Time lapse in new printer enclosure

surprised-rainbow-faceSo awhile back I came across an instructables article regarding using some ikea lack tables to make a 3dprinter enclosure…..

I love ikea….

So this was the project.  http://www.instructables.com/id/3d-Printer-Enclosure-from-Upcycled-Furniture/

I went to ikea.  Got 2 lack tables and put them together…. I want my printer higher up.  ELEVATE TO THE LEVEL OF THE GODS!!! no.  just high enough I can watch it cause I like to watch it go back and forth while I make printer noises.

So I ordered a 3rd table.  Put it on top.  Sweet.  Much better.  I moved the printer into the enclosure this weekend (no sides put on it yet) and decided I needed to get the lighting in place.  So I took some neopixel strips I had laying around and hooked them up to an arduino.

13694706_1455593267790887_1215760066_nOk, so that’s now how I am leaving it 🙂  but it did look cool.   Now I can set the colors.  Plain white for printing.  I am trying to figure out how in octoprint to get a hook in to detect when it’s heating up.  That way I can turn the lights orange or red to indicate heating phase.



So I did a timelapse and a vid.   The vid of the whole rig setup

Here is the timelapse test print


I am working more on trying to get some good photo and video in with these projects too.  If you like the videos give a thumbs up and a subscribe.

OpenHab Wall Switch

So recently I started thinking about my HA system when I have guests.  I have a small house (not a tiny house) just a small house.  When my parents visit they setup camp in the living room.

vYtvpWpWorking on getting PIR motion sensors to turn things on and off.  But with guests, I need a guest mode to disable the motion sensor…. and not because I tend to dance in front of the motion sensors.



89b1c00006954836a703dfc0457c8626But with the motion sensors disabled.  There still needs to be a way for the folks to control the lights.  So I started thinking.

What I came up with was physical buttons, pass something to mqtt, then to openhab.  Openhab rule to control “group” of lights aka living room.

So time to start proto typing some things.  First I wanted to see if I could somehow make it work without putting holes in the wall.   WAF = 10 on that one.

2016-06-12 17.31.52So I started by 3d printing a light switch blank panel.  It’s a rough print, but needed to see if I could make it deep enough to put some triple A batteries to run it.

Once I tested some depth I was happy.

Frank-GrimesNext to build build some electronics.


So I broke out the good old arduino uno.  This is my go to for initial builds even though I usually end up with a pro mini in the end.  The uno is a great test bed.

So it started out with Uno + Ethernet Sheild + 2 buttons.

2016-06-12 12.53.39-2


I ended up adding just a notifcation LED just so I know once it’s connected to MQTT since I am not watching via serial monitor now.   2016-06-12 17.34.42So what does this get us now?  Well.  It boots up.  You press one button, all the lights in the living room turn on.  Press the other and they turn off.  I know what you’re thinking.  So what?

One of the lights is a phillip hue light.  The other is controlled via z-wave.  So how did I do this.  Lets start with the item definitions in openhab.

//Group Definition
Group gLivingRoomLights

Switch Switch_LivingRoomStandingLight "Living Room Light"     <light> (gLivingRoomLights,gDashboard) { zwave="2:command=switch_binary" }
Switch LivingRoomTableLight   "Living bulb" (gLivingRoomLights,Switching) {hue="1"}

//Dummy ITEM that is set via mqtt
Switch LivingRoomLights "Living Room Lights" {mqtt="<[mqtt:switches/livingroomlights:state:default]"}

So in my items file, I have the 2 light items and a dummy switch.  Notice the 2 light items are in the “gLivingRoomLights” group.  This is important.

Now for the rules.

rule "Living Room Lights"

Item LivingRoomLights changed
logInfo("All Living Room Lights","ON")
logInfo("All Living Room Lights","OFF")

So this rule is triggered when the Dummy Switch (LivingRoomLights) changes.  If the state was changed to ON then i send the “ON” command to the entire group.  Same for when I turn it off.  So to test it I used mqtt-spy and manually did it.  All is working.


What’s next is I am going to work on shrinking said project down to using an arduino pro mini, 2 AAA batteries.  For the network transmission I am back and forth between 2 options.

  1.  esp8266 – using the esp is great, but it’s not very forgiving on power.   I know there are deep sleep modes, but they aren’t really good for what I need with multiple buttons.
  2. nrf24l01 – RF modules.  These little suckers are really easy on the power.  If I use these I have to build a rf->ethernet bridge.  But with these I think the power consumption is much simpler.

Either option I go with, I can use a pro mini and have 2 interrupts I can attach to buttons.

Down the road if I need more buttons, I can use a pro micro and get something like 14 interrupts and still be able to use deep sleep.

iphone-battery-iconIf I wanted to cut holes in the wall and run cable I wouldn’t be as concerned with the battery levels.




Want to see it being tested?



Is it hot in here? Home Automation AC addition

So my Super Villain lair is super secretly located in my converted garage… shhhh.

So we found out that Florida is a rough place to be a super villain.  It’s hot here.  So I needed a way to help keep my lair cool.  So many full moons ago my minions held a Staples store for ransom till they gave me an AC unit.


This thing is huge.  It’s a 14000 BTU unit.  I have an exhaust vent that goes up through the ceiling and vents outside.  It is actually pretty good at cooling down my lair.  But it is another AC unit that can use up some power.  Since the Super-Wife is not a fan of paying giant power bills, I have to turn it off when I am not in the office.  This was one reason thy the remote was very handy.  But.  It’s 2016.  Hello!  Just a remote?  That’s it?  HA! Right!

I have worked on trying to automate this thing for awhile.  A while back I used the Arduino Infrared Library to read codes from the remote, and then blast them back out.  But it didn’t work… I thought maybe it was using revolving codes.  Nope.

As it turns out, HVAC units have a tendency with their remotes to not send simple codes like “On”, “Heat”, “Fan-High”, “Temp-Up”  as you might think.  TV’s and even some small wall mounts use basic NEC hex codes.  Not this monstrosity.  No no.  After working on this thing for weeks I found an article that spoke about maybe my buffer size for reading the code wasn’t large enough.  The current RecvBuff was set to 100.  I was filling up all 100 locations.

So I changed it in the IRRemoteInt.h file.  Set it WAY higher.  Turns out my remote was sending 228 pulses.



So I decided to try to decode some stuff.  Lets try changing the temp.  228 pulses and most of them are the same.  Turns out my HVAC remote sends FULL state code every time you push a button.  To test this theory.  I set my HVAC to 72 degrees.  Went into a different room with the remote, pressed temp up until I was at 74 degrees.  Back in the office, the display still says 72, remote says 74.  I press up, the HVAC screen jumps straight to 75.  Full state!!  So that’s good to know, but a pain in the ass as I would have to do some SERIOUS work to decode the blocks and find out what changes to what.  But I never really need to do anything other than turn it on and off.  So lets find something simple.

I now have the following arrays of values

unsigned int powerOn[227] = {3400,1700, 450,1250, 450,1300, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,1300, 450,450, 400,450, 450,1300, 400,450, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 400,1300, 450,1250, 500,400, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,400, 450,1300, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,1300, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,1250, 450,1300, 400,500, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,400, 450,450, 450,450, 400,500, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,400, 450,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 500,400, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450,1300, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450,1300, 400,1300, 450,1250, 500}; // UNKNOWN 3659AD56
unsigned int powerOff[227] = {3400,1700, 450,1250, 450,1300, 400,450, 450,450, 500,400, 450,1250, 450,450, 500,400, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 500,1200, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,1300, 400,450, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 500,400, 500,1200, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,400, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 450,400, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,1300, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,1300, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450,1300, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,500, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 450,400, 450,500, 400,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,450, 450,450, 400,450, 450,1300, 400,1300, 450,450, 450,1250, 450,1250, 450,1300, 400,1300, 450,1250, 450}; // UNKNOWN 6BF20402

243448-Don-t-Judge-Me.-I-Was-Born-To-Be-Awesome.-Not-PerfectWith those values set in my arduino code I can now turn my AC ON and OFF in my office.  Cool haha, get it?  cool?  Shut up.  Don’t judge me.





So I did that work, and that was the end of it.  I didn’t really do anything more with it.  I wanted to figure out a good way of interfacing to it.  Earlier this week I found the following article on the OpenHab community.

MQTT IR transmiter/receiver

This turned out to be just what I needed.   I didn’t even realize I needed this, but it made perfect sense.  In short, use a tiny esp8266 chip with an IR LED and MQTT.

You can get them even cheaper from China.

AliExpress.com Product – 2015 New version 1PCS ESP8266 serial WIFI model ESP-01 Authenticity Guaranteed,Internet of things $1.79 Each.

arduino_dust_sensor_ESP8266-1I had one already laying around…. but where the hell is that tiny bastard!?!?!?!

Like finding a needle in an electronic haystack.  But I found it.



Threw in the code, built a programming jig for it.  Programmed it and BOOM!!! MQTT messages turning on my AC.  Nice!!!

069But that’s not home automation genius!

I know!

I’m getting there.  Geeze!!! Some freaking people am I right?

So time to hook this up in OpenHab.  I already have an MQTT broker configure in OpenHab for my OwnTracks setup.  So we need an Item created first.  So I setup a new Items file called “HVAC.items”

Switch Office_ac "Office AC" {mqtt="&gt;[mqtt-home:esp8266/02/sender/RAW:command:ON:ON],&gt;[mqtt-home:esp8266/02/sender/RAW:command:OFF:OFF]"}

Next let’s add to the sitemap.

Switch item=Office_ac

f1afa6d8e96b6f69bb5c73776177af24Try to keep up, I know it’s crazy difficult with all those configs and what not..  I need a drink.

Sweet.  Now I have a simple on/off switch for my AC.

……still just a remote jackass.




1234931504682 (1)





C’mon.  Can’t we be friends?

I mean, you can be pinkie pie.


Ok cool.

So for the AUTOMATION part, (I’m not bitter), we create a new rules file.  HVAC.rules

rule "Turn On AC"
Time cron "0 17 15 * * ?"
rule "Turn off AC"
Time cron "0 30 22 * * ?"

So now, each evening around the time I start my crazy battle with traffic home (see here), my AC in my office will turn on then turn off each evening at 10:30.

So where do I go from here?  Well, the next step is to use my previously mentioned OwnTracks setup to see precisely when I leave from work and if I pass through a location which indicates my trip home, it will turn on the AC.  This way, it doesn’t matter if I leave work early or late, my AC will know and have an hour to cool down the Lair before I get home.











Green Sprinkler System Project (part 1)

So I don’t know why, but I have over the last year or so really gotten into doing things with renewable resources (mainly solar).   Well, lets say interested in.  I have a couple of solar panels I play with but nothing crazy.

So one day I get this crazy idea in my head.  I need a rain barrel.   But for idea_lightbulbwhat!?!?!  I had no real need for a Rain Barrel.  But this suddenly consumed me.  I NEEDED a rain barrel.  I checked craigslist and found an ad for someone getting rid of one.  Just needed to pick it up.   DONE!.
Now I had my barrel.  Now we need some water collection.   I looked around.  Rain collection can get expensive.  I saw collection systems over $100!!!!  That was crazy! That’s too much!!!



I came across this Instructable – Rain Barrel and Diverter

This was right up my alley.   A couple bucks later I had a bunch of PVC and one saturday (when my step-dad was in town) we threw it together in no time.  Tested it out….  yes, I sprayed my waterhose on the roof to test it.  What’s it to you!?!?  pee_hose

So then when I regained my proper maturity level we waited for a storm.


Hahah b%^&*es I live in FL.  It rains like every 17 minutes during the summer.  So that night my son and I being the geniuses we are,  well, he was just following me, went outside with the flashlight to see how our water collection was doing.   Very surprisingly with just one section of gutter we were getting alot of water fast.   Before morning the barrel was full.

Here is what my setup currently looks like.  2015-05-30 18.08.34






This works surprisingly well.  However, I haven’t gotten to the point.  What am I doing with a 55 gallon drum of water.   Well, nothing…. yet.   Well, we used it a couple times as a sprinkler for the kids over the summer.

IMG_0603I built a little test rig to test out some sprinkler heads, and the kids and dog just ran around in it.   But it worked with my little pump I got from harbor freight.



image_11850This is the one I have. Water Pump.  I got this little pump specifically for a couple reasons.

  1.  Cheap.  This little guy was 40 bucks.
  2.  12v.   Why does that matter?  Because I want to power it off a 12v battery.


I’m sure at this point you are thinking “OK there guy.  So you have a bunch of water, you have a pump that can run off a battery and you have some sprinkler heads.   So what are you getting at…… ”

You hear that?  That was the click of it all coming together.  I am making a self sustaining green sprinkler system.   Rain Barrel to collect the water.   Battery charged from a solar panel to power the pump.  Easy right?  No.  No.  No.

Getting in to researching solar and batteries has forced me to start working on a charge controller circuit for the battery to avoid over charging or over discharging.   Why not buy it?   Harbor Freight has some.  You are right, but I am cheap and just buying stuff would make for this to be a really boring blog.   I would just upload receipts all day.  No spank you.  This is more fun!

IMG_0602So where am I in this whole ordeal?  Well, not as far along as I would like to be.  But I recently was able to test the actual pressure of my pump.  It claims a max of 50psi.  Which is close to the pressure to your house.   But I needed to see some numbers and here they are!  That’s actually higher than I expected considering how rough this pump sounds these days.  I tested a few times and always 30psi or higher.  This is actually really good news.  This means I should have a decent water pressure for my sprinkler heads.   I do not have a large front yard, but I am still looking at 5-6 heads to get the coverage.  In the next week or so I will be modifying my test rig to support 5 heads and see if I can run all 5 or if I need to split it into zones.  I am not opposed to doing the zones split, but it would be easier not to.


So that’s where I am.  The plans as I finish this are below.

  • add additional barrels
  • micro-controller to control when to turn on and off the pump
  • that same micro-controller will read a custom sensor I am building to determine water level to report back to my HA system.
  • HA system will handle the scheduling of watering using advanced rules.  ex: is rain expected in the next 12 hours?  has it rained in the last 12 hours?  If either of those, no need to water.   Is there enough water in the tank to run the pump?



MineCraft Nightlight Christmas Present

Ok, so my son is 8 and that means he automatically likes Pokemon and minecraft.
He also likes anything with LED’s (geek in training I believe… blinky oooooh shiny…. sorry, distracted.)

So awhile back I came across this post BLE controlled Minecraft nightlight.  I figured, this is perfect.  So I started order some parts (making a few changes of my own along the way) and printed out the cube and base.

Adafruit Pro Trinket – 3V 12MHz
Adafruit Neo Pixel Strip
3d Printer
Adafruit BlueFruit LE Bluetooth module


2015-12-16 17.56.55


2015-12-16 17.57.19 2015-12-16 17.57.23

I then soldered up the led strips I had from a different project.  Finished wiring everything up based on Mr. McMillan’s guide.  One of the changes I made was I needed to make a different base piece.   The cover originally designed required some larger feet than I had for it.  So I designed a new piece.

Here is the alternate piece.  Thingiverse

2015-12-16 21.00.042015-12-16 21.00.012015-12-16 20.59.592015-12-16 20.23.34

Had an issue the weekend before christmas and had to order some replacements.  So here I was Christmas Eve soldering everything up.

2015-12-24 16.57.26

And I got it all working just in time.  So Christmas morning it was sitting beside all the presents already lit up.  I didn’t get a pic of it under the tree.  Kind of wish I had.  But here is a pic of it light up on my desk.

2015-12-24 17.50.24