Making an old house smart

I recently moved from an apartment in the city to a house in the suburbs outside Oslo. Although the plan is to rebuild a new house here it will have to wait until we can save up some more money. More about the new house can be found here http://smarthus.matvik.no/. This does give me the opportunity to turn an old ramshackle home into, not going to kid myself here with a proper smart home, but at least a smarter old ramshackle house.

I took down all the gear that I had set up in the old apartment and laid it out on the table to get a view of the components that will form the basis of the smart home setup that I’m starting on.

Smarthus equipment z-wave zigbee

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Promotion: Eventum Selskapsutleie

En kompis har startet et firma for leie av selskapslokale til firmafest, bursdag, bryllup o.l, eller et møterom i forbindelse med jobb. Ta en titt innom nettsiden deres hvis du er på utkikk etter å leie et selskapslokale.

Hvordan pusse opp på en miljøvennlig måte

Vi flyttet inn i leiligheten vår for snart 3 år siden og det er først nå at vi så behovet for å pusse opp. Som mange har nevnt for meg så er det mest miljøvennlige å ikke pusse opp, men da har fått vårt andre barn i en 3-roms i Oslo så var alternativene å pusse opp for å gi en smartere bruk av areal eller å flytte. Vi pusser i denne omgang opp kjøkken, stue, gang og soverom og har veldig fokus på å velge produkter og løsninger som både er bra for innemiljøet og miljøet generelt. Så hvordan pusser man egentlig opp en leilighet på en miljøvennlig måte? Stikkordene er Svanemerkede produkter, Miljøfyrtårsertifiserte leverandører og bruken av teknologi for å redusere energiforbruket. Les videre for å se hvordan vi forsøkte å løse dette på best mulig måte.

 

 

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How to fit a node zero into a small city apartment

The node zero is something every computer geek needs to have in their apartment/house. A node zero is the place where all your cables come together and form the heart of the house when it comes to gadgets and home automation. I live in a small apartment in the city and there is not extra room, garage or basement where I could place my node zero.. So when we decided it was time to renovate our apartment it was also time to figure out what to do with my chaotic cabling and tons of connected appliances.

 

 

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Practical energy savings – Replacing my dishwasher

A study done in 2003 concluded that using a dishwasher was more efficient energy wise than doing the dishes by hand, and luckily so as doing the dishes by hand would be were I draw the line between practicalities and being environmentally conscious.. I wrote a similar article like this about buying a washing machine (in norwegian) where I concluded that my new washing machine reduced the energy used to wash our clothes by approximately 50%. If the same adjustment of efficiency could be done for every household in Norway I also calculated that the energy saved on washing machine improvements alone was more than half of the annual energy use of a medium sized Norwegian city (Kristiansand). As our dishwasher decided to give out on us before christmas it was time to upgrade!

 

 

I couldn’t find any information on the energy usage of my old dishwasher, but it was getting old and as it only had about a 80% chance of actually making the dishes clean when the 70 degree programme was used I think it will be fairly generous to use the average energy efficiency of the dishwashers used in the study I mentioned below.

My new Siemens dishwasher uses 1 KWh less per washing cycle than a B-rated dishwasher according to the European Energy labeling classification. Compared to our old dishwasher  we are therefore, with an average of one machine run per day saving 365 KWh per year. If you weren’t paying attention in physics clall 1 KW is 1000 W(watts) and if an appliance using 1 KW is left on for an hour then you have spent 1 KWh (1 kilowatt hour).  With these numbers the energy saving comparing the old dishwasher (approximately energy rating B) with the new one (energy rating A+++) is actually bigger than with the washing machine that we bought earlier. The difference in KWh is about the same, but since we use the dishwasher a lot more the saving does amount to quite a bit, especially when you start aggregating it up.

When adding up the dishwasher and the washing machine our apartment should be using around 500 KWh less each year which amounts to around 500 NOK in savings (80 USD). If this is combined again with a similar strategy for refrigerators, freezers, lights around the house and so on the total number is substantial. So make sure you have a look at the energy rating the next time you buy anything at all!

Sources:
http://www.forskning.no/artikler/2003/februar/1045050482.5

Digitizing old video – The process and the end result

I started out with a digitalization project for my parents 50th birthday, where we gave them an external hard drive loaded with all the pictures they took during me and my siblings childhood from the early 80’s and all the way up to our familys first digital camera. Insights and tips from this project can be found in my older post in norwegian “Prosjekt Digitalisering: Erfaringer fra negativ- og lysbildescanning”. The video project started as a result of this as I suddenly had a drive to digitize everything, which ended when I found myself digitizing old postcards late one night…. that was the end of it…. But that aside the process of digitizing all of our old video was definitely worth it! Like the picture project the digitizing project for video started out with a birthday, my grandmas 80th birthday. We ended up giving her an iPad loaded up with pictures and video from the last 60 years which in my opinion is an awesome gift!

Digitizing Super8mm video
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Makerprojects: Getting a toddler to automatically play music on a Sonos with NFC tags

Printing out NFC tags

After using my much loved Sonos Play:5 for a while I started thinking about how I could include it in my Smarthome project. This was before I got my hands on the Vera Lite and before my daughter Ada started crawling around. After watching her fiddle with my iPad and not really getting anywhere with it, except continously pressing the home button to exit whatever game I was trying to get her interested in. It was then I realized that however gifted one sees your own child Ada was not equipped with the motoric skills yet required to start her favourite songs for example on our livingroom Play:5 speaker. I have been itching to try a proper project with NFC tags out as I find the act of making something digital happen through physical interaction fascinating. I realized that physical NFC tags were the perfect way for her to interact with digital interfaces like starting a song she likes on the Sonos speaker. So how do you make this magic happen? Pay close attention after the break!

PS: Aren’t my self printed NFC tags awesome???

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My daughter controlling the music on the stereo with NFC-tags

It worked! Beta tested the setup I made with my daugher Ada and she loved it! I programmed the various NFC-tags with different types of music and let her chose which songs she wanted to listen to. She can control it by touching the NFC-tags to my phone and starting a song. This was also an excuse to play with my new Hero 3 action cam..

How to sync pictures from Android to the iPad photostream

Androids

If you are like me and have the combination of Android phone and iPad tablet, and still would like things to sync up nicely between them I stumbled on a solution online after giving some advice to a friend. She wanted to know whether to get an iPhone 5 or a Samsung Galaxy SIII when she already had an iPad. If there is one thing Apple knows it’s how to build a ecosystem that just pulls you in. While the iPhone 5 is an amazing piece of engineering the only thing for me that set the iPhone apart when already having the iPad was the seamles iCloud photo sync feature. Dropbox og Google+ basically already do the same thing, but it is clunky and not as well done as what Apple has pulled off. I figured I wanted to see if this was possible as I wouldn’t mind the feature myself, and voila! There is a way!

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Makerprojects: Geeky toddler growth chart

Look what I made! As i wrote in my previous post I borrowed the design from geeky-dad’s Geeky Growth Chart. Yoda is already done, R2-D2 next!

Geekdad growth chart

Ada in front of the growth chart

Kudos to CopyCat Posthuset for printing it with excellent quality at a good price, really recommend them for any similar projects!