RFXtrx433E, Node-RED, MQTT and Home Assistant

This post describes how I have setup an RFXtrx433E device with a Raspberry Pi to transform data from inexpensive 433 MHz motion- and climate-sensors into MQTT messages on my local network. With the data available as MQTT messages I can store the data in InfluxDB for viewing in Grafana, show the data in Home Assistant and route the data to cloud services.

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The MicroPython Lego Bot

In the quest for getting my kids interested in coding, I’ve decided to make them a message controlled bot car with Lego bricks and an ESP8266 board. The idea is to have an environment where we can jointly program a sequence of actions that can be sent via WiFi to the bot for execution. With this setup we can make challenges like creating the optimal sequence for navigating through a maze or simply try out crazy movements & mayhem just for the fun of it. Hopefully, having an assignment were you need to connect an abstraction like a sequence of symbols with a physical object will ignite a spark of interest for electronics and the basics of programming.

This post describes the first part of this project. I will use Lego bricks and some servos to build a car bot and mount an ESP8266 board loaded with MicroPython. To begin with, the bot will be controlled via WiFi through MicroPython’s WebREPL.

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A sensor monitor with OLED in MicroPython

I have different sensor nodes at home that publish measurements at regular intervals to a Raspberry Pi. The data is stored on the RPi and in a cloud service and can be viewed with various applications. As my most common use case is to view the latest value of a particular sensor, I would like to have a mounted low-powered display in the kitchen to show the latest values from my sensors.

In this post I will show how I have used an Adafruit Feather Huzzah and a FeatherWing OLED that monitors the latest messages from my sensors. To get out of my normal comfort zone (Arduino IDE with C/C++), I will use MicroPython for the implementation.

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Preparing the remote control app for Christmas

Winter is soon to arrive in Sweden and the amount of daylight is decreasing every day. Thus it’s time to set up some extra light sources indoors and outdoors. I have been using my web app for remote controlled outlets (link) for some months now, but with the additional light sources needed for this time of year, I have to extend the application. As Sweden goes into the dark season I would also like to have an on/off schedule for some of the lights so that they are turned on/off automatically according to a set of specified events.

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Radio chirp data incorporated in an MQTT environment

Internet-of-things does not require that every device has to be directly connected to the Internet. The complexity and possible security issues with every sensor having its own IP address would in fact be overwhelming. A better approach would be to use more light-weight protocols for the sensor and actuator data and locally aggregate and filter these data at common points before making them available on the Internet. In this post I will describe a theory and implementation of transmitting small radio chirp messages from an Arduino Pro mini and then receive these data on a Raspberry Pi for transformation to MQTT messages for the Internet.

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MicroPython and ESP8266

During the past 6 months  I have grown into a big fan of the Python programming language. I have also found a new passion in tinkering with the versatile and inexpensive ESP8266 microcontroller boards. For the embedded programming I usually stick with Arduino IDE and C/C++, but as there now is a Python implementation for ESP8266 available, I have to try it out and see if I can combine my two latest passions. In this post I will describe my first experiments with MicroPython on an ESP8266 board (an Adafruit Feather Huzzah).

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A low energy open door detector with radio signals and MQTT

This blog post describes how I have set up a door-open detector at home. It uses a small ATtiny85 board that broadcasts a 433 MHz signal every time the door is opened. The signal is fetched by a Raspberry Pi that in turn publishes an MQTT message that results in the event being stored in a database and also being re-published to a cloud service. The circuit is only active when the door is open (and in that state only consumes 10mA), so the whole setup can be driven by a battery pack that is bound to last for a very long time.

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