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.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Harvesting Electronic Components

The bounty that awaits within junk electronics

We seem to live in a world today where what was once the latest and greatest in tech gizmos very quickly become obsolete and subsequently are disposed of as useless junk.

Often times, the device in question for the most part still works fine, it perhaps just isn't as fast as the next new thing or it doesn't have the latest cool features.

Thankfully a lot of people will make an effort to ensure that their electronic orphans go to a proper home, be it by being donated to a charitable cause, or routing them to the local e-waste recycling center.

In my line of work, I come across a lot of desktop computers that have gotten too long in the tooth to be used in a typical business setting.

While they no longer pass muster in their old life, after a bit of a tune up and a full scrubbing of the hard disks, I often can find new homes for those old PCs by donating them to a local charity that runs a small computer lab for kids to use.

Occasionally I do come across a computer that is a total basket case in which no amount of polishing will make it shine again.

While I could simply just toss the whole thing into the e-waste bin myself, I have found that these old machines still have parts that can still live on as part of something else.

We just need to bring in the harvest, so to speak.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Project - Lighted Curio Box


As mementos of an experience of a lifetime in Europe, my daughter collected a series of commemorative coins during her time there. When she returned home I didn't want these reminders of this experience to merely languish in a cardboard box in a closet somewhere.

With this in mind, I wanted to create something special as a Christmas gift to my daughter - something that would showcase and protect the memories that she came home with.

With some extra wood that I had left over from previous projects and some "junk" electronic parts, I was able to build this curio box that would light up and showcase the treasures that it held within.

All the details on how I built this keepsake box can be found here.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Salvaging LED's

I got a bunch of white LED's for free - though I had to do a bit of work for them


While you can purchase LED's from almost any source, I usually try and get my source of parts from things that are on the way to the local landfill.

In this particular case, I had a string of defunct white Christmas lights that contained approximately 50 white LED's. To salvage the LED"s from the string, I first had to cut the individual "bulbs" off of the light string with a pair of wire cutters.