Saturday, November 6, 2010

My first real gadget: Garage status monitor

After building about a hundred blinking/beeping/servoing/sensoring Arduino devices that did nothing useful, I finally decided to build something that we would really enjoy. And that was the hardest part - figuring out what I really needed done and then giving the task to the Arduino. I probably spent a month just pondering.

In the middle of July, I was wondering why the air conditioner in the house wasn't keeping up. I must have spent hours looking things over, making sure the compressor was working, replacing filters, blah blah blah. After a while, I found myself standing downstairs in the middle of my garage and it hit me.

The garage door had been open all day. This was the reason why the ductwork was sweating and the cement floor looked damp, and probably a big contributor to the air conditioning problem. From the main floor of the house, it's impossible to tell if the garage door is open, and with a 5-year-old always going out to ride her bike, you can bet it's open more often than not.

And that's when I decided it was time to find a way to build a gadget to let me know. And like all good books (yeah right, like this is a good book), this set of posts is written after I've actually built it, so I'm going to go back through and document it for you in future posts.

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