Arduino Temperature/Power Loss Monitoring – Part 1

Since I was unable to find a complete post on this I decided to write one.  I found a lot of good information from other blogs and websites but nothing exactly what I wanted to do.  I’m going to put together what I hope will be a complete guide for home temperature monitoring, power loss, and reporting/graphing (though that last piece will come in a later post).  You are welcome to use any part of this or use it all.  All code is open source under WTFPL.

Basically what I wanted was the ability to monitor the temperature at multiple points in my house.  I also wanted to monitor the power and alert on a power outage.  Since the Arduino board is plugged into a UPS it will stay running for a while after the power goes out.  Obviously without a UPS your Arduino would be unable to alert on a power outage.

First things first, here is a parts list that I used to make this happen:
– 1 Arduino Uno R3
– 1 Arduino Ethernet Shield R3
– 1 4.7k Ohm resistor
– As many DS18B20 temperature sensors as you want.  I will use 4 for this project.
– An LM35 analog sensor from here (optional)
– Wire – I am using spools of 2-pair telco wiring that I’ve had in my basement forever.
– Breadboard for connecting sensors and power to the Arduino board.
– ~9V Power adapter for Arduino board (only if you don’t have USB power nearby)
– 5V SWITCH MODE power adapter for power loss monitoring (optional)
– LAMP web server stack.  If you want to run this on Windows I suggest XAMPP.

(Depending on where you go for this and what you already have you should be able to get away for about $100 US)

Additionally here are the skills you need:
– Basic soldering
– Basic web programming/LAMP skills
– Wire pulling
– Time

Final notes before I get started with the actually how-to.  I will do my best to give enough details on everything (without going overboard) for you to make this work.  If you get stuck though please feel free to leave a comment or message me.  I also give no guarantees on the code.  If it works for you, wonderful.  If it sets your computer on fire, I’m not responsible.  Oh and if your system gets hacked from use of this code also not my responsibility.  All code provided AS-IS.  I am also going to attempt to link to all the places I found parts of this project but I greatly apologize if I don’t cite your source.  There were a TON of different sources so there is a good chance I will miss someone.

Alright – let’s get this show on the road!

Wiring things up is quite straightforward.  I will mention that I’m using an analog sensor on the breadboard just because I was able to get a free sample here.  I would not recommend using these for your whole project as the voltage drop across the cable runs will cause problems.  I just stuck one with the board because it was free so I figured why not.

Alright connecting the DS18B20 sensors is really easy.  We will be using normal mode (instead of parasitic) as this provides more consistency and allows for longer cable runs.



(I didn’t make these, they came from here)

Additionally if you are connecting up an analog sensor as I did the wiring is a slight bit different:


Alright so things are wired up, now you need the addresses of the digital sensors.  As I found this wonderful post on obtaining the addresses so I will not cover it in the post.  Please see that post for information on getting the addresses of the sensors.

Here are the files you will need to get started: Zipped Files  Obviously the .ino file needs to be uploaded to the Arduino board after inputting the correct server IP , host, mac, and sensor addresses.  The .sql file needs imported into your database.  The write.php needs edited with your DynamicDNS host if you are doing this from home.  You can sign up for an account here.  You just have to make sure one of the devices on your network is updating the IP address.  Additionally if you are writing to a local web server you can remove this part as it’s merely for security to prevent anyone from writing to the database.  After you have edited this file upload it and the lib directory to your web server.

Assuming everything is working correctly you should start seeing temp and power readings in your database:

At this point you should be good to go.  You can watch the output from the Arduino board on your PC to make sure that things are doing what they are supposed to.  Also the logs on your webserver can be useful if you encounter problems.  Hopefully this post helps someone and please feel free to leave a comment with additions/questions/problems!  Thanks for reading!

Impatience – An Interesting Analysis

So I was doing some data analysis today at work and stumbled upon an interesting “trend” if you can call it that.  While it’s really too early to state anything definitive as I only have 2 data sets what I found really intrigued me.  It seems that we, as a people, have gotten more impatient just in the last 2 years alone.

Some background, I work for an electric company in the Midwest   I’m sure you could figure out where but I won’t mention it in this post.  As all electric companies can attest, outages are a part of life.  There are, however, massive outages that occur from time to time.  Today I analysed 2 such mass outage events, the Ice Storm in February of 2011 and the Derecho hurricane/tropical storm in June of 2012.  I specifically analysed the call volumes we received during these two events spaced roughly a year and a half apart.

Both events lasted about 3 days meaning that from the time the first person lost power to the time the last person’s power was restored was about 72 hours in each case.  Here is where things get interesting though.  I’m going to first post some of my data then go into the analysis of it:

Ice Storm 2011:
7925 total calls
3530 unique numbers
Average 2.25 calls per unique number
Top number called 40 times

Derecho Storm 2012:
10610 total calls
3659 unique numbers
Average 2.90 calls per unique number
Top number called 80 times

The very first thing I would like to point out is the top caller’s number of calls during each event.  They were not the same person, or at least not the same number.  Calling 40 times over 3 days is just crazy, calling 80 times is nearly obsessive.  That’s more than once per hour assuming that they didn’t sleep.  If they did sleep 8 hours per night that’s nearly 1 call every 30 minutes while awake.

Additionally you will notice the average calls per number, 2.25 during the ice storm and 2.90 during the Derecho storm.  This is also shown by the calls vs. unique’s.  The increase in calls from the ice storm to Derecho was about 2600 while the increase in unique numbers was only about 100.     While this doesn’t seem like a massive jump it does show the impatience increase between the two events.  Also there were only 3 numbers that called 20+ times during the ice storm, during Derecho there were 27 numbers that called 20+ times.

I would like to again point out that this observation/analysis is not scientific in any way.  I also do not have decades worth of results to present.  I’m merely pointing out what I noticed while working with this data today, how much more impatient we have become.  Not that I wish to have another massive outage event but I will be very interested to analyse the next one after it happens to see if this is a continuing trend or a one-time thing.

Anyway that is all.  I’m probably more interested by this than anyone else will be.

Fuck you Blendon Square – Westerville Ohio – Don’t Bother!!!

So just saying…this is probably the worst complex I have lived in.  We have been here ~2.5 years; it started off quite nice but it had rapidly deteriorated during that time.  When we moved it in it was pretty laid back.  Kids playing in the “courts”, friendly neighbors, sane rules, etc.

Now it’s “nobody under 14 years old allowed outside without a parent” and all sorts of other bullshit.  I love that they preach the whole “people who leave trash lying around will be fined” but never actually do anything about it.  Same with the vehicles without a parking tag will be towed; in the 2.5 years I have lived here I have seen ONE vehicle towed and I don’t believe it had anything to do with parking in the wrong spot, I think they just needed work on their car.

It’s also awesome that the people who work in the office can’t even get the address straight.  We live at 5477 Woodvale Court West, there is also a 5477 Woodvale Court.  We get mail for them, they get mail for us, etc.  However the PEOPLE THAT WORK IN THE OFFICE delivered a “late notice” to us at “west” that was meant for the “non west” address.  Nice that they can’t even figure that out and we are supposed to?!?!

We are at the point of the neighbors being assholes also.  One blasts this super obnoxious music at all hours and the other seems to be banging hammers against the walls randomly.  I had bricks thrown at, and damage, our front door by a kid who’s mom leaves him in the “care” of his 14-year-old sister who doesn’t give a damn what he does.  This is, best I can tell, common for him but does anyone care?  Nope, not even the complex.

The air-conditioning doesn’t work worth a damn.  Running it full blast all summer just results in a $300+ monthly electric bill and an apartment that is “cool” if it’s under 80 degrees F.  Pretty sure that’s not “normal” as they claim.

Oh and the amount of dust is incredible, if you dust one day there is a good layer of dust on stuff the next day.  I have 2 air purifiers running 24/7 and even at that the pre-filters look like a dryer filter after a few weeks.  It’s insane how much crap is floating around here.

There is also a lot of mold in the basement and even in the kids room from leaking water that seems to be of little concern to them…cause you know…money first people second right?

 Also lovely that we submitted our “Notice to vacate” or whatever the fuck they call it some 2 weeks ago and were supposed to receive a set of forms to fill out but haven’t seen a damn thing.  I’m super tempted to not even give our new address (assuming we actually get something) and let them sort it out.  After the shit we have been though and the small deposit it seems worth it to never hear from them again.

Final note, this will not be published until after we leave.  That means that I’m writing it on 6/11 but it will be a few weeks until you see it.  This is by design.  Hopefully this will steer someone away from this worthless complex and save at least one person the headaches we have faced.  So basically…FUCK YOU BLENDON SQUARE!!!


Thanks callmeyng! (and sorry for the trouble)

There is always a lot of hate flying around the Internet and I’m sure that I’m responsible for a bit of it.  However it seems many times people don’t take the time to thank/praise a person or company for a job well done.  Well today I would like to do just that.  As my order was cancelled and a refund given this was the best way I can think to do so.  A few weeks ago I ordered one of these from Amazon fulfilled through callmeyng.  I was very excited to receive it as a replacement tank for one of my tarantula’s, Fluffy.  I had been “turking” to save up the money to get it and placed the order as soon as I had enough.  A few days later it arrived at my office (I don’t ship anything to my house, long story) but as the person that received it set it down I knew something was wrong.  After opening the packaging and pulling it out this is what greeted me:

I snapped that pic and sent it to the seller with a brief description of what I had found.  They responded at once with an apology and a statement that they would be shipping another tank and that FedEx would pick that one up the next day.  FedEx did pick up the tank and a new one arrived a few days later.  It was better packaged with more fragile stickers and wasn’t rattling so I figured I was good to go.  Opened the first box, pulled out the second box, opened it up then pulled out the tank.  I did a quick once-over and found this:

Not nearly as bad but unfortunately still not usable to me.  Sent that picture to the seller and once again they responded at once apologizing saying FedEx would pickup Friday (it was late Wednesday) but that they couldn’t afford to ship a third tank and would simply be refunding the order.  I was rather bummed since I really wanted the tank but understood their position in the matter.  However Friday came and went with no sign of FedEx so I contact again on Monday.  They said that there wasn’t a point shipping it back and that my credit would issue the following day.  Sure enough, around lunch time I got the email from Amazon that a credit had been issued in full including the shipping cost.  So basically, thanks callmeyng and sorry for causing so much trouble.  I hope that this meager post will send a least a little traffic your way to attempt to compensate for the money you no-doubt lost having me as a “customer.”  And in the end, as a seller, you are highly recommend by me and I hope that I can one day purchase something (non-breakable ;-)) from you.  Thanks again.


Why I like running my own site

Turns out I learned something today…something I had not expected to learn.  Running your own website may not give you “god-like” status over the Interwebs but it does give you that status for your own site.  It’s a rather…powerful feeling to be able to control what you want displayed on your site.  This is the reason I am not cut out for a position of power in our society.  That is all.

Avoid Dickey’s Barbecue in Delaware Ohio

Today was I think the 5th time I have been here since this re-opened under new management. I have tried to give it a try since the food is pretty good but after my experience today I will not be returning.

After placing our order we were informed that it would be 15-20 minutes for our fried items because they “forgot to turn on the deep fryers.” We said alright and went to sit down. The two of us were offered a drink if we would like and we both accepted to sip on while we waited.

After the 20 minutes was up we approached the register to pay and the total came to $10.50 for each of us. I looked and said well I thought you had given us the drinks. The MANAGER said that the drinks weren’t included in the meal and we would have to pay for them. I then informed him that one of the employees said we could have them while we waited.

He then went on a “rant” about how he was the only one that could make that call and that the other employee didn’t have the authorization to do that. He then, extremely grudgingly, gave us the drinks for free. This is the final event in a series of long waits and meats not being ready for lunch that pushed me not to return.

Fuck you Cheezburger Network!

Seems as though failblog, memebase, etc are all really going downhill.  The shit making it to the front pages cause a chuckle at best.  The sites are so slow to load most of the time that I give up waiting for them.  The ads are well beyond annoying and the fucking collectibles are so annoying and retarded that they completely destroy the experience of the site.

There is nothing left of these sites that I desire to see so basically, FUCK YOU!  I will not be back, I will actively block all your domains, and will avoid any affiliation with this filth.  Now how in the hell do I remove my account!?

Bank of America….What the FUCK!

So really, are you people really this insane to believe that adding a $5 per month “debit card fee” is really an intelligent move?  WTF are you all smoking over there?  Then to make matters even worse you aren’t allowing people to close their accounts?  I do not, and will not, ever have an account through Bank of America.  This outrageous behavior only re-enforces the fact that those in charge of this company are completely and utterly…ugh I can’t think of a word strong enough.  Basically….FUCK YOU!  I don’t even have an account and I know how ridiculous this is.  I don’t really know what else to say other than a HUGE FUCK YOU!

Awesome Geocache Container!

So I came across this web site today while looking for a new nano cache for one of my cache sites that has recently had the container come up missing and found some really awesome containers.  Along with the “typical” rusty bolt and fake rock they have some other really sweet containers that I think would fool even the best geocachers!  My very favorite one (I may have to order one of them) is this one (click the picture to go to the product page):

They also have so other pretty awesome containers like a fake birds nest, a pine-cone, and a thermometer.

My devious side is really kicking in and has the wheels turning in my brain for even more awesomeness of my own creation.  I’m going to have to place an order here soon for some of this stuff but even beyond that I want to come up with something even more devious than these….if that’s possible I suppose.  There are a few cachers around the Columbus area that I would love to fool!  I’m looking at you LttlDude and Kelinore!  🙂

Clean The Fan

So I have a much greater appreciation for this video today after taking apart this exact laptop model.  One of the ladies at work came to us with the laptop and said it was shutting down every 10 minutes.  The 3 of us suspected that it was just overheating so we decided to tear it apart.  Almost 2 hours later we finally had it torn down and cleaned out.  We did however opt not to removed the thermal gel and instead used canned air and some small screw drivers to get the massive dust bunnies out of the fan.  So without farther ado, I present Clean The Fan:

And no, this is my my work, the creator is here: