Raspi AC and Blinds Controller

raspiBlindsACController

[Chris's] bedroom has a unique setup with an air conditioning unit perched on the wall next to the top of the blinds that cover his window. Normally, to open the blinds he had to tug on a cord and operating the AC meant fiddling with a remote control. Not anymore. Now [Chris] has an all-in-one Raspberry Pi-based solution to drive both.

The build uses a stepper motor salvaged from a printer to directly drive the blinds, with a familiar-looking Easy Driver connecting it to the Pi. The motor spins the blinds’ mechanism either open or closed, though at a modest pace that’s slow enough to provide the needed torque. [Chris] added an IR diode plugged into the Pi that imitates the air conditioning unit’s remote control, and simply pointed it directly at the unit’s receiver. An inexpensive WiFi dongle gets the Pi onto the network, allowing [Chris] to interact via a custom web interface. The interface itself not only provides a couple of clickable buttons, but a cleverly-designed status image indicating the position of the blinds.

Make sure you see the video below for a demonstration and for more details on the build. This is one of the better examples of home automation devices we’ve seen recently, especially considering it actually fits the “autonomous” implications discussed in our Ask Hackaday post from a few months back—although a relatively simple automation, [Chris's] interface does allow for operating both the blinds and the AC on a preselected schedule.

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Personal cooling using a closed loop water system

That’s not a colostomy bag, it’s the first prototype of [Stephen's] scratch-built closed loop personal cooling system. He must be living in an uncomfortably hot apartment as this is the second cooling system we’ve seen from him in as many weeks. The previous offering was an evaporative system. This time around he’s pumping chilled water to bring some relief.

The image on the left shows the first iteration of the system which pumped cool water from a large jug through a loop of plastic tubing which he wears around his neck. To refine the design he build the version on the right. As a reservoir he grabbed a water-proof ID container meant to keep your valuables dry in the pool or ocean. Inside there’s a pump which he runs off of a 5V battery supply. It circulates water through the neck strap which is a piece of plastic tubing.

This will work for a time, but as the cold water picks up your body’s heat the effect will be lost. We think he needs to add a Peltier cooler to the reservoir in the next iteration. It might help to refine the loop to increase its ability to transfer heat where it touches your skin.

There’s demo of the most recent version embedded after the break.

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Quick and easy personal evaporative cooler

This quick and easy evaporative cooler might be just the thing the next time the air conditioning goes on the fritz. [Stephen] saw an eBay listing for a personal air conditioner that used a moist sponge and fan to send some cool relief your way. But he wanted to run his own test to see if it really did anything before laying down the cash.

The idea is to run air past a moisture source. Some of the heat energy in the air is reduced through evaporation resulting in the exhaust air feeling a bit cooler. It’s the same concept used in swamp coolers (an evaporative type of air conditioning). To build his device [Stephen] grabbed a refrigerator deodorizer which uses a hinged plastic cage to hold a packet of baking soda. He attached a small PC fan to the cage, then inserted a damp sponge. This is so easy to put together you could hit the dollar store on your lunch break and have some relief for the second half of the work day.

If you’re looking for a technique that cools just a bit better consider leveraging a beer fridge as a personal cooler.

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Hackaday Links July 18, 2012

Apollo 13 DJ controller Follow Up

apollo13 DJ controller

[Adam] had a really impressive DJ controller build featured here recently. Many of you had more questions about the internals and such, so this post should clarify a few things. He’s still got a few more updates to make, but promises to reveal all if given enough time!

Noise Absorbing Headphones from Shooting Earmuffs

earmuffs-ipod

If the circuitry on your microphone-enabled shooting earmuffs has gone bad, the actual speakers may still be good. Why not convert them into some noise-blocking headphones? For that matter, if you’ve broken a pivot, there’s a simple solution for that too!

Help Choosing your CNC Router

cnc-kits

If you’re in the market for a CNC router, but aren’t sure where to start, Ponoko has put together a handy pricing guide to several of the more popular DIY routers available.

DIY AC Unit

ac-unit

It’s very hot out, so what is one to do when your shop or garage is burning up?  Why not build your own “AC unit?” Sure you have to supply your own ice, but at under $20 for this cooler-based unit, maybe it’s worth it. Here’s the Reddit thread explaining it as well as a picture of the finished product.

3D Topo Map on a CNC Router

3d-topo-map

Once you’ve purchased your CNC router using the above guide, why not make your own 3D top map? This tutorial features a map of Ross Island off of Antarctica. Why Ross Island? It was the first vector-format topo map found off of Wikimedia.

Air conditioner regulation using a hobby servo

automatic_mechanical_ac_control

For anyone that works in a large office building, odds are you know the pains of dealing with a poorly regulated HVAC system. [Robovergne] and his co-workers recently moved to a new location, and found that the air conditioning control was less than effective, leaving the office as hot as a sauna or as cold as a meat locker.

While they manually triggered the A/C on and off every half hour for a while, that grew tiring, so [Robovergne] decided to take things into his own hands. He had never used an Arduino before, and figured that regulating the air would be a great first project. He mounted a small hobby servo onto the front of the A/C remote, and wired a DS18B21 temperature probe to the Arduino. A small pot is used to adjust the temperature setpoints, which are displayed on the attached LCD screen. Now, when the temperature starts to rise, the Arduino triggers the servo to turn the air conditioning on without human interaction.

[Robovergne] says that while his solution is ugly, it works quite well. It definitely gets the job done, we can’t argue with that!

Continue reading to see a video of his automatic A/C controller in action.

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Poor man’s Peltier air conditioner

poor_mans_peltier_air_conditioner

It’s summer in Germany, and [Valentin’s] room was getting hotter than he could handle. Tired of suffering through the heat, and with his always-on PC not helping matters any, he decided that he must do something to supplement his home’s air conditioner. The result of his labor is the single room poor man’s A/C unit you see above.

He had a spare Peltier cooler sitting around, so he put it to good use as the basis for his air conditioning unit. He sandwiched it between a pair of CPU heatsinks before cramming his makeshift heat pump into a shoe box. Warm air is drawn into the box and across the cold side of the Peltier before being blown back into the room. On the hot side of the box air is also pulled in by a fan, drawing heat away from the unit before being exhausted outdoors through his window.

While he hasn’t quantified the machine’s cooling power, he seems quite happy with the results. We have a spare Peltier kicking around here somewhere, perhaps we should try building one just for grins.

Hackaday Links: Saturday, June 18th

Tripod CNC Machining Setup:

 

Here’s a strange “tripod” device using the EMC software package generally used for CNC machining.  In this case it looks like something that (when scaled up) might control a sky-cam-like device that one would see at football games.

The Off-Grid Container House:

 

Project to make an off-grid container house.  Pretty crazy idea, but definitely not developed yet. This seems like a cool idea, so hopefully this guy will come through. It may give you some other ideas, so check it out. Pizza in a cup anyone?

Iphone Window Pocket

 

Iphone window pocket – This Instructables article shows how to make a “window” in your pants for your Ipod. The combination of bad style and nerdiness gives a great first impression every time. Not sure how it works with the capacitive touch screen, but it should be good for viewing at least.

The Multiple AC Unit Experiment

 

Here’s someone who’s done some experimenting with using a central AC unit with several window units. Not bad, considering he documents shaving about 1/3 off his power bill.  Maybe it could inspire something even better!

Incredible CNC “hexapod” Milling Center

 

Finally, this machine isn’t exactly a “hack”, but a professionally designed machining center. It uses a machining setup similar to a delta robot. Six linear actuators are coordinated to allow this CNC robot to move in five degrees of freedom with incredible speed.