Hacklet 14 – Hacks Around The House

In this weeks Hacklet we’re looking at household hacks. Not necessarily globally connected home automation hacks, but task specific hacks that we want in our lives yesterday!

We’ve all had it happen, you’re burning the midnight oil on a project when you realize it’s garbage night. The mad dash to collect empty anti-static bags, last night’s Chinese food, and the rest of the trash before actually venturing outside in the dark.

bins2[Mehmet-cileli] doesn’t have to deal with any of that, thanks to My Bins, his automated trash and recycling can moving system. Normally the bins are stationed near the house. Each garbage night, the system springs into action. The cans and their platform pivots 90 degrees. The entire system then rolls along a track to the curb. Once the cans have been collected, everything rolls back ready for more trash. We just hope [Mehmet’s] garbage men are nice enough to put the bins back on their platform!

teatimeNext we have the perfect cup of tea. [Marcel] kept forgetting his tea while it was steeping. After ending up with ink a few times, he built this Automatic Tea Timer. A button starts the timer, and after a few minutes, the tea bag is automatically lifted and a light illuminates to let you know your tea is ready. [Marcel] used a Raspberry Pi Arduino 555 simple R-C timer circuit to create his delay. The lift arm is a discarded hard drive read arm. The light bulb limits current through the voice coils.

greenhouse1[Juan Sandu] always has veggies with his Smart Small Greenhouse. [Juan] has created a desktop sized greenhouse that gives plants what they crave. No, not Brawndo, we’re talking water, warmth, and light. An Arduino Uno uses sensors to monitor humidity, temperature, light, and moisture. Based upon one of two pre-set plant types, the system determines when to water, turn on lights, or even power up a fan to keep temperatures plant friendly.  [Juan] is still working on his greenhouse, but his code is already up on Github.


grillupNext up is [nerwal] with his entry in The Hackaday Prize, GrillUp. GrillUp is a remote grill temperature monitoring system with a cooling spray. Up to 6 food grade thermometers provide GrillUp with its temperature data. If things are getting a bit too hot, Grillup cools the situation down by spraying water, beer, or your favorite marinade. The system is controlled over Bluetooth Low Energy from an android smart phone. A laser pointer helps to aim the water spray. Once the cooling zones are set up, the system runs automatically. It even has a sprinkler mode, where it sprays everything down.

led-lightsEvery hacker’s house needs some Sci-fi mood lights, right? [spetku and maehem] round out this weeks Hacklet with their Fifth Element Stone Mood Lighting. Originally an entry in the Hackaday Sci-fi contest, these mood lights are based on the elemental stones in everyone’s favorite Bruce Willis movie. The lights are 3D printed in sections which stack over foamboard cores. The actual light comes from a trio of RGB LEDs. LED control is from the same brain board which controls the team’s Robot Army. The lights are designed to open up just like the ones in the movie, though fire, earth, wind, and water are not required. The servos [spetku and maehem] selected weren’t quite up to the task, but they mention this will be remedied in a future revision.

That’s a wrap for this week’s Hacklet. As always, see you next week. Same hack time, same hack channel, bringing you the best of Hackaday.io!

25 thoughts on “Hacklet 14 – Hacks Around The House

      1. Clicking your link send me to this :

        ” Does this project spark your interest?

        Become a member to follow this project and don’t miss any updates ”

        Always the same ” you have to sign in to see this content ” page.
        Pretty frustrating as I don’t want to register just to read details on a project advertised on the main page.

          1. It could be that he’s browsing on a smartphone. This is the first thing I see, for every hackaday.io project:


            Every time it’s a little more offputting. I appreciate that login isn’t required, and I love how the layout scales gracefully across a range of screen sizes. But why are the text elements so huge? My desktop is 1920×1200. Why am I scrolling down to get past a few dozen words?

            A year or so ago Adafruit completely redesigned their site, including their blog. The new site is a lot less busy, sure–it’s basically a gallery of giant images and rudimentary synopses in a huge point size. Their blog is almost comically high-bandwidth/low-information. Who came up with this design trend? Why is hackaday.io another victim?

            Hackaday.com looks and works great for me on both desktop and mobile clients. I’d love to see a less sparse, more parseable layout for hackaday.io.

        1. We put it back on. The most important thing is to get them out.if the garbage man puts it back on that is bonus. The solar panel looks very close but it is little bit away from the bin . Its been like that for 10 months without any problem .the old system ran for 10 years but it wasn’t as good as this new version.

  1. GrillUp is an interesting idea. Maybe not applicable to everyone’s grilling style, but it still serves as a starting point for derivatives. Here’s a couple of possibilities:

    1) It already has a pan/tilt head for the sprayer. If one was to add an IR thermometer to it, perhaps it could scan the entire grill area, instead of having to attach a bunch of wired thermocouples.

    2) I do a lot of smoking on a kettle grill by putting charcoal and wood chips on one side, food on the other, and closing the lid. The temperature must be monitored, and maintained within 200-250°F; adding charcoal if it gets too low, or partially dousing some if it gets too high. Would be nice if I could mount a sprayer inside the closed lid to handle dousing. That might even let me load up extra fuel, allowed to burn at a controlled rate.

    1. Water? Like out of the toilet? Ya, well I never seen plants grow out of a toilet. But what are electrolytes, do you even know? They’re what they use to make Brawndo. Ya, but why does Brawndo use electrolytes? Cause Brawndo’s got electrolytes……hahahaha lol, all time top five greatest movies. I’m pretty sure I’ve actually had aruguements like that before.

  2. Nice execution on the fifth element, but looking at the couple together on the sofa…they both have there shoes off but I was expecting to see some thermal bandages at some point. Maybe they’re not doing something right (sigh).

  3. Just two comments, 1) With the MyBins what happens if the trash monkeys don’t put the bins back on the platform? I know here I’m lucky if my bin winds up of the same friggin’ street! 2) Fifth Element Mood Lights, when it comes to the fifth element if it don’t involve a naked Milla Jovovich I just ain’t interested.

  4. Ha, that “My Bin” is a good one. Though In my country they would steal it under 1 minute of being outside <.< (I mean we have to take out only bags because the trash cans get stolen)

  5. As someone who frequently forgets to take out the garbage I really love the “my bins” project.

    That solar panel behind the garbage-bins look dangerously exposed to the garbage trucks arm of destruction though. Also, on my street someone would park in front of the garbage cans all the time.

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