Internet of Things Refrigerator Alarm

For anyone who gets a late-night craving for anything out of the refrigerator and needs some help in the willpower department, [Claudio] may have the project for you. He has just finished work on a project that sends out an alarm when the refrigerator door opens, alerting others that you’re on the prowl for munchies.

The device uses a light sensor connected to an OpenPicus IoT kit that contains a FlyportPRO Wi-Fi module. When the refrigerator door is opened, the device sends out an email message via a web server, which can be sent to whomever you choose. All of the project’s code and instructions are available on the project site as well.

The project is pretty clever in that no actual interfacing with the refrigerator is required, beyond running a power cable through the seal of the door (although [Claudio] notes that the device will run on a lithium battery as an option). The web server itself can be set up to send out alarms during any timeframe as well, allowing a user to customize his or her nighttime snacking window. If you’re looking for a less subtle approach, we’d recommend the fridge speakers with a volume setting of 11.

29 thoughts on “Internet of Things Refrigerator Alarm

  1. Reused fridge door switch with external battery (probably a couple NiMH AA’s) a secondary/disarm switch, and a LOUD buzzer would be my chosen solution ;) Mom and I are fairly short (I’m 5’3 and she’s 5’0) so hide it on top of the fridge and nobody will be the wiser… until the door opens ;)

    Use thin wires and you won’t have a problem. Cheap Radio Shack buzzers don’t need much current anyways, IIRC.

    1. Ok, so thought experiment here. What if you lived with some tough dudes, and every time the fridge alarm went off, they immediately beat you senseless. While the exact solution maybe not practical for most people, one can imagine how external modifications to behavior ARE possible.

    1. I would be more worried about the inevitable moisture in the fridge corroding/shorting something out at some point. A lithium battery fire in the fridge, hmmm …

      The alternative, breaking the door seal, is a really really terrible idea unless you want to pay high electricity bills and/or have the fridge compressor die a premature death due to much higher loads than designed for.

      Another issue this has is that the hardware he is using most likely isn’t designed to work in an environment this cold. I guess high reliability isn’t the top requirement for this project, but he might get a surprise when things stop working …

      A much simpler and more reliable solution would have been opening the part of the fridge where the internal light is mounted and simply either putting an LDR there or directly tapping into the lamp wire (probably isn’t mains powered due to the risk of moisture/condensation). Then the electronics could be outside of the cold part of the appliance – saving trouble with both condensation, cold and getting external power in.

  2. Reminds me of a ‘thing’ I put together, I found this novelty keychain of a plastic barrel with an eye looking out and a button that played a pre-recorded message, so I took the circuit+speaker out and wired it to a Picaxe along with a battery pack + LDR.

    Programmed the Picaxe to respond to light levels so 10 seconds after the fridge door was closed a voice from inside would shout “Excuse me! EXCUSE ME! CAN YOU LET MY OUTTA HERE?!”

  3. Good one! I think I will agree that this one would be a good way to keep accountability for the dieters, but I will also say that this could be a great idea for those who share an apartment (and a fridge). This also sounds great for those who live in a dorm. Perfect for college students who are trying their level best to keep their orange juice (and milk) from the paws of their dorm and roommates. Wouldn’t mind being woken up when someone’s trying to steal my milk! Ha!

  4. Paul Haas had a temperature interface to his fridge back around 1990. It reported the temperature of a can of coke, and whether the fridge door was open or closed.

    The initial interface was via the finger command – finger something@hamjudo.org.
    A monitor for the hot tub was added later, along with a web interface.

  5. I have not see anything that detects when the fridge door is not completely shut. That would be a useful alarm. I’d want it to know that the door was almost shut but not shut – wait 5 seconds and then beep once a second until it got closed.

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