Arduino – Simple weather station

I recently picked up a clone Arduino Uno from China via ebay along with some sensors and other bits and pieces to learn a bit about Arduino – First project a simple weather station.

For wiring instructions and arduino Libraries I used Adafruit, DHT22 here and 16×2 LCD here.

Then cobbling together some code from here which I made a few changes to:

  • Changed Fahrenheit to Celsius
  • Added a degree’s Celsius character
  • Changed the LCD and DHT22 Pins
  • Changed the error code to “looking”
  • Added a five second delay as the humidity reading was flickering on the display
  • Added the F as described in the comments – see bottom of post

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Server Build

I wanted a server for a while to take care of streaming music, streaming films, backup documents, photo storage, print server and anything else I need. I avoided the cheaper generally low powered NAS’s (I have a raspberry Pi that could do that) and decided to essentially build another pc to perform these tasks. It would be more powerful and offer more functionality. It will however cost more to run and take up more space. But I was happy with that.

Kit List

  • AMD APU A6-6400K (second hand)
  • MSI motherboard A88XM-E35 – FM2 socket
  • 4GB Generic RAM – now upgraded to corsair 1600mhz 4GB
  • 500gb Hitachi HDD – now upgraded to 120GB PNY Optima SSD
  • Silverstone SST-PS08W (with USB 3.0) case
  • 1tb data hard drive (see post here)
  • OS – Ubuntu 14.04.1LTS
  • BeQuiet 350w 80+ power supply
  • Pioneer BDC-207DBK Bluray drive
  • Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 rev.2 CPU cooler
  • Arctic mx2 thermal paste
  • Isopropanol alcohol (for cpu cleaning)

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Second Bed Build

Following on from the last bed build (see part 1, part 2), I made a second one. This time a full UK double size rather than a UK small double. As it was a full double I again added the centre 2×4″ and also a centre leg for extra strength.Frame made in the same way as before, 4×1″ for the legs, 2×4″ for the frame and 1×4″ for the slats. Prior to assembly, I cut everything to size, sanded it and varnished with water based polyurethane (dries much faster than oil based).

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Installing A Monitor Mount

I had some spare IT kit and I thought it would be useful have a PC and monitor in the workshop.

I wanted to mount the monitor on the wall out the way, so I purchased the cheapest swivel monitor mount off ebay for about £7.

I was given an old pc minus a hard drive so I found one in the stores and then installed Xubuntu 14.04LTS which was all easy enough, added a £3 ebay usb wi-fi stick and a keyboard and mouse I had kicking about.

To mount it I decided to fix the bracket to a piece of 2×4″ then the 2×4″ to the wall, this will provide four fixings in the wall rather than two so should be more secure.

To begin, I took a piece of scrap 2×4, and bevelled the ends for aesthetics and marked where I wanted the 2×4″ to be fixed to the wall.

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D Link DIR615 Router running DD-WRT

Router D Link 615 – Hardware version D4 + DD-WRT

I wanted to find a router capable of running DD-WRT, this new firmware provides enhanced functionality over the standard stock firmware. Some Buffalo routers come with DD-WRT pre-installed but I struggled to find any nearby. So the search was on, I first looked for new routers and found a few from TP Link, but having had problems with some homeplugs (powerline adapters) I decided to keep looking and happened to find that D-Link DIR 615 cable routers would great with DD-WRT. These routers also happened to have been sent out by one of the big UK internet service providers meaning there are plenty on e-bay, still boxed and never used. So just under £9 later (inc P+P) I had a D-Link 615 (revision: D4) cable router.

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Wooden speaker brackets from 2×4″ and 2×3″

I wanted to make some speaker brackets for the new (old) mission speakers I acquired for the workshop and having some scrap 2×4″, 2×3″ and MDF, I made up these.

I was inspired by this design from instructables LINK. I choose to amend the design by choosing to use lots of wood glue(!) and mitred some of the edges for aesthetics.

I cut the pieces to size, sanded and fixed with wood screws and lots of wood glue. These will easily support the speakers and I think look good. By cutting the 2×3″ this way it will ensure that there is plenty of room to fix the brackets to the wall either side of the brace. I used two fixings at the top and one fixing at the bottom. This seems to be holding them very securely.

Parts cut

Job done.

Workmate table top

Workmate table top

I wanted to build a worktop to be clamped into a workmate or folding workbench to provide a larger working area and as I had some spare 18mm MDF, 2×2″ and 2×3″ CLS I used them. MDF can and does warp so I framed the edges with the 2×3″ which I glued and clamped and then drove a few screws to hold in place. This will provide extra strength and also provide a surface to clamp against.

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Building a bookcase

Building  a bookcase from pine as a present, here is the finished result:

After looking online for a while I found these plans which looked easy to build and would disassemble for moving.

So after settling on the plans I gathered up the following:

  • 1×9″ PSE Pine x4@ 1.8m
  • 1×4″ PSE Pine x6 @ 900mm
  • M8 300mm Threaded rod
  • M8 Lock Nuts
  • M8 Penny Washers
  • Polyurethane Varnish (oil based)

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Raspberry PI

I picked up a raspberry pi to experiment with, here is the board in all its glory:

Its a tiny credit card sized linux computer, find out more info here. Its the Model B version with networking and with a CPU running stock at 700mhz.

I also picked up a case from Mod my pi and a 16gb Intergral class 10 SD card. Its powered by a micro usb PSU providing at least 700mA so I found an old blackberry charger that seems to be working fine. Once the HDMI cable and a logitech wireless keyboard and mouse I was ready to started playing. I downloaded the new operating system software from the Raspberry Pi website NOOBs (new out of box software) which includes a few different OS’s to choose from. I stuck with Raspian first which installed reasonably quickly and booted fine. Then I overclocked the pi to 800mhz (a “modest” overclock) by amending the config file to provide a bit of extra speed – this will not void the warranty and is super quick.

I am hoping to use it as a small energy efficient file server a bit like this.

Making Ladder Wall Storage Hooks

After buying a new ladder, I needed some brackets to get it off the floor and out of harms way, so I made up some brackets from 2×3″ and chipboard  that I happened to have lying around.

Here they are complete, very simple design fixed with lots of wood glue and 42mm drywall screws. They are secured to the wall with 3 3″x10 screws each.  They have and will hopefully continue to prove capable of supporting the 20kg ladder. To finish I wiped them over with a quick coat of danish oil. Job done.

 

Making Speaker Jumper Cables

Making Jumper Cables for speakers with bi-wire terminals

In Situ

This is a quick upgrade for speakers with bi-wire terminals. My stereo amp only has one speaker stage (eg: one set of speaker terminals) and my speakers have bi wire inputs (eg: 2 sets of terminals), so I replaced the crude metal washers with a short length of speaker cable to bridge the signal. I am sceptical whether it makes much difference as with most things in hi-fi there is a lot of snake oil, but it was quick and very cheap.

Regarding speaker cable I use Vandame Blue 2.5mm (this is studio quality speaker cable and can be sourced quite cheaply online. Personally I do not see any need to spend more, this is very good quality copper cable with a durable jacket to protect the cable).

To make just take an extra piece of cable, remove the outer protective layer to split the red and blue cables. Then strip the insulation on both ends and fix a banana plug to one and leave the other end bare wire. You could attach a spade terminal if desired (the bare copper will tarnish in time).

Then just connect up, not sure if it sounds any better but it does look better.