Author: Mike

HomeKit Control of X10 Devices

HomeKit serves as a software framework that lets users set up their iPhone to configure, communicate with, and control “smart-home” appliances.  By designing rooms, items and actions in the HomeKit service, users can enable automatic actions in the house through a simple voice dictation to Siri or through apps.  This is also a closed protocol which also means only registered vendors can have their products certified to work.  In addition X10 was a protocol developed in developed in 1975 for home automation.  Because it’s been around for a while the devices are somewhat cheaper but  this also means that it doesn’t sport a connection to the newest protocols like HomeKit.  I experimented with voice control years ago (circa 2000) with HomeSeer but was never satisified with the quality and the fact that I would have to wire microphones all over my house.  Now that we have Siri and other fantastic voice recognition and this cool HomeKit integration the future for this old protocol is now.

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ReadyNAS NV+ Gmail Configuration


I finally tracked down the “Blocked Sign-in Attempt” messages on my Gmail account.  My old ReadyNAS NV+ had alerts setup on it using my Gmail SMTP.  Unfortunately Google has limited access to SMTP unless you allow less secure apps.  I didn’t want to allow this on my main e-mail account so I setup a “relay” account that I could enable the less secure access in. Read more

Thing-O-Matic Repair and Upgrade

I recently upgraded my build surface from Kapton tape on Aluminium to BuildTak.  I was a little concerned about this because like everything else there are rumors that ABS won’t come off.  But I figured for the price for 3 sheets for my little Thing-O-Matic it was worth a shot so I didn’t have to deal with blue painters tape if I wanted to switch to PLA.  I found my BuildTak on Amazon for around $8.00 (3 sheets).  I peeled off my old Kapton tape and cleaned off the print bed.  I will say this is way easier to install than Kapton since it’s a small area and the tape forms nice bubbles under it when it adheres to the platform.  I used the edge of a credit card to ensure good adhesion to the platform.

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Banggood A3 Laser Post for Fusion 360 Laser CAM

Fusion 360 is an awesome CAD/CAM package from Autodesk.  The licensing is reasonable,  the support is good, the CAD/CAM is top notch and it runs on both macOS and Windows 10.  Recently I acquired a Banggood A3 2.5W Laser Engraver and decided, since I had a good tool chain for cutting on my ShapeOKO I may as well carry that over to my Laser.  I started with GRBL 1.1d (edge) release which was just just came out and built it using the PlatformIO IDE.  I did this on my Mac and uploaded the resultant hex file using Xloader on my PC that’s connected to the laser.  The compiled hex I used for my Atmega328 Nano that was installed on my laser is below.  Please note if you were not running GRBL 0.9 on your laser prior you should remove the nano and set the jumper to 0.9 on the controller board.  Note if you are using a Smoothie board you can just follow along with the tool path and gcode generation portion that follows and use the Smoothie post that is already included.  The GRBL post that’s included does not support the new waterjet/laser features.

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Jayco X213 Quick Table/Work Surface

I recently found some nice hard pine thrown away from a wood processing place down the road and a scrap piece of what looked like an aluminum awning track at my local transfer station/dump.  The channel fit the exterior grill mount so I decided to whip up a quick table with the discarded pine I had found.  This mounts on the exterior of the camper with the channel and a paint-stick extension.  The paint stick serves double duty along with a brush head to remove the debris from the slide-out before pulling it back in.  The construction was simple and was built based on some quick measurements I did.

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Mounted on the trailer.

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Jayco X213 Under Couch Access Mod

Here’s an easy mod to make some of the storage in your X213 a little easier to access.  This may apply to other models depending on how the Couch/Bed is configured.  On my camper the skirt beneath the couch is purely decorative.  In that I mean it does not structurally support any weight of the sofa.  On my model the skirt was held on with two square drive screws. from the back.  Remove these screws to give access to the ample storage under the sofa.  You might now even be able to fit something under there.

File Jul 27, 6 58 48 PM

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512KB ESP-01 WiFi Honeypot

File Jul 20, 6 37 03 PM

After seeing an awesome Hack-a-Day “RickRolling” Free Wi-Fi access point based on a node MCU I wanted to see if I could do something similar on my tiny 51KB ESP-01 module.  While annoying as all heck this “hack” is pretty clever and involves social engineering to rick-roll people.  The users is lured in by free wifi that does not exist and then a message of the designers choice is displayed on their screen.  The original can be found at Hack-a-day: ESP8266 Mobile Rick Roll Captive Portal – and like mine was based on the work of others.  This was designed for a NodeMCU ESP with 4MB of flash – not the 512KB not found on the paltry ESP-01 – although the original “Captive Portal” did run on an ESP-01 it was much more limited in support.  This project also gave me an excuse to try out the new PlatformIO IDE and dust-off my unused ESP-01 modules.   Read more

Water Can Replacement Lid

Photo Jul 19, 12 20 50 PM

I recently lost one of the caps for my nearly new water jug.  A quick search showed me I could order a replacement cap (and spout) for $10!  I would never pay that kind of money for a few cents worth of plastic.  Instead of throwing away this really nice jugs I decided to design a replacement cap in Fusion 360 instead using the cap from my second can as a reference.  The water can in question is  this one which we purchased from Amazon:  http://amzn.to/29JFeCw

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Jayco X213 Solar Installation

A lot of the Sate and National park campgrounds we visit to do not have full-hookups or RV sites.  To counter this I wanted to make our camper a little more capable of boondocking  or dry camping.  The first upgrade that one can do is install some solar panels to keep the lights on, heater running and the water pumping. So I set out and did some research as to what others had done and how they had done it.  I settled on a Renogy 200W Monocrystalline Solar system to start with and can upgrade it trivially up to 400W with the addition of two more solar panels – which should still fit on my roof when done.

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