20 Jan

Birthday Log – 2015

6:20AM – Normal start of the day until my wonderful Wife announces she will put the boys on the bus. Followed by breakfast and coffee delivered to the bedroom!
8:00AM – New TOP GEAR on the DVR with a full pot of coffee followed by indoor drone flight time.

10:25 – Coffee Reload and finger rest – BF4 style!
12:00 – Gaming break for shower and lunch.
12:30 – Birthday lunch is Karen’s meatloaf from Moms recipe sandwich (cold with mayo and onions) – AWESOME!
1:30 – 12 Monkeys (movie) and a catnap on the couch with a real cat! – RELOAD
3:00 Boys are home and Jurassic Park is on Apole TV
5:00 Karen brought home Guida and ice cream cake AND cheesecake!
7:00 New fountain, new shoes and an Android Tab!

19 Jan

Integration – Phase One Complete

The box is installed, along with the overhead door controller and the overhead door sensor!
It was amusing since I had a test program in place that cycled the door relay every five seconds – starting automatically at boot.
I’m on a ladder and the door was controlled by a vengeful ghost for a few minutes until my brain kicked in again. (still funny today).

Next outstanding steps:

  • Connect other two door sensors.
  • Create new web interface for home use.
  • Create pushover script to trigger on sensor change.
  • Determine how to control from home.
  • Add WebCam for visual confirmation?


17 Jan

Boxed up and ready for install

Stand offs are in place and everything fits in the new enclosure.
Hopefully tomorrow I will power it up in place and will run the relay and sensor wires to the doors.
This will still leave me with a few hours of software configuration (mostly design) and implementation.
Last is a one page write up and then it’s on to the next project (whatever that may be!)

15 Jan

Hardware complete – install and software next

Baby Groot approved the reed switch installation after I was educated in the concept of a ‘floating’ GPIO input and wired another three 10k resistors into the board.

Some quality time was spent looking at the software and I think I will try webiopi for a bit longer. It’s not something I want internet facing if it uses an embedded web service, but I think I can use the Python it exposes to cross the firewall safely. Plus it rocks a nice Ajax UI inside the firewall at install! Great software!


14 Jan

Correction – no reed switches after 3:00PM!

I was told to look at Goldcrest Electronics for reed switches and boy was I impressed!
Imagine an old candy store in the country…
Now imagine that the store is in the heart of Rochester and that every little sugar gem is an electronic component.
They had hundreds of switches, thousands of relays – I didn’t even dig into the IC room!
They also had Arduino and Raspberry Pi on the shelf (not just internet order).
The very best part – the place was a mess.
Everything was ‘grouped’ but once you found the ‘switch area’ you were ‘forced’ (I loved it) to look at row and column and bucket/bag of items to find what you wanted.

I walked the whole store twice (except the IC room – I was afraid I would never leave).

They are only open 9-3 sigh…

12 Jan

No reed switches in western NY

Okay so maybe I’m not being fair to the electronic distributors in and around the Rochester area.
It’s probably fair to say there are no reed switch as you can purchase after 5 PM on a Monday night.
Why a reed switch?
The goal is to have my garage door monitor know when the garage door is fully open and when it is fully closed without interfering with normal operation of the door.
A magnetic switch or reed switch is the safest way to make this happen in the low-voltage domain. I considered a hall effect sensor, but that would probably be even harder to find at this time of night.
If the electronics shops don’t have it tomorrow then it’s off to the Internet for ordering. :-(

8 Jan

We have a device!

Still need to solder the switch lines, but the relay makes a satisfying click when I hit the GPIO pin I want to control the door.

Tomorrow is the switch lines and then we can screw it together.


6 Jan


It turns out I had a tip 120 Darlington transistor in my junk drawer and with a found fly back diode from the trash I was able to get my relay driven only by the raspberry pi itself!

Next step is to prototype the circuit and solder it together add some headers to the relay and then work on the switches to sense when the garage side door is open and when the main door is fully open or fully closed.

6 Jan

Stop that fidgeting

It seems that the fidget has the same restrictions on voltage that the raspberry pie CPI opens have natively. so whether I use the fidget or the raspberry pie itself I’m still going to need to have some sort of a transistor in there and I fly back diode to prevent the relay from hurting the sensitive low level electronics.
On the plus side that means I can use my fidgets board for something else!
The downside is now I have to go out and get some flywheel diodes and transistors and learn how to do that nonsense.