With the day looking cloudy and in between ideas, I decided to do a little demo work in my kitchen. FYI, the house was built in 1919 and I bought it from the 3rd owner in 2008 after the housing market crashed, but before fiscal implosion. This previous owner bought the place in 1942, was definitely a handyman and seemed to do much of the modernizations from the ’50s thru ’70s.
Now that fashion has faded, I’m rebuilding in my own hacker ways. When the house was built, the arts and crafts movement was easing into art deco and Detroit’s golden age. My thoughts are to combine the renewed interest in DIY with the old style to redo the kitchen. The first step is to dismantle the space-wasting, boxed in area between the ceiling and the top of the cabinets, which was what I began today.
Setting in with a hammer and pry bar, the trap was sprung. Nails nailed on nails, over a couple more nails. One nail won’t do, three must be pounded into the wall where a sane person would use one. After that, a couple screw, pre- philips age, are sunk for good measure. All for a decorative touch; the cabinets are hung on the wall.
Brute force and rage got through the forest of nails with few cuts and scrapes until the dirty construction secrets appeared. The handyman never cleaned up from building and closed the trash inside, along with more unused nails. Nasty insulation covered in grime covered big chucks of heavy plaster. A shop-vac cleared it away and I forge on through more and more nails.
While I still have more work to do and probably won’t start rebuilding anytime soon, the lessons are clear. Don’t use more fastening devices than required(NAILS, screws, glue, etc.), and clean up you damn mess! Two very good rules to follow if you don’t want your hacking predecessors to judge your work poorly.
P.S. Popsicle sticks were used as shims in a few places.
Yay, after some prototypes and refinement, I’ve settled on an indoor growing setup. I can’t have plants in a conventional way because of the cat and me not watering them. So by encapsulating the dirt with a 2 liter bottle and adding electricity to keep my interest, I may just be able to keep something alive.
During an unexpected trip to the hydro store this week, I picked up a water pump as the final component and set out to finish. Since nothing but weeds were growing from the original setup, I dumped everything from the containers and started fresh with what I learned. Which was:
- Gravel is needed for drainage.
- NO top soil.
- The black rubber seals break down quickly when exposed to light.
- Leak test each container before filling with dirt.
- If chemicals are used in the water, the reservoir needs a lid (caught the cat drinking from it).
To irrigate the plants, I sampled what the local home center had to offered. The adjustable drip fittings worked best along with a nine way manifold. The rest is tubing and fittings from the hardware store.
Hey, I’m back. This time I’m posting my code for getting the hex color values for RGB combos. Mainly, it’s just some experimenting with the touchscreen to create a user interface for the microcontroller. In the past, it was either buttons, pots or rotary encoders and one would have to be crafty to use as little as pins possible for the greatest number of inputs. Now, its just a matter of defining an area with ifs and else ifs and being bounded within the LCD.
The RGB controller uses six buttons and three sliders. Here’s the main file; rgb controller.c. I figure it’ll be useful to define different shades of colors than just the standard RED, BLUE and GREEN. I updated the lcd code with a bar graph function for the slide controls, so you’ll need that;320×240 LCD.c & 320×240 LCD.h. The touchscreen code is the same as before.
Here’s my code for the touchscreen. It’s basically just ported from whatever was provided, with a slightly improved painting application. The coordinate conversion could use some tweaking, but is close enough for now. Using integers saves code space anyways. The Y direction is kinda jumpy too, and could probably be fixed with different settings. Meh, later…
Here’s my code, at long last. It just does text and basic drawing, no support for pictures or bitmaps yet. The main file, tft lcd test.c shows examples of the functions from the two files lcd320x240.h and .c. Until I can put up .zip files, I’ll have to used Word…
Yay, spring is finally here and it’s time to start planting things. That way I’ll have something to neglect when its hot as hell or something for the squirrels to dig up. Which ever kills the plants first.
No, this year will be different. I’m going to harness the power of microcontrollers to; A) keep plants watered and B) Stop animals from destroying anything is growing.
I already have an outside area for growing some crops, but I also want something inside for fresh herbs year-round. So I’ll have two different areas to monitor and control. In both places I’ll monitor the soil moisture with some DIY sensors with the intent of automated watering.
The herbs will hang in the kitchen windows and use 2 liter pop bottles for growing chambers, which I built a couple months ago. Only weeds grew, but this trial run allowed me to sort out draining issues before real plants grew. Also, my first attempt at sensors failed. Here’s a new batch after a little googling.
Outside, I’m going to modify a plastic owl I bought last year. Needless to say it didn’t do the job, so I thought some flashing LED eyes and a lot of noise will change that. I’m not sure what kind of sensor detects treacherous squirrels, maybe a motion detector, or a series of lasers…
Anyways, this project has many components and will be a miracle if it’s completed. I think I’ll make a permanent page for the entire system once it’s something something operational.