Know when washing machine stops

Hi there,

I've started considering the project of knowing when my washing machine stops.

I want to use some sort of a vibration sensor with the Arduino as well the WiFi module ESP8266 to send alerts to my phone.

To use the ESP8266, is there anything else I need? (other than things like the Arduino, sensors, basic circuit components and various accounts ill have to create)

As far as I'm aware, I only need the WiFi module and it set it up appropriately.

Thanks in advance

I think your method is likely to fail. Washing machines don't vibrate much when they're sitting there bringing the water up to temperature.

I think a better alternative would be to look at the indicators that show on the front of the machine once the cycle is complete. With a bit of investigation with a multimeter I'm sure you'd be able to find a far more reliable signal.

Measuring the current drawn by the machine might be a better idea. Heaters and motors take a lot of current, indicators don't.

I see, I thought vibration would do the trick.

How would I setup my device such that it measure current drawn - id assume im looking for the moment when current is no longer being drawn

and then i would send a message to my phone.

Would I Have to use a Current Transformer?

Washing machines don't constantly draw a lot of current. They'll open valves to allow water in. They'll close the valves and wait (to allow the water time to settle) check for level and repeat. If the water is up to temperature, they'll tumble the clothes this way, pause, then the other way etc... Then there are "soak" periods where it may just let the clothing sit. There will be many places that the machine is drawing too little current to be detected as part of an active cycle.

I think you'd have far better results by checking out the controller being used on your machine. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find a low voltage signal that could be used directly by your arduino. An opto issolator could be used to be on the safe side.

BTW do you have a model number for the machine in question?

Would this controller be on the front of the machine, Im not sure I want to start taking it apart unless I know where it is

Even so, how would i find the signal and use it on my UNO.

I really thought this would be much simpler, haha.

The washing machine I have is

miele Honeycomb care w 3725

if it makes a noise at the end of the wash you may be able to pick up a signal off the speaker say when speaker has power send you a message.
a non intrucive way might be to find a way for the arduino to listen for the chime at the end. Im sure there will be a way for arduinos to look for specific sounds.

cool idea though looking forward to seeing how you do this

What do you think it will cost you to have that phone message always sent? What good will a phone message do when you are not at home? How much cheaper and easier to set up an in-house signal?

Replace the sequencer in the washing machine with a arduino that both controls the machine and has a webserver with status logs and alarms... Add a ct and get logging of the energy usage as well. Your warranty will be void though

I like that, Nilton. It would make a good project to make replacement/upgrade controllers for out of warranty to broken washing machines. Karma to you!

But I think that step 1 is to monitor/log the controller a working model has first, not just IO but levels and temperatures and spin rates, which is a good bit.

With a monitor system and logs it might be possible to track a complete wash cycle and know when it's over.

You can pick up vibrations even down to valves turning with an acoustic instrument pickup, aka piezo disk. Look those up on youtube, search arduino piezo and see how many hits you get. Also try piezo ants and piezo generator. I used diodes, caps and transistors to filter piezo AC inputs for an Uno touch/force sensor.

Vibration detection may be enough. If you find out by experiment when there's sufficient movement for an accelerometer to sense, knowledge of the machine's cycle would let you deduce just by timing when the wash should be complete.

Of course, you'll have to test each wash program to figure out when vibration kicks in, but I'd expect that you can code something up that can tell you the machine has stopped, even if it can't tell you to the second.

Thanks for your suggestions everyone! ill try to come up with something - ill post when I actually start it etc.

There are a number of sensors like these http://www.onsetcomp.com/products/sensors/csv-a8 available. Some use wraps of wire. On nay event, it is an isolated contact from the mains. You just have to find one wire to place it on. Externally would work too.

In some respects, it depends on the algorithm chosen. It would not be on every off transition and the exact time it turns off isn't that important either.

Send after it's been off for a certain amount of time. Say 3-5 minutes. If the sensor can get overloaded get overloaded you can also look at the voltage applied to the hot and cold water valves. My washer is still dial based, so detecting power to the timer motor would work.

These http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/626/IO_Mod_AC_Input-335391.pdf sorts of I/O modules give you an isolated contact for various types of signals. Some, not these. have actual screw terminals.

The water valves might only draw a few watts and the motor draws more. I might tend to fiddle with the washer. There could be a few false sends, but who cares.

My washing machine doesn't have an indictor led to show the end of a cycle, so I'm going adapt this idea: http://www.instructables.com/id/Washer-Dryer-Laundry-Alarm-using-Arudino-SMS-Text-/

It works with vibration, so I won't receive a message until +/- 5 minutes after the cycle has finished, but it's better than nothing. With voltage measuring I'd have to wait a few minutes as well, and the vibration sensor was cheaper than the voltage sensor.

Sometimes we use technology just because it's there. I only ever use my washing machine on quick wash, which takes just over 25 minutes. I look at the time when I switch it on, and go back in half-an-hour.

As I type this, my daughter just said she's putting on a wash and would I mind hanging it up when it's done. Time now just before 12h30. Note To Self: hang Mo's wash up at 13h00.

You are so clever JimboZA. You have such an ingenious solution.

I want to do these things because I can and I would like to get better at electronics and things like that.