Sunday, June 23, 2019

Puttering in the Shop - Thrift Shop Weather Station Rehab

A Thrift Store find looks forward to a better future

A couple of months ago I posted about a recent trip to my local thrift shop. While I did have some fun looking at the weird and wacky things that were on sale there, I also treated the trip as a bit of a scouting mission for potential project ideas. 

During that visit, I came across a small desktop weather station that contained a clock, a thermometer, and a hygrometer.  

The weather station was a rather cheap looking affair with a price to match (less than $2). Needless to say, it wasn't really much to look at. 

However, when I looked past the cheap plastic, I noticed that the thermometer and the hygrometer were in really good condition. 

They were just crying out to be put into a better home.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Puttering in the Shop - Building a Stevenson Screen for the IOT Weather Station

Stevenson Screen installed

The last time I talked about the IOT weather station, I had just finished putting together a workable way to power the station with solar power.

Now that I have the electronic solution worked out, the final step was to house everything in a weather resistant enclosure that still allowed the station access to the outside air in order to ensure accurate readings.

Basically what I needed to construct was a Stevenson Screen.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

"Let's Be Careful Out There"

Though nicely healing up, there is a cautionary tale to be told

While this may horribly date me, that was the famous catchphrase of Sgt Phil Esterhaus from Hill Street Blues.

While it was meant to be advice for law enforcement officers that were going on duty, it is also very good advice of those of us that use tools that are powered and very sharp, often at the same time.

I've been using power saws and other such devices since I was a young teenager and I always treated those tools with a great deal of respect.

For many years (decades even) about the only injury that I ever got was the occasional sliver.

But all that good karma with power tools can be for naught if you are only distracted for a second when one of these things are running.

Such was the case for me last fall.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Project - The Backwards Alarm Clock

You really need to look twice to figure out the time

This project originally evolved from another project that I had made several years ago.

Back then I created a clock that hung on the wall in my office at work.  What made this clock unique was that I was able to make the hands move backward by making a very simple change to the clock movement. At that time, the clock caused a few of my co-workers to do a double take.

Fast forward to today, I was recently in need of a new alarm clock. While it would have been pretty easy to pop down to the store and buy a regular run of the mill clock radio, I figured that this would be a great opportunity to try my hand at building another backward clock - but instead of  having it just hang on a wall, it would serve as my new wake up tool.

All the gory details on how I built this clock can be found here

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Puttering in the Shop - Taking The IOT Weather Station Off the Grid

NodeMCU weather station hooked up to a solar charger circuit

A few weeks ago I put together a simple weather station using a NodeMCU based IOT device and a DHT22 temperature module.  I had the device sent its data to a cloud service where I would be able to see what the temperature and humidity were at my house from literally anywhere in the world.

While I was happy in how things turned out in order to power up the station I needed to have it connected to a USB power source.  Since I wanted to have the weather station to be located outside, I needed to find a way to keep it powered up without the need for it to be plugged into a wall socket.,

Since the NodeMCU only requires 5 volts to run, it does make it a perfect candidate to run off a battery. If it can be run off a battery, then that also means that the battery itself can be charged with a solar cell.