• Arduino,  Hardware

    Making my air conditioner smarter – Part 1

    What’s better than working on a project for improving an electronic device (see Making my washing machine smarter)? Working on two projects!

    I have a Daitsu air conditioner in my bedroom. It is an old model, the DSG-07HRN2. My plans are: I want to control it from my phone, and be able to program it accoring to X criteria in the future (temperature, month of the year, if I’m at home or not…). I could use OpenHAB for this of course, as I did with my washing machine, but first, I need to connect my air conditioner to my OpenHAB server, which, being an old non-smart model, is not possible without modifications.

    I could use some king of magical (and probably expensive) thingy that externally sends the commands using infrared and uses a proprietary APP to control it (I know of their existance), but… where’s the fun there? 😜. My idea is to use another ESP-01 microcontroller, and send the infrared commands from inside the air conditioner unit itself. I’m sure this is going to be interesting 😊.

    First, let’s investigate which kind of protocol does the original remote use, I used the IRrecvDumpV2 example sketch from the Arduino-IRRemote library, created by Ken Shirriff and other contributors.

    When I tested my remote on my arduino MEGA, I was surprised it said the protocol used was SAMSUNG, which has nothing to do with Daitsu. Interesting.

    Samsung? Daitsu? Do they use the same protocol? Or is it an error from the sketch? Will we find out?
  • Arduino,  Hardware

    Making my washing machine smarter – Part 3

    << Continuation of Part 2

    Let’s start assembling the board that will control the state of the washing machine cycle. Four things are needed: the microcontroller, its power supply (the microcontroller works at 3.3 volts, and the power adapter we’re using works at 5v), the door lock detector and the actuation over the “start washing cycle” button.

    As stated above, the ESP-01 needs 3.3 volts to work, a ground connection and needs to have pulled high (using a resistor, like a 10kohm one for example) the GPIO0 and GPIO2 pins in order to boot correctly. Apart from that, an output pin will actuate the start button and an input pin will detect the door lock state.

    The 3.3 volts power can be obtained using, for example, an LM317T, a famous classic voltage regulator that, using a couple of resistors allows us to get a specific voltage. Using one of the many online calculators, we can calculate which resistors we need. In my case, I used this one.

  • Arduino,  Hardware

    Making my washing machine smarter – Part 2

    << Continuation of part 1

    Guts. Time to talk about guts. Electronics guts of course…

    Which microcontroller should we use for this project? The first requirement is it hast to have WiFi, since it will be the way its way of sending notifications to my phone. About number of general purpose input/outputs (GPIO), two would be enough (one for detecting the door lock state and another one for actuating the cycle start button remotely). I could use a classic Arduino UNO, with a WiFi shield:

    This one is known by most makers out there. It supports thousands of libraries, which you can make tons of things with, but… It has like 20 pins between digital and analog, and even though the WiFi shield uses some of them, I still think it’s overkill for my project. Two pins would be enough.

  • Arduino,  Hardware

    Making my washing machine smarter – Part 1

    I like challenges, and I also like smart devices, what we usually call “gadgets.”

    What do I miss in my washing machine? Notifications to let me know when it is done washing my clothes. Yes, some models play a catchy little tune to make it clear that they are done, but not mine… Even if I had one of those singing washing machines… What if I’m listening to music with headphones? What if I am upstairs? Well I will have to be checking every little bit. Also, the washes are somewhat flexible in wash cycle duration (they do not have exactly X minute wash cycles, since depending on the clothes you are going to wash, it will be easier or more difficult to evacuate the water). I usually use the 60 minute wash cycle, unless the clothes are really very dirty, but the real time in my case is actually 63 minutes one day, maybe 75 the next…

    The victim

    Tired of this, I have decided to open my washing machine and figure out some way to detect when it ends, in order to launch a notification to my phone. And if I can make it possible to activate the wash cycle remotely at the same time, that would be even better (my poor low-cost washing machine does not even have the function of deferring the start of the washing cycle by X hours …).

  • Arduino,  Hardware

    A pinch of hardware – Makerbuino

    I would like to tell you about a different videogame console that is a bit different from the others. Why different? Does it have an even faster processor? Even more RAM? Can you play Crysis on it? No … It has an ATmega328 as a processor (you probably have heard about that chip, it is the one that comes with Arduino), 2KB of RAM and a screen… Full HD? 4K? Umm no… A black and white LCD with a resolution of 84 x 48 pixels. Yes, exactly, like the good old Nokia 3310.

    Ah, but I haven’t told you the best … It doesn’t come assembled, and that’s exactly what made me buy it. Assemble your own console that you can then play on? Interesting, right? 🙂

    Based on Gamebuino, another similar console project (although this one does come assembled, it is not necessary to dust off the soldering iron… Booring), this console promises to have fun both when assembling it, when playing and even when coding games for it (yes, it is Arduino after all. You have all the freedom to create games, applications and everything you can think of (even some hardware hacks, since it has a couple of I2C expansion ports)).

    The project itself is not new. It dates from the beginning of 2017, and was quite successful on Kickstarter, its launch platform. They are still selling copies from their website , so you still can get one. Why not?

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