Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Tucson, AZ

Friday - This picture of the moon catching Venus is from last night on my way back from the hot tub. It was cool. 

This morning, I'm leading a test session using the AT&T hotspot. This time useing the 5gHz band. There is so much WiFi around here that may interfere with my WiFi.

Saturday - It’s a beautiful, 65°F day with clear skies and a slight breeze. Perfect weather for sitting outside. I participated in the morning test session. There is an air show a few miles away and earlier this morning, quite a few jets flew over the area at low altitudes. Pretty loud!

I have another Shelly 1 that I’m going to put in the RV bathroom somewhere to trigger the water pump. I don’t have a use for the dry relay contacts yet but I may think of something. 

Monday - Not much went on yesterday. No candidates for the morning test session. We are at the clinic now. Bridget is getting some x-rays before her appointment in a couple of days. 

I decided to disable the touch sensor controlling one of the living room reading lights. It wasn’t very reliable and I have extra physical switches from the water pump project (which is still ongoing). Right now, I’m waiting for some indicator lights to show the status next to the water pump buttons.

There was a park-supplied dinner this evening with pulled pork sandwiches, some salads, and lemon cake for dessert. The pulled pork and lemon cake were pretty good but the live music was too loud and the salads were so-so.

Tuesday - The little LED status lights arrived last night from Amazon. Less than $1 each with nice stainless steel housing and waterproof. I just need to figure out where to install the unit in the bathroom that has easy access to an always-on 12V power.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

MQTT and Leased Lot

Thursday - I tried something new (for me) on the home automation front. It's been around for quite a while but I had never delved into it. It is a lightweight messaging protocol of the Internet of Things (IoT) using a publish and subscribe model. I installed an MQTT broker on the Raspberry Pi running Home Assistant. I set up an automation to subscribe to the Shelly 1 that I had installed in the RV control panel. I added a physical momentary push-button to the control panel and it sends an MQTT message out whenever the button is pressed. The automation will close the relay and power is supplied to the water pump for some specified period. Currently, for testing, I have it set to 5 seconds. 

Something else that we have been working on for a while is a place to park the RV when we aren't traveling. We are leasing this space and it has a concrete pad for the RV with a 218 sq-ft building with water and 20 amp power. The covered patio is 9' deep. There are full hookups for the RV (water, 50amp power, and sewer).

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Tucson, AZ

Monday - Getting ready for another test session. It's 74°F so just about ideal to be outside. I did figure out how to add a button to the HomeAssistant interface and use the button state to trigger the automation. Now, I'm working on another D1Mini to add a physical push button to do the same thing. I plan on having physical buttons in the kitchen, bathroom, and possibly the wet bay to trigger the pump automation. For testing, I just have the pump running for 15 sec but the time can be easily changed.

Today, it was kind of windy with some stronger gusts. Nothing as strong as the winds in Yuma and Quartzsite. Today's small project was helping the neighbor mount his bike rack to the back of his Jeep JK. They have two recumbent bikes so it wasn't a regular bicycle rack. I broke a drill bit when modifying the rack to hug the back of the Jeep a bit more. Later, he showed up with a replacement set even though I only broke one bit. Pretty nice!

Tuesday - The windy day continues. It’s windy enough to bring in the main awning. The window awning is on the leeward side of the RV so no problem. I went to the non-park coffee and donuts this morning and had a delicious apple fritter and brought Bridget an old fashion. 

There was a morning test session and I lead one of the candidates (he passed). I tethered the laptop to the phone via USB as I wanted a reliable connection. For some reason, the WiFi doesn't seem as stable maybe because there is so much WiFi in this park. I'm just getting set up for the afternoon session where there is just one candidate and someone else is leading so using the AT&T hotspot over 5gHz. 

There may be some rain coming in but it probably won’t amount to much…

Wednesday - It is a cool and windy morning. Participated in the morning test session before heading out on a couple of errands.

With the rain and wind, I went to the rv park afternoon movie. It was a John Wayne western called Big Jake. I hadn’t seen it before and it was pretty good. It even had a motorcycle riding up and over boulders in the desert. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

More RV Automation

Sunday - Today, I used a small iot device called a Shelly1 to allow home automation control of the RV water pump. Not to replace the switch but operate in parallel. I created a HomeAssistant automation to turn on the pump for ten minutes and then shut it off. Since we usually used the water pump for short periods, this would allow the most common uses by just pressing a button. I just need to add some momentary switches around the RV to trigger the automation. The pump status light on the front panel even registers correctly when the automation switches on the pump. 

There is also a pump switch on the HomeAssistant dashboard to turn the pump on/off as well as enable/disable the automation. This is the first Shelly device I've used and have some other plans such as enabling the battery heaters. Since they can be controlled by HomeAssistant, it would be possible to develop some interesting automations such as enabling the heaters based on a variety of inputs such as battery temperature, battery SOC, solar panel voltage, time of day, etc. I may even use one to remotely start the generator.