Tweet-a-Watt is a DIY wireless power monitoring system. The project uses an ‘off the shelf’ power monitor called the Kill-a-Watt and adds wireless reporting. Each plug transmits the power usage at that outlet to a central computer receiver. The receiver can then log, graph and report the data. This pack contains nearly everything* necessary to build a single outlet monitor and receiver. To monitor additional outlets, you will need an add-on transmitter pack. One outlet can monitor up to 1500 Watts.
The starter pack contains:
2 XBee modules (one for receiver, one for transmitter)
2 XBee adapter kits (ditto)
1 USB FTDI cable (for updating, configuring and receiving data from XBee)
1 bag of parts including 10,000uF capacitor, 220uF capacitor, 2 1% 10K resistors, 2 1% 4.7K resistors, 5mm green LED, 6″ rainbow ribbon cable, and 2 pieces of 1/8″ and 1/16″ heatshrink
Air Quality Monitoring – Recently I had a discussion with someone from the South Riverdale Community Health Centre on Air Quality monitoring in Ontario (AQI). I learned a number of things, there are only 40 Air Quality Monitors in Ontario and they test for six key indexes. Toronto runs a slightly different test, the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) which is a pilot programme and reports on how the Air Quality will affect your health. The AQHI test for three key indicators. Detecting three indexes sounds pretty reasonable.
Mobile Air Quality MonitorBy building my own Air Quality project I hope to be able to reproduce the AQHI results at a fraction of the price and provide instruction to enable anyone across the province a chance to build their own.
To the left is a photo of the final (but always in a state of flux) result. It is a GPS enabled device powered by two AA’s which senses Air Quality and Ozone. I am currently running tests in a variety of ways. This is a more complex setup than it has to be. Below I’ll detail both a simple setup and a complex setup.
Simple Air Quality Monitor:
USB-Serial Connection (~$15)
Air Quality Sensor & Ozone Sensor ($6 each)
2 Resistors ($.15 – I’m using a 15k Ohm)
Connect the sensors as illustrated on the Wiring.org website. Attach to a computer and upload the data to a provider such as Pachube to share with the world. (Need an invite? Message me.)
Mobile Air Quality Monitor:
GPS Sheild ($16)
SD-Card ($20-60 depending on size – the SD-Card library uses a FAT-16 environment, so 1GB is all you’re going to need)
MintyBoost ($20 – 12 Hour lifespan for 2 AAs, 3 for a 9V battery)
Air Quality & Ozone Sensor ($6 each, see above for links)
With an attiny13A, an IR motion sensor, and a candy Mario Brothers mushroom tin, this project turns them into a USB powered IR sensor that also blinks and sings. This is a variation of the marioman project but unlike that one this *this* is practical
Here are the features:
The container for the project is a metal Super Mario Bro candy tin
Electronics are powered by a USB cable (for 5v)
An external, attached, IR sensor is used to detect motion which triggers the LED and musical sequence.
The attiny13A is programmed to blink on and off first for a set duration, then jump into the musical sequence.
The LEDs blink to the tune of super mario brothers
The speaker can be shut off by a switch attached to the speaker
Last month, I built NewsAlarm - a modified smoke alarm wired into the NYTimes NewsWire API. It can be configured to sound in response to any keyword or keywords coming over the wire at a specific frequency; for example, you might set it to alarm when 50% of the headlines coming in contain the words ’space aliens’ or if 10% of the headlines include the word ‘evil robots’. It’s a pretty ridiculous device, meant to embody the equally ridiculous alarmism (pun intended) that permeates mainstream media.
The orginal NewsAlarm was hard-wired to the computer via an Arduino. It worked quite well, but it’s not very convenient – it can only get as far away from the computer as the wires allow, which is only about 5 feet. I wanted the device to be able to be a long way away from the computer processing the NewsWire data, and I also wanted one computer to be able to trigger multiple NewsAlarms. So, I looked into ways that I could connect the devices and the computers wirelessly.
The solution turned out to be the XBee – a cute little device that allows signals to be sent via 802.15.4 wireless. XBees are small, cheap, and can be combined to create simple mesh networks. Perfect! For the wireless NewsAlarm, 2 Xbees act as a transmitter and a receiver. A very simple serial signal is transferred from one XBee to the other when the alarm is triggered. Our system uses two arduinos right now, though it could be re-configured to use one and an FTDI cable.
New communication examples (w/ corresponding Processing and Max/MSP code) by Tom Igoe.
[core / libraries]
Adding support for the Arduino Pro and Pro Mini 3.3V / 8 MHz w/ ATmega328.
Adding support for the LilyPad Arduino w/ ATmega328.
Adding write(str) and write(buf, size) methods to Print, Serial, and the Ethernet library Client and Server classes. This allows for more efficient (fewer packet) Ethernet communication. (Thanks to mikalhart.)
Improvements to the way the Ethernet library Client class connects and disconnects. Should reduce or eliminate failed connections and long timeouts. (Thanks to Bruce Luckcuck.)
Optimizing the timer0 overflow interrupt handler (used for millis() and micros()). Thanks to westfw and mikalhart.
Fixing bug that limited the bit() macro to 15 bits. Thanks to Paul Badger.
Adding ARDUINO version constant (thanks to prodding from mikalhart).
Ordering the items in the Tools > Board menu.
Adding “Copy as HTML” command to the Tools menu.
Eliminating (maybe) the occasional “Couldn’t determine program size” errors. Thanks to the Clever Monkey.
Moving selection of Linux look-and-feel into the arduino script so it can be changed by users. Thanks to Eberhard Fahle.
Adding automatic dependency generation to the Makefile. (Lars Immisch)
A great little stepper for small projects! This motor has a solid mounting plate, ‘plain’ and geared shafts, and Japanese-built construction. There are only 48 step (7.5 degree) per revolution, but the gear allows you to easily attach timing belts or a gearbox to control the resolution. A perfect first stepper motor and works well with the Motor Shield for Arduino which will let you microstep for smoother motion.
To use with the Motor Shield, connect black and orange together to ground (middle), brown and green to one motor port (say M1) and red and yellow to the other motor port (say M2). Then just use the example code that comes with the Adafruit Motor Shield library. Otherwise, you can also wire it up with some transistors and use the Arduino Stepper library. Available now in the store… only $5.00 !
Tiny little servo can rotate approximately 180 degrees (90 in each direction), and works just like the standard kinds you’re used to but smaller. You can use any servo code, hardware or library to control these servos. Good for beginners who want to make stuff move without building a motor controller with feedback & gear box, especially since it will fit in small places. Of course, its not nearly as strong as a standard servo. Works great with the Motor Shield for Arduino or by just wiring up with the Servo library. Comes with lots ‘o horns and hardware.
To control with an Arduino, we suggest connecting the orange control wire to pin 9 or 10 and using the Servo library included with the Arduino IDE (see here for an example sketch). Position “0″ (1.5ms pulse) is middle, “90″ (~2ms pulse) is all the way to the right, “-90″ (~1ms pulse) is all the way to the left. Available in the store, only $6.00 !
Thank you to everyone at Maker Faire, we met tons of folks and met a lot of Adafruit customers! We were so busy at Maker Faire 2009 we didn’t take pictures (well, just one of Ladyada above, she has wings!) – our friend Scott Beale from Laughing Squid did his usual amazing job of taking photos, so… – enjoy the photos and videos – see you next year!