The (locally) Infamous Dryer Timer

Finally, we can control our new Spark™ powered Dryer Timer from our mobile phones or any modern web browser – and when I get around to it, receive text messages, email or send Tweets, when the clothes are dry.

I done tried to make us a video ('hic) …

(It’s a 720p video, but seems to default to 240p here. Click the cog/gear icon to change it.)

Next task is to get this thing installed on the actual clothes dryer and move on to one of many other projects waiting int he wings.

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This looks like a great project - if you combined it with a 'ified version of the Cloudwash from Berg (love the UI on this) then all you would need is an app controlled robot hand to xfer the wash between the two and all your laundry needs would be solved ! (or alternatively and somewhat less fun i suppose buy a combined washer / dryer).

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I think its pretty cool.

Our dryer heater element just went out or something so I’m probably going to open it up and see if I can fix it easily myself instead of inviting a stranger into the house to do it himself. I’ll be looking to see how easy it would be to hook up what you have here when I have the dryer opened up :smile:

Thanks for sharing with the video.

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@mikepa: Cloudwash, eh? A good example of the new IoT world, for sure. Of course, they started with a modern, computerized washing machine – with serial data comms no less. They cheated! :stuck_out_tongue: On the other hand, having seen that, I might think twice about IoTerizing our old washing machine, in favour of first buying a nice new modern one!

@RWB: You’ll be amazed how simple they are inside … and yet, having had many years to iron out the bugs, surprisingly efficient, given the absolute minimum number of parts. Such was the case with ours, anyway.

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If you have a top-load washer, you could suspend the dryer above the washer and have it tilt 90 degrees down to simply dump the contents of the dryer into the washer. No need for having to build a robotic hand. Just a simple, powerful servo could do the trick! Sometimes clothes will stick to the side of the washer, so figure out how to make it spin the drum via remote to try and loosen those clothes as its dumping. :wink:

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That’s incredible @gruvin !
Do you have the project documented anywhere?

I live in an apartment complex with shared laundry room. I wonder if I could device a non-invasive dryer-complete reporting method.

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@mohit I’m sure you could.

If there is a dial that turns to a certain position when complete then it would just be a matter of using a magnetic switch and a magnet that you could attach to the end of the dial. Position the sensor where the finish position is, and then the magnet on the end of the dial will trigger the sensor once the magnet gets close to the finish position.

I’m sure there are other sensors setups that could work also but thats the first that comes to my mind.

Or use a color sensor and put a colored sticker on the end of the dial so when it sees that color it will trigger.

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You could clamp a current transducer around one of the AC wires on the dryer pigtail and monitor the load across that. That’s how a lot of the home energy monitors detect how much electricity you’re using.

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Sure. The hardware project, including Sparkcore firmware can be found at https://code.google.com/p/dryer-timer/

I haven’t published the web app code yet, simply because it includes the access token for the 'core in plain text, in the Ajax code. Even when one merely loads the app, the HTML/Javascript source code is freely viewable, exposing the token.

I figure there are at least two solutions for that …

  1. Write a native app for my mobile, instead of a web app, running in a browser.

  2. Write a simple proxy agent on my own web server, using cookies to authenticate to that and have it so that only the private proxy code contains the Sparkcore’s token.

I’ll probably opt or option 2, because that way my friends can use their iOS, Android or Windows mobile devices to have a play. In other words, I won’t have to write native apps for each device and deal with getting it installed, this way.

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HI @gruvin

Isn’t this more what you want in the long run?

Yup! Yes sir. Yes it is. Thanks. :smiley:

@gruvin such a cool project! Also, love your three-camera setup for filming videos. You look like you’ve done this before!

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Funny you should say that. Actually, no. That was the first time. And it was a bit crazy …

My screen capture software (ScreenFlow) capture the entire screen and lets me crop the viewable area after the recording, which I really like. It also allows recording of the screen and one camera, at the same time. It does the picture-in-picture for that part on its own. But I had a third view.

To the left of the what you saw in the video, I had PhotoBooth recording the hardware on the desk. PhotoBooth is a bit nutty in that is records the video flipped horizontally. Pretty dumb, actually. I mean, it makes sense that it should show the preview video flipped, so it feels like a mirror to the subject being recorded. But it’s just plain stupid that the recording itself is also flipped. Anyway …

So then I had to combine the two videos together. Export from ScreenFlow and import into iMove. Use iMove effects to flip the PhotoBooth video the right way around again. Then add it as a picture-in-picture. So far, no big deal.

The real trick was pre-empting that the two videos would need manually synching up, time wise. For that, I started out by putting one, two, then three fingers in the desk cam frame, while saying, “mark one, two, three”, a couple times. After removing the audio from the desk cam video import, I was able to sync the ScreenFlow audio with my finger counting.

Then, I noticed that I was advertising the address of the non-secured web app in the iOS video frame. So I needed another picture-in-picture to cover that up. Alas, iMovie does not permit more than one picture-in-picutre! Well, no problem. I just exported the whole video in a lossless format, then imported it as a single file and added the second picture-in-picture to that.

Easy! :stuck_out_tongue: (if you like convoluted missions and have the time!)

It’s almost enough to make me look seriously at Final Cut Pro. {gulp} Ah! Now I $ee their cunning plan!

Oh and, I Blu-tacked my sun glasses in from of the desk cam, to make the LED display photo-expose in a much more pleasant/visible manner. Like I said. Mission! LOL