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Wednesday 6 November 2013

Cizilo taking baby steps forward


For long time I haven’t had time to focus on my little project and to be honest it has been working fairly well so far. I have few updates though.


I built new light controller around Arduino Nano v3. This time having linear slider potentiometers to have 4 channels of control (RGB + Master). This controller has not yet been connected to the RPi running Cizilo software. I got the controls pretty nice for the use and next steps would be creating more functionality to this controller. I need to change the Cizilo sw first to track UIDs for my light circuits. Easiest way for this is probably using ds18b20 temp sensors and their UIDs to track the different controllers (regardless how they are connected).


Next step is to add couple of led's and push buttons to that controller with the sliders so that I can rotate between these circuits provided by Cizilo, find the intended color locally and then send that back to Cizilo which in turn can provide it to the wanted controller. This way I have one physical interface where I can control the lights with immediate feedback and send the values out when I feel it’s right.


I’m also getting somewhere with the Android software to control all this. After I get that to the state where I can control all of this from my phone or Tablet I’m starting to be close to the point I wanted at the first place. Then it’s just adding different light circuits in, adding some functionality and integrating more of my apartment controlled by it.


One of these things I’d like to get added in is my latest purchase of “Easy on Easy off” remote controlled sockets I got yesterday for less than 30EUR for 3 sockets + remote. The remote uses 12v lithium battery, for some weird reason, which suites me perfectly fine as I probably can cannibalize that remote easily and get it controlled by either the RPi or Arduino while powering it from the same feed I power these Arduinos and leds.


I’ve made few modifications to the Cizilo code since last update. Including 10 minute timer for bedroom lights when I switch to the night-mode so I have time to wash my teeth and get to the bed before lights goes off.


Also based on the feedback last weekend I added light controls to the alarm clock so that when the alarm goes off it brings the lights on to make the wake up more comfy now when mornings are getting dark.


I have noticed more and more need to control the heating and air circulation in my apartment now when the days and nights have started to be cold again. I’m all the time tuning the heaters clock due different needs and I really don’t like up to 4 degrees Celsius temp difference between upstairs and downstairs. I need to get the air moving to balance this better.

New Piece in the Puzzle


It has been quite a while quiet in my documentation as I have been travelling and working on my day job a lot lately. So let’s catch up with the latest.


First of all I got new addition to my digital tool belt few weeks ago. TBS2700 Hamlet Android Tablet. I purchased it with the idea that if it does not perform by my expectations I will just use it as 7 inch remote controller for my apartment. Well not going to happen that it would be dedicated. This beast is really impressive with it’s  1280x800 IPS screen, 4 core cpu, dual core gpu and in normal use easily 7-8 hrs of battery life. I haven’t touched my laptop too much since as the tablet is just convenient enough to do the daily surfing, tweeting and news reads.


There was a good deal for it in aliexpress* and got just under $120 delivered with 8gig extra memory card.


Only the firmware of this TBS2700 did not impress me too much. The apps manufacturer thinks everyone wants to use no matter what was something I really couldn’t agree. So fw upgrade package from tbs** website and I started to poke around. I got the tablet couple of times hanging at the boot and not coming up again, but fortunately the FW flash still worked. So I just dropped next try in and couple of hours of trial and error I finally got the vendor apps cleaned and some of my own into the FW bundle.


Yesterday I was shopping in local Woodie’s*** and got some things to improve my project. Nothing special just a table lamp (which will be cannibalized and instead being mains powered, I’ll fit that with the led stripe as well), 18V cordless drill and some fittings to get stuff hanging on the walls.


At the same trip I also visited D.I.D Electrical**** and got one TP-Link TL-WR841N wireless router. It seems that plain old switches are hard to come by nowadays. No worries, that is running OpenWrt***** already and will be serving my project network in future.


I’m also a bit in shortage of components and have been waiting some bits and pieces from China now almost a month. Today the tracking info gave me bit a light at the end of the tunnel as next 20m of the RGB led strip has arrived this morning to Dublin. Expecting having them tomorrow then.