01/30/2019 at 14:58 •
I added the schematic in .jpg and .png to the github repo:
01/24/2019 at 23:48 •
The requirements I set for the PCB design were:
- relatively small size
- using THT components for easy soldering and debugging
- circle shape
- connectors for the wires to be able to taken apart
I designed the PCB in KiCAD. Managed to fit all the components on a 70mm circle PCB with a 12mm hole in the middle for wires to run through it. Ordered 10 pieces from JLCPCB and after 2 weeks these showed up.
I designed the case for 3D printing in Solidworks. It consist of 5 parts. Only 2 pieces are needed to be glued together, the other parts connects with screws. The whole model can be easily assembled and disassembled.
This is the models Section analysis.
In the top part under the translucent part goes the LED ring. In the top center goes the clickable encoder. in the middle section is the main board. In the bottom is the battery and the charger/boost converter board.
Printed and assembled, working.
01/24/2019 at 00:00 •
My next step was to implement the hardware and prototype code on the microcontroller.
For the microcontroller I chose the ESP8266 because it's well documented and easy to use wifi capabilities. I wanted to try out micropython for this project. After flashing it into the ESP it was very straight forward to port my prototype code from my PC to the microcontroller. The only third party library I had to use was the micropython-stm-lib/encoder/ which I modified to be able to set the initial value of the encoder. To control the Neopixel ring I made a custom class which inherited from the built in Neopixel class.
01/21/2019 at 22:34 •
The first I had to figure out a way I can communicate with Chromecasts. The official API to communicate only supports Android, iOS and Chrome browser. For my purpose either of those options are usable, I needed to communication from a microcontroller.
Third party options:
None of these options were appropriate for my use case but I have found a lot's of useful information in the documentations.
Chromecasts use a communication protocol called Protocol-buffers or protobuf, developed by Google.
To use protocol-buffers you need to 'define' your protocol in a .proto file which you can compile out to a library. The supported languages are:
I started development on a PC and I choose Python because it was the easiest and quickest to develop in for me. At first I tried to construct my own protocol-buffer messages but I couldn't get it to work.Then I tried the .proto file and the compiled library from the pychromecast library, but i still didn't got any response.
Then I tried to capture the messages sent from the pychromecast library with wireshark, but the socket is encrypted.
Then I inserted a few print statements in to the library before sending the messages.
And i got messages like this:
With the protocol-buffer libray I could parse these strings and into more readable JSON format.
When i tried to send these back, I got an answer from the Chromecast - Finally!
I continued with this method and found the message responsible for changing the volume, I could even change the value and it still worked.
Not so fast!
For some reason it only worked when I converted the messages to strings with the precompiled protocol-buffer library.
Due to size and complexity I can't use the protobuf library on a microcontroller, I need a simpler solution.
My first thought was creating messages to set the volume from 0 to 100 and from that create a lookup table. As I was creating that table I noticed a pattern, besides the value of the volume i wanted to change there is a request number. Every message from the initial connection is numbered, starting from 1 and increments by 1. I needed to change that as well. Although almost everything else stayed the same between the messages there was still one important difference. Every part of the message had a number before it indicating its size. Since I wanted to send volume and request values from single digits to triple digits (0 to 100) I needed 5 different sized message. From those 5 created messages I can pick according to the current volume level and request number. And it worked. :)
Now I got it working without any third party library, I was getting closer.