I've just built something very similar to this last weekend -- For around $43/sensor (Raspberry Pi Model B, DigiSpark, and 1-Wire Temperature Sensor) I made 20 of these for my home, farm, and hackerspace for temperature logging. I did this because we're getting another 'polar vortex' next week and the cows don't like it if it's colder than 20 degrees out.
This allows me to measure the temperature inside, outside, and get the relative humidity (not nearly as accurate as the $20 honeywell sensor that they're using, but, it's close enough for my needs). I then built a simple website using mrtg (for temperature trending) and a ruby script that checks the temperatures versus what the set points are and mounted the raspberry pi's in various locations around my places.
My "Controller" nodes are a beagleboard with a 4 or 8 channel relay board attached that allow me to turn on or off the individual controls on the furnace. It works well with my two stage heat pump and fan at my home, but, I need some work to get it 100% at the hackerspace and at the farm.
I mainly did this because I needed something that allowed me to cover more rooms than the Nest (and I'm adding duct dampers and fans to my heating system, so I can selectively heat and cool more rooms to better temperatures).
When you get a chance, would you be kind to write a "how to" blog post about how to build and wire one yourself, so others without any clue about how to do this can have a shot at learning and doing it themselves?
The biggest thing that I had against using the Pi's GPIO pins were that they're really unforgiving, and only ran on 3.3v. My One-Wire sensor (http://datasheets.maximintegrated.com/en/ds/DS18B20.pdf) Needed 5 Volts, and that's something that the DigiSpark gave me with no issues. I literally soldered pins 1 and 3 to the +5 and Ground pins on the back of the digispark, pin 2 to the I/O5 on the digispark, and ran a 4.7K resistor across the front from +5 to Pin 5 for my pull up resistor -- stupid easy to do and a squirt of epoxy made everything electrically tight.
Wood is basically more expensive than plastic for mass-manufactured items. The basic raw material is more expensive. You can't source a large volume of aesthetically-identical pieces, so its harder to produce identical items. You can't injection mold wood, so higher manufacturing costs.
There are "manufactured" woods which address many of these issues, but they also tend not to be deemed as beautiful / strong as the real thing.
You can't beat polymers for consistency, finishing, handling, tooling, durability, etc. For each friction point with wood, you could create dynamic systems to alleviate the pain or you could just start with materials designed for scale.
One of the good things about wood is you don't have to worry about it sticking around for 1000+ years. The problem with plastics is most of it can't be recycled. Not the way we think of recycling.
Aluminum cans are melted down and turned back into aluminum cans. Polymers are ground up and injection molded into lower grade polymers. Once too many polymer chains get broken the grade is too low to be usable.
Careful polymer selection can work around that. PLA can be digested back into starch by an enzyme or composted at high temperature. There are plastics that can be cleanly incinerated or ground up and embedded in concrete mixes as insulation. You can chemically depolymerize a number of plastics and end up with much more manageable products. The real problem is getting all that stuff out of the world at large and into a processing plant.
> The real problem is getting all that stuff out of the world at large and into a processing plant.
The problem with plastics is its cheap acquisition costs and expensive disposal costs. One of the good things about living in a developed country is we sorta manage the disposal costs well. In developing countries they don't manage plastic disposal at all. In all my travels one of the overriding themes I've seen is plastic on the sides of road, in rivers, on the beach.
When I removed the wooden door from a house we didn't need to call the city to send a special truck to dispose of it. We chopped it into pieces and used it for bbq. Then we mixed the ashes into the compost. Disposal was $0.
While plastic is cheap in the short term I think there are a lot of long term costs that get ignored.
(Those processes mostly just mean that it all comes down to whether you want to put energy into something. Whether they are economical today doesn't factor into the usefulness in eliminating mountains of plastic.)
I'm only involved in manufacturing as a hobby for my custom keyboard projects. But my bet would be that it's about injection molding .
Once you got the molds machined you can mass produce plastic parts extremely cheaply. Need more plastic parts? Get a few more molds made. It scales pretty well because one mold can produce multiple parts at once and the injection molding presses itself are relatively inexpensive and pretty much fully automated.
Wood while being great for prototyping doesn't scale that well in mass production. You would machine it using CNC routers and if you need more produced you need new expensive CNC routers which can only produce one part at a time. Also the CNC routers I know you have to baby sit.
Again: That's only from my limited experience with limited runs (a few thousand pieces at most). Maybe someone who knows more about real mass production can elaborate a little more on this.
I believe its the reason that injection molding plastics is so popular versus doing metal and wood. Wood and metal most of the time require a subtractive(sp?) manufacturing process that requires a lot of raw material, assembly steps, and waste. Injection molding and 3D printing is additive that is automated and simplifies the process with minimal waste.
Sorry, I should have elaborated. Flammability popped into my mind because of the need to list the flammability ratings of the materials in a design when going through regulatory testing and certification (UL, CE, etc).
One thing I found about hardware is that the prototype is only 10% of the effort. Sourcing components for mass production, government regulatory hurdles, and then that damn enclosure are 90% when everything goes right.
I can build all kinds of things with my arduino and all of those awesome little one-off function boards you can snag on ebay from china theses days. I can't build 10000 of any of them.
This makes me happy. I have a house with electric heat and eight thermostats pushing Nest costs into unreasonable territory. I'd love to be able to remotely set all my thermostats to 55 degrees or get certain zones to react based on events fired from my phone, (e.g. coming, leaving, charging with screen off aka sleeping, pending alarm)
Unfortunately, with my electric heat the thermostats sit inline with the heater's power source so I need devices that can safely handle 120v.
One problem with the Nest is that if your thermostat is in a poor location (more of a problem with central heating), the motion sensor won't see you. With the ones I suggested above, you can programmatically link those to ~$40 motion sensors installed in the correct locations that will actually work.
I have one of those; it works pretty well. Before the Insteon was released I had a X10 thermostat which was somewhat cheaper. I worked around the "X10 is only 95% reliable" problem by having misterhouse set the temp every 5 minutes or whatever it was.
The financial payback time is unfortunately infinite but it was interesting.
One advantage of programming an insteon thermostat is its just plain old off the shelf technology to all end users including repair guys, although how its temp is set is magic and done by computer.
Most of the software work is already done by the misterhouse system, its not like you have to write your own insteon drivers or write your own sensor drivers or whatever. Misterhouse's support for Insteon has varied a bit over the decades. Last time I had to mess with anything it was a little fuzzy. I would imagine things have advanced considerably in the last half decade or so. I do not currently have misterhouse controlling the insteon thermostat mostly out of lazyness, I'll eventually re-enable it.
Not large at all. One thermostat per room. With electric heat you have to put a thermostat in line between the circuit breakers and the heating element (radiant panels in my case). Centralizing the house on a single thermostat, like you would with forced air, would actually be incredibly difficult. It would also lose the benefit of fine control; one of the few positives of electric heat.
Worth pointing out (and you touch on this above) that this is not a function of electric heat but a function specifically of the type of electric heat (radiant in this case). I have electric heat by way of a ducted electric heat pump which is not zoned and thus centralized. Zoned ducted and non-ducted electric heat pumps both offer localized control over heating.
Replacing an existing item in your house with something for 10x the cost is not something you want to be doing too often as a homeowner. The benefits have to be quite significant. I've got a simple programmable digital thermostat that works fine. If I come home earlier than normal, I just bump up the heat manually. Calling ahead with my phone wouldn't add all that much value for me. If it was $50, I'd think about it. $250? No chance.
I mean, I just don't get why people are so angry that someone would possibly want to spend some extra money to have a cool thermostat. If it was a cool video card for $249 that just lets them play games, no one would blink an eye. But because it's for a house, but for a part of the house that is supposed to be utilitarian, it's a sin.
Electric heat means they have electric baseboards in each room, making individual control logical and obvious, so eight rooms really isn't outside of the ordinary. Compare that to central HVAC where there's one furnace and at most you have electric dampers restricting flow to an area of the house (though few houses have even that).
Not only that, but basic, programmable load bearing thermostats are relatively expensive compared to the typical control line alternatives. However, even with basic programmable thermostats (>=$75 a piece), I saw my electrical bill drop considerably vs. a 30 year old mechanical thermostat in an apartment I lived in the past 4 years.
We've moved since then and took the thermostats with us. I still have two if you want to buy some slightly used aube programmables (nothing with wifi, but better than nothing).
I have the exact same situation but I have spoken to Nest Customer Service and other "smart" thermostat CS and all have told me that they will not work with the wiring for electric heaters commonly controlled by a single dedicated mechanical thermostat. I was out of luck so if you find an working "smart" thermostat I would love to get one.
I'd rather I it didn't auto-play and let me choose whether I want a page to swamp my bandwidth and CPU. Even over an 8Mb/s ADSL connection on a quad core Xeon workstation with 12GB or RAM and fairly decent video card this page is one of the worst behaved I've encountered in a while.
Sadly I won't be reading any of the content because even after five minutes it's killing my browser. To the spark.io blogging team, please don't assume unlimited wads of broadband. Let the reader decide whether they want to play your videos, and you know, I can only watch one video at a time on that page, so why start them all playing at once? This is no better etiquette than CNN or MSNBC or an adware farm where they start playing videos at you upon arrival. It's very rude.
Bluekitten is just the 100th or so reincarnation of recoiledsnake, which is as far as we can tell a Microsoft astroturfing campaign. Lately their sockpuppets are often female, to give people the impression we're banning women when we ban them.
You can easily embed MediaCrush videos on your site. I'm one of the devs on MediaCrush, I can answer questions if need be. It brings in webm, mp4, and ogv, but we've fine tuned the encoding more than most people would think to, and we have the video player UI in place if don't want to autoplay.
I'm running Windows 8.1 on an i5 with Chrome and didn't notice any slowdown (nor fan speedup, or any of the usual issues sudden resource drains tend to cause) at all either. Looking at task manager shows Chrome is only using 13% of the CPU while I'm actively viewing that page.
I'm sure YMMV depending upon OS, browser, underlying installed codecs handling the video (and their associated gpu acceleration or lack thereof), etc.
I'd have to agree. It's not the bandwidth that was the issue though. All those videos loading and playing at once crushed my poor browser (Waterfox 24) until I was able to slowly pause them one by one. This does, however, work mostly smooth on my version of Chrome (32).
It wouldn't have the same effect without auto-play. This is essentially a smarter GIF. Looks like the CPU suffers from all the videos playing simultaneously, maybe pausing videos as soon as they go off-screen could solve that (while browsers don't get to optimize this).
Same with Safari 7 on my MacBook Pro. Worked a treat, was a super cool concept. I'm surprised to see all the complaints with Chrome, I always took that browser to have the best support for this kind of stuff.
A different video card, codec chain, and on and on, can yield a very experience. Being an early adopter of many Harry Potter-esque moving pictures can yield nice content, but it will invariably cause client issues.
As I mentioned in another post, it works fine in Chrome 34 on the same hardware that it struggles dramatically with in Chrome 32. Both of them have hardware decoding enabled, and so on. The Chrome 32 instance has no problems at all playing video anywhere else.
Indeed, on that same line, the videos don't load at all on Chrome on the Nexus 5. The N5 of course supports h264, and has no problem on any other site that I've ever discovered. Maybe their server is now overloaded (EDIT: Okay they're using S3....going to be an ugly bandwidth bill from that...and it's fully responsive), but it also doesn't load on the iPad 3rd generation running iOS 7. Again just black boxes.
EDIT: I wonder if it's because they're (s3) setting the content type to octet-stream, rather than video/mp4. Some clients seem to be going on alternate decode paths or are refusing to display it because of that.
In my experience Safari is generally much smoother and uses less power than Chrome on OSX. Chrome frequently makes my MBP uncomfortably hot on websites that Safari doesn't break a sweat on (like Flash videos on Youtube, although Chrome's built-in Flash could be causing problems). It's unfortunate.
h264 videos are generally significantly smaller than comparable resolution animated GIFs, not to mention being much better quality: It is a very good thing that the era of animated GIFs is drawing to a close, and the pace with which MP4 is supplanting animated GIFs is quickly accelerating.
Having said that, an h264 source can have magnitudes more complexity for playback, and generally the greater the compression the higher the playback complexity. Having five or so high profile multi-MB decorative videos autoplaying on a page is excessive.
They shouldn't use autoplay. They shouldn't even initialize until scrolled into view. They shouldn't all play at once. Their bandwidth usage is going to be enormous from this HNing, a single page impression pushing 15MB+ (EDIT: I hadn't really delved into it at the time given the display issues, however I grossly underestimated when I said 15MB).
FWIW it runs fine on Chrome Canary (currently 34). CPU/GPU is still excessive for videos that people might not even want to see, but the videos all run smoothly and the browser remains responsive. Not sure what the Chrome difference is for that.
Worked well technically on i7/win7/laptop(32GB)/firefox. I didn't like the effect though: jittery, repetitive, distracting. A tripod would have gone a LONG way here as well as only using in focus images. as only using It was like channel surfing. I said, "ooh ahh" to myself, but didn't hold the channel there for long even though I love the concept.
Different person, but the videos do not load in either the iPad (iOS7) or Nexus 7 (Android 4.4) for me. As mentioned in another post, the content-type being returned is wrong for video/mp4, at least from the S3 servers I am hitting. Perhaps this varies and is correct for some, but it seems to be the reason for so many varied experiences -- some clients just ignore it, others seem to choose render paths based upon it, and others refuse the content because of it.