Quo Vadis ? Stories from a home laboratory

13Feb/130

Balcony irrigation

A couple of years ago, I have installed the automated irrigation system in our apartment. After running this setup for an year, I have discovered some problems during the everyday operation:

  • due to the small capacity of the water tank, it was required to refill the tank frequently,
  • amount of water delivered to the plants was determined by time (averaged measured value I got with calibration) and was not accurate,
  • it was not possible to irrigate plants independently,
  • couple of times the whole water tank was used for single watering thanks to basic physics in action and lack of the valves.

In a meanwhile I have decided to automate the watering of the balcony plants as well, but also to fix the problems noticed in the first implementation.

1,524 total views, no views today

27Dec/1159

Hacking a weighing scale

Last couple of weekends I mainly spent at home. This was ideal opportunity to do some home maintenance (cleaning 🙁 ). Somewhere under the bed I found a weighing scale that my wife and I occasionally use. This is the simple digital weighing scale from Ikea - GRUNDTAL. During last months I stumbled upon couple of articles about automatic weight logging, so the outcome was obvious: the next home project - wireless logging weighing scale. Luckily I already had necessary tools and parts, so the next couple of days were fun.

IKEA GRUNDTAL Weghing scale

The idea was to connect the scale to Arduino Pro Mini, decode the readings from the scale, and send the weight wirelessly, using RFM12B radio module from HopeRF, to the central Homy system. There, the weight with the timestamp would be persisted into the database and published to Facebook wall.

145,816 total views, 12 views today

2Oct/110

Homy & Roomba

Roomba has been in our home for some time now. You could even say it a part of the family; it is the liveliest piece of the furniture. We use it for cleaning our apartment and we are pretty happy with it. This cleaning device is a product of iRobot company and the model we have is Roomba 520.

Going around the Internet sites I stumbled upon a nice article about some hardware and software development that includes Roomba - RoombaDecTools. Next thing I dig out was a really nice document that describes technicalities about interfacing Roomba - Roomba Serial Command Interface (SCI) Specification. Everything was clear, a new home project was about to be born 🙂

Our Roomba

4,901 total views, 1 views today