PiNet — One Small Project Grows Unexpectedly

A few years ago, [Gregory Sanders] aka [Dr Gerg] had one simple wish in mind when he started what is now the PiNet project — to know whether his garage door was open or closed. Instead of searching out off-the-shelf solutions, he looked at the project as a learning opportunity. After picking up Python, he built a system from a Raspberry Pi, a 12V gel cell battery, and a power supply / charger circuit. Thus project Overhead Door (ohd) was complete (see the ohd GitHub repository) and [Dr Gerg] was done.

Or so he thought. After getting a swimming pool installed, he got the itch again, and started a new project called Pool Controls, because:

The controls for your average backyard in-ground pool are pathetic. I felt like I could do better with a Raspberry Pi, a relay board and some Python. And so I did, and frankly, it’s awesome.

Then he built his own weather station to replaced a commercial one which had died twice in as many years, followed by his own web-based UI framework. Next was the integration of an outdoor security camera system. And finally, although we don’t believe it’s really final, he ripped out the cloud-based controls from his shop air conditioner and added his own Raspberry Pi-based solution. All of these projects are available on his GitHub page.

[Dr Gerg]’s goal in posting all this work is not necessarily so people can duplicate it, although that is okay as well. Instead, he hopes that people will realize that they can build these types of projects on their own, perhaps leaning some things and picking up new skills along the way — have fun doing it. We like the way you think, [Dr Gerg]. Do you know of any small projects which grew and grew and took on a life of their own?

A Raspberry Pi Has This Pool Covered

Far from being a tiled hole in the ground with a bit of water in it, a modern swimming pool boasts a complex array of subsystems designed to ensure your morning dip is as perfect as that you’d find on the sun-kissed beaches of your dream tropical isle. And as you might expect with such complex pieces of equipment in a domestic setting, they grow old, go wrong, and are expensive to fix.

[DrewBeer]’s pool had just such a problem. A decades-oldwired controller had failed, so rather than stump up a fortune for a refit, he created his own pool controller which exists under the watchful eye of a Raspberry Pi. The breadth of functionality is apparent from his write-up. In addition to the pump and heater you’d expect, he as a salt water system, environmental monitoring, and even an RTL-SDR to pull in readings from an RF floating temperature probe. It’s all exposed via a node.js API, and thus far has been running for over 6 months without mishap.

From where this is being written in the gloom of a damp November in a Northern Hemisphere maritime climate we can only envy [Drew] his pool and imagine it as perpetually deep blue and sparkling, invitingly cool against the heat of a summer’s day. If you have similar pool automation woes. perhaps you’d also like to look at this ESP8266 pool monitor, or another automation project using a Raspberry Pi.