Monitoring your Gas Consumption with a JeeNode and a nRF24L01+

[Sven337] just blogged about a gas consumption monitoring setup he finished not long ago. As his gas meter was located outside his apartment and nowhere near any electrical outlet, a battery-powered platform that could wirelessly send the current consumption data to his Raspberry Pi was required. His final solution therefore consists of a JeeNode coupled with the well known nRF24L01+ wireless transmitter, powered by 3 supposedly dead alkaline batteries.

[Sven337] carefully looked at the different techniques available to read the data from his meter. At first he had thought of using a reflective sensor to detect the number 6 which (in France at least) is designed to reflect light very well. He then finally settled for a magnetic based solution, as the Actaris G4 gas meter has a small depression intended for magnetic sensors. The PCB you see in the picture above therefore has a reed sensor and a debug LED. The four wires go to a plastic enclosure containing the JeeNode, a couple of LEDs and a reset switch. Using another nRF24L01, the Raspberry Pi finally receives the pulse count and reports it to an eeePC which takes care of the storage and graphing.

10bitworks shows us how to light up a synchronized swarm of LED jellyfish


[Jeremy Zunker] from 10bitworks recently wrote in to share a cool build the group put together for the Luminaria 2012 festival which took place in March of this year. As you might have guessed, the fest is home to a wide array of light-themed projects, so the team at 10bitworks thought long and hard to come up with a design which would help them stand out from the other 79 featured artists.

At the core of their project is a t-shirt which features a deep-sea diver surrounded by swarm of jellyfish. Each of the jellyfish is backlit by an LED module, allowing the group to create intricate light patterns on the shirt.

10bitworks brought 8 shirts to the show, each fitted with a small control pack that contained a set of batteries and a Jeenode wireless board. A ninth Jeenode and a large antenna were used as the master control unit, sending signals to each of the t-shirts in order to synchronize the light display.

The final result turned out very nicely as you can see in the video below, where [Jeremy] walks through all of the project’s finer details.

[Read more...]

Home security anyone can build and install

We’ve been seeing quite a few home security hacks around here lately and we think they’re a lot of fun. This is one that we missed a few weeks ago. [Sharpk] used his existing home security system as inspiration for a completely DIY security system. Above you can see the tiny models he used to help visualize how the system would be installed.

The board at the center is a JeeNode, a development board that pairs an ATmega328 with a wireless module. There are three magnetic door sensors which you can easily find at the home, hardware, or electronics store around the corner. They’re basically a reed switch and a magnet; one mounts on the door, the other on the jamb. There is also a panic button and a PIR motion sensor. [Sharpk] has even been working on a UI for the system. He crafted a 3D model of his home’s floor plan in SketchUp and uses it to indicate which part of the system has been triggered.

Now he just needs to add a keypad for arming and disarming the system.

Putting scores of Arduinos on the Internet with one router

Like many hackers of late, [Rick] has been experimenting with connecting Arduinos to the Internet with a disused WiFi router and an installation of OpenWRT. Unlike his fellow makers, [Rick] thought it would be wasteful to dedicate a single router to one Arduino project, so he used a small, low power wireless module to connect up to 30 Arduinos to the Internet.

Just as in a few recent builds (1, 2), [Rick] found an old Fonera router sitting in a box at his local hackerspace. After installing OpenWRT, [Rick] connected a very small wireless module to the router’s GPIO pins and patched the firmware to put an SPI bus on the router.

Now, whenever [Rick] wants to connect an Arduino project to the Internet, all he needs is a $4 radio module. This radio module connects to the router, and the router handles the networking requirements of up to 30 DIY projects.

If you’re looking to build an Internet-enable sensor network, we honestly can’t think of a better or cheaper way of going about it. Nice job, [Rick].

ColorNode: A drop-in GE Color Effects LED controller


[Paul] was looking to spice up his holiday decorations this year, so he picked up some GE Color Effects lights and started hacking away.

We’ve already seen how hacker-friendly these LED bulbs are, which is why [Paul] decided to give them a try. His ultimate goal was to synchronize several sets of lights from one location, which would unfortunately require that he run wires from his control board to each of the strings.

He then decided to go a different route, and build his own control board that would work as a drop-in replacement for GE’s controller circuitry. He wanted to retain the wireless control aspect of the lights, so he picked up some RFM12B wireless modules which happen to be well-supported by the folks at JeeLabs.

He modified their JeeNode board design to fit it in the Color Effects electronics enclosure, paring it back to the minimum components necessary to control his lights.

The hardware side of the ColorNode is complete, but the software is a work in progress. [Paul] says that once he gets things wrapped up, he will make the code available on his site.

JeeNode development platform

It is basically a nice compact layout for an Atmel Atmega 328 with a wireless module.  Fully compatible with the Arduino IDE.  The JeeNode is available in kit form, but also all schematics and CAD files are available to download. It looks like they are mainly using it for home monitoring and control.  So far we’ve seen them put a temp sensor, power metering, and IR LED modules on their flickr set.