Auto-timed Fish Tank Light

My roommates and I have a fish.

This is our fish.
Sidon is our fish.

We’ve managed to keep him alive and more or less healthy for the past two years, but one thing we’re not super reliable about is turning on and off the tank light, which (I’m told) is important for fish circadian rhythms or something. (I’m not a biologist; ask the roommates!)

To solve this, I used an ESP8266 to automatically turn on the lights in the morning and turn them off in the evening. Because the ESP doesn’t have a built-in RTC, I sync every ten minutes with the NIST NTP servers (which likely makes this the most accurate timekeeping device in the house other than cell phones!) and fade the lights off at 7am and off at 9pm.

Schematic
Schematic

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Using a 5.25″ Floppy as a MIDI instrument

A friend and I recently uncovered a 1992-ish PC, boasting 4MB of RAM, a nearly 500MB hard disk (aftermarket, we believe), and a dual 5.25/3.5″ floppy drive! Stymied by the lack of a compatible mouse (as this was well before the era of USB devices), we could boot from it, but not operate it. So after wondering for a bit what we could possibly do with it, we decided to take out the floppy and try to adapt it for a modern computer.

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Building a MIDI Pedalboard

Fact: Weber Music Hall has a MIDI pedalboard. If memory serves it might be the Roland PK-6. Or maybe not.

Fact: It’s awesome.

Fact: I want one.

Fact: I don’t have the many many hundreds of dollars it would cost to spend on things like MIDI pedalboards. However, I do have several junked organs’ worth of components and a seeming excess of free time.

Therefore: A midi pedalboard! Building it was surprisingly simple and straightforward (that is, after a two hour diversion of several circuit rebuilds necessitated by the assumption that the circuit was not being built around a faulty shift register. Spoiler alert: it was!).

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ESP8266 Light Switch: A Few Revisions

Contents

Introduction

Web-controlled lights: Who doesn’t need ’em? I’d had my eye on something of the sort when I made the decision that none of the prebuilts available met my needs…I was going to have to build my own.

Specifically, I wanted a couple of particularly hard-to-find features:

  • I wanted these to be controllable via a well-documented and easy-to-use API (preferably something fairly REST-compliant).
  • I wanted something reasonably unlikely to die when I needed it to work (and I wanted to be able to fix it when it inevitably did).
  • I wanted to be able to securely share access with a handful of people, but not leave it wide-open for the internet to abuse.
  • I wanted to control not only the standard switched 120v overhead light but also some custom LED RGB lighting.

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