WiDo : a WiFi connected arduino

After presenting WeIO, here is WiDo from DFRobot, yet another Open Source IoT node.

wido

Image from http://www.dfrobot.com

It is basically an Arduino Leonardo which includes a WG1300 WiFi chip. Apparently, this can be used with Adafruit’s CC3000 Arduino library which should make it quite straightforward to use.

What’s the difference between an Arduino + a CC3000 shield then ? The price ! At less that $30, it makes a quite cheap IoT plateform !

Ordered some… (DHL shipping is free until the end of september) but no more in stock. So I don’t know when I will receive them 🙁

 

WeIO : a new IoT plaform

Back in june, I went to the Maker Faire which took place in Paris.

I saw for the first time a new little but powerfull platform which was under development : the WeIO. It looked like quite promising.

weioImage

Image from http://www.we-io.net/

 

Creators of this new “Web of Things platform” just launch a crowdfunding campain on INDIEGOGO. Their goal was to reach $10.000… After 2 days, they reached… $9.568 ! No more early bird offer but you can still support them and pre-order this new gizmo ! I just did !

Can’t wait to play with it…

NetAtmo : now they have a connected thermostat !

netatmo3NetAtmo is a french company now well known for its connected weather station.But not only ! They now have also a connected thermostat so you can control your home heating from internet, using their own app or the provided API.

Much like Nest thermostat (but far less expensive…), it can “learn” from you behavior and just stop and start heaters when needed.

Nice… I think I will replace my “old”, not connected & closed Delta Dore thermostat !

Discovering openHAB

I was looking for a software I could use to build a neat remote control for home automation on iPhone and Android tablet.

Remote

I first found OpenRemote which is quite nice. I already used it to build a remote for my IP remote controlled power strip.

But OpenRemote it did not work really as I expected (may be a bit complex to use) and the OpenSource version seems not to be really active on the development side.

openhab-logo2-663x378

So I did look around to find an atlernative and finally discovered openHAB quite a while ago. When I first discovered this project, current version was 1.2.

Since then, the latest release is 1.4 and they have a very nice new website.And, most importantly, they build my.openhab.org which allows managing your hosted HAB instance from the Web (currently in beta).

With openHAB, you can build simple interface for the Web, iPhone, iPad, or Android devices. It is probably not as powerfull as OpenRemote but then is quite a few “bindings” for many devices or protocols (http, tcp, ntp, Google calendar, EnOcean, KNX…) More than 50 are available today.

With a few lines of code, you can build a nice interface to your home automation systems…

… on iPhone

IMG_0835IMG_0836IMG_0837

… or Android !

Screenshot_2014-03-09-19-15-13

 

Nice !

Raspberry Pi has a new friend : ZiBASE Mini

Zodianet is a french startup which sells a home automation box : ZiBASE. They just released software running on ZiBASE for the Raspberry Pi : ZiBASE Mini. It is available as an SD card image or as a debian package.

zibase_mini_500

(image from www.zodianet.com)

There is a (not so) basic free version which is working with ZWave or enocean usb dongles. You will have a pay a licence for advance home automation (video streaming, data historization, scenarios…)

It is a nice way to start as software is free and Pi is cheap ! And it is known to work on CubieBoard also !

I’ll try it ! Downloading…

RFM12B signal strength meter using emonGLCD

I just discovered that Martin Roberts designed a very nice RF scanner and signal strength meter (SSM) using an emonGLCD. With one very simple hardware modification (you will loose the ability to use the LDR though), you can get the emonGLCD to work as a RF scanner ! All instructions are here. I followed them and within minutes, I got my RF scanner working !

GLCD SSM 640x480

The softwaremake the scanner easy to use and configure using the three emonGLCD push-buttons. You can configure the following parameters

  • Trigger level : minimum signal level required to trigger the display
  • Trigger position : position on the display of the signal that caused the trigger
  • Base level : minimum signal level which can be displayed (-80 or -100dBm)
  • Glitch detector : with this on short signal pulses which could be missed by a normal scan will show up
  • Timebase : period of a complete scan across the screen (16ms-16s)

Here are screenshots at  respectively 16ms, 32ms, 128ms and 16s :

GLCD SSM ScreenShots

Very nice !

My first Impee : a cheap Wifi temperature sensor

I received my Imp a few weeks ago along with a Sparkfun breakout board.

Configuring it to connect to your wifi network is very simple but you need to use either an iPhone or an Android phone.The Imp app just asks for you wifi detail, then makes the phone screen blink sending the configuration thru a sensor on the edge of the Imp. Simple and clever. You’ll find all information on Imp website here.

The hardware part

I also got

  • a very cheap LM35DZ temperature sensor
  • a 3.7V / 850mAh Li-Ion battery
  • an Adafruit Li-Ion battery charger

and hooked all this up together.

Impee

I connected LM35DZ data pin on pin 9.

To power the imp, you have 2 main choices :

  • USB
  • Battery
  • other external power

In order to choose battery or USB power, you need to solder a break away header and use a jumper. Please note this is not provided with the breakout board.

Imp Breakout Power

The software part

Ok, now we got to program this thing to measure temperature and sending it to some emoncms site for instance.

Actually, there are 2 things you need to program. the Imp itself : the “device”. But there is not much you can do with it. Typically, you can’t send an http request. You need to send the data to an Electric Imp web service : the “agent”. The agent can do many more things… like sending an http requests to emoncms.

So first, the device program

Then the agent program

Easy, isn’t it ?.

The results

Worked on battery (850mAh 3.7V) for 15 days. Here are temperature and voltage graph from emoncms :

Impee-Emoncms

Conclusion

I liked the easy of use of the gizmo : solder a temp sensor, type 10 lines of program, and here we go ! Also, I like the fact that you can send data to the “agent” to do potential heavy processing on server side thus saving power on the device (you can also send message from the agent to the device.)

I do not like depending on a Cloud based service that might not be always available. Not that I do not wish Electric Imp to be sucessfull and have a long life… but… you know… I just would like to have the option to host the agent myself.

Electric Imp : The Cloud Wifi IoT Gizmo

Just a quick news because I just discovered a  product that seems quite nice : the Electric Imp.

electric-imp-logo-trim

It is a typical Internet of Thinks gizmo which allows adding Wifi and internet connectivity in a quite simple way (it seems…) with a small foot print (and standard, like an SD card although it is NOT an SD card and it WON’T work as an SD card) at a quite low price.

Imp

It is easy to configure using a smartphone. The dedicated app is making the screen blink to send the configuration data to the Imp.

Just ordered it from Snootlab… can’t wait to test it !