These combination temperature and humidity sensors have already been explored by [Aaron Christophel] who found that it’s possible to flash these devices with custom firmware. With that background, converting them from Bluetooth to Zigbee is not a huge leap. All that’s needed is the Zigbee firmware from [Ivan Belokobylskiy] aka [devbis] and to follow the steps put together by [SHS] which include a process for flashing the firmware using an over-the-air update and another using UART if the wireless updates go awry. Then it’s just a short process to pair the new Zigbee device to the network and the sensor is back up and running.
Converting from one wireless protocol to another might not seem that necessary, but using Bluetooth as an IoT network often requires proxy nodes as support devices, whereas Zigbee can communicate directly from the sensor to a hub like Home Assistant. Other Zigbee devices themselves can also act as a mesh network of sorts without needing proxy nodes. The only downside of this upgrade is that once the Bluetooth firmware has been replaced, the devices no longer has any Bluetooth functionality.
For most people, the Wi-Fi hardware of today provides a perfectly satisfactory user experience. However, technology is ever-evolving, and as always, the next advancement is already around the corner. Enter Wi-Fi 7: a new standard that is set to redefine the boundaries of speed, efficiency, and connection reliability.
Wi-Fi 7 isn’t just another incremental step in the world of wireless tech. It’s promising drastic improvements over its predecessors. But what does it bring to the table? And how does it differ from Wi-Fi 6E, which is still relatively fresh in the market? Read on.
Building a weather station is a fairly common project that plenty of us have taken on, and for good reason. They can be built around virtually any microcontroller or full-scale computer, can have as many or few sensors as needed, and range from simple, straightforward projects to more complex systems capable of doing things like sending data off to weather services like Weather Underground. This weather station features a few innovations we don’t often see, though, with a modular and wireless design that makes it versatile and easy to scale up or down as needed.
Each of the modules in this build use the ESP32 platform, which simplifies design and also takes care of the wireless capability needed. The base station gets a few extra sensors including those for carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides. It also includes a screen which can be used to display a wide variety of data gathered locally but also includes forecast information fetched from the free OpenWeatherMap API. For the sensor modules, BME280 sensors are used for temperature, pressure, and humidity and each module includes its own solar panel and battery with the ESP32 chips set to operate using as little energy as possible.
One of the things that helps easily integrate all of the sensor modules is the use of ESP-NOW, which we have seen a few times before. It essentially eliminates the need for a router and allows ESP modules to connect directly with one another. The build also goes into detail about most of the aspects of this project including the programming of the GUI that the ESP32 base station displays on its screen, so for anyone looking to start their own weather station project this should be an excellent guide. Make sure to check out this one as well if you want to send all of your weather data to Weather Underground.
Last week, my city was hit by a tornado. That’s not surprising here in Oklahoma, and thankfully this event was an F0 or possibly even an EF0 — a really weak tornado. Only a couple roofs collapsed, though probably half the houses in town are going to need roof repairs, thanks to the combination of huge hail and high winds. While it wasn’t too bad, power did go down in a few places around town, and this led to an interesting series of events.
Chat messages were coming in like this: “That was a [power] flicker, yeah. Even took down my Internet.” Followed by “Whee, [fiber Internet] got knocked out and now Starlink has too many clouds in the way.” And after ten minutes of silence, we got a bit worried to see “Time to hide under a bed. … Is cell service back?” It is a bit spooky to think about trying to help neighbors and friends after a disaster, in the midst of the communication breakdown that often follows. If he had needed help, and had no working communications, how long would it have taken for us to go check on him? Continue reading “Meshtastic For The Greater Good”→
Sometimes a coworker sees something on your desk, and they have to ask, “Where can I get one of those?” and that has to be one of the greatest compliments to a maker. [Greg Zumwalt] nailed it with his “Marblevator Line Follower.” Roboticists will immediately recognize a black line on a white surface, but this uses hidden mechanics instead of light/dark sensors. Check out the video after the break to see the secrets, or keep bearing with us.
Inside the cylinder is a battery, charging circuit, inductive receiving coil, and a motor turning a magnet-laden arm beneath the cap. The overall effect is an illusion to convince people that the marble has a mind of its own. You can pick up the cylinder, and it keeps moving as expected from an autonomous bot. The black line is actually a groove, so the bearing follows a curvy course without any extra movements from the magnets within. The two-tone look is super-clean, but the whimsy of a “smart bearing” makes this an all-around winner.
Following the trend of stuffing more electronics in everyday devices, the new Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush that [Cyrill Künzi] purchased ended up having a ‘brush head replacement reminder’ feature that wasn’t simply a timer in the handle or base of the unit, but ended up involving an NFC chip embedded in every single brush head containing the usage timer for that particular head. Naturally, this asked for it to be solidly reverse-engineered and hacked.
The NFC chip inside the brush head turned out to be an NXP NTAG213, with the head happily communicating with the NFC reader in a smartphone and the NFC Tools app. This also revealed the memory layout and a few sections that had write access protected by a password, one of which was likely to be the counter. This turned out to be address 0x24, with a few experiments showing the 32-bit value at this address counting the seconds the brush head had been used.
This particular headset relies on a USB dongle to transmit audio from PC to headset over its own 2.4 GHz wireless connection. By popping open the USB dongle, [rafii6312] was able to identify an SMT antenna and easily desolder it, replacing it with a wired connection to a spare 2.4 GHz external antenna. That’s all it took to boost the headset’s range from barely one room to easily three rooms, which is a success by any measure.
Sadly, the USB transmitter dongle doesn’t have any intention of being opened and puts up a fight, so the process was a bit destructive. No problem, [rafii6312] simply fired up Fusion360 to design a new 3D-printed enclosure that accommodated the new antenna. Pictures, instructions, and 3D model files are all available on the project page, if you want to improve your headset, too.