Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Dogs Breakfast

This started off as a simple discussion on UPS for the likes of the Raspberry Pi and other micro boards but developed into so much more.  Some great conversation, some ideas – and a project at the end which could fit a lot of requirements at very low cost. Read on...

Part diagram for ups

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4D Systems Gen4 IOD

My wife’s Chumby is on it’s last legs – and was about to go in the bin until along came a fortunate coincidence to save the day.

ChumbySome time ago, 4D Systems sent me one of their LCD touch-screens. As many of you know I’m interested in the range of boards that ITEAD do with intelligence built in – all you have to do is talk to them serially and send commands – they also send serial back when defined areas are touched.

With that in mind, 4D sent me one of their boards to test. Well, thanks to one thing or another and it got put to one side, until this weekend…

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YAT and ESP8266

For some years now I’ve been using my own serial terminal for ESP8266 development – not any more!

As fervent readers will know, over a period of time I’ve developed software for the phenomenally useful ESP8266 and you can find out more about that, here, suffice it to say it is likely the most comprehensive code for general use of the ESP8266 out there, focussing on MQTT communication so to be particularly useful for central controllers with MQTT access such as “the script” makes available via Node-Red on a range of microcontrollers, for example for my own home control setup.

Update 17/10/2017 - New release today

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More Alexa Marvels

Some of you may recall that in the dim and distant past, Aidan and I wrote a SKILL for Amazon’s Alexa – which let us do anything by simply passing the speech back to Node-Red… and we could sent text as speech to Alexa. Well, that relied on SSL port access and writing skills and… we’re still waiting for something easier and so without effort, that arbitrary response is still  a little way off, but..

If you want REAL EASY  - read on. (updated 13/10/2017)

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ESP8266 Lies and Deceit

tmpCE60It never ceases to amaze me when looking through Ebay, the level to which companies or individuals are prepared try to mislead the public or at best are simply unable to form sentences correctly. Some even tell outright lies.

Let’s take one of my favourite subjects, the ESP8266 boards. Way back in the past, ESP8266 life started off with the ESP-01 module, comprising an ESP8266, 512KB FLASH and most of the connections NOT brought out. Being surface mount, only the most agile could solder pins to get the extra outputs – but – we were all new to this – and what a bargain, for just a couple of pounds you could have a crippled ESP8266 and actually turn things on and off via WIFI.

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The Script and RPI 3 Update

Having started putting together “the script” a long time ago, long before the Raspberry Pi 3 came out – and having developed it to handle a wide range of boards and scenarios including of course the Pi3, I found it interesting to return today to installing “the script” on the Raspberry Pi 3 – and of course I wanted to ensure that nothing had changed recently which might stop others doing the same.

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INA219 IC2 Added to ESP8266 code

tmp9EC4Just a minor addition to my ESP8266 code – the INA219. Set to 32 volts, 2 amps by default, this i2c addition works with the cheap 0x40 addressed boards – I found them as low as under £2 – these little wonders can measure high side voltage and current !

So in a typical solar situation you might attach the ground to the board – and use it’s 2-way terminal to break the high-side output to your load.  You can tell the incoming voltage – and via a 0.1r resistor on the board, which leads to VERY low voltage loss – you can read the current. You could of COURSE parallel another 0.1r resistor onto the board to double the current etc. I will be trying all of that soon.

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