Tech Marinade
Uncovering Hidden Innovation in DIY Electronics
Tutorial Roundup #7
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 12.14.2013 Features

This week we dive into a couple home automation tutorials using controlled outlets. Both interact with the outlets using different methods. Try out whichever you like best! Or both!

F40TFTKH8FYOZU5.MEDIUM[1]Home Automation and Reverse Engineering and More!

On the surface this tutorial is about setting up a home automation system. The goal of the project is to be able to wirelessly control multiple outlets throughout your home. Simple concept, but awesome execution.

See, in this tutorial, you also get to reverse-engineer a wireless protocol and implement a Dickson charge pump. It’s a three-in-one deal.

On the flip-side, this tutorial also requires some competency in oscilloscope usage and C/C++ programming. Tutorial author CalcProgrammer1 explains the project in a generic manner to fit any type of microcontroller setup, but an Arduino Uno would work fine. In fact, using an Arduino would probably be the simplest method because the built-in Serial Monitor in the IDE can roughly replace writing your own command-line software.

In Step 3, it is a little unclear what is meant by “build a switch/case or cascading if/else statement with one of these blocks for each button, using outlet number and switch state as your if/else conditions.” Checking the attached code, it looks like PC program sends two values: the outlet choice and the state, on or off. The switch/case or if/else statements are separated by outlet number and command. Each variation (3 outlets times 2 states in the case of the tutorial’s example) has a unique command broadcast wirelessly.

The example code uses interrupts to acquire the command from the PC, but you could just as easily use a busy-waiting loop.

Overall, this is not a beginner’s tutorial, but it can be very educational.

Read it here.

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Electric Imp Powered Electrical Outlet Instructable
by Ryan Sailor ▪ 11.29.2013 Learn

FCO0W0XHMVJGVLQ.MEDIUM[1]Want to make a remote-controlled outlet?

Instructables user MidnightMaker needed a modern solution for controlling the new, hard-to-reach, florescent lights in his garage. First, he tried using a Stanley Remote Powered Outlet, but after three device failures, he needed a better solution. Like a true Maker, he decided to retrofit the Stanley outlet with his own circuit based around an Electric Imp.

The parts for the project will cost you about $80 plus shipping, more or less. It requires a little technical skill, some cutting, some soldering, and some coding. The instructions are detailed and well-written so it can be an enjoyable weekend project.

Read the instructable here.

Tutorial Roundup will return in full next week! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with Maker news.

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