Andy's Blog

A handful of ramblings...

Omnibot Shoulder Servo Modification

Omnibot Shoulder Servo Modification

In this project, we'll walk through installing the mounts and making the necessary modifications to the arms of your Omnibot 5402 or Sr for motor control of the arms. My goal was to create a structure to move the arms by the shoulder with minimal modification to the bot itself. It will still require two parts being permanently modified but it could still be reverted back to a cosmetically but not functionally original state.

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Home Automation - Year 4

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I'm really terrible at this whole blogging thing. 😕

Anyway, a lot and a little has been going on since my last home automation project overview. I have been really busy with odds and ends over the last year and a half although, only a little has been spent in any meaningful additions to my sub projects - save one!

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Please Remember the Cost of Social Isolation

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How has this past year been for you? Stressful? Lonely? Maybe a bit of hopelessness?
Now that the vaccines are being distributed, are you feeling a bit more optimistic?
It has been over a year since our society went home to our bubbles of isolation but for people with disabilities or other limiting factors, the pandemic was just more of the same.

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How a faulty washer may have saved our lives

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Have you ever had one seemingly trivial issue open up a torrent of "opportunity" and possibly may have saved your life? I believe we may have.

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You people are Crazy!

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I went to Walmart yesterday...

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My Home Automation Project - 2 Years In

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So, I have two years of projects and ideas behind me. With all of the fits and starts, labored undertakings and successes and failures, what does the next year hold?

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Planning for your new Smart Home build

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So, you're building a new home and want it to be ready for the Smart Home Revolution. Well, not to burst your bubble but, it won't be - not entirely. Until there are standards in place for that future home, you'll just have to make your home as standardized as is currently possible and probable.

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What is a Life Worth?

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A couple of years ago, I responded to a post on Facebook with a personal story that I have rarely shared. I don't talk about these events in my life often and not because I don't think of them as important or central to my identity but rather, because I do. I have kept it to myself largly because, it is a fundamental piece of me - one that is sensitive and utterly personal.

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Using Facebook as a Forum

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I'm back on Facebook.
Now, before you get that look on your face, let me also note that I'm a FB Ghost. My profile only contains the items that are required to register and I have zero friends. I turned off all of the available settings to find me and it isn't possible to send me a friend request. So, now that look on your face probably looks puzzled. Let me explain.

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Project S1.6 - Home Information Center

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As outlined in UPDATED: My Home Automation Roadmap, I am working on a information center for our kitchen. This device has a 15.6" touch screen that will display information about our home as well as a common calendar, an interface for Home Assistant, local weather, and other programs and databases.

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My Backyard Weather beta 2

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Well another year of testing has come and gone so, it's time for an update! In short, I'm nearly there. This version is the last one with components mounted to a proto board. This is also the last dedicated version of the software.

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Active Project

  •   Monday, 30 November -0001
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Project S1.10 - Bed Headboard Control

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Sometimes buying cheap can be a blessing in disguise. In the case of our new memory foam bed base, if we hadn't decided to skimp, we may not have realized the joy of an intregrated bed in our smart home scheme.

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Project S1.4 - Control panels

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As I mentioned in UPDATED: My Home Automation Roadmap, I found that controlling lamps with remote switches is an easy and efficient method of bringing dumb lamps into the smart home fold. However, it introduces a new issue, I don't want to have to pull out my phone every time I want to turn one on or off. Imagine needing to get up in the middle of the night and having to find the phone in the dark, blinding yourself when you turn the screen on, finding the app and the lamp in the app and flipping it on ... all while trying to stay somewhat asleep. Enter, control panels.

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33 Days post Facebook and all is very well!

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January 1st at 12:01AM I went through the process of deleting my Facebook account. It's pretty straightforward and easy but FB gives you a 30 day cooling off period in case you didn't really mean it and decide to go back. They are hoping that during this withdrawal period, you'll get too fidgety and will come back to get your dopamine hit. I made it though - 33 days and counting!

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UPDATED: Why I'm Done Giving Social Media my Time

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Ok, this one is short and simple. Later Facebook and Twitter! So long and thanks for all the fish!

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UPDATED: My Home Automation Roadmap

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It's a funny thing - what you find when you start a project you think you know something about. If you're doing it right then you'll likely discover that you're not as slick as you thought you were. I suppose that is why I love these projects and goals so much. They make me stretch. On the flip-side, scope creep is real thing and not every project can be a voyage of discovery. So, this is my self-imposed roadmap for the first two phases of my overall home automation goals.

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The Language of IoT

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Internet of Things, Zigbee, Z-Wave, X10, MQTT, nodes, pairing! What is all of this? In this article, I'm going to go over the common language of home automation and try to help you make sense of all of these terms and concepts. *NOTE* this article is alive and will change as time goes by.

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Anet A8 Notes and General 3D Printing Links

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Since buying my printer early last year, I've had a lot of questions about it, like 'where to get one', 'how good is it compared to others' and 'what kind of prints can I get out of it'. What follows comes from numerous emails and private messages with folks over the last year and a half. This document will change as I find new useful info. 

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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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8 Months of Home Automation Lessons

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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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