OPNpool runs on an ESP32, and is capable of monitoring pool controllers, pumps, and chlorinators, as well as working with thermostats and other hardware to control the state of the pool. This allows the system to do useful things like run high-powered pumps when electricity is cheapest, or to find the best timing to run heating circuits. The controller relies on MQTT messaging and can integrate with Home Assistant for those that prefer to run their own cloud-independent smart home systems.
With WiFi onboard the ESP32, there’s no need for a hardwired LAN connection, and the system can be administered remotely over the web. It’s also capable of talking with other hardware over RS-485 and bringing it under its own control. With OPNpool installed, monitoring pool conditions can be done from the leisure of one’s deck chair with a smartphone, rather than squinting and dark LCDs in equipment cabinets.
Anyone who has had a backyard pool will know that it only takes a little lapsed attention to turn the whole thing green. For those sick of having to stay on top of things, the idea of automating pool care may be attractive. This project from [Discreet Mayor] hopes to do just that.
The project uses a TI SimpleLink wireless-enabled microcontroller to run the show, which allows data to be offloaded to a base station for graphing with Grafana. The system can monitor pH levels as well as ORP (oxidation/reduction potential) levels using probes attached via BNC connectors. Based on these readings, the device can dose chlorine into the pool as needed using a peristaltic pump driven by a TI DRV8426 stepper motor driver.
We’d want to keep a close eye on the system for some time, making sure it wasn’t over or underdosing the pool with chemicals. However, that’s easy enough to do when all the data is logged neatly in a web-accessible graph.
Chilling in the pool is great, but what a drag to have to get out to grab a cold brew. [Alister] had his eye on a commercial drink float, but the company was out of business. But 3D printing, of course, comes to the rescue in this video, also embedded below.
The payload amounts to four bottles and some snacks. Brushless thrusters allow the bartender to steer the little robot around the pool to deliver libations.
Pools have come a long way. It used to be you had a pump and if you were lucky it had a mechanical timer switch on it. That was it. Now you have digital controllers and spa jets and heaters. You can even get them that connect to your home automation system. If your pool isn’t new enough to do that already, you can get a range of add-on accessories. For a price. [Rob] paid $500 to get a remote for his pool. It wasn’t even WiFi, just a simple RF remote. In 3 years, the transmitter had burned out ($300 to replace) and he decided he had enough. For $20, [Rob] added MQTT control and monitoring to his pool using an ESP8266. You can see the video description of the project below.
Naturally, the instructions are a bit specific to the Pentair system he has. However, it isn’t as specialized as you might think. The project relies on the connection for a wired “spa-side remote” that most modern pool systems support. The electrical connections for these aren’t quite standard, but they are all very similar, so you have a good chance of reproducing this for your setup assuming you have a connection for one of these wired remotes.
You’d think pool should be an easy game for a robot to play, right? It’s all math — geometry to figure out the angles and basic physics to deal with how much force is needed to move the balls. On top of that, it’s constrained to just two dimensions, so it should be a breeze.
Any pool player will tell you there’s much, much more to the game in real life, but still, a robot to play pool against would be a neat trick. As a move toward that goal, [BVarv] wisely decided on a miniature mockup of a pool-playing robot, and in the process reinvented the pool table itself. Realizing that a tracked or wheeled robot would have a tough time maneuvering around the base of a traditional pool table, his model pool table is a legless design that looks like something from IKEA. But the pedestal support allows the robot to be attached to the table and swing around in a full circle, and this allowed him to work through the kinematics as shown in the charming stop-action video below.
[BVarv] has gotten as far as motion control on the swing axis, as well as on the arms that will eventually hold the cue. He plans overhead image analysis for identifying shots, and of course there’s the whole making it full-size thing to do. We’d love to play a game or two against a bot, so we hope he gets there. In the meantime, how about a little robo-air hockey?
[Ken Rumer] bought a new house. It came with a troublingly complex pool system. It had solar heating. It had gas heating. Electricity was involved somehow. It had timers and gadgets. Sand could be fed into one end and clean water came out the other. There was even a spa thrown into the mix.
Needless to say, within the first few months of owning their very own chemical plant they ran into some near meltdowns. They managed to heat the pool with 250 dollars of gas in a day. They managed to drain the spa entirely into the pool, but thankfully never managed the reverse. [Ken] knew something had to change. It didn’t hurt that it seemed like a fun challenge.
The first step was to tear out as much of the old control system as could be spared. An old synchronous motor timer’s chlorine rusted guts were ripped out. The solar controler was next to be sent to its final resting place. The manual valves were all replaced with fancy new ones.
Rather than risk his fallible human state draining the pool into the downstairs toilet, he’d add a robot’s cold logical gatekeeping in order to protect house and home. It was a simple matter of involving the usual suspects. Raspberry Pi and Arduino Man collaborated on the controls. Import relay boards danced to their commands. A small suite of sensors lent their aid.
Now as the soon-to-be autumn sun sets, the pool begins to cool and the spa begins to heat automatically. The children are put to bed, tired from a fun day at the pool, and [Ken] gets to lounge in his spa; watching the distant twinkling of lights on his backyard industrial complex.
[David]’s family acquired a swimming pool. While it’s not his favorite activity in the world, every now and then he’ll indulge in the blue plastic bin full of water occupying previously pristine land in his backyard.
As he says, cool beer is pleasant, but cool water tends to put a damper on the experience. Rather than do something pedestrian like touch the water himself to discover its temperature; he saw an opportunity for a fun little project in a wireless temperature monitor.
The heart of the device is a Telecom Design TD1208 which runs on the French SigFox network. For a small fee any device on the network can send up to 140 12byte packets of data a day. Not a lot, but certainly acceptable for the Microchip MCP9700 temperature sensor it uses. He got the board up and running, and even made his own custom helical coil antenna.
The case was 3D printed out of PLA. It’s a tiered cylindrical bobber. The wider top section floats on the water and the base acts as a ballast, holding the battery and sensor. The bobber is powered by a combination of a questionable Chinese lithium battery, charging circuit, and solar panel. [Dave] was keen to point out that the battery is, technically, water cooled.
He wrapped up the code for the bobber and used SigFox’s SDK to build a nice web interface. Now, when the rare mood strikes him, he can remain inside if the conditions aren’t right for a swim.