Internet of Things Phone Smart Charger

I pre-ordered one of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones. The ones in the news recently for being an explosion hazard.

I love the new phone – pocket computer really, the way I use it. I wasn’t about to give it up over some silly thing like spontaneous combustion.

I had read that Tesla runs their car batteries between 40%-80% for normal use to maximize the lifetime of their very expensive car batteries. I figured that cell phone batteries would benefit from similar treatment. A bit of research generally confirmed this, with http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries being the most concise write-up. The first half basically demonstrates that you can get the same amount of total power to flow through the battery regardless of how much you charge it – summed over the total life of the power draw in the data tables. The 2nd half is more interesting. It says that high voltage charges and heat shorten the overall lifespan of the battery.

The Note7 is a sealed phone wihtout a replaceable battery. I can’t pull my usual trick of replacing the battery after a year of abusing it.

Heat seams to be the trigger for the phone explosions. So I can make my phone more safe, and make it last longer by managing the top voltage and heat in the battery.

I can do this.

I bought a wireless Qi charger to charge the phone because it charges slower. The fast charger can charge the phone crazy fast, but it gets HOT when it does this. Hot is bad. Thus, slow is good. The wireless charger will also reduce wear on the USB C port. A nice side benefit. No phone explosions while I sleep and burn the house down – this is a good thing.

I bought a Belkin WEMO wifi controlled outlet. It is If-This-Than-That (IFTTT.com) capable so I can control it from my phone. There are other smart plugs available that will work, this is simply the one I could find in a store that I could verify would work with IFTTT.

I configured IFTTT to have 2 different actions. One for turning the WeMo on, the other off. I set these up as Maker Channel triggered recipes. There are other triggers that you can use such as email or SMS, but I am a web developer, so web-based triggers are a natural fit for me.

Image of The Rules set up in IFTTT
The Rules set up in IFTTT
Photo of the IFTTT Off rule
The OFF rule in IFTTT. It uses the Maker Chanel for the trigger, which means a web request will trigger this. It turns off the WeMo controlling the wireless phone charger.

I installed Tasker on the phone and configured it to monitor charge state and battery temperature.

I created 3 tasks, one to turn the charger on, and two to turn it off.

photo of Tasker rules
The rules in Tasker to control the phone charging.

The ON trigger looks for the battery to be below 80% charged, and below 35 degrees Celsius. This will make a request to the IFTTT.com Maker Chanel URL for ON.

One OFF trigger looks at the battery temperature. 35.1 degrees or higher. The other OFF trigger looks for the battery charge to be 90% or higher. These two both make a web request to the IFTTT.com Maker Chanel OFF URL I set up.

So now as the phone battery heats up or gets close to full, the phone tells the charger to turn off. I let the phone have a 10% charge window so I am not toggling the switch and charger on and off all night long.

Tasker with both OFF rules turned on. The phone is both charged to 90% or more as well as running hotter than I would like.
Tasker with both OFF rules turned on. The phone is both charged to 90% or more as well as running hotter than I would like.

I also programed the WeMo to turn itself on a little while before my alarm is set to go off. This is to let the battery be closer to 90% charged rather than 80% charged when I wake up. I haven’t found the right time for this yet. I still need to play with it a bit.

I know there are other ways to make a smart phone charger. This is what I came up with. I will be getting an additional smart plug and building one for at the office so I don’t over-charge my phone when at work. I will try a different brand likely to see if I can come up with a cheaper way.

I love having a 3D printer in the house

A new hobby is botany. So I made up a leather tool roll and bought some tools. A self closing tweezers is on the list, but I would need to order one. I thought I could print a decent one.

I was right.

Nothing available to download on the thing sites yet, so I designed something in OpenScad. It took 2 ten minute prints to get it right. Cost is a quarter each set.

The two halves are "rivited" together with a bit of plastic filament.

I love the future.

In album 6/28/15

My botany books and my botany tool roll. And the kids playing in the yard while I work up this catnip plant ( I got for mosquito repellant for the kids ) in both the books.

I designed and 3D printed this self closing tweezers to hold plants so I can look at them with the loupe.

It was a bit difficult reading through the books with the kids interrupting me with new plants to look up about every 90 seconds. Luckily I know a good portion of what’s in the yard so I could quickly send them off, looking for more.

The tweezers are the expensive bit – from the eyebrow-plucking section in Walmart. The Loupe and ‘microscope’ loupe are out of China on Ebay. Cost less than one of the eyebrow tweezers. Crazyness.

My 3d printed self closing tweezers are the most awesome, of course, but that is just me thinking highly of them.

I think I just had an invention idea for an internet of things Oven

Stick a borescope or two into an oven so we can watch what's cooking. Cell phone to monitor the image, you can tell if the item is done without opening the oven door from another room when the timer goes off.

Add a vent to the outside, and you can trigger a speed-cooling cycle by venting the oven heat out of the house. Now we can 'turn off' the oven from the other room and not need to remove the item cooking from the oven immediately without risk of burning the food.

Add computer vision and now you can set a timer for the browning of the item. If you want it golden brown, you can time for that. A little extra smarts, if you are in the kitchen, it triggers at the shade, if you are further away, it can trigger a shade lighter.

Perfect pizza, bread, and muffins every time!

Thoughts?

Ava's room

When we bought the house, there is one room we referred to as the 'stupid room' as it was the smallest room, biggest closet, and 2 doors. We set it up as an office and library. Worked great.

With Ava, we decided that the time had come, the office is going away, it's the nursery. We'd discussed the very thing when we bought the house. 

So, this had the last of the original carpet. So I replaced the carpet. Katie ordered a wall decal set that I made work with the crib. 

Today I hung adjustable shelves so the largest closet in the house can be put to better use. It's a mix of baby stuff and kitchen stuff. 

In album 2014-12-28

The new carpet is much better. I put down extra padding so it should be extra soft for babies and standing changing diapers.

I really like the decals. It makes the room look nice.

And the closet. With this installed, I am DONE with this room. Only a 6 month project?

Some nasty dirty carpet. I painted the walls before replacing the carpet, knowing I didn’t care about the old stuff.

Did a pretty good job of getting the carpet the right size. Not much left over.

I’d bought carpet laying tools when I bought the house and layed the other carpets. I am 1 extension set short. So I improvised.

I decided to 'fix' a blanket I got from freecycle

It is a military wool blanket. I love wool blankets for camping and hanging out outdoors. I don't much care for the olive green – even though green is my favorite color.
So I dyed one side of if grey. I couldn't find anybody else online (just a short search) that dyes a single side of a blanket. So I made it up as I went along. I'd picked up some Dharma Trading 'Twilight grey' and basically painted it on for lack of better description. 
Normally you soak whatever you want to dye, but that will get the whole thing. So I mixed up the dye, water, vinegar (a mordant, helps the acid dye work) and a bit later, soap, for better 'wetting' of the blanket.
I am really, really impressed with how it turned out.

In album Dye single side of wool blanket

The green is still green, the grey, is a dark forest green.

Something I’ve done with the grey blanket is made it more water resistant.

water beaded up in the center, soaked in on the lower right.

I’d treated the grey blanket last year with lanolin. The oil that naturally occurs in wool while the sheep are wearing it, It’s what keeps sheep dry in the rain. In one context it seems silly that it’s taken out, but the wool can’t be dyed with it still in the fibers. So I add it back, and make the blanket more water resistant.

I am dying my green wool blanket grey.

I am spraying the dye on. I am using a spray bottle rescued from the recycling. It works just as good as the ones that cost $3 – probably because it did cost $3, but full, not empty.

I mixed up the dye, vinegar, and water into a juice container rescued from the recycling, and poured it in a little at a time with the funnel. The second batch I added a bit of dish soap to ‘wet’ the wool. The dye spray was beading on the fibers, the soap helps it soak deeper into the fabric.

The light grey in the upper right is the dye as sprayed on. I worked it into the blanket surface so I got better contact with the fibers instead of the spray just sitting on top of the blanket.

I want a mildly dappled effect, so I heavily dappled the blanket with the dye. It spreads out, so the effect is much more subtle when dried.

I hope…

In order to set the dye, I microwaved the blanket while it was still damp. I misted the dye side with the dye right before folding it dye side together and rolling it up. Microwave the daylights out of it in couple minute bursts.  I took it out, and re-rolled it with what was on the inside on the outside so I get even steaming of the dye.

I re-folded the blanket and nuked it some more. It was probably cooking a dozen 2 minute bursts.

I stuck it into a kidde pool to wash. This is the moment of truth… did the dye bind to the wool or will it leach out?

The water just barely tinted, so the dye fixed to the wool! YAY!

Hanging to dry. The color is better than I expected. I really like the dappled effect, very subtle.

The still-damp blanket in the house. I really really like the dappled effect on the folded blanket.