Lifelong Learning Knowledge should be uncompromisingly sought after and freely given away.


Cheap Environment Sensing With ESP8266 & MQTT

Several years back, I got into the home automation game, sadly for me, at the time I was trying to automate "all the things", it was just too chaotic lacking any standardization, was severely limited in what you could do, and was crazy expensive. While trying to find a solution for the IOT cloud issues I was having with my last project, I stumbled upon Home Assistant, specifically HASS.IO. It's an open-source community driven solution for home automation, fully-embraced MQTT (which was what I needed), and was very actively being developed. It solved the need for the project I was finishing as it could ingest MQTT data, store it for a few weeks, and provide graphs, etc. But as I got running with it, I realized how powerful it was and how much more mature and accessible home automation had gotten. Fast-forward a few months, and I've completed my first take at a super inexpensive environment monitor for home automation (or any other need).

These sensors are super accurate, small, versatile, and best yet, they are super cheap! I designed this particular incarnation to sense the environmental elements, specifically the temperature, the humidity, and the barometric pressure. They are driven by the fantastically cheap ESP8266 and leverage MQTT as the mechanism to feed my HASS.IO instance with the data. For more flexibility and convenience, the boards are designed to support programming of the ESP8266 in-circuit which does drive up the costs but those components are only required if you wish to use this PCB for programming the ESP8266. I'll build the sensors I deploy without them which makes the total cost for a sensor (without the programming bits) $13.91 USD (with USB cable and wall-wart it's $16.14 USD). This makes this sensor far cheaper (and more rewarding) than anything else available on the market.


Sensor Data Populating My HA Instance


I've moved all schematics, code, and images of all my builds to my account. You can find all the files related to this particular build here.


The wonderous Arduino board…

Arduino Board

A few weeks back my wife decided to send me a link at work with some DIY doggie stairs project. A subtle sugestion I think to get me to add this to my list of DIY all honesty I figured this was just the project to get my mind of the madness of work. Besides, it would allow me to fire up my lovely collection of power tools, I decided right then to move this project to the top of my list. I headed out to Google to research (as I do with all my projects). After a few hours reading through the numerous DIY doggie stairs projects I found one here that I thought I'd use as the framework for my project.

You'll quickly see why I chose this one to base my project off of. It involved electronics! I very quickly dismissed the idea of using the motion dector he used, too bulky, too hack-n-slash and not challenging enough for me. I decided to go about building it from scratch. This is when I got re-introduced to the Wonderous Arudino Board.

I say re-introduced as I had read about these a few months earlier but was far too pre-occupied with one of my other hobbies (metallic reloading). These things are amazing, I've opened up a whole universe of learning with this one...

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