Gallery

Time Measurement for Carrera Slot Car Track

 

After I had to have my own Carrera slot car track last year I soon wanted to have proper time measurement. First we measured time with a stopwatch app on the mobile – one driving the slot car and another one taking the time. But of course it is inaccurate and it was more and more becoming inaccurate as the night proceeded to fall – blame it on sleepiness, the beer or both *twinker!*

So I began to experiment with the MicroView – my first thing on Kickstarter I actually supported. It comes with an integrated OLED display and is fully Arduino compatible. To document the times I connected a mini thermal printer. I also added some push buttons to change the number of laps for one race and the number of players. Pressing this button changes the current player and the measured time is than properly assigned when it comes to printing the result.

Ingredients:

  • MicroView, https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12923
  • Mini Thermal Printer + thermal paper
  • Infrared Obstacle Avoidance Sensor
  • 5v switching power supply (Minimum 2 Ampere suggested for printer)

See it in action in the video:

Video

Botman – my homegrown home automater

My home automator – nicknamed “Botman” – has some nice features:

  • Indoor data: shows the current room temperature, humidity and barometric pressure on the display (1st row)
  • Outdoor weather: regularly requests current weather conditions from a weather API and displays them on the display (2nd row) and moves the servo arm to what we normally call the “weather icon”
  • Public transportation info: current departure times of public transport options around my flat are pulled from the web allowing me to better schedule when I have to leave my flat.
  • Archive indoor conditions: temperature, humidity and barometric pressure are regularly sent to a Google Spreadsheet to archive and visualize the data over time.
  • Android App: allows me to check the current data and lets me switch my remote controlled outlets on and off.

Technical overview:

  • Arduino Ethernet acting as a web server but also as web client when it pulls data from APIs.
  • I2C Display (lcm1602)
  • Laser cut dashboard (thanks to metalab.at)
  • Servo arm showing current weather forecast
  • Wooden self built enclosure
  • Temperature, barometric pressure, humidity sensor (BMP085, DHT11)
  • 433MHz wireless sender for remotely controlled outlets

As you might know the Arduino does not have a lot of memory. So parsing current JSON APIs might be a big pain in the *** or would simply not be possible – e.g. due to unsupported https connections. That is why I have installed a separate Google App Engine instance which does all the hard work and only returns the small data chunks I really need on the Arduino.

Of course security is always a big issue when it comes to home automation. All the data is transported on an unencrypted standard http connection. At the moment I can cope with this imperfect approach.

Codebender:

  • This is the first project I moved to the Arduino browser based IDE  codebender. It really helps me to save plenty of time as I do not have the hassles of setting up the Arduino IDE with all the proper libraries. Perfect for people who tend to experiment a lot or switch their dev. machine too often :)

Todos:

  • make a better hand for the pointer of the weather icon
  • prepared to control door opener of house
  • prepared to add Ir diode to control any device with an Ir remote
Gallery

My look of the defuseable clock

After I saw the nootropic design defuseable clock on the web somewhere I knew I also had to have one. This is how I styled my alarm clock.

Looks dangerous enough to get me out of bed in the morning? Unfortunately no.

Want to see how others have built and styled their defuseable clock? See it here!