The TOMO Power Supply

TomoWell, I started to make a video of this thinking it was going to be a great new uninterruptable supply. I’d listened to others, I’d read the spec (or so I thought) and this was to be the new saviour of battery supplies.

The TOMO unit comes in different sizes, I chose the 3-battery solution. I bought mine from AliExpress.  It has a USB input and 2 USB outputs and can power up to 2.1 amps in TOTAL (2.1 amps out of one output OR 1 amp out of the other – must use the same chip as everyone else).

It is nice looking and comes MINUS the batteries and hence is cheap.  You can use one battery or more – either way it still acts as a power supply.

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I2C For Everyone

There was a time in the distant past (in my case this morning) when running I2c natively in Node-Red on anything other than a genuine Raspberry Pi was a nightmare. Not any more.

So in a recent blog I’ve covered a pair of Node-Red nodes which allow GPIO access in Node-Red on a variety of boards using the underlying ONOFF library (which loads automatically when you get the nodes). And that’s all sorted now – GPIO for all – lovely. But what of the exceedingly useful I2c?

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Thermostat

As you do I just happened to be looking through the latest NODE offerings for Node-Red and spotted this little number – a thermostat node. Now I have my own controls for this and I’m happy with them but they’re generally done with code – and I saw this – read the explanation – it is remarkably simple and straight-forward – but looks like it will do a good job – and the example given is excellent – yes, it is added to “the script” along with a newly discovered database handler.

Thermostat

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SSD1306 on the NEO Plus2

You might recall some time ago I wrote about using Python on the Orange Pi Zero etc to run the little SSD1306-based displays.

Despite that being successful I did have a nagging doubt about the LUMA library because later on – when doing some apt-get upgrades I got a segmentation error which I’d originally attributed to using a hard disk with the device. I now think it might be something to do with that library. Well, when my NEO PLUS2 arrived I thought I’d try again..

WELL!!! This version works and also works with the NanoPi AIR AND the NEO2 using the standard Ubuntu image (and has solved my problem with the hard drive on the NEO2)...

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NanoPi Neo PLUS2

PLUS2No, I’d not heard of this one either until a couple of weeks ago. With a small form factor, 2 USB sockets and a $25 price tag it has to be worth a second glance.

I’ve used the NEO and this is definitely an improvement – H5 processor,  the Ethernet connector is giga-speed, 2 USB sockets, Bluetooth and WIFI (with external aerial which I hate using), 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC on-board, the board looks like it could be a little winner – but as always it’s as much the software that matters as anything else. the board also has audio out on an (unpopulated) 2mm connector and gets it’s power from microUSB. Size is 40mm x 52mm.  Starting to look good already…

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The Wall Display

ESP8266 Wall DisplayI’ve just spent time working on my hallway wall display, the amount of which would be considered commercial suicide. Good job it isn’t commercial.

Of course I’ve not just been working on the pretty colours – I’ve revamped the control codes for the ESP8266-driven controller twice, discovered and fixed an OTA flaw in the code, re-hashed the Node-Red driving code, found and fixed countless other bits and pieces… and in the process taken pause for thought as to why I ever used the Dark Skies Node… you know – in other words – pretty much revamped everything just to improve a simple display.

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Simple Scope

SPIYou may have noticed that I’ve been working on my ESP8266 home control software (see the updates elsewhere along with new diagram), specifically upgrading and adding to the number of OLED and LCD displays I can handle, either by I2c or SPI.

I’ve been doing a lot of optimising and simplifying – for example with SPI – assuming that there will only be the one SPI device at once on an ESP means you don’t need the CS line which can be grounded.  But there’s more….

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Big Timer

tmp17DBBig Timer is probably the best timing node for Node-Red, providing a general purpose timer as well as  handling summer/winter correctly as well as (importantly) lighting up time (for which it needs longitude and latitude). After all you probably don’t turn the outside lights on at 6pm!! You turn them on when it gets DARK. Now with new seconds timer mode AND updated for the latest Node-Red 0.17.0 including new help formatting and tips on input and output.

Updated to v 1.6.8 –July 12, 2017 - Recommend updatingNew features include a seconds timer and even/odd day of the month selection! See this brand new video!

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Icons

QD-TechIn case you were wondering – no, I’ve not gone off the boil, I’ve been quietly beavering away on my ESP8266 code since deciding to abandon the old ESP-01 and adding fonts for displays. Right now I’m focussing on the QD-Tech boards – 120x160 but I’ll eventually migrate the use of the various icons to the other displays now that I’m not terrified of running out of space.

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