Thomas shares makes

openHASP touch display build

openHASP running in a 3D printed case

openHASP running in a 3D printed case

I discovered HASP - open hardware edition while I was searching for projects integrating touch interfaces with Home Assistant.

With this opensource firmware, you can easily and cheaply make a network connected touch control panel to control devices or show values.

A while later I bumped into a nice 2.8" TFT Desktop stand enclosure on thingiverse. I remembered I had an unused 2.8" ILI9341 display with resistive touch layer from a previous project.

Connecting the dots... I had all the necessary parts in my workshop, this would make a nice project to make over a weekend evening.

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lighting scene / mood control proof of concept

twatch running lighting scene selector

Lilygo twatch 2020 running simple lighting scene (mood) control proof of concept

I discovered a lovely smart watch development platform; the Lilygo t-watch 2020. It's an ESP32 based hackable watch, with a small capacitive touch display.

I had already played with the idea of building a small home automation control and status display that fits into the existing switch cover plate, so clicked the order button and leveraged the open source watch firmware to quickly hack together a proof of concept.

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Openscad: Interlocking Hash shaped platform


While designing a screw-drive based RC tank (perhaps more on that later), I wanted to create a large easily customisable support structure out of a minimal amount of plastic. I started prototyping an interlocking structure in the shape of a octothorpe (#). This turned out to be a lot of ugly code, and so I got sucked into an advanced-openscad black-hole and found a cleaner solution.

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Home assistant based automatic alarm


image: cover from

I wanted a basic home security system (burglar alarm) to offer me some piece of mind at night.

My Home Assistant instance has enough sensors to figure out what we are up to, so it was possible to create an alarm system that works autonomously. The system automatically arms and disarms while we sleep during the night and when we leave and return to the house during the day.

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Reviving my Standing stats project


I have used an Ergotron standing desk for 5 years, then it broke, right out of warranty. Several years ago I started building a sensor device to track how much time I spend standing up versus sitting down in my chair. The hardware prototype finished, it got shelved since I found other fun things to do with my limited hobby-time.

Recently I noticed that I sit down 99% of the time when working from home. To revive my healthy habit of working upright part of the time, I decided to pick up my parked project by re-printing the enclosure I made on my own printer and leveraging the power of esphome on a ESP8266 and home assistant to make the hardware useful.

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ILI9341 SPI TFT on the raspberry pi4


I've been running network services on embedded arm platforms for for more than 8 years now, and when things go wrong, had to drag around HDMI monitors to hook up. For the last years I had a pi connected to the serial console to avoid that.

I have been mounting all my networking and smarthome devices on a DIN rail, and I had some small 2.2" TFT displays around for a different project.

I thought it would be nice to create a raspberry pi enclosure that included such a display so there's a real video console on the device that can also be used as status display.

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Din-rail mounted Home assistant gear

din rail mounted stuff

I have a technical wall with several pieces of electronics mounted onto it. It started to look a bit disorganized, with all these things mounted at random places on the wooden board and cables running all over the place.

So I wanted to clean it up a bit... I stubled upon a dinrail mount on thingiverse, and remembered I had a piece of DIN rail in a box. Time to remix a bit and mount everything on DIN rail!

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Board stacks

raspberry pi stack prototype

At home and at work, I always tend to have around 5 small development boards on my desk. In a fixed setup with identical boards, metal or plastic standoffs can be a nice solution to build a stack that reduces the footprint on desk, and avoid a spiderweb of cables.

In reality, the boards are of different sizes, and standoffs still cost a few euro's each. I knew I could do better, using a 3d printer and some parametric CAD modeling.

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TV Console corner protector

from the side

During COVID19 lockdown, the kids were running around the living room a lot more, and a lot more reckless. Our TV console is covered with glass plates. These have chamfered corners (45 degree cut off), but still it's a hard, glass corner, and I could imagine painful or catastrophic injuries and trips to the ER.

I decided to create a quick and dirty cover that, once installed, would provide safer plastic, rounded corners.

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DIY extension block

from the side

During COVID19 lockdown, I found myself struggling with cheap extension blocks, in fact I find most extension blocks horrible, and most power supply blocks can't fit next to each other.

I still had three brand new, wall sockets left over from electricity renovations (I opted to place earth wire so installed appropriate sockets). These are Niko brand, the finest EU/BE sockets available, and are lovely to use in every way possible. I already considered making larger extension blocks this way.

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Mutually Exclusive Media Players in Home Assistant

hass rpi mpd

I have Raspberry Pi's in different rooms, and one thing I use them for is to play music to speakers.

Each of them has two music player services on it (MPD, Spotify), and it's a bit annoying that I have to stop a player when I want to listen to the other one.

Since I'm running home assistant as an automation hub, I wrote two short automations that stop the already playing service when the second one kicks in.

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Home Assistant Touch Screen

Touch display on the wall

My 2017 Christmas present was a voucher for the local electronics shop. I spent it on an 'official 7" raspberry pi touch screen display', which is a nice capacitive touchscreen that you can hook up to a raspberry pi.

I 3d-printed an enclosure from thingiverse for it, and fitted an RGB LED string around the edges as an extra.

Initially I created an AppDaemon HAdashboard config to control my Home Assistant instance with it.

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Heat Canon (Salamander heater) controller repair

development setup

In the winter of 2016, someone gave me a controller board for a heater. The heater is pretty scary, it burns fuel and blows exhaust and hot air out of what looks like a canon. It has some interesting mechatronics; a fuel valve, an ignition coil, and a fan. It has a flame detection sensor input as well, as a safety feature. I succeeded at repairing the board, but had to write the controller software from scratch.

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DIY Automatic condensation water pump

Installed device

In 2015 we moved into our house, which had a condensing gas boiler. When the previous owners installed it, they never installed a drain pipe for the bucket of water that it produces each week. Instead there was... a bucket. I quickly grew tired of emptying the bucket. With no obvious way to direct the water except over the ceiling, I needed a device that would pump the water. This sounded like a fun DIY project, so I ordered some float switches and a 12VDC membrane pump, then got busy and soldered a simple set/reset controler with... Guess which old-school IC...

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Debugging the free_ecb_at91 board using JTAG

source: wikipedia

For a school project early 2007 (a study of embedded Linux on the AT91RM9200 ARM9 processor) I got familiar with the GNU development tools and setup required to run a Linux based operating system.

Using the setup described here I was able to inspect the inner workings of Darrell loader in real time, set hardware breakpoints, step through the program flow and inspect values of program variables while the CPU core was halted.

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