ESP8266 Peripherals: Mini PIR Motion Sensor

  The ESP8266 is all about Internet of Things, right? So lets start sensing something in the real world! What about (human) presence in your apartment? There are various ways to do that but one of the most common type is sensing with pyro electric sensors which also called passive infrared (PIR) sensors (see Wikipedia). The one I am presenting in this post is also a PIR sensor; a really tiny one.....

Daddy Science Day: The Potato Battery

I see myself as very privileged to enjoy a day alone with my daughter once per week. There are many aspects to it: it is a great thing for the relation with my wife, since I now know that taking care of the household and of our daughter is equally consuming as a “normal” paid job. And I also get to be part of my daughter’s first experiences in the world. With a little bit over three years old she is constantly asking “Why this, why that” and everytime I’m .....

ESP8266 Peripherals: uBlox GPS Module

Almost 20 years ago when I studied a few semesters of electrical engineering at the famous ETH in Zurich I had a lecture about the basics of digital electronics. And I remember the professor doing many practical demonstrations such as drilling holes into a CD to show the quality of error correction in different price categories of CD players. I also remember that he talked about tiny and cost efficient GPS receivers that soon would be part of every cell phone (remember, 20 years ago the real .....

ESP8266 Peripherals: KY-040 Rotary Encoder

The ESP8266 took the hearts of the IoT and Do-It-Yourself community by storm, due the very attractive price, its internet connectivity and due to the relatively rich amount of available GPIO pins. But an internet connected device is not worth much without means to interact with the real world. Thanks to standardised communication protocols like I2C, SPI and serial interface and the work of the Arduino community there are many sensors and actors available for a really good price. But do they.....

ESP8266: Offline Debugging with the Platformio Environment

Having tools is great but you also need to know how to use them. Being a native Java speaker using a debugger is a very natural and easy thing. With the ESP8266 on the other hand this looks a bit different. I struggled now for a half day to figure out how to use the debugger to resolve a nasty crash that was happening if I would use a NFC card reader several times in a row. Most of the time I tried to use life debugging as I was used from the Java world a.....

WeatherStation & 3D Printing: striving for seamless integration

As you might know already I am now a proud owner of a 3D printer, a Printrbot Play. In the last few weeks I have tried to master the printer and I have learned a lot in this time. It was only a matter of time to bring my two passions together and use the 3D printer to create a case for the WeatherStation. This is my first result. It is not as perfect as I want it to be but it is presentable. With the next version I’ll have to make the w.....

3D Printing: My First 3 Weeks with a 3D Printer

After pondering over buying a 3D printer for almost a year I finally had ordered a Printrbot Play at the end of last year and about 3 weeks later it arrived in Switzerland in a pretty package at my door. In this post I’d like to share my experience with this specific printer and with 3D printing in general as far as I can tell after 3 weeks of owning one. I believe that in the first .....

Printrbot Play: First Impressions & First Prints

Yesterday my Printrbot Play finally arrived after 3 Weeks since I gave the order. After hesitating for a long time I finally made the order on december 31, then on January 11 it was shipped and 9 days later on January 20 it arrived at my home in Switzerland (but I wasn’t home:-() and I could pick it up at the post office in the evening. Should you decide to buy a Printrbot Pla.....

ESP8266 Arduino IDE Alternative: Platformio

The Arduino IDE is a good choice for a beginner to get into the world of small embedded devices. Feedback that I got from Weather Station Users indicates that the ESP8266 attracts many hobbyists to the IoT field that before had little experience with programming small devices. For me as a (professional) Java programmer the Arduino IDE lacks many features that I would expect from a modern development tool. The two that I miss most are Auto-.....