Project – Internet Enabled Multi-zone Thermostat (DesignSpark Challenge Entry)

I’m currently working on documenting this project but, here is a link to my entry for the DesignSpark Challenge. The competition has already been decided and my entry garnered an honorable mention award! This was the first competition that I entered and to win an honorable mention out of over 1000 entrants means a lot to me. I also won a Community Choice Award during the competition for the most popular project. I have to say this was a difficult competition as there was a lot of requirements. For instance, I had to learn how to use DesignSpark PCB as it was required to produce an extension board for the ChipKit Max32. I had to learn the ins and outs of the Max32 as it is/was not entirely compatible with all of the Arduino libraries. This meant some modifications to libaries in order to make them compatible with the Max32. Lastly, there was a long wait for the PCBs to be shipped from China which meant any mistakes in the board files meant lost development time (I made a few mistakes). Time management was definitely crucial in this competition and I ran all the way until the last few minutes for project completion trying to get everything together. A few mistakes kept me from adding all of the software features that I had intended but, I have pretty much completed them since the competition. Check out my entry here and be on the look out for full documentation on my blog to include some extension projects (There’s a lot of goodies in this design that can be carried over into other projects).

Tutorials – Eagle Tutorials from Around the Web

I have used many schematic/PCB capture applications and I find that Cadsoft Eagle seems to be the standard for hobbyists.  As such, there are some peculiar features that takes some getting use to.  For instance, the user interface does not function like many point-n-click applications.  You can Google eagle tutorials and find plenty.

 

 

Below are some of my favorites:

Parts – DC 12V 2A Switching Power Supply Transformer

Here is another parts post for a 12V @2A switching power supply. This unit is small and has an aluminum case with cutouts for mounting. I used this power supply in my Reflow Controller project.  You can find it on ebay here (link will expire) or search for a DC 12V 2A Switching Power Supply Regulated.  You will more than likely get multiple results.

  

  

Parts – DC 5V 2A Switching Power Supply Transformer

Most of my projects require some type of power source. Now, I could go the DIY route and build my own power supply or I can do a search on ebay and find what I am looking for already finished and ready to go. Here we have a Minghuada MHD-10VA switching power supply that accepts 110-220VAC and outputs 5V @2A. This unit is small and has an aluminum case with cutouts for mounting. You can find it on ebay here  (link will expire) or search for a DC 5V 2A Switching Power Supply Regulated.  You will more than likely get multiple results.

  

  

Projects – Hobbybotics Reflow Controller V8.03

A while ago I decided to start designing my circuits using Surface Mount Devices (SMD).  There are many advantages to using SMD components over through-hole components.  Some of the major advantages are size and cost.  The smaller size means I can make the circuit boards smaller.  In addition, smaller components and smaller circuit boards means lower costs.  One of the disadvantages to SMD components is they are more difficult to solder than through-hole components.  The solution is to use what is called a reflow oven.  The following project details how I designed and built a reflow controller based on a MAX6675 Thermocouple interface and use it to control a common toaster oven in order to reflow surface mount circuits.  Check out the project here.

Projects – Hobbybotics SHT1x Humidity/Temperature Breakout V1.0

I designed a breakout board for the Sensirion SHT1x Humidity and Temperature Sensors.  The SHT1x family of sensors can measure relative humidity, temperature Celsius and temperature Fahrenheit.  My plans are to use the design for various heating and control projects such as a wireless thermostat, greenhouse controller and some environmental projects.  The project link details a SHT15 but, any of the sensors that share a common footprint can be used with the breakout board.  I also developed (modified) an Arduino library for use with the Sensirion sensors.  Check out the project here.