Anyone else playing with Arduino?

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What started as playing with my sprinklers has turned into using an Arduino Mega with an Ethernet "shield" as a full fledged home automation system in the works. lol

I'm using the Arduino Mega's digital pins to turn on relays for things like sprinklers, bathroom "fart fans", garage door opener, landscape lighting, etc. I'm also using them to collect input from things like humidity sensors in the bathrooms to control the "fart fans", monitor the garage door obstruction sensor, turn off the sprinklers when certain doors which get sprayed by sprinklers are opened, add a 3 second hold time to my doorbell so our 2 year old can't torment the dog, and monitor security contacts / motion detectors.

The Ethernet "shield" gives me a familiar interface to our home server, where I store everything in a MySQL database and provide control interfaces for our phones and computers via PHP/HTML. Some of my friends laughed when I told them I can turn my sprinklers on/off with my phone, but it certainly came in handy when I put new sod in and needed to work on the sprinklers. lol

I found a couple other nifty "shields" as well, namely a "text to speech" module I want to play with, to vocalize the doorbell and "humanize" some other notifications through our surround sound speakers.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

We have a kegerator at work for our team, and a few coworkers and I have been working on the KegBot project, which uses an Arduino controller with a custom shield to do things like scan RFID badges, control beer flow (if we ever want to limit it to specific people), monitor the keg temp, and alert us when the keg is low.

I'll post photos/videos in a few weeks when we finish everything. Right now we just have the temp sensor and RFID working, but the flow sensor isn't hooked up just yet.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

How is the RFID working out for you?

I've thought about stashing an RFID reader hooked to our garage door opener, behind our doorbell, then stashing RFID capsules in a few random objects around the yard in case our 2 year old locks us out of the house. :)
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I love what you're both typing about. Ive heard about it begore but mot looked into it a whole lot. I'll check these out when I've got some time.
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The RFID works really well, the only thing to watch out for is which protocol/message format the reader uses versus what kind of cards/stickers/chips you buy.

The range on the reader is about 10cm, so we're planning to buy a bunch of RFID stickers and create custom beer mugs for everyone with them on the bottom so that when you set your mug down to pour, it reads your tag and logs the pour in the system.

I like the idea of tying RFID to the garage door. I already use a key fob to get into my apartment building; if/when I ever buy a house it would be nice to have the same kind of convenience.
  • demonmaestro
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Post 3+ Months Ago

is there a way to get NFC to work with it instead of RFID? or is there too much of a secutiry issue there?
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm sure there are plenty of NFC shields available (just google "nfc arduino shield"), but for our purposes RFID is just a better choice: better range (up to around 10cm), and we have no need to program the chips; we just need the GUID to track swipes.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A screenshot of the current browser interface. The mobile version is just a bunch of buttons and text data.

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  • demonmaestro
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Post 3+ Months Ago

fun loking stuff you got there
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I skipped the TTS hardware, and started playing with a command line utility called "pico2wave". It's not perfect, but I did get the PC speakers hooked up to the server to start announcing events for proof of concept.

The Arduino is basically just an Ethernet enabled input collector and relay controller now. All of the logic is done on the PC/Server running Ubuntu/PHP/MySQL. Though, I do have a few hardcoded safeguards in place in the Arduino's code.

I haven't hooked anything new to the system lately, I redid the interface and modularized the backend. I started running out of space with the old layout, so I switched to a simple 2 column layout and everything is based on modules now.

I'm toying with the idea of doing away with traditional security system pin codes and keyfobs, and having the system monitor the DHCP table of our wireless router, which in turn reserves specific IP addresses for the MAC addresses of our phones. So, our phones would be our security tokens.

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  • demonmaestro
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Have you tinkered with the arduino with the Raspberry Pi together? May open a few more doors. I know it seems like thoes 2 have gone hand and hand. defently with the 20+pin on the Pi.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm using an Arduino Mega, which has 54 digital IO and 16 analog input pins. I'm likely going to ignore the Pi for my needs. The Pi is cool, but I think it's better suited for UAV and mobile applications. Not things in buildings where I'm going to get more bang out of say, an old P4 desktop.

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