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Calke Abbey

A week ago we went for a walk round Calke Abbey grounds. Calke Abbey is National Trust and about 10 miles south of Derby.
As is usual I took a few (well a lot) of photos.

Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey

I can see a face in this gnarled old Oak trunk.
Face in gnarled tree Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey reflections
Deer at Calke Abbey
Deer at Calke Abbey

Cannot post reliably – keep getting errors

I am having great difficulty in posting anything that is not straight text – I suspect a WordPress bug (recently upgraded to 2.9) but I cannot narrow it down. It appears to be when I have links to external sites. Wonder if WordPress introduced a new security feature?
Got it – any post created with the twitter upload plugin active and WP 2.9 or greater gets garbled. Disable and delete the plugin, then create new posts – all is good.
Set up with different plugins and theme.

FIO (Arduino and XBEE) door, doorbell and others monitor

I have been extending my range of inputs to the CurrentCost, Ardunio, Xport pachube logger.
In order to do this I wanted a wireless sensor module.
After looking round I chose the FIO, has an XBEE socket and ATMega168, very little else. Can be powered from a rechargeable LiPo battery.
The next step was to look at the power requirements. I am using a 1000mAH battery and with the normal FIO consumption of 65mA this would last about 16 hours – not very long. After some experimentation I found that if I ran the XBEE in pin controlled sleep mode 2 (less power used than mode 1 at 3.3V) and the ATMega in full sleep I could get the consumption down to 270uA. Switching off the ADC and the analog comparator got this down further to 170uA. Assuming that we have 30 minutes active per day (I’m hoping for much less) this will run for just under 1 month. In practice (this has been in place for the last 6 months) it runs for about 4 months before it needs recharging.
I am using a low value on digital inputs 2 or 3 to wake up the ATMega and then the ATMega wakes up the XBEE.

To be continued …

A TinyXML library for the Arduino

A lot of devices use XML these days – and parsing the XML by hand is quite complex. I use a CurrentCost CC128 power monitor and also Twitter. Both of these have an XML interface.

Over the last couple of months I have been developing a simple XML parser as an Arduino library – it is table driven and so compact and easily modified. This is now ready for release – you can download it here. The CC-128 example compiles at less than 9kB.

I have included a Twitter API example and also a CurrentCost CC-128 example.

The CC-128 example is being used to provide a data concentrator for CC-128. I am using an Arduino (Mini Pro 328) to take the cpu burden off the main Arduino, processing serial data at 57600 baud takes up most of the power of an Arduino.

Connect the Mini Pro to the CC-128 using GND and CC-128 Tx to Mini Pro pin digital 1. The Mini Pro acts as an I2C slave for the main Arduino (simple connection – just link up GND, A4 and A5 – also 5V if you don’t have a separate power supply).

I have three current cost devices feeding the CC-128 – Electricity, Gas and a light sensor. It should be quite easy to modify the example for your configuration.

Master code to read from the CC128 I2C slave is roughly as follows

CC128Data cc128data; // structure definition is held in the .h file

delay(5); // give the I2C transmission and the slave time to deal with request
// 2mS does not work - 3 does - give it 5 to be safe
Wire.requestFrom(I2CADDR, sizeof(CC128Data)); // request data structure bytes from slave device
byte* b = (byte*)&cc128data;
for (int i = 0; i<sizeof (CC128Data); i++)
*b++ = Wire.receive(); // receive a byte as character

I will be writing up another post about the CC-128 data concentrator and the main Arduino, describing how to set up multiple I2C slaves all linked to a central Arduino CPU.

Christmas day 2009

Christmas day 2009, originally uploaded by jcrouchley.

Presents under the tree all ready to be opened after scrambled egg and smoked salmon brunch, with bucks fizz. Nom nom. Despite appearances the tree is vertical – just a weird branch at upper right.

Updated blog to use Ingoal’s Twitter Updater

Playing with Arduino Nokia 3310 shield

The Arduino Nokia 3310 shield come from NuElectronics. I have been using this shield with an Arduino Ethernet shield together with Andrew Lindsay’s Nokia 3310 library. I upgraded the library to be compatible with multiple SPI components, you need to bend digital pin 10 so that it does not make contact and then connect it to another spare pin.
Andrew has updated the library based upon my changes, you can download it from here.

Block diagram of current home monitoring system

This is the current state fo my home monitoring system.
Home monitoring
I am working on integrating a camera (pictures visible on a web site), sms and email.

Vacation over

Just got back from Hungary – blogged here.
Now unpacking and back to work.

Somerset for the weekend

We spent the weekend staying a the George Hotel in Castle Cary.
George Hotel Castle Cary somerset
Maria was making a bear with Gregory Gyllenship at a Bear Basics workshop. The hotel was comfortable and the food was good, but there was very little parking. Whilst Maria was at the course I went for a walk around the area.
Castle Cary market hall
Castle Cary somerset
All Saints Church Castle Cary somerset
Castle Cary somerset
Castle Cary somerset
Castle Cary somerset
I then waited at the hotel to meet Claire who came over from Swansea for the day. Claire ran into traffic on the M4 and again in Bristol – she was 2 hours late! We had a late lunch and then picked up Maria. Street is nearby so we had a shopping trip to the Clarks Village. On Sunday I had a quiet day looking for a cider farm and then watching the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix, it was a good race and Hamilton won.
This is the bear that Maria made – he is called Gerald.

Arduino code for Currentcost/XPORT/Pachube

The code I have been developing for my Current Cost meter updating to Pachube via Arduino with XPORT is ready for sharing.
You can download the code from this link.
Current cost sensors are
0) Main electricity sensor – clamp on incoming live cable
1) Gas pulse sensor – see entry below
2) light sensor – photo resistor (about 2M ohms dark to 100 ohms bright light) as sensor across the channel inputs on the Current Cost dev board.
Current Cost sensors are read by Arduino, displayed on 4×20 lcd module and uploaded to Pachube via Adafruit XPort shield every 15 minutes.