Home Automation and the Internet of Things – First Steps

In the first and second parts of this series we set up the hardware with the ESPEasy software. Now the hardware is set up, it is time to work out how to and exercise control over the I/O that will turn the AC power on and off.

As it turns out, ESPEasy makes this a simple process.

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Home Automation and the Internet of Things – The (re)Start

IoT_Icon

In Part 1 of this series I optimistically expected that the hardware selected was going to be “reasonable pace to start” experimenting and implementing a basic Home Automation system. When I actually started implementing the system one shortcoming became obvious.

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Home Automation and the Internet of Things – The Start

IoT_IconI have wanted to experiment with home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) for a while and recently came across an inexpensive WiFi relay/switch combination on AliExpress that seemed a reasonable place to start. So after waiting a few weeks for delivery, my adventure into IoT-land started.

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TCS230 Revisited – Frequently Asked Questions

TCS230 Sensor

My first post about calibrating TCS230 RGB color sensor has consistently been the most read article on the site. A lot of readers have also used the MD_TCS230 library to write their own sketches. A few questions, however, have consistently been asked on forums and via email about the sensor and the library. Here is a collection of these FAQs and their answers.

A. How do I connect my sensor to the Arduino?

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YX5300 Serial MP3 Player (Catalex Module)

YX5300_Serial_MP3_PlayerWhile browsing eBay looking for a module to play extended sound effects (MP3 and WAV files), I came across these modules that looked like they would fit my purpose. The module has been around for a few years and is based on the YX5300 IC. As it turns out they are easy to use and produce a good sound in a small package.

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How slow can you go? Multiplexing, that is.

7-seg_hardware

The proper operation of a multiplexed displays relies on a feature of human visual perception known as flicker fusion – if a light is flashed quickly enough, individual flashes become imperceptible and the illusion of a steady light is created.

But how slow can you go before you can detect that flicker?

Continue reading “How slow can you go? Multiplexing, that is.”

Playing MIDI files on Arduino – Part 3 Hardware and MD_MIDIFile Library

MIDI_computer_music

Part 1 and part 2 covered Standard MIDI Files and playing music at the right tempo. Once we have a MIDI stream, we need hardware that can play the notes.

In this part we’ll look at how to finally make a sound and how the MD_MIDIFile library supports this in software.

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Revisiting Device Independent Control for LED Cubes

LED Cube 8x8x8

Some time ago, I wrote about device independent control of monochrome LED cubes (see this previous blog post which contains information referenced in this article).

Recently, someone contacted me about extending this framework to color cubes for a project they were considering. As it turn out, this was relatively straightforward and has added additional capability to the existing MD_Cubo library.

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Reading LM34, LM35, LM335 (LM3x) Temperature Sensors Accurately

LM35 ImageThe LM3x series of sensors are precision, easily-calibrated, integrated circuit temperature sensors. These are ideal as a beginner sensor, only to disappoint when code is copied from somewhere, run on the MCU and the temperature readings seem to be wildly varying and incorrect. Why is this happening and what can be done about it? Read on.

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Using a Digital Potentiometer (MCP41xxx)

pot_MCP41010Once I started using rotary encoders to provide a ‘modern’ user input experience, the elimination of panel mounted potentiometers for circuit settings and other adjustments was the next logical step. Panel mounted pots have a very different feel from the clicks of a rotary encoder, and potentiometers cannot easily be controlled by a microcontroller.

Digital Potentiometers perform the same functions as mechanical pots but can be automated. So how do they work?

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