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A project log for Bin Level Monitoring

Designing an IoT device to monitor and report the fill level of bins for holding recyclable discards of various kinds.

Kris WinerKris Winer 03/19/2019 at 01:340 Comments

18 March 2019

Gulp! After a night sitting peacefully on my kitchen table measuring the distance to the window I put very-high-bond foam tape on the back of the Bin Level Monitor prototype

stalked the unsuspecting garbage and recycling cans sitting in the front of our house

and rudely pressed the Bin Level Monitor on the upper inner portion of the blue recycling can after wiping a bit of the accumulated dirt off of the spot with a paper towel.

I pressed and jiggled so hard to be sure of firm attachment that the device reset; I saw the blue led come on as part of the initialization routine. I didn't solder the coin cell battery onto the main pcb like I probably should have, relying instead on a small piece of foam to apply enough pressure to make good contact. Well my jiggling must have worked it loose for a moment because the device reset. I know this because in the first report the acceleration is again showing all zeroes (mostly) indicating the offset biases were calculated in the vertical position.

The good news is I am getting data from all sensors. The range is fluctuating between 11 and 14 cm, which seems rather low. There are some things already in the recycle bin but I would have expected more like 30 cm. I suppose I should go out and measure the depth to be sure. Perhaps I am only seeing the range from the device to the side of the container.

Well, one big test is Wednesday --- trash day! I will let the recycling pickup occur as usual with the Bin Level Monitor installed and see what kind of signals I get and whether the device survives the ordeal.

Update: OK, went to check, and the recycle range should be closer to 35 or 40 cm. Turns out in my efforts to press hard on the device a finger pushed the VL53L0 out of its little hole (also not glued as it should be). So I removed the whole kit, straightened the VL53L0X, let the device configure while lying flat to get the accel right, and reinstalled. And...the range is still reading 12 cm...not sure what is going on here. More to come...

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