Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   multi-sensor support
Monday, March 25 2024
Today I made a lot of progress on the microcontroller part of the complicated constellation of software that constitutes my remote control system. Among the things I wanted to accomplish (and did accomplish) was support for the three different kinds of temperature sensors I use, with the idea being that I can just hook a sensor to an ESP8266-based microcontroller board, pick the appropriate sensor in the configuration, and compile and upload the software. The compiled software just on the ESP8266 is now around 316 kilobytes, which is surprisingly big (and something like ten times what is possible on an Atmega328), but that's not all my code. I'm using, for example, a WiFi library, a JSON library, and a lot of String objects, which are much more complex than a simple array of chars (all I ever use when working on an eight bit microcontroller).
One hardware setup I wanted to be able to use in stock form was a MySpool temperature and humidity sensor, since I have two of them.
The story on those is that back when Gretchen was arranging household insurance for the Adirondack cabin, she was told that it would require us to have a way to remotely receive notifications of indoor freezing temperatures, since presumably the consequences of frozen pipes is a lot of what insurance companies end up having to pay for. Of course, the insurance company didn't even know whether we had a way to connect such a device to the internet (it turned out that we did, but it would take a herculean effort for me to make it reliable enough for this sort of use). All they wanted was to see the receipt that we'd bought such a device. The one they'd recommended was the MySpool device, and I dutifully set it up and gotten it to work, at least to the extent that the cellular hotspot stayed up (this was back before I'd built the Moxee hotspot watchdog). But within a year or so, the MySpool stopped working, and I called the company and they put me in the queue to get a replacement. But that was during the late-covid microelectronics supply chain malaise, and it would take months for the replacement to arrive. So I ended up making my own using a NodeMCU, logging the data on a virtual Apache server that I mostly use for Bittorrent piracy. At some point I cracked open the non-functioning MySpool and found it contained an ESP8266 and could be reflashed with my software. The only problem with it was that its internal flash had evidently gotten corrupted. When the other MySpool finally arrived, I never even bothered to use it, since I was much happier with my custom temperature monitoring software. But I had it in mind to reflash it with my software for use as an additional temperature probe and/or remote controller. Today, among many other things, I finally figured out how the MySpool ESP8266 pins connect to its DHT2301-based temperature/humidity probe so that I could support it exactly the way it came. In the MySpool, the DHT2301 is connected by three wires, one being ground and the two others being GPIO pins. It seems the DHT2301 uses so little power, a GPIO pin can be used to supply it power when set to high. This allows the ESP8266 to power it down to save energy, a feature I also implemented. But to really save power, my temperature probes will need to spend most of their time in deep sleep, only awaking once ever five minutes or so to broadcast their latest weather data. This is not something I have explored.

This morning Gretchen took both dogs for a walk with our neighbor A, her dog Henry, and her little kid. But things are never as fun when the kid comes along, since she's always complaining and whining. Today her big problem was that she'd stepped in a puddle and now her feet were wet. So the walk didn't go very far, and Charlotte didn't get the exercise she requires. I could tell that this afternoon when I went out to the mailbox and Charlotte suddenly burst out of the bushes and wanted to play, dropping into puppy-play position and barking enthusiastically. So later this afternoon I took her and Neville for a walk down the length of the Farm Road and then back atop the escarpment to its west. As we passed the various wetlands, I noticed that they no longer roared with the sounds of amorous amphibians. Evidently the cold weather had put a stop to all that. But already the weather was starting to warm up again, meaning (for example) I no longer had to fret about the pipes bursting at the cabin.
When Gretchen came home, she brought food from the Garden Café. For me, this was mushroom tacos and bean soup, my absolute favorite things they make. I watched a couple Jeopardy!s with Gretchen, but didn't stick around for the whole four-episode binge she was on. Instead I took another restful bath of mostly solar-heated water.

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