Monthly Archives: October 2015

tonight: finishing and a return to engineering

Very quick post – yes, we’re on tonight.  Come what may, this is the last time we’ll see the wheel on a Tuesday.  Summer is well over at this point, and we feel it’s time to move back to our central aim – a focus on how we investigate the heating and comfort in our buildings.

We’ll actually be starting tonight with a debugging master class – equipped with cables and a laptop, we’ll be looking at a location sensor and Pi that have stopped sending sensor readings to the web, and ask ourselves, “how do we approach finding out why?”  I think we might be heading towards a simple set of light indicators on top of the Pi, or maybe it’s just a debugging flow-chart, but it should get us unblocked in our testing.  I can describe what we’re working on off-Tuesdays to get stable, open instructions on the web for how to get air temperature and humidity readings, how to check on boiler circulation, and so on, but we don’t want to make it all talk-talk (why we ended up doing the wheel in the first place!), so we’ll have to watch that.

And we’ll figure out what comes next.  I think thermal comfort is so important it might be going back to the black globe, but we need to get the anemometry design sorted, even if that means buying in a little help (the electronics isn’t difficult, I’ve been told).  But there’s a few possibilities.  It’s a group effort – we’ll figure it out.

7:30, Methodist Church basement, 25 Nicolson Square – ask the caretaker for help finding us, especially during our short foray up to where we keep the organ sensor.

Reflections on #sustmake

Yesterday I was privileged to attend #sustmake – which talked about “How can makerspaces, fablabs, and hackerspaces help cultivate sustainable developments?”   For HeatHack, this is an unusual topic, because it’s about the wider societal context for what we do – in fact, I suspect most of our contacts aren’t even aware that we’re part of a wider societal trend!   Adrian Smith from SPRU, who organized it, wants to know what struck us most.  There were so points that cut right to some important issue that it’s hard to know where to begin!  For Adrian, this is my answer – although from my early stage vantage point, it’s a bit like the primary school student’s “thank you” letter to the museum after a good field trip, minus the crayoned dinosaur.  For any regular readers, hey, everyone philosophizes sometimes – you can zone out or in as is your wont, but at least try not to slip too far into the academics’ native dialect, High Falutin’.  If you want to understand the context, you can read about that here and here.

Continue reading Reflections on #sustmake

last time, and this time

Our last Tuesday session we nearly finished the bicycle wheel.  Illness means we didn’t do it between sessions and take it to Govan, but hey, there are always other events.  7:30, Tuesday 13 October (that’s tonight!), City of Edinburgh Methodist basement, and look for the caretaker if it’s still difficult to find a way through the building site.

So, what’s left to do, besides enjoy the spectacle of the new firmware controlling the lights?  The sewing of the fascia – here’s where we find out if anyone but Lou knows their couching from their split stitch – plus that all important user interface, the conductive wand.

Continue reading last time, and this time