Enchanted Cottage

Updating a weather house with electronics, servos and Wifi

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An old fashioned weather house was stripped down and rebuilt. The cat gut mechanism was replaced with a servo, 3D printed mechanism, Arduino Yún and LED driver shield.

To request a new forecast the user simply needs to knock on the roof. The system calls up Yahoo Weather and moves the figures based on the response. A DHT22 provides a backup if the internet is not available. The mechanism is hidden in the basement and the figures attached with magnets so they appear to move without any form of propulsion.

The system runs from a LiPo battery with an aggressive power saving strategy.

Status LEDs are brought up to the top panel using fibre optics and 3D printed buttons can be used to help the user to setup the system.

The cottage has been extended at the back to house the electronics and below to hide the mechanism. The front window has a new frame to show off the LED temperature indicator.

The mechanism is a double ended Watt's linkage which gives an approximately linear movement for the figures. This is connected by a sprung stainless steel wire to the micro servo. Diametrically polarised magnets ensure that the characters are always pointing in the right direction.

The power control circuit turns on and off the power to the Servo, RGB Shield and DHT22 sensor. The knock knock sensor is left powered so that it can listen for wake up interrupts. The top panel is simple buttons attached to input pins and fibre optics to extend the Arduino's LEDs to the top of the cottage.

When the board wakes up it checks to see if the sleep counter has reached zero or if knock has been detected and if so It starts up. Otherwise it goes back to sleep for another 4seconds.

In start up it firstly powers on the peripherals and WiFi module. It then sets the LED colour to be that of the last known temperature. Following this it sets the LED to fast flash to indicate it's going to get the weather. It then gets the local temperature and humidity. Once the WiFi module has booted it will request the weather.

On the Linino side the system sends a handshake signal to indicate that it is ready and starts up the Python script to listen to the serial port. The Python script makes an API call to the Yahoo weather service, if that errors or times out it will make a "guess" at the weather based on the local conditions provided by the sensor. The data is parsed and send back to the ATmega as a simple string.

Once the weather has been received the system shuts down the WiFi module. It can then update the position and new LED colour which is then solid and starts a timer for 1 minute. Once that timer has expired it will shut down the peripherals and go back to sleep.

Note that the choice of parts was influence by the big box of free bits that Element14 gave me to build with.

  • 1 × Arduino Yún
  • 1 × Infineon RGB Shield
  • 1 × RGB LED
  • 1 × DHT22
  • 1 × 3d Printed Mechanism

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Adam Fabio wrote 08/06/2015 at 16:38 point

hey - this is awesome! A great update to a traditional weather instrument!

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