Past and Future Projects

Past Projects
MC9S12C32 based RC car and controller  (2008 – 2010)
ATMega168 based RC car  (2011)
LScreamer (wireless download python program, for Linux)  (2011)
OpenCurrent (2012)
LCD VDay Card (2012) Vimeo
ATDservo (Mini project using Controller 2.0 – 2012) Code, Video

Arduino Controller 2.0 (Large project – 2012) Code, Video
This controller will be used to control / monitor anything and everything. From home plant watering, vehicle temperature monitoring (while driving), to anything else I can dream up. Everything will fit into a 1 Gang electrical box (ultimate box).
4×20 character LCD.
– 2 Wireless modules, chosen from the following modules:
nRF24L01+ wireless module (may be only wireless module besides xbee if it proves effective.
RFM12B, 915 MHz, Dip version Went with BTM-182 Bluetooth Serial module since I have 8 of them, not because it is the best
XBee Pro 2.4 GHz series 1 radio module 60mW w U.FL connection
– Wii Nunchuck/ MotionPlus connector AND/OR PS2 connector
– ATMega328P processor with 16MHz Oscillator
– Famous sub $1 case with $0.30 circuit boards (actually they were $0.27 each)
MediaTek MT3329 GPS 10Hz (maybe) Nope!
– 3xAA battery pack
-1 Piezo buzzer for making Mario sounds 😛 (seriously) (note: Tone library currently interferes with SW serial, so can’t use it yet)

Current Projects
ARM Sensor Nodes (April – 2015)
Using low power ARM processors spread around the house, critical warnings and errors such as a water leak or heater stuck on, can be sent to the user in near real time (using an internet connected device that is capable of sending email).

Future Projects
Vehicle Monitoring
This project will integrate a MCU into my car. It’s task will be to monitor engine temperatures and cabin temperatures, record GPS, speed, and other things. It will periodically poll its wireless to determine if a controller is near. If it is, it will initiate a handshake, and send the latest statistics of the car to the controller, all without pushing a button on the controller. Once the engine turns on, BT serial module will turn on in Slave mode, so that if the controller pairs with it, information packets can be sent to the controller and displayed on the controller.
– microSD card
– Mediatek 3329 GPS module
– MotionPlus module to measure rotations
– 6 Temperature sensors to monitor temperatures (Engine x 2, Transmission, Radiator, outside, inside) Note: Can only use 4, since MotionPlus (i2c) needs A4 and A5!
– BTM-182 Bluetooth Serial Wireless Module
– Control power to modules so can disable power when engine is off (so I don’t kill the battery)

Wireless Module Testing
The wireless controller 2.0 will need a wireless module, but which is best?  Sure, I could make a forum post somewhere, asking this question.  People will give me their experience, but first hand experience trumps it all. Especially if it is done in a calculating manner.  After my wireless tests are completed, I’ll produce a pdf report of my findings.
Modules tested:
Xbee series 1 1mW
Xbee series 2 60mW
RF2400P
RFM12B 915MHz
nRF24L01+
Serial Bluetooth
Test Locations
Outside, in the country, no wireless phones/bluetooth on
Inside, in the city (apartment building), My wireless not on
Inside, in the city (apartment building), My wireless on
Measurements
Distance between modules (tested at many distances from 5ft to 150ft)
Baud Rate (speed of transmission)
Time for transmission (how long it takes to send the packet)
Time to receive acknowledgement
# of packets lost (checksum failed at receiver)
Max time for transmission
Max time to receive Ack
Packet size (4,8,16,32,64,128,256) (may not be supported for every module, will compare supported sizes)
Testing Device
Breadboard ATMEGA328, 3 AA’s for power, running at 3.3V (after VReg).  LCD and buttons for starting/stopping test.  SD card to log data.  Each wireless device attached to side of breadboard (no metal below or above) at a fixed distance.
Summary
Research has shown that the sweet spot between cost and range is the RFM69 range of wireless transceivers.  But of course it depends on each particular application (keyboards for example don’t need that range, so a NRF24L01+ module is good in that situation).

Plant Watering / monitoring
This will be similiar to Refarm the City, except that I will attempt to bring the cost of everything down, by using a wireless module, better voltage regulators, cheap cases with cheap protoboards.  It would mostly be used to make sure my plants stay watered, but can also be used to measure how much daylight they receive and the temperature.  By using temperature, sunlight, and humidity of soil, it will be easier to see the optimal conditions needed for good growth.

Breaker Control Station
A rough idea, not too sure about it.  Basically have a servo or motor physically flip off circuit breakers for the apartment/house in order to kill energy usage.  Not sure if this would introduce dangerous voltage/current spikes.  It may just be easier to turn off each power strip, which is what I currently do.

Programmable Drink Machine
The rough idea of this, would be to create a machine that can do all of the typical activities when it comes to making drinks of all kinds: adding ice, stir, adding coffee, heat/cool, brew tea, brew coffee.  This may be a tough one to do, and in the long run, it may be better to do those by hand.

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