Its here because I cant be bothered with my own install

Cheap RFID reader.

Bought this – was crazy cheap so why not

RFID reader and 10 tokens for it.

Here are some internal pics of it.


Remember how I was basically copying what was done on the practical arduino project but with my cheap ebay temperature sensors?

Well, from reading and looking online I have found that they are made by Fine Offset.

But thats not the point. I saw that the new neighbours had a weather station (actually there are 2 they have – no idea why 2) – it looks like a fine offset one. So I know you know what I was thinking. I can get readings from that instead of buying my own one (which I have been planning on doing anyway)

So, because its so far away from both my server closet, and my workspace, and I hadnt seen any new sensors pop up I decided I would have to try recieveing closer to the property boundary.

I had built the 433MHz reciever onto my xbee shield as I didnt have a protoshield at the time. (the seeed one has a small proto area on it)

So I added the xbee and got that all setup for a wireless link – massive issues, till I dropped the baudrate from 115200 to 38400, but then it started working as ususal getting about 1 in 10 readings from the closeby sensors and 1 in 20-30 from the far away ones.

Off to sort out a battery for it. I had some 6 AA backs I got off ebay a while ago so I crimped a header on the end that would fit into the red JST I was using back when I had some LiPos that used that connector (they are gone now, started to puff up)

Anyway, as soon as I moved over to battery power, I started to get every sensor of mine, every single time without fail.

I did a range test down the driveway to the limit of the xbee range, and I was still seeing almost every single update from the sensors.

Clearly there is an issue when powered from the USB that is not there when powered by 7.2V and then regulated down to 5V. I will try adding capacitors to it once I have my soldering iron working again.

No sign of any data from any sensors other than the 6 of mine, so either there is a different RF protocol for the full weather station, they have a 868MHz model, or else they just dont have batteries in it.

Since I now know I can get reliable RF reception, that sortof motivates me to get around to making the code to take the data to pachube work properly.

I still have to get a weather station tho if I want to get wind and rainfall data. Mitre10 had some digitech ones that were fine offset I believe, so thats going back on the shopping list.

Display mockups

I found some nicer looking deep photoframes at the warehouse a couple of weeks back, and my large piece of protoboard finally arrived this week so I was able to start with the mockups. These are made of a plastic profile which has been assembled around the glass and front matt, as it is already black I dont have to paint it like I would with that horrid wooden frame, and its got loads of room inside it so that the other stuff can be out of sight around the edges.

Here are some photos.

The board is not quite large enough to fill the frame area of the frames and do 2 of them which is what I had hoped, but if you look at the later on ones, if the board was right at the back directly on the MDF/whatever board backing, it would have the digits a long way back from the glass.

If I cut it into 2, I can then trim it down and mount it ontop of some standoffs etc to get the displays closer to the front. That will reduce the spare space around it for the arduino chip, shift registers etc, but I am sure I can make it fit and get 2 of them out of it. Plus if its on standoffs there is the rear of the board to stick stuff as well which wouldnt be available if it was fully at the back of the photo frame.

They had larger frames, I am tempted to go get the 5×7 or the next one up and order another protoboard and make a really big one once these are done. Then I could use 2″ displays or something in it.

Probably came last week or 2, but I only got up to the mailbox on saturday.

Anyway, I cocked up. I had planned on getting the one I showed before, and also a 3 digit version. I clicked thru and found a seller with the 4 and the 3 digit ones. And then proceeded to buy the wrong size of the 3 digit one.


Ah well, I can always work with that, I was hoping to make 2 rows of 10 digits – by my calculation 12 digits would not fit lengthwise in the case, but as luck would have it too, my calculations were wrong and I can fit 3 of the 4 digit ones end to end. So that leaves what to do with the smaller 3 digit ones. Not going to start another project till this one is complete, I have far too many half finished things already.

Here they are as packed and showing them lit up with a CR2032 on the terminals. Chip is an arduino AVR to show scale of them a bit better. I didnt have a ruler on hand when taking them.

edit: just realized that I never finished this post or uploaded the photos when I came to do the next post, which I will post shortly


So, I saw this here: which I thought was a mighty fine idea, and something I can reproduce but use to show something like outstanding orders, email count etc in addition to a hit counter.

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