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Warp101 commented on a post in r/Homebrewing
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Warp101 1 point

Ken Schramm makes a good book on the process. I made a batch a few years ago and I can confidently say this, you don’t have mead until it’s aged about a year, until then you have honey water. The flavors change dramatically during aging. I have a bottle from my first batch a few years ago and it’s nothing like it was even a few months ago, it’s all about the age. Be patient. Start more batches if you’re feeling antsy.

hagemeyp 2 points

Uh is there a question?

Warp101 1 point

I need help iterating, as in I’m working down from higher layers of abstraction from a basic concept and need help clearing up ambiguities in the design. It’s open ended intentionally.

Some things I have questions about though would be: -Are the breakouts I’ve chosen for prototyping effective? Are there more efficient ones? -What would an appropriate and cost effective micro controller be for the modules?

hagemeyp 1 point

you're starting a little too low IMHO. , why are there >1 microcontroller ? why are there multiple volt meters ? you talk about control nodes and modules, are they the same?

what do you mean by modular? what are the complete capabilities of your power strip? what are the sensors and what would they sense?

Warp101 1 point

So the concept is that one circuit which I’m calling the control node would connect to 120, and would be responsible for WiFi communications and the monitoring of the overall consumption of the power strip. From it power modules and/sensor modules would be able to be attached in series, thus the modularity, one could have a strip of only sensors, only high voltage loads, or a mix. The power module is responsible for control of the power state of the load and quantification of that individual loads energy consumption and relating the data to the control node. The sensor module is responsible for reading analog data from a single sensor that could be interchanged (temp, light, pressure, etc.) and relaying this data to the control node. I’m not sure how to minimize the amount of wires coming to/from each module (control, power, sensor) while keeping the design modular without having each module have its own mc. I figured until I figure something else out that would allow only having the esp8266 in the control node, having multiple small mc’s would accomplish what I’m attempting for the concept. In its completion I want it to be able to convey sensor readings and load power states via WiFi to other control nodes so a user could set parameters through web app like if temp sensor on control node 1 goes above x, turn on device y connected to control node 2. Or something like if temp sensor and light sensor on control node 1 are below x, turn on lights connected to the 1st power module on control node 2.

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Warp101 1 point

I'm trying to iron out the details in a massive project I've undertaken. This is certainly a learning experience, any help is greatly appreciated.

I'm basically trying to recreate a smart outlet similar to Belkin's Memo's but with a few extra capabilities.
The design is meant to be modular, a control node will relay information to a bridge hooked into a modem. Each control node is intended to be able to support multiple modules. Modules are intended to provide power to a load over a relay, and provide data on the power consumption of that load. Other modules would be for attaining data from an analog sensor.

An example application would be to have a short powerstrip made of a control node, and a temperature probe hooked up to a sensor module. Parameters could be uploaded to the esp8266 through a web browser or app to enable the esp to tell the micro controller of the power module to open the relay providing power to the portable heater when a temp probe on the sensor module reads a temperature at or above the parameter the user set remotely.

If multiple control nodes are in use, parameters could be set to enable functions like if the temp of the probe on the controller located in the colder part of the room dips too low, turn on the fan connected to the controller at the hot air duct.

PlatinumX 3 points

The main thing I see wrong with your drawing is you have not considered the power supply for the various low voltage components. You have the AC lines hooked straight up to the ESP8266, sensors, micro controllers, etc. This is more of a conceptual drawing than a schematic, but it's still good to think about. There are a few other details, e.g. a current meter has to be in series with a load, not in parallel. Also for the sensor module, what are the voltage and current meters supposed to be measuring? It really only makes sense in terms of the power module, so you can simplify the sensor modules a little bit.

This is a challenging project, and the most difficult part of it is that you're messing with 120V.

I would take this from a very modular perspective: Start with getting an ESP up and running, getting the web server set up, wifi working, GPIOs toggling, and reading from the inputs. Power it from a standard wall adapter.

Then get your other microcontroller picked out, and try to get them talking to each other. Getting the two of these set up and doing what you want is 90% of the work.

Once that's done, try to get it working with an existing current sensor and start measuring current. Do the same with a relay and some sensors. This is actually the easy part.

If you've gotten that far, it's a simple matter of integration. The key step is doing things one at a time, and leave the high voltage stuff until the end.

Warp101 1 point

Thanks for the feedback! Yes, it is still quite conceptual at this point. I confess I’m a Natural Sciences major, so I’ve not had too much training in the field of circuit design. But I’m fervently learning. Your suggested stepped approach is about what I’m doing, my ESP and FTDI should be in the mail tomorrow. I prematurely bought some sensors as well. I picked up a ACS712 for current, and a SMAKN® AC Voltage Sensor. But I definitely plan on leaving figuring out the 802.11 communications first. I was thinking AT-Tiny’s or something of the like could be used for the micro controllers I plan to use in each module for interfacing with the sensors.

I initially planned on reading power consumption from the sensors too being obsessed with quantifying the phantom loads in my house. But I realize perhaps the sensors in the control node could take a reading for the entire strip, subtract out the readings from the 120v loads, and divide by the number of sensors to get a useful working average of the sensors power consumption.

Thanks again for the insight!

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