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61  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Newbie project on: February 26, 2013, 09:42:03 am
The current draw is the big item.  The higher you go, the harder it is to deal with physically.  I measure up to 200A and wanted to avoid devices that were put in series with the current, so I used a current sensor (google it).  The device you show is fine up to 50A or so, although the wires get pretty darn big there as well.  For real accuracy, you will want to measure the voltage also so think about how you're going to sample that.  There's a web site that discusses this is huge detail openenergymonitor.org take a look there for ideas.

They're in Wales so you should be able to drop them a note if you want to.
62  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Runing small program in main loop on: February 26, 2013, 09:30:29 am
Yes, you can do outside temperature by simply putting a sensor outside under an eave or something.  You can also get the weather off the internet and do it that way. 

Have fun.
63  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Runing small program in main loop on: February 26, 2013, 02:24:36 am
I'm starting to understand, but remember that I can't guess what you want to do, you have to actually tell me.

But, look in the arduino playground for the Time library and the TimeAlarm library.  With these two libraries you can set up the arduino to know the time, then you can set alarms to do things like turn on the relay at a given time or for a given duration.  So, set the time, then set up alarms based on the day and time, then set an alarm for the duration to turn it back off.  You can do this based on the actual day you want something to happen or you can set it up to operate on outside temperature...whatever you need.

I have alarms that change the temperature inside my house based on the time of day.  For example at 7:00PM, I set the house up for night time, then at 8:00AM, I set the temperature for daytime.  I turn my hot water heater off during the day so that it doesn't run unnecessarily when no one is using hot water.  You loop code can do practically nothing once you set the alarms up and they're easy to change if you want to.

Does this help?
64  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Arduino+Xbee on: February 25, 2013, 08:31:01 pm
I'm assuming you have a series 2 or better XBee.

So, you just want to send the pulse using an XBee.  I haven't used a ping sensor, so I don't have any built in prejudices, but I have a bunch of XBees.  First, the XBee is 3V, so if that is enough to trigger the ping, you can hook it to a digital out pin on the XBee and set it high, then low in two different transmissions (or the other way around).  The problem is that you have to be in API mode at both ends and the time the pin is high is indeterminate because you don't have full control of the time the transmissions take.  

But, that doesn't appear to be what they're doing.  It looks to me like they're using an XBee like a timer and taking the fact that it just turned on to send a pulse to the ultrasonic transmitter.  Expensive little timer, but it may be something they had on hand.  To have the XBee do this you want to look at the sleep sections of the Digi document.  Just have it shut down (sleep) and turn on however often you want it to.  Then find a pin to take the pulse off of and go for it.  I'm supported in this by the fact there aren't two XBees in the presentation.

Oh, and you can program a series 2 XBee, but it's a total pain in the bottom.  You basically replace the bootloader on the XBee with a different one of your own design and the entire XBee becomes yours; haven't done it, and it isn't documented very well.  There's also a programmable XBee that is roughly an MCU connected directly to the XBee, but I know nothing about those devices.
65  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Runing small program in main loop on: February 25, 2013, 12:38:32 pm
Mikee, I'm sorry, but that doesn't help any.  You said you were turning on a vent, and with a proper relay, the digital pin can do that for you.  Turn the pin on, it closes a relay and the vent starts running.  Turn the pin off and the relay opens and the vent shuts down.

If you need to do something else, what?  Do you have any other code for this project?  Any overall description?  Something.
66  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Runing small program in main loop on: February 25, 2013, 11:01:41 am
I'm at a loss.  I don't understand what you need advice for.  You've already done what you needed to do by setting the digital pin, why would you need any other loops?
67  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: February 21, 2013, 02:02:15 am
Sure, I have a mega2560 that gathers data from around my house and forwards it to Cosm, thingspeak, and emoncms.  It also has webserver code to present a page showing what is going on around the house.  On that page are a number of buttons that, when clicked, cause some action.  Things like turning the pool pump on and off, raising and lowering the temperature in the house, opening or closing the garage doors, that kind of thing.  I have a description of it on my blog, but the code is a bit out of date.  I recently took on the task of moving all my devices up to Arduino IDE 1.0.3 and haven't gotten around to updating the various source code examples to reflect it.

However, feel free to look around.  The specific device that hooks to the internet for information upload to the services and web control of the house is here and the blog where a lot of this is explained is here.  Feel free to wander around and grab anything you want.
68  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: February 20, 2013, 09:44:15 pm
Thank you.  I've had good luck with Cosm for the last few months (both of them) and it looks like they have conquered their problems.  I'm not sure what you mean by digital data on thingspeak.  I send floating point and integer data to it all the time.  If you mean text, they have a status that can be used, but I haven't messed with it yet.  Other folks have though.  If you need location, I think they have a way to do it, but you'd have to check the documentation to see how.
69  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Alternatives to Pachube/Cosm on: February 20, 2013, 04:49:13 pm
Thank you.

No, I didn't implement control through the sites.  I could have with Cosm and probably the others as well, but I like my control through my own little arduino web server.  I can do anything to it I want to without figuring out some weird API.  Besides, it's faster since I don't have to wait for somebody else's server to get around to me.  There are many folk out there that have implemented control though.
70  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: How do I check I have ethernet connection without delay ? on: February 18, 2013, 02:05:06 pm
I don't know if this will do it for you, but I had a similar problem with connecting to internet servers.  Sometimes they would take quite a while to respond and my little Arduino would patiently set there waiting for them until my watchdog timer expired and rebooted the machine.  Initially I put a timer in the ethernet code to support passing a timeout on connection with the connect.  That worked really well, but when I updated the code to IDE version 1.0.3 I looked around for another solution.

There are two parameters you can play with that will change the timeout period in your code and this is how I use them:
Code:
#include <utility/w5100.h>  // add this up where your includes are

//Then later in the code where appropriate put these two lines in
  W5100.setRetransmissionTime(2000);  // sets up a short timeout for ethernet connections
  W5100.setRetransmissionCount(3);

So, take a look at the ethernet code and play with these.  They totally solved the problem for me by reducing the attempted time for connection (or connection failure) so I can deal with it before my watchdog times out.
71  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Bees shield (2.12) + Seeeduino Mega 2560 (v3.0) wireless programming on: February 18, 2013, 01:26:22 pm
That I just don't know.  I've only experimented with the upload speed on the older Arduino boards and don't know much about the newer bootloaders.  However, you can check the source to see what they do about setting the port.  Also, you probably already know this, but you can set the sending XBee to one speed and the receiving XBee to another speed and it will work just fine as far as the XBees go. 

For example, you can set the sending XBee to 9600 and the receiving to 115K and the XBees will be fine with it.  I don't know what the bootloader will do with that.  But, it should get around the problem of the bootloader having a set speed that it works at that can't be changed.
72  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Bees shield (2.12) + Seeeduino Mega 2560 (v3.0) wireless programming on: February 18, 2013, 12:56:57 am
No, but you may be able to change the baud rate down to something lower and get it to work.  The file boards.txt has the baud rate the board should be loaded with.  You can set it to something lower in the file.  You could be outrunning the XBees, especially with long packets and such.  I'd take it down to something like 9600 and see if something changes.
73  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Bees shield (2.12) + Seeeduino Mega 2560 (v3.0) wireless programming on: February 17, 2013, 11:07:34 pm
The bootloader for the 2560 is a continuing problem.  I have info about this on my blog here.

This problem is really annoying, but there are a couple of solutions for it now.  You DO have to reprogram the bootloader though to eliminate the problem.  If it's something as simple as having three exclamation points in a row in your source, you can fix that pretty easily.
74  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: mesh network between xbee pro s2b on: February 16, 2013, 11:07:24 am
I was sniffing the network and looking for actual transmissions; didn't even bother to look at the lights because they are inside a box.  I have to sniff them because most of them don't broadcast anymore, they have specific addresses to transmit to.  When the coordinator was unplugged, nothing changed except the time transmissions that the coordinator is in charge of.  Then I took down the router, which is an outside sensor for temperature; I popped the GFI it's plugged into.  When I turned on the router, it didn't come back.  I waited quite a while, well many, many commercials on the TV, and it never sent anything.  It's not in the path of any other XBees, so I couldn't tell if it would relay.

Crawled up and turned the coordinator back on and it started working really quickly, then I noticed transmissions from the temperature sensor start up a couple of seconds later.  All the time a couple of battery monitors that are configured as end devices and sleep for around a minute between transmissions were just talking away like they didn't notice anything.

So, it certainly wasn't a scientific test, but it did prove the coordinator can be turned off after the entire network is established.  Don't know about the router, but it was sure silent from the time I turned it off until a second or two after the coordinator came back on.
75  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: mesh network between xbee pro s2b on: February 15, 2013, 11:37:30 pm
I just shut down my coordinator, and sure enough, the other devices kept working.  Then I shut down one of the other devices (a router) and turned it back on, it couldn't connect.  I let it try while I crawled back up into the attic and turned on the coordinator and the disconnected router hooked up in a few seconds.  There was an end device sleeping and waking up the entire time that kept working just fine through the whole episode.  WTF??

You learn something new about these little things every darn day.  I have suffered through hundreds of power failures and the network doesn't come back up until the coordinator does, I guess that's why.  I never thought to just turn off the coordinator and see what happened.
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