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.

Thoughts on headphones

I don’t like loud noises. I use an electric lawn mower because it’s quieter than a gas mower. I prefer to use my old-fashioned reel mower because it’s quieter than my electric mower. I have carried a set of earplugs in my pocket everywhere I go for a couple of years now.

I am not much of a music person. Don’t like concerts, too loud. I had a roommate in college who is a true audiophile, so I learned a little bit about the technology from him. He built me a custom speaker set that I turn down real low, for rich sound. I will probably keep these speakers for the rest of my life. I like them that much.

I’d not put much thought into headphones until a couple of years ago, when I had to move from a private office to a community office. I decided to get a set of headphones so I can drown out my office mates.

I thought I wanted a set of bluetooth noise cancelling headphones. I can’t afford such a beast. I found a bluetooth Sony sports headphones at BigLots for $30. These were good. I needed to turn them up a good amount to overcome the room noise.

Then I found a bone conduction bluetooth phone headset. The aftershokz bluez 2. I love these! I bought a set of in-ear shooting ear plugs to use in conjunction with the headset. Bone Conduction audio doesn’t push noise into your ear, it vibrates your jaw-bone instead. The headset doesn’t cover or block the ears, it sits in front of your ears. Wonderful device. You can have a conversation just fine with them on. In the office, I would stick in the shooting earplugs and be in my own little world. One of my favorite uses is while driving. I can have a conversation in the car and have the phone navigation system on the headset. I just love these. Wore them every day, every day for over a year.

Really, these things are just awesome. I love them.

Like anything made from plastic that gets used all day, every day, they broke. Buttons fell out which I used thread to tie back on. One of the temple pieces broke which I taped back up. Really, I need to get the newer model as they fix the few issues I had with the current set, but I can’t really justify $100 on something that I already have, even if broken but functional.

I just discovered a noise cancelling headphones set at Aldi. $30. I bought them for my wife, she goes through cheap headphones frequently. A pair a year or so. I thought I would get her a good set of headphones for a change. Right after I bought them, I borrowed them for a work trip to Rhode Island. I fell in love with them on the plane. Noise cancelling headphones are designed for airplanes I think. They have microphones in them that listen to the noise around them, and then play back a sound that will cancel out the sounds they hear. They emit a very faint his that you can hear if you listen closely. They knock most of that engine and air noise down to nearly nothing. I think half of my discomfort on planes is the noise – the other half is that my 6’4″ self doesn’t fit in them. They don’t do much reduction on people talking to you, maybe 25%? They do seem to help with that background drone of many people’s voices.

I liked them so much I bought a pair for myself, and another pair for a friend.

I was fiddling with them at work today. I plugged them into my computer, and turned the sound all the way down with the volume buttons, then up 1 press. I started playing some music at 50% volume on the music app. The sound is basically turned down all the way. You can’t hear the sound on the computer speakers. Using the headphones, you can barely hear the sound until the noise cancellation is turned on. All the noise from the air handlers and machines in the building just goes away, and music plays. This is how quiet I like noises. Basically no sound. It’s amazing how loud my building is.

So, it seems I like 2 extremes. Headphones that either completely cut out the noise from the outside world, and those that don’t cover the ears and block sound at all.

I bought a new battery once for a cell phone that was a year old

I decided then and there I will ALWAYS buy a new battery for my cell phones after a year. It fixes the 'battery life sucks' argument that new phones also solve. Much cheaper.

I also bought one of these Zero Lemon stupid big batteries for my last phone. I also love the oversized battery. Going to go this route every time it's available for me.

My current phone, a Galaxy Note Edge is a year old. I am struggling with getting it to survive a day at this point. So I just ordered this huge battery for it.

When I got my phone, I made a custom case for it. http://mike.creuzer.com/2015/08/i-few-months-back-i-bought-a-galaxy-note-edge-on-ebay.html 

I will do this again. I had bought 2 of the wireless charger & NFC backs, so I have a 2nd one still I will cut up and meld with the oversized back coming with the new battery. The back will 'fix' the fact that this battery doesn't support NFC. I LOVE NFC. I NEED NFC.

I need to figure out how to pull the contact pins from the back around the oversized battery and to the phone. Any suggestions anybody?

I will also make a new belt case for the phone as it will no longer fit into the one I already made. http://mike.creuzer.com/2015/08/i-made-a-custom-leather-belt-case-for-my-custom-wireless-charging-flip-cased-galaxy.html

So, I know what I will be doing this month for a personal project. New phone cases.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Extended Battery ,Zerolemon Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 9000mAh Extended Battery + Black TPU Full Edge Protection Case (Fits All Versions of Galaxy Note Edge)– Black

I am at dreamforce

I've been attending non-core and small sessions so far to broaden my knowledge, as the big ones and keynotes will be available online. Over 8 miles of walking today my phone tells me. I packed light and carried the full week's stuff with me all day.

In album #DF15 Day One

dreamforce. I’ve been reading about it and watching the videos for the last couple of years. I am actually here, in San Francisco this year!

They knew I was coming, the soda selection? Top notch!

The top bag is my Kelty Oriole bag. I packed for the week in this bag. A little inspiration from my online Ultralight Backing Group. I knew I was getting a backpack at the event, so this works out for me, I have room for bringing stuff home in the 2nd bag.

I’d drive it to work lettered up without shame! Well, the ‘win me’ on the hood could be removed to clear up any confusion.

Talk about a surprise, seeing one of my machines at dreamforce for the Internet of Things Cloud booth. We could do oh-so much more to really show off everyone’s capabilities.

Powell street Trolly!

I made a leather business card holder for my new business cards

I 3D printed the frame and embossing element. I also incorporated a NFC tag so I can use the case to transfer info digitally from the case as well.

A bit of high-tech, and a bit of old-school leather work. My favorite way of doing things. My leather working skills aren't good yet, but they are getting close to fair. I love being able to do stuff.

It's even on GitHub if you want one of your own. https://github.com/creuzerm/openscad-projects/tree/master/Leather%20Business%20Card%20Holder

Lots of photos with descriptions to look at in the album.

In album 3D printed & Leather business card holder

My new business card! I added a NFC tag inside the case so I can also just tap a smart phone to the business card holder and transfer the data that way. A very high-tech business card holder.

The logo doesn’t show well under flash yet. I suspect a few months in a pocket will change that. You can see how I started at the computer & 3d printer to make the business card holder.

Printing a plastic frame and an embossing logo at the same time.

The printed frame. Note the rivet holes, sewing holes, and the steampunk themed monogram.

My printer is pretty loose and sloppy, so I clean up all the holes with a drill press. A few minutes here saves lots of frustration when sewing.

I am loving the rotary cutter for cutting this thin leather. No pulling and stretching and causing ill-fitting leather sides.

The leather is VERY thin, so I bond it to plastic to make it more resilient. This happens to be a Mt Dew 2 Liter Soda Bottle. Lots of poking holes so I can sew it later.