Project Talos

Another project to track on here. This one is a MQTT backed general automation system. The initial application will be the kitchen indoor herb garden. Starting with light, then temps, and probably water as a third option.

Each application area (for example herb garden, aquarium, fermentation chamber) will have it’s own local controller (probably RaspberryPi Zero W). Each module in that system should also have some degree of local autonomy and be able to respond to emergencies without input form the controller.

The house as a whole will also have a MQTT hub which will aggregate the internal MQTT traffic and push data out to a cloud (probably azure, but possibly AWS) based service.

Splitting EOS

As I think some more about this, I want the alarm clock portion to be near the bed, but not the light portion. This means some sort of communication (presumably wireless) between them.

I’m also not sure just how much light I’ll need to pull this off and/or how to diffuse it effectively. Also, colors?

With this in mind, I think step one is going to be to kludge together an LED setup to get a feel for brightness controls. I’m concerned by how dim I can usefully go using PWM so may need to look into a more involved current source rather than just using the PWM off of a micro to trigger a transistor (I’m assuming I’ll need more current than the micro pin can source/sink)

With that in mind:

Step One: Figure how much light I’ll need, if I want colors (possibly starting more red), and how to diffuse the light.

Step Two: Get the fading process worked out, but just triggered by a local button.

Step Three: Clock Stuff

Step Four: Wireless communication. I may go with something that includes wireless from the start (I’ve already been kicking around the idea of an MQTT hub for the house, could just use actual wifi and tie into it, but I’d also like to learn to do some more direct radio comms)

Project Eos

Project Eos1 is an alarm clock project that will include a progressive dawn like lighting element. 

Initially it will be either Arduino or maybe even Raspberry Pi powered. This is total overkill, but I want to play with a few different display/input options, and the iteration speed will be faster this way. Once the prototype provides enough information for the final version, it will probably be moved to a single PCB option with a microcontroller. 

As a list for myself, version one will need:

  • A processor of some sort. An Arduino or Raspberry Pi for now
  • A way to tell the time reasonably accurately
    • Either a real time clock module of some sort, or an internet service. I could track time other ways later, but this gets me going without worrying too much about the precision of my timekeeping. 
  • LED(s) + driver circuitry + diffuser(s) etc.
  • A way to display the time. I would prefer this to not be on by default unless *very* dim. But if not on all the time need a sufficiently simple way to temporarily turn it on and probably have it stay on on a schedule.
  • A way to generate an appropriate sound
  • Buttons/switches to set times/alarms/snooze/etc
  • Software

I know there are plenty of these out there, but the timekeeping and lighting aspects tie into another project that is already underway. 


I’m going to play around and go through the NAND 2 Tetris course. Well maybe. I have the book,, so I don’t know if I’ll do the Courseara courses, just go though the book, or what.  I’ll Probably start with just the book, and do Coursera if it seems like it will help. 

This is a tough one to categorize. But since the early parts of the book use  an HDL (not sure yet if they use a “standard” one, or if they have rolled their own simpler one for the course) it seems close enough to hardware to count. A case could probably be made for embedded as well, but it seems more of a stretch.

I don’t think the book is necessary, but if anyone else is interested, here it is:

Art of Electronics (3rd)

Kicking off a new book to work through.

I remember going through the second edition and running into lots of questions/things I wanted to explore further. So why not work through the 3rd edition? If you’re feeling particularly brave, a link to get your own copy is below. 

I’ll probably do the lab book as well once I clear some space on a bench.

Hardware Introduction

This category contains assorted hardware projects, inclusive of the hardware portions embedded ones.

I plan to setup some git (github?) repositories for sharing schematics/layouts etc. Git isn’t really a great tool for it though, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for a better solution. 

I am not a hardware person by any stretch, so exploring in this direction should be fun. 

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