Andy's Blog

A handful of ramblings...
Seems I am always working on something - home improvement, home automation, personal growth, etc. This area is a listing of active and completed projects that I am blogging about. 
My goal for this is share my experiences so that if someone else is interesting in doing something similar, they may be able to benefit from what I've learne...d. Most of these articles will be just that, something I learned through trial and error or a tidbit that may make someone else's search a little easier.
I hope this is useful to you as a visitor. If you have any questions about any of the projects I am working on or finished, please Contact Me.
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SEP
24

Choosing a Home Automation Hub - How Hard Could it Be?

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As I mentioned in the introduction article of this series, there isn't a standard yet for smart home devices to talk to each other. However, the advertising and hype sure makes smart homes look like an easy care free way of life. Well, it isn't. If someone is telling you it is, beware! Snake oil will soon follow!

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  140 Hits
140 Hits
SEP
23

8 Months of Home Automation Lessons

hacp9-23-2018

Since February of this year, I've been working on a lengthy project - I am slowly adding digital control and automation to the everyday things in our home. This project, unlike most of the others I've started grew out of a need rather than a want. Sure, the want is there and I'd be lying if I said that this wasn't one of the most fun projects I've committed to but, in this case, this project started with attempting to fill a need. Now that this project has matured a bit, I want to start chronicling my journey so that others with a similar need may find these experiments useful.

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  138 Hits
138 Hits
MAR
11

Robotic Arm Arduino Dev Platform

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As I started brainstorming for version 2 of the arm, it became clear that I would need to make some changes so, I upgraded the electronics of my original robotic arm. This will allow me to create more modes of operation and create an I2C secondary interface.

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Active Project

  •   Monday, 30 November -0001
  693 Hits
693 Hits
MAR
05

My Backyard Weather beta1

My-Backyard-Weather

It has been over a year and I feel like I have a decently tested version to post. It has been a learning experience to be sure and I am already working on some changes for the official version 1 of this monstrosity. In the meantime, here is My Backyard Weather, beta 1.

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Active Project

  •   Monday, 30 November -0001
  648 Hits
648 Hits
OCT
16

A Beginner's Guide to Weather Stations

A Beginner's Guide to Weather Stations

Let me make this clear, the 'Beginner' mentioned in this post isn't you, it's me! This weather beginner has built a prototype weather station and in the 2 months it has been up, I've learned a lot. I have learned that some of my ideas weren't so crazy and I learned that some of the things I took for granted were way off base. 

So, call this a beta, a prototype version or whatever you like, just don't call it finished. Here I present to you my lessons learned on the way to stable state.

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Active Project

  •   Monday, 30 November -0001
  1953 Hits
1953 Hits
OCT
16

Weather Station Project

Weather Station Project

Overview

I've always wanted to build a weather station. I have an interest in weather science but, for me a weather station is all of the stuff I like about electronics - real world use of remote sensing that can be used for practical stuff. From home automation to gardening to knowing what's in the air, local weather and environmental sensing can be used to make subtle cumulative changes that add up to better health and lower bills.

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Active Project

  •   Saturday, 02 January 2016
  1659 Hits
1659 Hits
OCT
14

Robotic Arm Project V2

Overview

I am working on an upgrade of my Robotic Arm Project that has managed to survive two years worth of kid interactions over the course of many different events. To say I am surprised at its longevity is an understatement.

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Active Project

  •   Saturday, 01 October 2016
  •   Tuesday, 28 February 2017
  1571 Hits
1571 Hits
JUN
23

Lapcade V1

Lapcade V1

I'm not much of a gamer. When I was a kid, I had a space invaders handheld game, a Coleco Telstar Colortron, and a Tandy Color Computer 2. Although the COCO2 had program cartridges, most of the games I played on it were typed in from a game code book my parents gave me with the computer. That may sound like I must have been motivated to play the games (to spend all that time typing them in) but in reality, I was more interested in seeing how they worked than I was in playing them. 

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  2638 Hits
2638 Hits
MAR
16

Robotic Arm Software Upgrade

Robotic Arm Software Upgrade

After several months on the to-do list, I finally cleaned up the Robotic Arm Project code a bit to improve my robotic arm's functionality and performance.

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  2580 Hits
2580 Hits
SEP
19

Robotic Arm Project

Robotic Arm Project

A few months ago a fellow member of MTRAS posted on our Facebook page a link to a robotic arm project. The article poster / builder used a design that was previously posted as open source to Thingiverse.com. I took a look and thought that it would make a fun project that would be simple enough to follow but also challenging enough to be rewarding. So I decided to give it a shot.

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  14293 Hits
14293 Hits
JUN
17

New Project - Voice Controlled Home

Mr. IncredibleJay Napier is Mr. IncredibleIt is so easy to take everything for granted. Let's take for example, turning on the TV. Next to none of us give this simple task a second thought. I have had days when I came home from work so distracted that, after a few minutes of scurrying around the house, wondered if it was actually me that turned on the TV.

When you enter a room, do you make much of a mental exercise out of turning on the light? I don't. It is like breathing, I just do it. What about turning on a fan or changing the thermostat if you're too hot or cold. All of this is pretty simple stuff and most of us don't give it a second thought - that is, until you can't do it anymore.

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  4009 Hits
4009 Hits