Custom Raspberry Pi Thermostat Controller

Thermostats can be a pain. They often only look at one sensor in a multi-room home and then set the temperature based on that. The result is one room that’s comfortable and other rooms that are not. Plus, you generally have to get up off the couch to change the temperature. In this day and age, who wants to do that? You could buy an off-the-shelf solution, but sometimes hacking up your own custom hardware is just so much more fun.

[redditseph] did exactly that by modifying his home thermostat to be controlled by a Raspberry Pi. The temperature is controlled by a simple web interface that runs on the Pi. This way, [redditseph] can change the temperature from any room in his home using a computer or smart phone. He also built multi-sensor functionality into his design. This means that the Pi can take readings from multiple rooms in the home and use this data to make more intelligent decisions about how to change the temperature.

The Pi needed a way to actually talk to the thermostat. [redditseph] made this work with a relay module. The Pi flips one side of the relays, which then in turn switches the buttons that came built into the thermostat. The Pi is basically just emulating a human pressing buttons. His thermostat had terminal blocks inside, so [redditseph] didn’t have to risk damaging it by soldering anything to it. The end result is a functional design that has a sort of cyberpunk look to it.

[via Reddit]

MicroModem, For Data Transmission Explorations

modemThem kids with those Arduinos don’t know what they’re missing. A serial connection is just too easy, and there’s so much fun to be had with low bandwidth modems. [Mark] made the MicroModem with this in mind. It’s a 1200 baud AFSK modem, capable of APRS, TCP/IP over SLIP, mesh network experimentations, and even long-range radio communication.

As the MicroModem is designed to be an introduction to digital wireless communication, it’s an extremely simple build using only 17 components on a board compatible with the Microduino. The software is built around something called MinimalProtocol1, a protocol that will be received by all other listening stations, features error correction, and automatic data compression. There’s also the ability to send TCP/IP over the link, which allowed [Mark] to load up our retro site at a blistering 1200 bps.

The code is extremely well documented, as seen on the Github for this project, with board files and even breadboard layouts included. [Mark] has three PCBs of his prototype left over, and he’s willing to give those out to other Hackaday readers who would like to give his modem a shot.

Microchip puts up two $1000 prizes for USB and TCP/IP stacks!

microchip_call_for_open_source

A couple of weeks ago we put up a post titled Addressing Microchip’s open source problem where we talked about some of their shortcomings as far as open source code goes, specifically the TCP/IP stack and the USB stack. The comments were predictably fairly negative. The interesting part here is that Microchip actually listened. If you read through all of the comments, you will get a bit of an inside look at what is going on internally at Microchip. At the very end, [Marc] from Microchip left a couple of comments outlining a pair of prizes for independently ported stacks for TCP/IP and USB. Microchip can’t fully open the ones that they have because of legal reasons so they need the help of the development community and they are putting up $1000 for each one to prove that they are serious. If you follow this link you will arrive at a page outlining the rules for the contest.

The gauntlet has been dropped! Do you have chops to pull this off and earn yourself a cool $1000?

Adding persistent memory and Ethernet to vintage arcade machines

z80_bus_tapper

If you are a frequent reader, you are undoubtedly familiar with hacker [Sprite_tm]. He has been working with fellow members of the TkkrLab hackerspace to get things ready for their official grand opening on May 28th, and wrote in to share a project he recently completed to kick things off.

As part of their preparations, they have been stocking the joint with all sorts of hacker-friendly goodies including plenty of tools and Club Mate, as well as a vintage ‘1943’ arcade cabinet. The game is a group favorite, though every time the power is turned off, it loses all of the hard-earned high scores. [Sprite_tm] knew he could improve on the current paper-based score register, so he pulled the machine open to see what could be done.

He used an AVR to tap into the machine’s Z80 logic board, allowing him to read and write to the entirety of the game’s RAM whenever he pleased. This enabled him to keep tabs on the high scores, restoring them to memory whenever the machine is powered back on. The addition of the AVR also allowed him to add a TCP/IP interface, which is used to send high scores to Twitter whenever someone beats the previous record.

His modular bus tap can be used in all sorts of Z80-based hardware, so if you have some vintage equipment laying around, be sure to swing by his site for a more detailed look at the build process.

Nintendo DS OSC support

dsmi

OpenSound Control protocol is an emerging standard for communication between musical programs. It’s meant to replace MIDI. The DSMI, DS Music Interface, team has just added support for OSC. You can now use your DS as generic OSC music controller over WiFi. OSC has TCP/IP support built in, so there is no need to run a host sever to talk to DSMI like you did when they only supported MIDI. We’ve seen OSC used in other projects like the monome. It’s also the basis for the multitouch communication protocol TUIO.

[via CDM]

Tiny Arduino ethernet board

[sgk] built this tiny ethernet board to be used with the Arduino. It’s based on a WIZnet W5100 chip. The chip handles all of the TCP/IP communication and you talk to it via SPI. It’s compatible with the standard Arduino ethernet library. [sgk] hand soldered these boards including the 80pin LQFP main chip. His next project is to put the AVR and W5100 all on the same board. It sounds like he’ll use components larger than 1005 though.

Avoiding OS fingerprinting in Windows

[Irongeek] has been working on changing the OS fingerprint of his Windows box. Common network tools like Nmap, P0f, Ettercap, and NetworkMiner can determine what operating system is being run by the behavior of the TCP/IP stack. By changing this behavior, you can make your system appear to be another OS. [Irongeek] started writing his own tool by checking the source of Security Cloak to find out what registry keys needed to be changed. His OSfuscate tool lets you define your own .os fingerprint file. You can pretend to be any number of different systems from IRIX to Dreamcast. Unfortunately this only works for TCP/IP. Other methods, like Satori‘s DHCP based fingerprinting, still work and need to be bypassed by other means. Yes, this is just “security through obscurity”, but it is something fun to play with.