All posts by Felix Fratila

Easter eggs – traditional style

Since Orthodox Eastern are near, we painted some eggs. An old traditional way is to use wax and multiple painting to achieve different decorations. More about how they have to look you could google using “oua incondeiate”.

Anyway I wanted to try this as well. I was totally unprepared and didn’t have cold paints, and the needed wax, so I improvised. I used a 3d pen and normal hot paints.

Home automation with Xiaomi, Raspberry, NodeMCU and Sonoff+Tasmota

This is gonna be a long post and will be edited from time to time.

So I have this Xiaomi Home Automation system which served me well in the past, and still does. But in time I built more stuff myself which I would like to integrate into one system.

I started off with Home Assistant even though other systems still have potential (OpenHAB, etc). This is an open source home automation system to work with Raspberry Pi 3.

A nice feature of Home Assistant is the use of Snips.ai, a voice recognition addon similar to Assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant but which works completely offline and can control your devices.

Another big advantage of Home Assistant is that most of the Xiaomi components I have can be controlled using it. And on top of this I can use Sonoff modules (which are very cheap and can connect via Wifi and control any electronics in the house)  with Tasmota firmware which gives them MQTT capabilities and lets me integrate them in Home Assistant.

Still a lot to go and to configure until the final system is ready, but that’s the fun …

Fire lamp (final)

This is the continuation of http://blog.familie-fratila.de/fire-lamp/

Also posted it on Instructables:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Fire-Lamp-1/

After buying a normal lamp, just to take the “shell” of it, I had now all the parts I needed to build the final Fire Lamp.

I stripped the bought lamp of all inside electronics, and replaced it with my own. The glass of the lamp, gives it now pretty nice effect. Besides some tweaks and maybe more programs coded, I can say it is finished.

Fire lamp

I found a lot of intersting ideas on the internet on how to make a fire simulation lamp using WS2812c programmable leds and Arduino. So I had to try this too. Spice up the romance that is 😉

I found a strip with leds very close put together, so the effect would also look nice.  Everything is powered by a 5v power bank, so you can just take it with you wherever you want to set a romantic mood 😉

To do: make a lamp with white glass around the electronics to diffuse the light from the leds so not every single one is visible.

I used the NeoPixel library to program the leds, also I used parts of code I found on the internet and adapted it. Also a Arduino Nano was enough to control all 140 leds alligned in groups of 20.

The electronic layout looks something like this, but I used 7 rows of 20 leds each:

Also if someone is interested in the code, here it is attached. Of course it can be improved a lot. I also plan to make multiple modes of this lamp to be able to select by button fire, lava lamp, snow flakes, etc…

Outdoor christmas decoration

So I got theese outdoor Christmas leds from China, solar powered ones. Like I expected, the lack of sun in Germany, especially on that side of the house where I intended to put them, was a big issue.

Another slight issue was that the children were so happy about the first snow, that they didn’t see it and ripped of the wire.

So my solution was to put everything on 4 AA batteries, and also on a Attiny85 microcontroller, and program the leds to automatically light up at 18:00 o’clock and turn off at 22:00.

Yeelight Strip Hacking

Everyone who knows me a little bit, knows how crazy I am about Xiaomi products. No other company I know offers such a wide spectrum of products, so good quality of components used to build theese products, and such great prices.

I recently bought a Yeelight LED strip to integrate in my Xiaomi Smart Home system. It is a high quality product, with many features. The only downside is the length of 2m. It is not bright enough for the whole living room. So I decided to do a little experiment: cut out the led strip and the power source, and solder a 5m strip and a more powerful power source.

Since I love theese products so much, this was very painful 🙂 but I did it anyway. The results were positive. I successfully replaced the LEDs with a 5m long 5050 RGB LED strip and a 5A power source. Everything still works with the app and the scenes. The only downside on this solution was that the colors were not exactly the same as I expected. Obviously the 5m strip was not the same quality as the ones from Yeelight. I will need to find some better ones.

Or just wait for the new Yeelight LED strip which will be 10m long I hear.