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Amazon, Intel, IBM and many other companies have started building Internet of Things platforms and cloud services. These services are exactly what I’ve been looking for as a way to safely and securely gain Internet access to my home automation system. I buy a lot of great products from Adafruit and discovered they have an IOT platform. Adafruit.IO is a beta version and I started experimenting with their MQTT SDK this week.
My plan was to build a standalone test bed to learn how to publish sensor data to Adafruit.IO and subscribe to switches and triggers. I built the breadboard below with an ESP-1 to handle the MQTT interface and an ATMega328 to process environment sensors and the alarms (flashing LED and loud piezo buzzer).
Power was one challenge. I needed 3.3 volts for the ESP-1 and the ATMega328 (LM1117). A 5 volt rail (7805)was needed for the MQ2 and PIR sensors. A 12 volt rail (power supply rated at 1 amp) was needed for the flashing LED and a loud piezo (not shown).
Programming two processors is an added complication but I’ve got the process down and its pretty reliable. The Arduino IDE is not state of the art but its much better than some of the development environments I used to work with in the olden days.
The photo below is my first prototype of a dashboard from Adafruit.IO
Here at Adafruit, we sell all of these amazing components, but we couldn’t find a good way to interact with them over the internet. There are certainly a lot of great services out there for datalogging, or communicating with your microcontroller over the web, but these services are either too complicated to get started, or they aren’t particularly fun to use. So, we decided to experiment with our own system, and that is how Adafruit IO got started.
To make it easy for people to get started using Arduino or ESP8266 we have starter packs with just about everything you may want to connect to the internet, with known-working WiFi modules! ESP8266 Huzzah Kit CC3000 Huzzah Kit
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.