build one.

The Pebble watch hooks up to his android smart phone. An android app sends the accelerometer data to the Particle (previously called Spark) cloud service. From there, the data is pushed to the Photon IoT board which runs a few lines of code. Output from the Photon turns on a TIP120 power transistor, which in turn triggers the existing RF trans receiver that opens the Gate.

This looks way cooler than the Light Sabre hacks. Check out the video of him summoning the Force. And if you’d like to do more, try integrating gesture controls with this Pebble Watch hack that turns it into a home automation controller.

Filed under: hardware

Building a low cost wifi camera

via Dangerous Prototypes


Johan Kanflo designed a Esparducam board and built a low cost wifi camera with an Arducam Mini and a ESP8266 Wifi module:

Sometime ago I came across the Arducam Mini which is quite a nice camera module from UCTronics. It is a small PCB with a two megapixel OmniVision OV2640 sensor, an interchangeable lens and an FPGA to do the heavy lifting of image processing and JPEG encoding. Priced at around 24 Euros (lens included) you can easily buy a few without hurting your wallet and combined with an ESP8266 you can build quite a low cost wifi camera. Or several. Because designing and building PCBs is both fun and inexpensive I designed a board to go with the ESP8266/Arducam Mini combo, aptly named the Esparducam. And uniquely named too, try googeling for “esparducam“. Heck, even the domain name is available at the time of writing :)

More details at Johan Kanflo’s blog.

Project files are available on Github.

Casa Jasmina Best IoT Open Source Project

via Arduino Blog


The Academy Awards night is coming and it’s a perfect moment to be nominated and  win a prize.  Casa Jasmina project won its prize yesterday: the Internet of Things Awards, showcasing excellence in all areas across the Internet of Things since 2011, in the category of best IoT open source project – Editors Choice Winner.


The Open Source award “honors projects that bring those values to the Internet of Things, either by incorporating open source technology or by making public the details of their own designs and software”, this is the idea of the IoT awards organization in which Casa Jasmina completely believes.

The open source movement is for Arduino and consequently for Casa Jasmina, the core of internet in terms of hardware, software and protocols that compose the global communication infrastructure, and in this way the power of collaborative development is the main focus of Casa Jasmina idea.

As a futuristic Wunderkammer, Casa Jasmina will collect and share artificialia to present in a open way system what and how the IoT concepts will change the daily home life.

Winning this competition is for Casa Jasmina the acknowledgement of a project that take on to transform into reality a series of reflections around IoT and open source. Casa Jasmina is really proud to have been selected between 21 projects, because this represent the attention we are trying to attract.

There is still a lot of work, Casa Jasmina is working hard to rich the goal; it’s not simple but awards like this give hope to the project, and show the interest that exists on these issues.

So thank you all

(Read the blogpost on Casa Jasmina blog)