Monday, April 22, 2019

Project of the Month for May 2019

Project of the Month



This month's project is the ESP8266 Weather Station Kit by Ideaspark!

Why not buy one now and build it along with me? Here's a link via my Amazon Associates account. Purchase it here and help me support My Parts Chest website and App (available on Google Play and the Apple App Store).


ESP8266 Weather Station Kit with DHT11 Temperature Humidity BMP180 Atmosphetic Pressure BH1750FVI Light Sensor 0.96" OLED IIC YellowBlue Display for Arduino IDE IoT Starter(Guidance Document Included)


Price:$20.99

  • ✔️The weather station uses the ESP8266-12E to obtain data from the Internet: time of a city, weather data and forecast information for the next 3 days, scrolling on the SSD1306 OLED Display; the device can switch to display data from any city in the world - maybe your relatives or friends live there
  • ✔️The device uses sensors DHT11, BMP180,BH1750FVI to collect temperature, humidity, Atmosphetic Pressure and light data. The weather station reads data indoor via sensor every 5 seconds and uploads it to the Internet every 60 seconds.You can see real-time data charts from your phone or computer.Of course you can modify the code to implement different functions
  • ✔️【ESP8266】:CP2102 chip inside,Micro USB,4MB flash,full I/O port and wireless 802.11 supported IOT platform Arduino compatible. 【DHT11】 Sensor: A digital signal output with a calibrated temperature and humidity combined sensor.The simple communication protocol greatly reduces the programming effort required
  • ✔️【BMP180】:high-precision, small size, ultra-low power 3μA pressure sensor.Its performance excellence, the absolute accuracy of the lowest can reach 0.03hPa.Can directly through the I2C bus connected with a variety of microprocessors.Pressure range: 300 ~ 1100hPa. 【BH1750FVI】:Digital Light intensity Sensor.Direct digital output, complex calculation is omitted, omitting calibration. 【OLED Yellow Blue Display】:0.96" SSD1306 128X64 Yellow&Blue OLED LCD Display with I2C IIC SPI Serial
  • ✔️We have prepared weather station hardware.And 50M guidance manual,demo code,burning tools,necessary class libraries already on CD-ROM disk.or contact us on Amazon,we will send download link to you.Package List:1 x Esp8266-12E,1 x DHT11,1 x BMP180,1xBH1750FVI ,1 x OLED Display,2 x breadboard,20 x dupont cable,1 x usb cable,1xGuidance document CD-ROM disk

Friday, March 1, 2019

Project of the Month for March 2019


Project of the Month



This month, I chose a robotic arm kit from MicroBotLabs. 

Why not buy one now and build it along with me? Here's a link via my Amazon Associates account. Purchase it here and help me support My Parts Chest website and App (available on Google Play and the Apple App Store).


ArmUno 2.0 MeArm and Arduino Compatible DIY Robot Arm Kit With MeCon Motion Control Software and Arduino Source Code Via Download Link

Price:$39.99

  • Robotic Arm Kit includes Servo motors, Structural pieces and all Fasteners needed for assembly Plus MeCon Software and Arduino Source Code Via Companion Web Site and Download Links.
  • Windows PC Motion Control Software Allow you to Teach and Record Motion Paths for Automatic Playback
  • Make your own desktop size 4-axis parallel-mechanism Mini Industrial Robotic Factory Arm!
  • This kit features a Companion Web Site full of information resources and makes a great educational resource kit for robotics and micro controllers.
  • Precision Laser Cut Parts Require only a Screwdriver to Assemble and an Arduino Micro Controller for the Servo Motor Logic - *(Screwdriver and Arduino not included)* 


Thursday, February 28, 2019

IoT HVAC Monitor

I built this project in July of 2018 and posted it on Hackster.io







LINK TO PROJECThttps://www.hackster.io/MyPartsChest/iot-hvac-monitor-f5e4bd



IoT HVAC Monitor

Monitors the fan speed, on/off cycles, temperature, and humidity of my HVAC system and posts data to ThingSpeak.com.

Parts used:
I built this project for two reasons. (1) I've been looking for an excuse to play around with IoT, and with the ESP8266 in particular. (2) My electric bill has been steadily increasing and I wanted to see how often my HVAC system was cycling on and off (and at what temperature).
I figured I could monitor on/off cycles by attaching a small DC fan motor to the return air grill. When the HVAC unit turns on, the airflow will cause the fan to turn; acting as a generator. I can then read the voltage generated by the fan motor by connecting it to an analog input pin on the ESP8266.
I thought I might also be able to determine the fan speed by the variation of the voltage generated. And I might as well measure the temperature and humidity while I'm at it.
I had an old, non-working power supply from a Dell PC in my junk box, so I decided to salvage the fan for this project. I hot glued magnets on the four corners of the fan, so I could easily attach it to (and detach it from) the metal return air grill.
For my processor, I chose the SparkFun ESP8266 Thing because it includes a built-in LiPo charging circuit. I mounted the Thing to the fan using hot glue and a small breadboard. Then, I wired up the fan to the ADC analog pin and GND. I also added a 1K pull down resistor to make sure the analog pin read zero volts when the HVAC unit was off.
I glued a LiPo battery to the fan as well and plugged it into the Thing.

I connected the DHT11 to the SCL pin (which also serves as digital I/O pin 14) to read temperature and humidity.


Once I put everything together and uploaded my sketch, I snapped the device to my return air grill and kicked on the A/C.


After running it for a while, I logged into ThingSpeak.com and grabbed some results!


As you can see, the on/off cycles look nice and symmetrical, but my voltage readings jump around a lot. I probably need to clean that up a bit with a rectifier or some such. The temperature and humidity readings give me a good idea of when it's cycling. All I have to do now is find out how often a "normal" A/C unit should cycle and I'll be good to go! 

The Arduino code is posted on Hackster along with the project https://www.hackster.io/MyPartsChest/iot-hvac-monitor-f5e4bd.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Binary Resistance Decade Box

I built this project in June of 2013 and posted it on Instructables





LINK TO PROJECThttps://www.instructables.com/id/Binary-Resistance-Decade-Box/


Binary Resistance Decade Box

I've been an electronics hobbyist for many years, so I've used and even built my share of resistance decade boxes. Each one consisted of rotary switches with labels identifying a different power of 10 for each switch. You "dialed up" the desired resistance by turning the appropriate knobs to add up to the target resistance value.

Well, I'm also a computer geek, so I got the crazy idea to build a decade box using DIP switches (instead of rotary switches) and binary values (instead of decimal values). Each switch represents a power of 2 and the resulting resistance equals the combined value of the "ON" switches.

Since binary DIP switches are more difficult to read on site than rotary switches, I decided to include two sets of binding posts; one set to attach to an ohmmeter (to verify the selected resistance value) and one set to put the resistance in-circuit. A DPDT switch lets you toggle between them. Also, since the combined analog resistor values tend to vary from the perfect digital values you want, I added a 25 ohm POT for fine tuning.

This project uses two 8-channel DIP switches, which provide the following binary values: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1,024, 2,048, 4,096, 8,192, 16,384, and 32,768. With it, you can combine switches to create any value between 0 and 65,535 ohms.

As is customary with binary numbers, I started with with the least significant digit (lowest ohm value) on the rightmost switch and increased in power-of-two increments to the maximum value on the left.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Solar Shrub II

I built this updated project in April of 2013 and posted it on Instructables



LINK TO PROJECThttps://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Shrub-II/

Also mentioned on Treehugger.com https://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/gadgets/make-solar-shrub-charging-your-gadgets/


Solar Shrub II

It's been almost a year since I posted the original Solar Shrub on Instructables. It was a great success from the standpoint that it did what it was supposed to do (charge small devices using nothing but energy from the Sun) . Plus, winning the grand prize in the Green Tech Contest was definitely an ego boost! But there were several specific problems with the original design:

1. Low Current: The current produced was too low to charge some devices in a reasonable amount of time. I harvested the original cells from solar garden lights and the specs were quite a bit lower than I initially thought.

2. Intermittent Charging: Because it was generating power real-time and feeding it directly to the USB port, the charging capacity was only at its maximum when it was in direct sunlight. If a cloud passed over, or the cells were shaded even temporarily, the voltage dropped below 5V and the device stopped charging.

3. Difficult to Assemble: My strategy for the original project was to build “stems” with solid-conductor wires reinforced with wire clothes hangers. These stems were then pushed though holes in a base, bent to 90 degrees, and tie wrapped into place. This turned out to be extremely difficult to assemble, the stems were not as flexible as I would have liked them to be, and I had no easy way to replace a bad stem if needed without completely disassembling it. Plus the solder joints between the solar cells and the solid conductor wires tended to break easily because the wire was too rigid.

4. Vulnerable to Weather: One of the first questions I got about the original project on Instructables was, “Is it waterproof?” My answer was no, but it got me thinking. What if the it was outside charging and it started to rain?

So with these problems in mind, I set out to design a better version!

Introducing Solar Shrub II


Featuring:


Higher Output Current - I achieved higher current by purchasing 8 high-quality solar cells rated at 2-volt x 80mA. Then, with help from Joshua Zimmerman at BrownDogGadgets.com, I added a USB booster and internal lithium battery.

Combo USB Boost + Lithium Charge Controller + Lithium Battery - The combo board boosts the voltage from the cells to provide a steady 5V to the USB port. It also charges an internal lithium battery which supplements the cells when they are not in full sunlight. Once the battery is charged, I can even carry the device indoors for charging devices in the comfort of my home!

Pluggable Stems - In order to make the stems more flexible and replaceable, I decided to use stranded wire instead of solid conductors and attach the stems to the shrub base using 1/8" phono plugs and jacks. Now I can easily plug and unplug the stems as needed for quick and easy assembly and/or replacement.

A Sealed Water Resistant Enclosure - Instead of building this version into a flower pot like the original design, I built this one as a self-contained plastic “capsule” with all the electronics safely inside. The stems plug into jacks on the top of the capsule which also contains a USB cable with female connector. This design allows weather protection and much more portability. It can be placed into any flower pot or container you wish.