Automate Your Water Heater or Other 240v Appliance

Electric water heaters are a common appliance in many households. They provide hot water for bathing, washing dishes, and laundry. However, they can also be a significant source of energy consumption, particularly if they are left on for long periods of time. Automating an electric water heater can help reduce energy consumption, save money on electricity bills, and make the appliance more convenient to use.

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Learn To Program Arduino IV: Electrical Resistance and Code Reusuability (2 of 2)

In Part I of this project, we jumpered a series of buttons to a voltage divider that we connected to the Nano. Along the way, we discussed the basics of what resistors are and what their values mean. In the conclusion of the project, we’ll answer the very important question “what can I do with that?” as we dive into the code.
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Learn To Program Arduino IV: Electrical Resistance and Code Reusuability (1 of 2)

Now that we’re comfortable with using our Nanos, breadboards, and navigating the Arduino IDE, it is time to start learning! We’re still in the introductory stages of this series, so I’ll give you very basic explanations now, to help you understand, and expand your knowledge with more in-depth details as we progress in future posts. Part 1 of this project covers resistors (electrical resistance) and, Part 2 will cover writing your code so that it uses functions (re-usability).

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Learn To Program Arduino: Part III – Functions, Syntax, and the Breadboard

We’re continuing with our “Arduino for Absolute Beginners” series, which has so far covered the installation and testing of a Nano board (HERE), as well as the major components of the Arduino IDE and an introduction to using the Serial Monitor for debugging (HERE). This entry covers important syntax, introduces functions and re-usability of code, and we start working with breadboards. ALSO! I asked my buddy Cola from eMakeFun if we could have a coupon for a component pack which included a breadboard and he delivered! We’ll un-box the eMakeFun Electronic Components Start Kit.

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Learn To Program Arduino: The IDE

In the first entry in this series (HERE), we covered the installation of the IDE and a driver for the Nano board, as well as testing the board to make sure it works. In this entry, we’re navigating he Arduino IDE – specifically, on the code editor, the Console window, the serial monitor, and an introduction to the language reference. Please note, this series is still in the “introductory” phase, to help get beginners up to speed, though there may be a bit or a byte that you’re not familiar with yet.

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Learn To Program Arduino

The Smarter Home Club is dedicated to learning, teaching, and sharing, so our next blog series is dedicated to micro-controllers. You don’t need to know how to build circuits with micro-controllers or to program them in order to enjoy the benefits of home automation. There are easy to install products that cover the majority of things you will want to do – but not everything. Learning how to use various dev kits and micro-controller prototyping boards will give you a means to build tools for the projects that commercial products don’t address, as well as helping you understand what goes on behind the scenes with the automation products that you buy and install.

A key point here is that you read with your eyes but you learn with your hands.

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Project Viduus Part I – Importing Data From RFLink

RFlink is an amazing tool. It allows you to import data from RF devices into your home automation ecosystem. I purchased two different units from a seller on eBay (now retired), both targeting the 433 MHz range. RF Link also supports 315, 868, and 915 MHz, as well as 2.4 GHz with the required receivers. Further, RFLink is supported by a number of platforms, such as Domoticz, Jeedom, Pimatic, Domotiga, OpenHAB, and HoMIDoM.

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Project Mercury Part II – Publishing MQTT Messages

In last week’s Part I of Project Mercury, I covered reading MQTT messages in VB.Net using the MQTTnet Nuget package. There aren’t any VB examples for an MQTT client floating around, so I put together a quick and dirty illustration. I completed the next section on the following day, but was promptly sidetracked with a trip into the wonderful world of SQL – one of the future parts of the program will be saving data to a database, which significantly enhances the value of the data! In any case, here’s an example of how to publish MQTT messages from your VB.Net app!

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Project Mercury Part I – Subscribing to an MQTT Topic

MQTT is a wonderful tool for the smart home enthusiast. Many different products and applications support it, allowing you to tie a lot of different technologies together in one cohesive home automation system. It is even more useful when you’ve got devices that do not support MQTT directly but do allow programmatic access through an SDK or API, which allows you to put together a custom app that combines MQTT with that other product. An interesting challenge I’ve come across, though, is that while most of the examples for SDKs that I use are written in VB.Net and there are NO examples of using MQTT in VB.Net….

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