General advice



  • Hello all! I am for the most part an IT Guy that has worked with computers (hardware and software) for more years than I care to admit. I currently teach various CIT courses at a college and adjunct at a couple of other schools. I can program some (more of a hack than coder) and generally am technologically minded. Most of my work has been in ways that I have avoided anything this small including soldering. I have used X10 for a number of years and started using ZWave when I came across this project. I've ordered a bunch of materials using the build sheets and plan on becoming active, but could use advice. What have I not bought (did my best to see everything), what type of soldering irons would be best for a beginner (I know cheaper isn't better) and what advice would you give? I've been reading a lot on the forums here but just wanted to try and personalize everything a bit more for myself.

    In short order, I have bought a Fluke 110, a Vera to control my Z-Wave items, a storage container for all of these small parts and the following from slow boats from China it seems:

    UNO R3 ATmega328P ATmega16U2 2012 Version Board & Free USB Cable for Arduino
    2 Mini USB Nano V3.0 ATmega328P 5V 16M Micro-controller Board FT232RL For Arduino
    10Pcs New Pro Mini atmega328 5V 16M Replace ATmega128 Arduino Compatible Nano
    5PCS DC 5V to 3.3V Step-Down Power Supply AMS1117 RF Wireless module MCU Board
    100pcs 3mm Round LED Light Bulb Emitting Diode Lamp - Colors: Red, Yellow, Blue and Green
    Ethernet Shield W5100 For Arduino Main Board 2009 UNO ATMega 328 1280 MEGA2560
    NRF24L01+PA+LNA SMA Antenna Wireless Transceiver communication module 2.4G S9
    IIC/I2C/TWI 1602 Serial Blue Backlight LCD Display For Arduino
    FTDI Basic Breakout USB-TTL 6 PIN 3.3/5V With Free USB Cable For Arduino
    MB102 830 Point Solderless PCB Breadboard+65pcs Jump Cable Wires+Power Supply HO
    100pcs 4X7mm Electrolytic Capacitor Assortment64 values 
    1280pcs 1 ohm - 10M ohm 1/4W Metal Film Resistors Assortment Kit
    TOP Mini W5100 LAN Ethernet Shield Network Module board for Arduino Best
    DS3231 AT24C32 IIC module precision Real time clock module memory module Arduino
    5 pcs Adjust IR Pyroelectric Infrared IR PIR Motion Sensor Detector Module HC-SR501
    10PCS Arduino NRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Wireless RF Transceiver Module New
    40PCS Dupont Wire Color Jumper Cabl 1P-1P 2.54mm Male to Male 20cm TW
    40PCS 20cm Dupont Wire Color Jumper Cable 2.54mm 1P-1P Male to Female New
    20pcs, PushButton SPST Momentary Normal OFF N/O Push Switch Red Cap Push to Make
    5pcs SYB-170 Mini Breadboard Colorful Breadboard Small Plates
    10PCS IC DS18B20 TO-92 DALLAS NEW GOOD QUALITY DATE CODE: 12+
    200pcs 10cm 2.54mm 1pin Female to Female jumper wire Dupont cable for Arduino
    

    From what I have ordered, I would like to build some motion sensors, temperature readers, an ethernet gateway for my Vera, etc. I know one glaring item missing is how to power everything....

    Any help is appreciated and welcomed!


  • Admin

    Welcome!

    With this list you'll get a great kit for playing around and build a few sensors. Watch out for the (very) cheap china wall-warts. If you have old phone-chargers at home you can use them for powering,



  • This is a lot of fun diy home automation.
    Out of curiosity, what was the total for all the fun stuff? Did you forget temp (+hum) sensors from the list..



  • @Nuubi I got the 10PCS IC DS18B20 TO-92 DALLAS for temperature but did not get any of the humidity sensors. After going back and forth with several of the sellers trying to bundle where I could to save on shipping it was about $170 or so. Found the Fluke on a local Facebook group for $20 new (still had plastic over LCD). Hardest part was going back and forth trying to decide what to get and making sure that shipping wasn't making it cost more when it didn't have to.

    Any suggestions on a good soldering iron?



  • Not bad for that much of goodies.

    Soldering iron, it's a bit tricky. The price range is from couple of bucks to ... alot. I got a used Weller, which is great. Genarally, I'd look for something that had at least a stand integrated and possibility to replace tips. Over the years I bought something like 5 cheapos before settled with used Weller...


  • Hero Member

    @shawn_ky One the one hand, doing through-hole components and stuff will work even on the cheapest iron so I guess it depends on your budget. I've made do with a cheap rebranded Velleman iron for some time until I decided to get the Xytronic LF-3000 90W soldering station the other week. A discontinued (?) model sold by the Distrelec Group here in Europe (Reichelt / Elfa / etc ...). Seemed like good value, but as always, second hand is probably the way to go if you can find any. I looked around but realized that many of the used stations were another step up in terms of price/quality still so I just gave up on that.

    Don't know how good the value is for some of these Ebay stations. Some people love them. Some claim they overshoot and misrepresent the temperature. Probably not worth importing since they're pretty heavy, better to find locally.



  • Thanks for the advice @Nuubi and @bjornhallberg ! As far as budget, I don't really know. I guess I know I've tried with the cheap ones before (many years ago now) and it always seemed like if you weren't experienced already then it was a bit more difficult. Perhaps looking for a used Weller is the route to go... I'll look for the one @bjornhallberg mentioned also just in case. Never know, maybe Amazon will have a good deal!



  • I have a weller non-adjustable unit that I used for years, and I recently moved it to the garage and obtained an adjustable temp hakko 888D, it heats up a little quicker than the weller (okay maybe 1/4 the time) and the holder is a bit nicer, but otherwise they both work well and have a variety of swappable tips. Of course, now I'm thinking I might should have gotten something with hot-air rework capabilities, though really I'm probably not steady enough to do too much SMD fiddling.

    Seems wise to go with the E-Net gateway straight away, I ran with the serial for several month but E-net has lots of advantages. I had some difficulties with the ENC board locking up. I've been using a UNO w/ 5100 as you have listed for a few days w/o issue.

    I recently bought a new vera for our office which came with UI7 instead of UI5, not sure what issues that might present.

    does the _ky indicate that you are in Kentucky?



  • @soward Yes, I am in Kentucky.... Located in a tri-state area with Ohio and West Virginia close by.

    The hakko 888D looks interesting. Suddenly it appears there are a lot of choices. My assumption is to make sure that it's adjustable and things will work out ok.

    I definitely wanted to go the Ethernet gateway model as it just made more sense to me. Probably moreso in my comfort zone. Glad to hear it's working okay for you...

    I also have UI7 which I have seen good and bad with so far. I have a few X10 devices and would really like to be able to use them through Vera, but at this time the MochaD plugin isn't working properly with UI7. As far as this library, it looks like it is working ok.


  • Mod

    @soward said:

    though really I'm probably not steady enough to do too much SMD fiddling.

    That is what I thought too. It is really not that difficult though...


  • Admin

    I'm about to go crazy over my cheap soldering iron. The tip losen itself and the handle is crap. Guess sometimes you get what you pay for (β‰ˆ40USD).

    After googling a while I was thinking of buying a Weller WSD 81. Quite expensive but hopefully it will last for a while.
    http://uk.farnell.com/weller/wsd-81-uk/soldering-station-80w-230v-uk/dp/1877455

    Anyone knows how it compares to the hakko 888D?



  • @hek That's a great question and one that I was wondering also.... πŸ˜„



  • I'm not sure about that exact model, but the one things the Weller digital units had over the hakkos when I was shopping was auto-power-off, so if that's a concern it might be worthwhile. However, they were quite a bit more $ here in the US anyway. The Hakko 888D can be had for ~$90US if you are patient. I don't remember the 81 even coming up in a search, the lower powered 51 I looked at, but it was in the $140US range with both less power than the Hakko and the non-adjustable WTCPT I have (temp is adjusted by the particular tip that is installed).

    That said, the WTCPT is > 15 years old and still working fine, so I don't think you can go wrong with either.

    Also, I think the 240V hakko might be more costly than it's 120V cousin, which might level the playing field outside of NA.


  • Admin

    Santa came early this year. Finally decided on a WD1000. Hope it will last i lifetime.

    wd1000.jpg



  • Looks like you were a very good boy this year! πŸ˜ƒ I finally received enough of my stuff to begin playing a bit. So far, it's great! Haven't finished the gateway yet but I've had some questions. How does one use a resistor or capacitor on a breadboard? Is there a proper way to connect it? Also the Ethernet module I order from the hardware list came in but was labeled differently than the instructions for the gateway... I'm on my phone now but will post an image shortly of the labeling. I just want to make sure it's hooked up right before I get too far.

    Here are the pics...
    2014-10-15 11.11.15.jpg 2014-10-15 11.11.03.jpg


  • Admin

    You might wanna browse through these threads.

    http://forum.mysensors.org/topic/467/ethernet-gateway-troubleshooting-advice
    http://forum.mysensors.org/topic/466/ethernet-gateway-problem/3

    SoftSPI for NRF24L01 radio seems to be the option to get Ethernet working on the same SPI bus.

    A question for everyone: Is there any Ethernet module working side-by-side with radio without tweaking SPI behavior? The ENC-module requires too much memory and the WizNet has problems hogging SPI.



  • @hek said:

    A question for everyone: Is there any Ethernet module working side-by-side with radio without tweaking SPI behavior? The ENC-module requires too much memory and the WizNet has problems hogging SPI.

    I bought SunFounder Uno + Ethernet shield and worked out of box
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sunfounder-UNO-R3-Ethernet-Schild-W5100-Starter-Kit-fur-Arduino-Mega-2560-Nano-/161382223691?pt=Wissenschaftliche_GerΓ€te&hash=item2593214f4b



  • @jocke4u said:

    @hek said:

    A question for everyone: Is there any Ethernet module working side-by-side with radio without tweaking SPI behavior? The ENC-module requires too much memory and the WizNet has problems hogging SPI.

    I bought SunFounder Uno + Ethernet shield and worked out of box
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sunfounder-UNO-R3-Ethernet-Schild-W5100-Starter-Kit-fur-Arduino-Mega-2560-Nano-/161382223691?pt=Wissenschaftliche_GerΓ€te&hash=item2593214f4b

    I got the enc working, but it would hang after some number of hours (usually around 12, but +/- 8). It did not seem to be based on the volume of traffic flowing through it though, so I dunno if it was a similar SPI conflict or a bug in the IP stack.

    I ordered the iTead, but it has yet to arrive, instead I ordered the same Sunfounder unit mentioned above, but from Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JB2Z74W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I built it up and added a 16x4 LCD and some code to display the time and the last 3 communications received by the controller. It's been stable and online 24x7 since sunday night. No SPI modifications.


  • Hero Member

    A question for everyone: Is there any Ethernet module working side-by-side with radio without tweaking SPI behavior? The ENC-module requires too much memory and the WizNet has problems hogging SPI.

    WIZnet has apart from the W5100 also a W5500 that has Hardware TCP/IP Protocol Handling, 8 TCP/UDP Sockets and a 32KB RAM Buffer and AFAIK the SPI problems solved. According to showwiznet the W5500 is also considerably cheaper than the W5100.

    With it being cheaper it is weird I can not find boards with a W5500 on ebay. I ended up buying a WIZ5500io module via Antratek.nl. Will give it a try next weekend.


  • Admin

    @daulagari said:

    I ended up buying a WIZ5500io module

    Great. Report back your findings.


  • Hero Member

    @daulagari There are some on AliExpress. A bit cheaper than Antratek but not much. Not 100% sure you get the Uno shield adapter but it seems so. Still no big deal with the price since we only need one gateway.


 

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