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Raspberry Pi Thermostat

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Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on a solution to the timer for our heating as the timer with the heating system not working. The thermostat however does work when set to always on. The heating system in question is the Johnson & Starley J25-32 MK3 Modairflow.

I set about investigating how the thermostat works and found that all it has a direct 12V connection to the heating and the thermistor in the thermostat varies this voltage, with the heating coming on when the voltage drops below 4V. Knowing that it was a pretty simple control method I decided to look how I could control the voltage with my Raspberry Pi.

From looking over the forums for the Pi I came across a post about someone wanting to control a 12V train track. The process they used was a MOSFET with the control pin connected to a PWM pin on the Pi. I used the same process and connected it to the thermostat input to the heating. I also extended the original thermostat cable down to the Pi and used a relay to be able to switch between the original thermostat and my Pi control.

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Graduation and Interview

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A couple of months ago I had my final exam at uni. Having found out my results at the end of last month, today I am on the way back to Trefforest for the graduation ceremony. The ceremony will be shown live on the universities website: Live Webcast. The ceremony starts at 14:30. I will be graduating with a First Class BSc Honours degree in Live Events Technology.

On Thursday I have my first interview in Reading. Looks to be a pretty good position. Slightly nervous about it though.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on my database system for the family business. I have changed the way one feature – the monitor – works completely. It was requesting from the server every few seconds and getting a full list of all current monitors and iterating through the received list and updating any that had changed. Now instead of having to go to the server and receive a list of them all it opens up a web socket to a server holding all the monitors which pushes changes to each connected client. Whilst on the subject of push notifications, I have been developing an app for the business on iOS which pushes a notification out to the registered devices when we enter a new call into the system. Creating an app was much easier than I had expected it would be. Similar coding styles to other languages I have used. On top of all of that I have also been working on a door access system to register iButtons to allow them access to the office with multiple doors controlled and a couple of which will only be accessible by a select few iButtons. This has taken a back seat a bit as I am waiting for a couple of circuit boards to solder a chip onto as I have a surface mount chip that will enable me to read the multiple iButtons. The software I am using for it needs the device to be present for me to get the code correct and check that it is working.

Steady Stedicam

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Last Tuesday the university was paid a visit from a past student who is now a camera and steadicam operator with his own Steadicam rig. He gave us a demonstration of the rig, explained how it works and all the parts of it, and then let is all have a go.

His name is Phil Thomas. It was a really good experience and was very fun to use. The balance of it is amazing, if balanced in a certain way the lightest of touches can spin it round. Outside a gust of wind can cause the camera to spin making it a battle to keep it straight sometimes. As long as you keep it in towards your body, you don’t notice the weight much but as soon as the arm moves away from you due to the moments of the weight around the pivot you can begin to feel the weight.

I should probably explain what Steadicam is. It is a metal rig onto which you mount a camera and monitor to allow for smoother more natural movement. The rig consists of a vest, a mechanical arm, and the sled. The camera is mounted on top of the sled. The sled can be balanced so that the camera is either on top or on the bottom. You can adjust parts of the sled to adjust where the centre of gravity is which allows you to change how easy or hard it is to move and return to its upright position. The sled is then connected via a gimble to the arm. The arm is spring loaded which helps to reduce the movement seen from foot steps walking along. The arm is attached to the vest. Although their should be no weight on the shoulders of the vest and often the shoulders don’t touch the wearers shoulders. The arm and vest allows all the weight of the camera, monitor, sled and batteries down through the hips. The vest needs to be done up very tight. It is surprising comfortable and also is very good for your back as even though it can be a hefty weight all of that goes through the hips, and the vest forces you to be stood up straight.

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Snow 18 Jan 2013 Photos

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With all the snow today our house went for a walk up the hill and took lots of photos:
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New Year Changes

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firworksWith the new year I have made some changes to my site and hosting with it moved to a new (faster) server (and much cheaper). I have a few new years resolutions which I hope to keep but am not going to post them up in case I do not keep them.

So close to graduating now with just 6 months left. It does not feel like I have been there for two and a half years, it has gone so fast. Met some amazing people and had an amazing time.

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Lyon 2012

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wpid-wpid-IMG_0529.jpgAfter a good trip last year to Lyon, we went to Lyon for a second time this year. After last year of driving to the airport overnight to make the early flight we decided it would be a much better idea to go the night before and get some sleep in a hotel before getting up and walking 2 minuets to checkin. Read more … (more…)

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Who wants to be an American Idiot

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Shaun was down again this weekend for going to see both American Idiot: The Musical today and Ice Age Live which is tomorrow.

American Idiot was in the Welsh Millenium Centre. The start of the show set the scene for what was to follow lighting wise. The lighting for the majority of the songs was more or less the same. So much strobe throughout the whole show which was very unnecessary. Sound wise the show started with hardly any bass and too much high frequencies. It improved a bit further in with some more bass but was still overly top heavy.

There were two bits that were really good in the performance: the video; and the flying.

The video used in the performance was excellent. Lots of screens mounted on the wall each with separate feeds. With at least 2 (or 3) projectors mapped onto the walls of the set with no obvious seams. The best bit of the performance.

The human flying which was so smooth must have been automated, which is the best piece of human choreographed flying my boyfriend has ever seen.

It was an ok show but I wouldn’t see it again. The video used in it was the best use of video in a show that I have seen.

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Playing in the mud with the Hippo

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For Uni we have an assignment for our Performance Lighting Design module where we are to create a design for a theoretical concert on a stage in a place. We have been given two songs to light and have to come up with the full lighting design for those two songs. Using CAST Software’s lighting visualisation software WYSIWYG. Click More to read the rest of the post: (more…)

GHOST The Musical

GHOST floats away

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Last weekend Shaun and myself went down to London to see the last show of GHOST the musical in the Piccadilly Theatre on the west end.

We were sat in the centre of the stalls. The show went amazingly and even the actors started crying on stage in some parts, making it even more realistic. Okay the storyline isn’t the best but the technical aspects of it are absolutely amazing. It is such a shame that it is being replaced by a jukebox musical – Viva Forever. GHOST had some great actors and actresses playing their roles very well.

There was a very nice speech by the director at the end of the evening and Shaun got the program signed by most of the main actors – apart from one who didn’t really do the role justice as the original actor playing him.

I loved the video aspects of it with the moving LED walls and front projection with all the illusions too. The way video was integrated into the show was superb and was the part of the performance that I was impressed by the most. It was an amazing atmosphere, being the last show, with most of the audience knowing that it was the final performance. IT was great to be part of the last performance of a great show.

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End of the Fringe

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The Edinburgh Fringe 2012 has come to an end. So sad to see it go. It has been such an incredible month working with some of the most amazing people.

We had an extraordinary bunch of people working in the Pleasance Dome with excellent shows.

We started our get out for 10 Dome as soon as The Three Englishmen finished their last show at 18:40. Well after a few photos and a ceremonious turning off of the 10 Dome gobo by fading it out slowly.

10 Dome was out by 23:00 and all that remained of us was a small paint mark left on the wall and some slightly grubbier white walls; at 11pm, 10 Dome was no more all that was left was a Dressing room and an empty room.

We spent the rest of the evening into the early morning assisting Queen Dome until we were broken at 03:00 to get some sleep before needing to be back at 09:00 to carry on with all the get outs. By the end of the day we had all the venues out and almost everything that needed to go to the Courtyard was back there; all the bits that get stored on the container were in the now empty Queen Dome or the Quad ready to be taken out to the container on the final day. The excellent team of Jason and Tess packed the container and we continued to pack the container for the rest of the day bringing steel deck seating, flats, scaff, insulation, blacks, and tools until they finally closed it up with everything neatly packed in and locked it up at which point the heavens opened and rained very heavily for the next half an hour to an hour. The most rain that festival, with hardly any rain over the majority until that downpour and a few lighter ones during the packing.

Going to the Courtyard to collect our pay was very satisfying but also very sad as it meant that it was all over. The next day I would be on the train to my boyfriends and the Fringe would be completed. Not before, however, a staff meal and party starting in King Dome/Ace Dome for the meal and Anthony’s speech. Then heading over to Frankensteins for drinks and dancing until 3am which was great to finish on.

Got up the next day and caught the train to my boyfriends. Leaving Edinburgh, Pleasance, the Dome and everyone I met behind (bar one who was on the same train as me) all will be missed greatly.

Until hopefully next year.

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