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How have you customized your life -- electronically?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by DaveC, Apr 20, 2007.

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  1. DaveC

    DaveC Guest

    One regular poster here has designed a microcontroller-based, networked (
    (remotely accessible), whole-home climate control monitoring system
    (heating-AC/hot h2o/heat exchangers/the whole works). Others have modified
    their digital toaster (I'm not mentioning names... (c: )

    How has your profession (or hobby) leaked into your everyday life? What
    customizations or applications have you put electronics to that makes your
    life easier and/or more fun?
  2. Long Ranger

    Long Ranger Guest

    About the only thing I've done lately is add a large, (can't remember size)
    capacitor to the input of my inverter. It enables it to hold the microwave
    oven I use it for, barely. I recently put a set of digital transceivers in
    the inlaws barn, about 4 miles from the house, so they could monitor the
    intrusion alarm.
  3. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Working with electronics all day, I want nothing to do with it in my
    time off. I want all my household appliances to be as simple, dumb,
    reliable, and analog as possible. I'm comfortable with simple, old-gen
    PC applications because they work and are predictable.

    We push technology only in those places where it really pays off. If
    there's no big benefit, stick the the stuff that's known to work.

  4. jcomeau_ictx

    jcomeau_ictx Guest

    Like Long Ranger, I live off-grid, and anything at my place has to be
    low-wattage. I'm working right now on programming devices to (1) run
    my 12V beer cooler only when the voltage is above some safe setpoint,
    say 12.2; pump the water for my indoor garden when the sensor is dry;
    flash the (homemade LED) rope light to indicate my shebeen is open,
    stuff like that. I've got a Picstart 2 and Futurlec ATTINY2313
    development boards, and an ARM board from Coridium on order, not sure
    which one will end up being the best choice. They're all way overkill,
    really, but they offer the possibility of remote access which is nice.
  5. I feel the same way. Stuff that needs work at home sits for months. I have
    very basic stuff that does what we need and don't spend much effort at home
    on electronics.

  6. Palindrome

    Palindrome Guest

    I rather like garage doors that don't have to be manually opened in the
    rain, a car that is warm to get into- first thing on a Winter's morning,
    to know what is in my huge freezer and what is reaching its "use by"
    date, to run a bath without standing over the taps and burning/freezing
    my hand and gets the temperature right and stays at that temperature,
    doorlocks that lock themselves at night - so I don't have to go and
    check in my jim jams, lights that switch on when needed and off when
    not, etc, etc...

    I'd much rather spend a little bit of time once than have to put up with
    some thing as it is, year after year after year... YMMV.
  7. Long Ranger

    Long Ranger Guest

    Actually, I don't live "off-grid". I use the inverter in my service van to
    run the oven that heats my lunch, and dinner, if I'm out late. Van is too
    small for a decent sized generator, and I can't bring myself to eat fast
  8. Guest

    Most often the benefit is reduced manufacturing costs, but once you
    already own the goods those dont come into it.

    Marketing depts say otherwise of course.

  9. Guest

    The anaesthetic machine I made certainly made life easier. Not exactly
    an every day use thing though :)

  10. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    I used to design and build (from components, not kits) my own audio
    amplifiers, but I don't have time for it anymore.

    The only thing I've done lately is add a "signal combiner" to my
    whole-house video system.

    This allows me to insert a different source of Channel 4 (from what
    comes off the cable) into my distribution amplifier.

    But it took TWO of the Tru-Spec SC-4's in series to get good signal
    without cross-mod....

    | |-----> TO DIGITAL CABLE BOX
    CABLE >---| |
    | |
    | _____
    +-|IN | _____ _______
    | |-----|IN | | |---->
    | | | |-----| |---->
    GND-TERM-|4____| | | | |---->
    SC-4 +-|4____| | |---->
    | SC-4 | |---->
    | | |---->
    | | |---->
    CH4 FROM DIGITAL CABLE BOX >---+ |_______|---->

    ...Jim Thompson
  11. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    Three "mandatories":
    Remote controlled motor driven window opener/closer for a
    window that is very difficult to reach, remote control for
    whole house fan, filters for supply to motion sensor light.
    (The damn thing, once installed, prevented my X-10 system
    from working, until I made the filter. Same thing happened
    when I plugged in a rechargeable tooth brush. Go figure.
    If you have one, drag an AM radio close to it while it's
    charging - lots of noise.)

    Why do they call it man-datory when it's the wife that
    makes it so? :)

  12. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    I've always been in a bit of a split. On one hand I like things to be
    simple and elegant, I like older cars, basic appliances, that sort of
    thing, but on the other hand electronics, mechanics, engineering, etc is
    what I've always been most passionate about and I love to play with
    technology, new or old, and have always been attracted to fancy gadgets
    if only to marvel at the engineering. I can certainly do without things
    like cell phones, PDAs, and other junk that will be a distraction but I
    like modern conveniences, particularly if I've built them myself.
  13. Palindrome

    Palindrome Guest

    You need to be very careful with those modern conveniences - I hear some
    of the latest (Japanese) ones catch fire during the warm air dry phase...
  14. qrk

    qrk Guest

    I'm with John on this. At home, things are very low tech.- easy to
    use, easy to fix. My Rolodex never needs battery replacement, erasable
    if entries are written in pencil, easy to add notes, and easy to
    install more "memory". My slide rule still works after 35 years,
    doesn't need batteries, and I can spill drinks on it without harming
    it. Much of my digital photo album stuff is manipulated by command
    line tools unless I need to touch-up images. Still use old DOS Orcad
    SDT at work because none of the GUI schematic programs are pleasant to
    use and SDT doesn't crash. Still use a compass, map, and occasionally
    an altimeter when going in the outback. Use my eyes to figure out
    where fish are. Technology is, many times, a PITA!
  15. Guest

    Mpffff... other than having a vintage radio and vintage stereo for
    every room in the house including the larger closets (not quite, but
    pretty close), not much.

    Peter Wieck
    Wyncote, PA

  16. You're not supposed to sit on it!

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  17. Boris Mohar

    Boris Mohar Guest

    I replaced the light inside my AC doorbell button with a bit of circuitry and
    two LEDs. The Blue LED is on all the time. When the button is pressed it
    goes out and Red LED comes on briefly indicating that the button has been
    pressed. Everything is in the doorbell button and it uses the two existing
    wires. My life is so much better now.
  18. DJ Delorie

    DJ Delorie Guest

    I designed a microcontroller-based, networked (remotely accessible),
    whole-home climate control and monitoring system (heating, AC,
    humidity, the whole works).

    Oh wait, maybe that's me you're referring to? ;-)
  19. SparkyGuy

    SparkyGuy Guest

    My life is so much better now.

    It must have been *awful* before. How did you survive?
  20. Don Kelly

    Don Kelly Guest

    Goodness me- no "electronic toaster" for you. I bet that you still don't
    have a 4 HP. 120V,15A "electronic" lawnmower as well.
    You, sir, are not meeting the expectations of the modern advertising world.

    Thanks- it is good to see common sense.--

    Don Kelly
    remove the X to answer
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