Projects Archive

Folding rolling work table

Posted November 22, 2016 By Landis V

Definitely need to build something like this.

AW Extra 4/5/12 – Folding Table Base


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I hate it when I’m away from home and either the ISP or some of my equipment glitches, necessitating a reboot or two.  I have enough systems in place that I should be able to automate this process.  To do so, I need to get some remotely controllable equipment, create the state diagram (not good if I power cycle one of the network components required to reach the remote switch and it doesn’t come back up!), and write the scripts to run the logic.

I’d also like to have easily accessible power switches in my data closet so I can power cycle the devices without having to pull them down and unplug the power from the back of them.

Hardware components I’ve looked at

SainSmart 16 channel web relay – at Amazon.  This could work if installed between the transformer block and the switches.

Ethernet relay on eBay, claims to be AC250V @ 10A, though that would probably be pushing it.  Would have to look up the specs on the relays they used.  For the watt draw on the AC, depending upon the size, might be able to install it inside a large surge protector housing and wire the outlets through it.

Controllable Four Outlet Power Relay Module – at Adafruit.  Not network connected, and would require some other device to control it.  But most likely UL listed and designed to handle AC.

Ended up finding a Digital Loggers LPC-3 on eBay for $57 shipped that should do the job nicely.  Manual is here.

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More 434MHz stuff to look at later

Posted August 20, 2016 By Landis V

Acurite #0899 self emptying rain gauge – at Amazon

Blog post on reversing the signal from Acurite temperature sensors; may be similar for the rain gauges.  Also mentions the RTL SDR.  Probably wouldn’t be bad to have.

Another blog post regarding reading the Acurite 5n1 station.  Possible that part of this will already cover the rain gauge.  Also discusses SDR and mentions the rtl_433 tool.

This blog post looks like rtl_433 supports the Acurite 896 decode natively, so if the protocol is similar or the same it may be simple.

RTL Software Defined Radio – at Amazon – seems like it’s probably a decent model, some good reviews.  Looks like there’s a little more to it than just “buy this and set up the software”.

Bought a cheap receiver off of eBay from Hong Kong for $7.31 (original listing).

Also, here was an Instructable about making a cheap combination RF/Bluetooth/433 MHz remote using an Arduino.

Additional Links

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Stellar garage organization

Posted July 3, 2016 By Landis V

This guy has the best garage organization I have ever seen.  Definitely will be taking some ideas from this page for tool and garage organization.

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Lawn Tractor Sprayer

Posted May 12, 2016 By Landis V

Power connectors – one for tractor, one or two for sprayer (if desired to still use the battery terminal connectors, get two). – or similar.  Or, this attached to battery and this extension cord (or similar/cheaper… eBay?) may be simpler, especially if the sprayer already has a quick connect on it, which it does appear to from the picture.

Sprayer –

Pump appears to be this or similar, looks to be around a 4 amp draw.

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Trying to build a useful home calendar

Posted April 25, 2016 By Landis V

One of the things I’ve been planning/intending to do is build a home calendar that shows all of our events at a glance, and to run it on a tablet or something similar.  We use Google calendars for most of our events, and since the intent is to show us everything that is going on, we’ll need to be able to authorize and authenticate to multiple calendars, pull the events, and display them.

One of the threads that either got me started thinking about this or was one of the first things I ran across when I had the idea was this one on Reddit.  I have a couple of Pi’s, and had generally planned on using one of them (and may yet for a similar design on a TV with a little more functionality), but ended up picking up an RCA Cambio tablet at Wal Mart for around a Benjamin, so I didn’t really need to fiddle around with adding a screen, mounting, network connectivity, etc.

The above thread led me to what I believe will work for the dashboard interface –  While I have a distant familiarity with JSON and XML, I don’t work with it enough to be particularly good at it, and I’m pretty much completely unfamiliar with the Google APIs and how to call them, so I wanted to note a few links that were helpful as I was working through the process.

Code that actually ended up working to pull the basic info from a public calendar (just grabs “id” now):


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Posted May 27, 2015 By Landis V

Looks like a fun and interesting project to build one’s own DIY total dissolved solids measurement.

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