Sparkerized Space Heater!

So it’s winter here on the east coast of the US. My wife and I like to sleep with the thermostat turned down low (both to conserve energy and because it just helps us sleep better) but when the alarm goes off at 5:30am a cold room is hardly an incentive to get out of bed!

Our solution (since we don’t have a programmable thermostat) was to use one of the little “Lasko” space heaters we have. The only problem was that to sue the remote you have to leave the unit plugged in, and consequently you have a glowing red LED at all times; both of us prefer a DARK room when we sleep. I needed a way to warm the room up before and after bed, without worrying about that annoying LED, and having to manually do it… ENTER SPARK CORE!!!

The project consists of three parts.

Part One started as a way to control my Christmas lights over the holidays. With an inexpensive RF receiver/transmitter I was able to decode the patterns used to turn on those little RF Outlets, and use a Spark to control them.

Part Two consists of an IR LED. Using the IRremote Library by Ken Shirriff I was able to clone the remote for the heater. Now my spark could also control the heater.

Part Three is an Android app I wrote that I use for all of my home automation projects. I updated that with a section for the Space heater. Now when I hit the On button it first uses the RF Transmitter to turn on power to the heater itself (that way I can turn it off completely and not worry about the stupid LED) then after a second or two it sends a signal through the IR LED to turn on the heater and start heating. :smile:

Plus, since it’s now controlled through the cloud I can have schedules (it automatically turns on right when my alarm goes off, allowing me to snooze a couple of times and then hop out of bed into a nice warmed room) and control it from other rooms. I also added a few “macro” functions like up or down 10 degrees,

Anyway- nothing too elaborate, or unique, but I’m loving how easy Spark makes home automation. :smile:

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@screamingcities, fantastic project! Any chance you can share some code with the Community! :smile:

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Hi @screamingcities,

Sounds cool! Seconded! I have a lasko space heater at home too that I was hoping to hack, any chance you could share build photos or code or anything? :slight_smile:

Thanks,
David

Hey guys sure thing. I just added the code for both Spark parts to Github. (I need to get better about making version control part of my workflow from the start…)

The RF Outlets
RF Outlets

The Lasko Heater
Sparkerized Heater Code

I might re-do the RF outlets one to make it a library. I’ve never written a library before, so I think this might be a good first attempt. :smile:

I’m not the world’s best coder- so don’t laugh! but feel free to pass me any helpful pointers!

I’ll try to grab some pics when I get a chance.

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Just an update that I rewrote the code to turn the RF Outlets on and Off as a library. I think it makes it a whole lot easier, and the code much easier to read. :slight_smile:

First library I’ve written… :slight_smile:

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This is great @screamingcities, was actually just thinking about doing something similar for my heater in my bedroom in SF. Thanks for sharing your code and building cool stuff with Spark!

I keep a Lasko 751320 space heater in the utility room in my basement (where my dogs sleep) and have been contemplating hacking it so that it can automagically be controlled based on room temperature and/or from my phone or something. The problem with it is if I want to use the built-in thermostat, I have to use it in “high power” mode which often trips the breaker of the power strip it’s plugged into. I completely forgot that it came with a remote! That’s much easier than trying to tie into the control board of the thing. Any idea of what model heater you have?

I also received an RTL-SDR recently for my birthday and have decoded all the 433 MHz signals for a 4-outlet LaCrosse remote. I have a 433 MHz transmitter in my stash somewhere that I’ll be attempting to use for this. If I can’t use your code directly, I’ll use it as a starting point for my own project. Thanks for posting all this!

The one in my office is Model 6350 while the one in my bedroom is 5150, and it worked for both of them- can’t hurt to give it a try. :smile:

BTW you don’t NEED to do the RF outlet part, since that was only because I wanted to completely kill power to the unit when I wasn’t using it.

With the right enclosure and device placement, it could be both! Toggle a relay in the outlet AND have an IR LED to toggle the different operations on the heater. I don’t think the dogs mind the red standbye LED, so I won’t worry about the outlet part.

Yeah I could have pretty easily just added the led to my spark that already controls the outlets but that guy lives in my basement. He’s also going to control my drip irrigation system. :smile: