Arduino Wireless Logging, Post Two: The Design

This is the second part of the series for my Arduino wireless project I’ve been working on for a couple weeks now. You can start reading from the first post: http://aasullivan.com/?p=1146.

We have the idea, now we have to build it. I have three Arduinos set up at this point in this manner:

  • (1) Set up as wireless receiver/hub; this will read data, print to Serial and log to ethernet eventually
  • (2) Transmitters which simply read data every ~5 seconds to blindly send to receiver (node 0)

This layout will allow me to test from a couple devices to make sure the layout of the node IDs will work properly and be read properly as well. I ran into my first set of issues at this point: I can only read one Arduino at a time off Serial from the IDE, so went and imaged an older Dell D630 to handle the receiving end of things to troubleshoot the payload issues I ran into.  Continue reading Arduino Wireless Logging, Post Two: The Design

Arduino Wireless Logging, Post One: The Idea

I’ve had a number Arduino systems for some time now along with a large number of RF24 wireless modules and DHT11 humidity/temperature sensors. The idea I’ve had for some time is this:

  1. Arduino with a DHT11 sensor and RF24 wireless device pull then transmit data.
  2. Data goes to secondary hub/master Arduino using an RF24 module along with an Ethernet adapter (Wiznet 5100)
  3. This master hub then pushes the data to a web server containing a mysql database to log and store the information

Simple right? Wrong.

Continue reading Arduino Wireless Logging, Post One: The Idea

Arduino Home Monitoring

Lately I’ve been engrossed in a project to add some monitoring to my home. This includes temperature and humidity readings, along with monitoring for windows and doors eventually. This will be built almost entirely using Arduinos wherever possible.

The Goal:
To have a remotely viewable home dashboard to monitoring the house

The Plan:
Use Arduinos and cheap parts from Amazon to build this and code myself

At this point, I’ve built some of the systems but greatly need to expand upon this. More updates to (hopefully) come!

Latest Computer build: RAID fileserver and media center

Had the idea in my head for a while now about doing a fileserver build to put all my media in one place. This includes years of movies, music and TV shows along with about 100GB of music rips. The goals of this were pretty simple:

  • Have some form of redundancy, most likely in a RAID 1 or RAID 5 format
  • Have enough horsepower to stream movies/videos on the fly, including conversions
  • Have enough storage for all my current collection (~1.5TB) and future

At this point, I had some extra components lying around and got a sweet deal on an ASUS 990X motherboard and a set of 6 hard drives. Let’s get to the specs:

  • ASUS 990X Sabertooth motherboard
  • Corsaid 500W PSU
  • Mushkin 240GB SSD
  • (6) 750GB WD Black hard drives
  • AMD 3.5GHz 8-Core CPU
  • Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler
  • AMD 7770 GPU card with 2GB GDDR5 RAM
  • Rosewill Stealth tower
  • (2) Inline SATA power cords
  • (6) 90 Degree SATA cables

Continue reading Latest Computer build: RAID fileserver and media center

Monitoring System: Update 1

So I’ve been working with this project off and on, mainly off due to time constraints with a new work shift/promotion. I’ve split the logs and dashboard readouts to allow for easier pulling of individual data. What this allowed me to do was to couple this with WordPress using iFrame to load the individual pieces. I then set up multiple pages for each PHP document to allow the refreshes to work normally. I’ve build and gotten a working version of a single ping test, so that’s off the checklist. My next goal is to build a queue of sorts to pull information from for a polling cycle depending on type of test, then run the tests I want. I’m starting with ICMP, but hope to go for basic SNMP once this works out. Stay tuned as always!

Little side project: Monitoring System

Been debating on how to keep an eye on my home network and decided to take a swing at getting a monitoring system built from scratch to build my coding skills more. General idea:

  • Have a list of devices stored in a database with information such as IPs and names
  • Pull this device list, and run a ping sweep on all devices to test for activity/status
  • Log this into the database for reference
  • Build a lightweight front end to show this information at a glance

At this point, I’ve gotten a basic running version of this on a dedicated Linux system (Ubuntu 12.04LTS with a LAMP install). It’s extremely fast and runs every 5 minutes out of a cron entry. I’ve gotten most of the items done:

  • Database has multiple devices which can be added through front end GUI based off PHP
  • GUI (webpage) refreshes every 60 seconds and shows the last pull status along with logs from recent pulls to look for trends
  • Cron entry kicks off Perl poller that pulls information from DB and pings each device; 10 devices in less than a second total
  • Stable and has been working without issue for a few days now

I’ve also gone and tested a few of the devices, unplugging them and what not and still show up without issue. Mind you, this is a dirty way to show this information and needs cleaning, but it works. Next goals are to clean up the dashboard a bit, maybe add a search tool in the near future and some color logging to note the bad devices. Who knows, maybe a ticket system in the future? Stay tuned as always!

 

Ender’s Game verdict

Finally got around to watching Ender’s Game and I gotta say: It’s a lot like the book from what I recall. I read the book back in high school when they banned it due to obscene language (apparently 16 year-olds can’t handle the word “shit”) and I loved the book then. The movie definitely tied it off very well and seemed to almost hint towards a sequel sometime down the road. Overall: 8/10? Sure. Time to watch it again 🙂

First Impressions: Macbook Pro (November 2013)

Before I continue: I am NOT a fanboy nor do I push to use Apple’s products exclusively. I have an Android phone (Motorola X2) which I love, along with a Transformer 300T tablet. Onto the good stuff…

Why would I consider a Mac when I’ve been a PC guy literally my whole life and swear by Windows for gaming and day to day functionality? A bunch of guys at the office are being upgraded to Macbook Pro systems and the developers swear by them for using the tools for coding and the terminal itself for developing code. I do a bit in Perl and Bash both for work and for home life so it only makes sense to develop this on a *NIX based system (Linux/Unix, or a Mac in this instance) so it”s easier to test and migrate system to system. Along with this, I”ve spoken to a number of people who use them day to day and also love the systems as IT people who use them very often (think 8+ hours a day between work and home). So, I got an on call from work for some extra money and took the plunge.

What did I get? I went the refurbished route as the warranty is the same as the new ones and I’ve had decent luck with refurb products in general. I’ve also been told that the build quality is quite excellent so I didn’t expect to be disappointed. Onto the good stuff:

    • MacBook Pro, November 2013 Series
    • 16GB DDR3L RAM
    • i7-4850HQ, quad-core, 2.3 – 3.5GHz
    • 15 inch retina display
    • 512GB SSD

I want to note at this point in the story I have NO recent experience with Mac operating systems, not since elementary school when I used them in a computer lab, so going into this I had very little experience. Thankfully I’m pretty apt to figuring out new toys.

I’ve owned the machine for a few months now and it’s been a learning experience to say the least. The Macbook Pro is ridiculously fast and has only had a couple moments where it’s showed the slightest slow down, and that was while running multiple VMs (in VirtualBox) along with a slew of other applications through work. The learning curve from an IT guy perspective hasn’t been bad. Google is a good friend in this case to find applications (Apps for short) to replace a number of the Windows programs I’d normally use. I use Chrome anyways so that was a quick install, then installed Office 2010 for Mac since I use the system for work and need the full capabilities and options. Adium, Spotify, VirtualBox, and ZOC round out my other Apps I use on almost a daily basis. Apart from not having a Notepad++ solution (using Editra but doesn’t have the full functionality), I haven’t had a hard time finding anything to replace my Windows brethren.

Next steps: Start looking into some of the games from my Steam library and look into Wine for Mac to run Windows applications. More updates to come!