Ask anyone who’s ever tuned into Fireplace TV on a cold winter’s night — even though you can’t feel the heat or roast a marshmallow with it, fake fire is almost as soothing as the real thing. And if you have kids or pets, it’s a whole lot safer. But why go to the expense of buying a lighted insert when you could just make your own?
You don’t even need to get fancy with a microcontroller and RGB LEDs, either — just do what [Ham-made] did and dismantle some LED flame bulbs. They already have everything you need, and the flex PCB makes them easy to work with.
[Ham-made] adhered three bulbs’ worth to a piece of foam board with double-stick tape, soldered all the leads together, and wired in a toggle switch and a 2xAA battery pack. The bulbs each had a tilt switch so that the “flames” flow upward regardless of orientation, but [Ham-made] removed those to avoid flickering connectivity and fights with the toggle switch.
Once it was all wired up, [Ham-made] hot-glued some magnets to the foam board and attached it to the underside of the grate to keep it safe from the logs and the ash pit, while still allowing the glow to emanate from the right spot for realism. The only thing missing are the crackles and pops, and [Ham-made] is burning to hear your implementation ideas.
[Ham-made] wasn’t using his fireplace in the traditional way because the house is smallish and centrally heated. But if you rely on yours to keep you warm and cozy, why not make it voice-activated?
A fireplace can add a cozy, relaxed atmosphere — and a touch of style — to any home. Redditor [hovee] saw the opportunity to add some flair to his gas fireplace by making it voice activated. Check out the video of it in action below.
Google Home and Google Assistant provides the voice recognition component. A Raspberry Pi 3 with Home Assistant does the legwork. An iTach TCP/IP-to-Contact-Closure relay toggles the fireplace, and an IFTTT account connected to Google Assistant brings it all together.
[hovee] then ran some thick 16/2 wire from the relay network port to the fireplace’s remote receiver circuit to actually turn it on. Some custom code and configuration of the Home Assistant files was necessary, but [hovee] has shown his work, with some tips besides, if you want to throw together a similar setup. It’s a help if your fireplace has a ‘remote’ setting, and a double bonus if there is documentation for the fireplace to be found that will help with the build process.
Once done, all you need to do is kick back with your favorite beverage in the lap of home automated luxury. Just be sure you have a backup to turn off your fireplace just in case your setup goes the way of Skynet. While you’re at it, you can set up your fireplace to save energy as well.
Continue reading “Voice Activated Fireplace Is As Cool As It Gets”
[James] has an admirable home automation system which he’s been working on for years. It does things like monitor the state of the garage door, control the lights, and it even notifies him of a power failure. One thing that wasn’t on the system yet are the fireplaces he has in his home. The hardware you see above is how he patched into the fireplace remote control system in order to automate them.
The remote control uses RF to communicate with a base station. Unlike controlling home theater components which use IR, this makes it a bit more difficult to patch into. Sure, we’d love to see some reverse engineering of the protocol so that a simple radio module could be used, but [James] chose the route which would mean the least amount of hacking on his part. He soldered wires onto the PCB for the buttons and connected to them using reed relays. These let the Arduino simulate button presses.
With the rig connected to the home network he has a lot of options. The system can sense if the house is occupied. If it determines that no one is home it will switch off the fireplaces. [James] also mentions the ability to monitor for carbon monoxide or house fires, switching off the gas fireplaces in either case.
We’ve all seen them – those fireplace DVDs that seem to pop up on grocery store endcaps and get traded in white elephant gift exchanges. If you don’t happen to have a fireplace in your home they might make a reasonable solution, but [Nick] from the Gadget Gangster thought it would be far better if you could create your own interactive digital fireplace instead.
Using the Gadget Gangster Propeller USB platform and ProtoPlus board, his fireplace merges various video segments together based on user input, and plays them on any TV that comes equipped with RCA jacks. The process is fairly straightforward, and involves wiring up switches along with audio and video output to the Propeller board via the ProtoPlus board. The remainder of the work is done using software, requiring the user to select and encode video segments for storage on an SD card. [Nick] does however provide a whole set of clips for download, should you want to take the quicker route.
After encoding and categorizing the video clips to coincide with the “stoke” and “add wood” user input buttons, the Propeller does the rest of the work, randomly selecting clips from the appropriate category when requested.
The result is admittedly a bit Lo-Fi, though we thinks it’s cool and prefer to call it “retro” instead. It might not be a Hi-Def fireplace recording, but it’s far nicer to snuggle up to a hand made fireplace rather than a DVD you picked up as an afterthought.
Continue reading to see a quick demo video of the digital fireplace in action.
Continue reading “Interactive Digital Fireplace Is Great For Those Chilly Winter Evenings”