Wine cask sensor suite

As part of his Master’s dissertation [Salvador Faria] built a sensor suite for wine monitoring. He needed to develop a method of tracking data inside the wine cask during the vinification process. What he came up with eclipses the wine cellar temperature monitors we’ve seen before.

He picked up pH, temperature, carbon dioxide, alcohol, and relative humidity sensors from familiar vendors like Seeed, Parallax, and SparkFun. His original idea was to develop a floating probe that housed the entire package but he had quite a bit of trouble getting everything inside and maintaining buoyancy. The solution was a two-part probe; the stationary portion seen mounted on top of the cask houses the microcontroller, RF 433 MHz transmitter, and the gas sensors. Tethered to that is a floating probe that measures pH and temperature. Data is sent over radio frequency to an HTTP POST server every minute.

Making home automation modules talk to each other


[Danny] has been working on an RNET to Sonos bridge. These are devices from two different manufacturers used to facility whole-house audio systems. Usually there’s a main controller with a large color screen and then several satellite controllers like the one above which have some of the features but at a lower cost. Normally you’re limited to using hardware from one line of devices in order to get them to talk to each other but [Danny’s] saying ‘no way’ to that restriction.

His latest post has some of the details on how he pulls this off. He used an RS232 serial connection with an Arduino to sniff out the data stream from the RNET base unit. Once he figured out the protocol he used the Arduino to parse all incoming commands, format them for the Sonos controller, and send it over the Ethernet cable to that device. He’s got everything tied together and working. Take a look at the proof in the clip after the break.

Continue reading “Making home automation modules talk to each other”

Network enabled window air conditioner

It’s no secret that the central US is feels like a very humid oven right now. [Erik’s] window AC hack might help you out if you’re coping with triple-digit temperatures. He added network connectivity to the unit above but the picture is a bit deceiving. The blue CAT-5 cable that enters the bottom isn’t connecting directly to the network, but extends the up and down button connections for the unit to an external relay board. From there he uses an SNMP board to connect it to the network and uses PHP commands to reset the temperature. The unit has a working range of 66-88 degrees Fahrenheit so he cycles enough button press to reach the maximum or minimum level, then sets the desired temperature (avoiding the need to know what temperature the unit is currently set at).

If you’ve got an AC unit with a remote control you could always use an IR device to patch into the system for similar functionality.

Racing game uses a physical race track and vehicle

Racer is a racing video game with a very real element. The player sits in an arcade-style console; wheel, pedals, shifter, and television display. But in what must be an homage to Tron the game taking place is very real. You can see the track above, designed in CAD and cut from cardboard, which is navigated by that little vehicle the gentleman holds in his hand. It’s wireless and broadcasts video back to the control console. What we have here is a homemade drone but for now it’s confined to the gaming grid. Don’t miss the demos after the break. Continue reading “Racing game uses a physical race track and vehicle”

All metal hot end for Makerbot

Imagine if you will for a moment, you’re printing along on your Makerbot clone and all of a sudden your PTFE hot end melts, what are you going to do now? One solution is to mill your own all metal end from a bolt with some careful drilling. Or you could follow [Peter Jansen] who has made his own all metal hot end using the existing extruder. All that’s required is some aluminum sheet and cutting down the nozzle and hat (and fans to help, but technicalities), and you’re in business with no more melted PTFE hot end.