Monthly Archives: December 2015

The result of HeatHack’s Christmas festivities


Our Tuesday night on 22 December turned out to be Christmas festivities, HeatHack-style – not a mince pie in sight, but we did have fairy lights, packages to open (our supplies for Innovative Learning Week!), happy snaps, and our very first blanket fort.  Results, too – we have the final design for version 1 of our gas meter camera.
Continue reading The result of HeatHack’s Christmas festivities

tonight – the gas cam

The guys have taken me aside to explain about relays and what happens if you try to draw too much current through an Arduino, and so we’re ready for our next design:  a gas meter camera with “flash”.  We’ll be designing and prototyping that tonight (City of Edinburgh Methodist Church basement, 25 Nicolson Square, 19:30) as well as talking about what microcontrollers to buy for our RFM69 radio tests, and maybe modifications to our web server.  The hunt for broken bike lights and torches was surprisingly unsuccessful – I have one red and two white, all at different voltages – but I’m off on a hunt for some very seasonal battery operated LED fairy lights that could be just the ticket.


towards simplifying the photo flash

full attempt to flash torch using relay - wires only generally in direction of torch to show they go there!
full attempt to flash torch using relay – wires only generally in direction of torch to show they go there!

I’ve decided that I don’t want to mess once again with some very brittle drivers for controlling my old Nikon Coolpix from a Pi. That means it must be time to figure out how to provide enough light for gas meter photos by hacking something on the Pi itself.  And that means exposing just how little I understand electronics, once again…

Continue reading towards simplifying the photo flash

Tuesday night – field trip!

Here’s advanced notice for Tuesday night (8 December, 19:30) – instead of the Methodist Church, we’re going to meet up at St Columba’s by the Castle, 14 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW.

Johnston Terrace runs pretty much under the castle.  It has two St Columba’s on it within sight of each other, so don’t get confused!  The hint’s in the name – the one you want is closer to the castle than St Columba’s Free Church.  There’s a doorbell mounted on the stonework at the main door that you can ring to get our attention.  If you tell us ahead of time that you’re coming, Jean will give you her mobile number, “just in case”.

There are three regulars that we know can’t come, so we’re expecting it to be small.  We’ll be looking at the data coming from the equipment we already have in place at St Columba’s, and also thinking about how to place two things we failed to put in before:  time lapse photography on the gas meter and boiler flow and return for the church.  For the gas meter, the problem is lighting and a cramped space; for the boiler flow and return, we can’t reach the one place we can see to put the instrumentation in the boiler room, but we might be able to figure out the nearest equivalents we can reach outside the room itself.   We may also take a sneak peak at the building modelling requirements for our Innovative Learning Week event, “Adventures in U-Values – Modelling Heat Loss is Kid’s Stuff” – and think about what other instrumentation we could usefully get in place before February.

We might also talk about our future plans for HeatHack, if the set of people who show up on the night are interested in that – more about that soon.