Category Archives: CAN4VSCP Bejing

Refrigerator control Part 3 #VSCP #IoT #m2m

The refrigerator again. It takes more time then expected of course. It always do. This time because I have a lot of other things to attend to at the moment.  I understand if you ask some questions about this project. So I answer them here (before you actually ask them)

Why this project?

Our refrigerator broke down two weeks ago. And we need one also in my family.  Of course we do, open source programmers may not afford much buying stuff but we also want our milk to be cold.  Luckily it is winter here now and we have some other storage that is at about four/five degrees so it is no immediate panic,  but as weather is getting better (the spring is coming)  this is not a good long-term solution.

When our fridge broke down some years ago I decided to try to rescue it and if it was possible I would take standard VSCP modules to do so.  The compressor was OK and if it is this is a simple  project mostly.  This project has worked perfectly well since then and became a nice VSCP demo project.

Yes, Yes, YES it’s an overkill using VSCP standard modules for this. An Arduino or some other simple board would have done the job. But I wanted to use the modules to see if they did their job also over time. The best way to actually see if things are working the way you thought is to put them in some critical system in your house (the heating in our house is already controlled this way). If there is some bugs or design problems things will be solved by necessity. To have them in a demo system on a workbench is just not the same thing.

So for the refrigerator the first question was to check if the compressor still worked. If it was dead it is just a pieces of junk and not a refrigerator.  But just as with the fridge it was the control logic that had broken also this time. Make me wonder how many perfectly fine refrigerators/fridges are thrown away out there that could have new  control added for a few bucks and do the job they were designed for for many years more.

How?

As with the fridge I decided to go for standard VSCP modules for the refrigerator project to make it a demo project.  It is easier this time as I have the CAN4VSCP bus connected to the fridge that stands next to the refrigerator. I just need to connect the two together.

So I put in a Kelvin NTC10K module and a Bejing I/O module in the refrigerator and hook it up to the CAN4VSCP bus so I am able to monitor temperatures and change temperature settings and get possible alarms from the unit.  As with all VSCP modules they form a self-contained unit.  There is actually no need for a server after they have been configured. The second video here show the configuration process and the first show how the modules are connected together.

The Kelvin NTC 10K module is a module that one can connect a couple of temperature sensors to.  It can be programmed to alarm at low and high temperatures and as in this case turn on and off things when certain temperature thresholds are reached.

In the fridge project a Paris module is used together with the Kelvin NTC module. The Paris module is constructed to control relays and have all the electronics on board to do that. It also include protection timers and a lot more.

In the refrigerator project I decided to use the Beijing module instead of the Paris module. Mostly because it did not matter to have standard I/O channels  as I use a solid state relay to switch on and off the compressor, but my main reason was that  I got a chance to use it in a real life demo system.

So the Kelvin NTC10K module sense the temperature in the refrigerator and the Beijing module is used to switch the compressor on or off and to sense if the refrigerator door is open or not and if it is light the lamp inside the box.

It is possible to  sound s siren if the door to the refrigerator is opened between midnight and six in the morning. But some things just hit you right in the face so I will not implement that functionality. At least not now.

Next?

Connect cables and putting it in the refrigerator where the old control logic was located. No programming is needed just configuration.  The second video above show a bit of this configuration but I will go through it in a more precise way in a future post. Hopefully things will work as thy should tomorrow. The VCSP modules are very flexible and can be used in most control situations to form self-contained systems that can be connected together and be connected to the world in a safe and secure way.

CAN4VSCP module firmware upgrades

power_injector5

Please update your module.

Instructions on how to update the firmware is available in the modules manual.

Adding pull-ups/downs to Beijing

Got a great tip from a customer (Maarten Zanders in Belgium) for the Beijing module. His words below.

beijing_pulldown

Here’s a tip for if you use Beijing to process buttons. If you want to add stronger pull-ups (the PIC’s internal pullups are too weak to be used on physical -long- wire), there’s a component from “the old days” that can help you out: SIL resistor arrays.

Picture attached shows the resistor array in place. I think this position results in a pull down configuration.
I only have the 10 pin version at hand (9 pull-ups) but 11pin versions also exist.

Beijing I/O #VSCP control module #IoT #m2m

Clipboard01

The Beijing I/O VSCP control module is now available in the FrogShop.

The module has ten 5V channels that individually can be set to either an input or an output.

Each output can have a pulse automatically  generated.

Each channel can have a protection timer associated with it which turns it off after a specified time. This can be used as a security feature so that a critical controlled resource is not kept on when a communication line has been lost but can be used to keep an output on for a specific time for other uses.

TurnOn/TurnOff or On/Off events can be generated when  signals go high/low.  This is valid both for inputs and outputs. Perfect for monitoring systems or for autonomous control of other VSCP modules.

Alarm events can be generated when a pin change state. Perfect for alarm setups.

State of inputs/outputs can be streamed with configurable time interval.

Inputs can be used as button inputs with repeat.

The Beijing module have a decision matrix with eight entries that can set a pin high or low,  toggle a pin, send status for a pin or all pins, or turn on/off  pulse on a pin. This makes it easy to construct autonomous systems.

The module can be wall mounted or attached to a DIN rail as all modules in the CAN4VSCP series from Paradise of the Frog.

Almost Done. #VSCP #IoT #m2m

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Almost done. It’s always the hardest part. I have never really understood why.  So now for the Beijing I/O module I only have to verify that the input and debounce events work then I can stamp “ready” on the project or at least dub it “ready” as in firmware release 1.0.0.  Yes and after that start coding on the next project. Going in to virgin land with a free mind. I like that. More than most other things in the world. But now, so close to the finish, I resist and slow down as always. Just as a runner that is close to the finish line usually does.

Yes I am tired. I have been working hard this year. Sixteen hour days for most of the days of the week.  Month after month. Just as I did last year and the year before that and so on.  Getting very little in return for my work. But not for a minute hesitated that this is something good. Yes I still believe in this.

So I have to pick up some strength from somewhere in myself and finish this.  I really need to put “ready” on two other modules also before I go on vacation with a mind in rest. Is that even possible?  Well I don’t know, I just know I better get on the job again right away.

Verifying Beijing #VSCP #IoT #m2m

verifying-beijing

Verifying the Beijing module.  All is well up to now I can tell you. But a lot of functionality to test so things takes time as always.  The Accra and the Vilnius modules are standing impatiently here in queue  to be tested also including some other modules. Soon we move up to Ethernet, Bluetooth and Wifi.

No that ugly LED array is not part of the board. 😉