The stupidity of thin laptops

Disclaimer: don’t take this article too seriously, it’s a rant. But it does highlight the problems in the industry. The need My 7 year old laptop needs replacement and I thought I would go for a more powerful, thin, beautiful new one. Most of the use is still going to be light: web browsing, document work, video watching, some CAD design, some coding and the occasional data analysis (CPU/GPU intensive) and .. not going to lie… Continue reading

Ikea TRÅDFRI review

Intro Part of my home automation project I would have some controllable lights, of course. On one hand, I used quite a few LED strips, controlled by dimmer modules. On the other, current technology allows for a plethora of wireless light bulbs.  Philips HUE is probably the biggest and best known because it has existed for quite a long time, but I am not that attracted due to the price. Once Ikea came up with… Continue reading

TP-Link KL50 smart light bulb teardown

Intro When I saw this KL50 wifi light bulb on sale, I thought I want to grab one and see what is inside. A quick search revealed no details about the insides of filament WiFi light bulbs. Short review The light worked well from the start, discovering and connecting it through the WiFi was straight up. It does what it promises, quite a nice diffuse and rather warm light. I have slightly colder lights in… Continue reading

Technology I want

Intro Sometimes in life you find that there is a piece of tech you would like to have but it’s not there. Well, here’s my list. In general, things in the list are either a combination of things or small feature additions. But everything here is totally possible, not some imagined magical devices. Occasionally, there may be something that is highly unpopular, but still present in the market. The article changes, as I add new ideas… Continue reading

Fast 3D printed boxes

Intro Finding the proper box for my sensors is not easy. But even after finding one that mostly worked, I wanted to explore more sensors and still have a bit of freedom while doing that. Of course, that means 3D printing with the new 3D printer. There is just one problem …. 3D printed boxes take a long time to 3D print. An example Here is the newest sensor module I designed, which can fit… Continue reading

The basil speaks to me – Part 2

This is highly experimental But of course, once the soil moisture is read out, it’s only a matter of time before automatic watering has to happen. Add one beefy (..ish) MOSFET and a small pump You get one basil with automatic watering. The setup now looks like this The watering algorithm Is very simple: I wait until the moisture level drops under a low threshold. Then I go into water mode: as long as the… Continue reading

10002 Server

Intro In my initial thoughts about the smart home system architecture, the server was most likely a raspberry pi: At that time it seemed the PI was apt for it. And a raspberry pi 2 served me well for a while, and then I moved to a pi 3 and everything was good. Until it was not enough… What happened? I had mosquitto and node-red as the main things running. And I added some simple… Continue reading

10002 I2C connectors

Intro In my first iteration of sensors I relied on wire connections between sensors and the actual node board. The result for a motion sensor and a temperature and humidity sensor looks like this The problem with that is that during sensor modules assembly run I spend quite a bit of time on the wiring. On top of that, the result is a mess of small wires inside a box. It makes it hard to… Continue reading

10002 Screens and controls

Intro There is no point in having a smart home if you don’t see interesting information or control things. The traditional way, ever since the concept of smart home came to be, is to have some sort of central control panel for everything. In today’s world, that would be a tablet. In my attempt to do that, I ran into the control panel horror. What else? In parallel to this, I thought about the idea… Continue reading

10002 Zen

Zen At some point I though about building the smallest PCB for a sensor node that I could. Hence, the ZEN was born. The PCB is small enough to fit on a holder of 2 AA batteries. Where I have only build a few of these. Here is one reading the soil moisture sensor on basil. Here is another one chilling in the fridge, reading a temperature sensor. And here is one replacing the alarm… Continue reading