For example. My fridge is starting to have some issues. It wants to keep freezing everything in the fridge. It dials the temperature setting all the way up and we don’t know why. I’ve taken the fridge apart as best as I can the last time we defrosted it just to wiggle all the wiring connections.
I wanted to really see what was going on with the fridge. I grabbed a Raspberry Pi Zero W and a couple of 1 wire digital thermometers and put together a Fridge monitoring system in a couple of hours. I can now see what happens with my fridge. It does a defrost sequence and comes out of it cold, freezing up the fridge.
A quick dashboard configuration, and I now have a view of the current temperature and a graph of the temperature history.
Add a couple of more nodes and I now get email notifications when the fridge is too cold. Another node, and the Google Home announces the too-cold temperature.
My fridge now complains that it is cold.
How epic is that? Under $20 worth of parts to give my fridge a voice.
I recently picked up a Seek Thermal camera which plugs into my cell phone and allows me to see temperatures of stuff. It's a cheap unit, so it doesn't have the built in calibration tables that the expensive 'real' test equipment has. But it's good enough for most people's needs in a non-technical use.
I am reading all up on emissivity, and the science of how it works. Because this influences my usage of my laser cutter, and blacksmithing and even cooking and anything that relies on heat.
So I decided I am going to make a Mobile Science set. Mobile is dual usage, one, it's portable, two it's centered around my mobile phone.
My phone has a lot of sensors and capabilities already.
The Seek Thermal camera gives the phone another super power.
I also want to add a Consumer Physics SCiO https://www.consumerphysics.com/myscio/ which is a molecular identifier. I've wanted this thing since they ran it on kickstarter several years ago. I have actually seen it work in person and absolutely love what it can do. I think it will turn out to be a disruptive technology. This item will be the primary tool in my Mobile Science lab once I get one.
To compliment these two IR different sensors, I want an assortment of basic hand tools that will facilitate in preparing materials for the phone accessories.
I will be working with botany and geology. Also a bit of chemistry.
Optics is a pretty natural option too, given the camera on the phone. I will be making some bead lens microscope adapters for the cell phone camera. A spectrograph as well.
I also found a phone accessory weather sensor that I will be picking up.
I made up a cardboard tray on my laser cutter to organize the few bits I have gathered already. These are fitting in a waterproof cell phone case. I am looking for a waterproof tablet case.
My goal is to have a solid Science Lab the size of a Science textbook. I will likely carry this set about anywhere I go.
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.
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.
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.
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 made a custom leather belt case for my custom wireless charging flip cased Galaxy Note Edge. It's been a fairly drawn out project getting the two cases made – from March until now. But the results are worth the effort.
The main design goal was to not bend my phone when I sit on it in my pocket as it is HUGE I also wanted to show off the nifty 'edge' feature.
I bought all the materials for both aspects of the case at the same time. I will also be making a matching Leatherman holster as well as a 2nd iteration of my home made wallet – http://mike.creuzer.com/2014/07/i-made-a-new-wallet-last-night.html. There will me more scrap leather after that, so I am sure some more projects will come of that 1 piece of leather.
I had made a phone case for a different phone with details found at http://mike.creuzer.com/2014/01/i-made-a-phone-belt-case.html This other case has a built in solar charger which is pretty darn cool. That feature didn't make it into this case as it's not really worth the effort as the solar panel that small takes 3 days to charge and gets me 30 minutes of usage.
Lots of pictures to look at with descriptions for each image with this project.
The finished product. The case is designed to make the edge display visible on my phone while it is in the belt case.
A little bit of planning. The black leather is very stiff so I have a strong back to attach the belt clip to.
A bought belt clip and leather, and a pair of 3D printed sides. There are holes in the printed parts so I can sew through them to sew the leather onto the ends.
I drilled holes in the heavy leather for sewing and punched holes for the belt clip. The big hole in the printed plastic is for a hinge for a retaining strap which I don’t think I will need.
The green leather is bonded to the heavy leather. Glue it and sew it. I find my stitching looks neater if I am not fighting the pieces moving while I am trying to sew.
Riveted the belt clip on. I like the fancier rivets.
My rivet job is less than perfect. The flap of green leather on the right is folded over to protect the phone from the rivet bits seen here.
Phone is now protected from the rivets!
Yeah, I make stuff using trash. The green plastic is a bit of Mt. Dew 2 liter soda bottle. When the curve seen here is flattened, it wants to curve 90 degrees off of the main curve. I glued it on so the curve tips the top front out so it’s easier to get the phone in.
You can see how the plastic wants to curve. Big Binder clips are the best assembly tool ever!
2 needles, 6 foot of thread on each side. I really need to make a stitching horse. You can see here how the phone case matches my phone case.
I sharpen my glover’s needles on my diamond sharpener. You can see I have 1 side stitched up. Looks pretty good!
The Galaxy Note Edge in the custom flip case, next to the the custom belt case.
It slides right in, like it was designed for it! Oh, wait, I did design it to do this!
This was my desired end result. Being able to see the ‘edge’ on my phone and the data that it can display.
It came with several case options which I would have never bought myself, but they are interesting. The one that I thought I wouldn't like but fell in love with is the flip-case. Granted, I was not fond of the white case, but the functionality was more than I would have expected. It just missed one feature.
I LOVE wireless charging. Almost as much as I love the fast-charger that came with the phone.
There are hacks to get wireless charging into a flip case. But I would need to order a wireless charge back plus a new black flip case. Because I really don't like the white. If I am going to do the work of hacking something, I want it the way I want it.
So I made my own.
I still bought a wireless back – it's crazy the cheap prices on eBay for some stuff. And I spent a good chunk of money at Tandy Leather. More than if I would have gotten a 'real' case, but I got stuff that will allow me to make exactly what I want.
The phone flip case. The hole in the flap is so I can turn the cover all the way around and take a photo. A feature that the ‘real’ flip case doesn’t sport.
The Note Edge uses a quick charger, which is AMAZING… if you have the charger with you. So I bought a 110v AC and a 12v DC charger.
You can get a wireless charging back cover for the Galaxy Note Edge, or a pretty nifty flip case. But not both features in one case. So I bought some bits and pieces from Tandy. Green leather, rivets, a belt clip, a magnet, tools, etc.
The flip case is ‘smart’ in that it talks to the phone. I have no idea what it says, but most people who are doing this mod are tearing apart both cases, and putting the wireless charging into the flip case. I don’t like the color of my white flip case that came with my eBay phone.
So I attacked my brand new wireless charging back cover with my drill press. I al less than keen with how I ended up with holes. I need to mark them before I drill. Eyeball isn’t good enough.
Lots of holes in my new case.
Holes all the way around.
The green leather is much darker looking to the eye. But this is what I am going to sew onto my phone case.
The front cover needs on the flip case needs to be stiffer. I happened to buy just what I needed when I bought my back cover. The plastic that the cover came in! Re-use all we can, right?
Stitching the leather onto the case was pretty easy. This corner proved difficult though. I ended up super-gluing the edge of the leather down to the plastic. I think the leather is stuck as much as stiffened up so it doesn’t come away from the plastic.
This is basically a cut-to-fit type build. The holes are cut after I sewed one end on.
The speaker has a lift to it so there is an air-gap between the phone and the table so you can hear the speaker. Clever!
The fake plastic leather or the real leather?
Guide lines for cutting based on tracing of the holes.
Leather glue all over the place. I am not sure if I like this type of glue.