IR controlled relays

If you’re thinking of building some DIY home automation, this looks like an interesting idea. At the heart is a PIC16F84 that decodes IR signals and controls six outputs – in this case, relays to activate various appliances. The PIC is dirt cheap – if you get a deal on some relays you should be able to build a small local IR HA system for $30… This might be just the thing for my office. It’s cheap enough that it probably wouldn’t walk off.

Silvia PIC controlled PID looped Espresso Machine

Last night I rebuilt my ECM Giotto with a new boiler. I’ve seen PID controlled machines before, but today I stumbled across this modded Rancillo Silvia. [Tim] replaced the internal brain with a PIC controller, added a NES control pad for input, a VFD display and a custom laser cut acrylic top. He used the PIC to provide PID control and PWM heater control with the usual solid state relays. I was leaning towards using a PIC for PID control myself, but then I scored my Giotto. (The heat exchanger and larger boiler makes it a bit of a moot point, but I’m still tempted to add PID boiler controls.)

Tripmate gps data logger

This one is fitting – I was just checking out Suunto’s sweet gps data logging watches today. [Steve Cholewiak] sent in his diy GPS data logger. It uses an old DeLorme tripmate – these were serial gps units that ran off of internal batteries. A PIC controller reads the NMEA sentences from the tripmate. Then it stores the track data to an EEPROM. The same serial connection is used to retrieve the data later on. [Steve] did a great job writing this up, the circuit is pretty simple and he’s provided all the information you need to build your own.