Tasks

A few people have been asking “what I can I usefully do between Tuesdays?”  Sometimes on Tuesdays, it’s even, “what could I be doing RIGHT NOW?”    Here’s our emerging list!  Just ask if you want to know what any of these things mean.

Task 0:  update this list of tasks, which is well out of date.  Oops!  It shows the progress we’re making, at least…

1. In service of the sensor networks

1.1 (essential) Try installing EmonCms on a web sever.   We’re currently uploading to their server, but we can’t do that forever.  We can use heathack.org or buy a slice, but what do we think of the software?  Does it install cleanly and do what we need?   If we add some new kind of sensor location, or some new kind of data use like phone apps and alarms, how hard is it to modify?  Could we add data editing or at least post-filtering before display to take out the rubbish?  We want to learn d3.js and build some cool visualizations – how does the connection work? There are other options (Housemon, NodeRed) with different strengths.

1.2 How hard is it to add a mesh network to the Jeenodes, so they relay data from stuff that’s too far from the receiver?

1.3 Finish and test Dimitri’s hot wire anemometry design, so we can make our thermal comfort measuring device.

1.4 If anyone wants tricky radio questions.   Work on the radio antenna range for the Jeenodes.  Church fittings are substantial, and they don’t always even get through pews!    We don’t know much about improving it, but there is a forum, and there’s always engineering know-how. And try the alternative hardware.  We have a Ciseco Wireless Inventor’s Kit with a Slice of Radio and XinoRF, plus a “one of each” kind of approach for the rest of what they sell (SRF, RFU-328, RFU development board, PowerPod voltage regulator,  XRF,  XBBO, and Slice of Pi).  We also have six Jeenode Micros, some very cheap NRF24L01+ 2.4Ghz transceivers, and a small selection of other, simpler, cheaper microcontrollers like an AdaFruit Trinket , a Teensy.  We expect to have to buy more equipment by February for the Easter Vigil – Jeenodes again, or something else? We may want a range of configurations – from remote sensor location(s) plus pi plus wireless, to pi collecting just what it can with or without an Arduino, or maybe even just an Arduino with an SD card module.  I’ve ordered a test module but it may take a while to arrive.

2.  In service of “clients”

2.1 Many churches have asked about tools to help them understand where the electricity goes – the one looking for the information right now is Queensferry Parish Church. They have three phase supplies making that tricky.    We have three current sensors that are oddly under-documented compared to most hobbyist kit – the closest I’ve found is from Open Energy Monitor, plus a video of someone’s basic experience.  Is it possible to do something useful with them, even if it’s just estimating base load?  Can we tell how much current, say, an entire lighting circuit is drawing?  Some kinds of fittings draw more current as they age, and sometimes in churches they aren’t actually sure what technology is mounted way up there at the ceiling.     Can we log when a pump is on or off, for when there are questions about whether frost stats and  pump overruns are operating correctly?  What about a motorized valve and weather compensator (at Christ Church Morningside) that aren’t in use – it costs to decommission them, but what do they cost to keep on?

2.2 Test the pipework circulation at St Peters using a bunch of the jeenodes set up with long lead DS18B20s. The heating’s on, it just doesn’t get upstairs…

2.3 We should monitor CEMC, in preparation for them asking us about the heat distribution.  That could even be using the Lascars, until we get more Jeenodes.

3. In service of on-line instructions

3.1 Jean has a bunch of notebooks that we need to massage into instructions (along with Tim’s better contributions) for building sensor boards, configuring Jeenodes, creating Pi images and setting them up, putting fishing weights on balloons, etc).  This is where the bulk of our charity funding will go.

4. In service of public engagement

4.1 Finish the “DressSense” phone app – where the hardest part is probably the graphics, but the most time-consuming might be figuring out how preferences/settings work in the different versions of Android.

4.4 Get a first round of publicity through Church of Scotland magazines – I’m sure there will be more people pleasantly surprised by such an unusual venture – and start the publicity materials for the Easter Vigil.

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