Sunday, 2 August 2020

Assembling the Power bank Keep-alive based on 555 Timer

First off thank you for your purchase!  


I made this device for working with small devices to keep powerbanks/power supplies alive as they can frequently auto shutoff if they believe the device is not on as it is drawing so little power.  Once assembled the device shall look as per below (resistor colours may vary and also the case colour may vary if you've ordered one)

The 3D case design is on Thingiverse


Once inside the case the assembled unit shall look as per below


So enough of the end product, lets look at what the kit shall look like



I have where possible labelled the parts in the packaging but the current shipping parts are coloured as above which makes identification easier.  

Assembly notes

  • The resistors have no polarity so can be placed in either direction.
  • The capacitors have a polarity which can be identified in two ways.  The longest leg is the positive side and also the negative side has a white strip down that side.  On the PCB the positive is labelled and also the negative is shows with a white section on the circle to designate the negative.
  • When placing the usb connectors particularly the male ensure then are pressed into the board and level.  I recommend soldering one pin and then checking which will allow easy adjustment.
  • Take care and try not to apply the heat in one location too long.


NOTICE: I initially posted an image with R1 and R2 reversed by accident.  Above is a diagram showing which resistors and capacitors match up to the corresponding markings on the pcb.

I have created a video showing assembly which is available below

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Setting up your RS485 to Wifi Adaptor


How to get started with your RS485 to Wifi adaptor




You shall need to use a standard RJ45 network cable, make sure it's not a crossover.


Once it's connected you shall need to connect and configure your WiFi so the adaptor can connect to your network.  I am using my phone and on searching for networks you shall see a new network beginning with ESP : -


On connecting to the network you shall have to open a browser and manually enter the ip address http:/192.168.4.1 note on most devices you won't need to enter the http://


Once connected you shall see the connection screen which details the IP address of the connected network.


We have no connected network so the address is 0.0.0.0


To configure your network you shall need to select your network and then input your WiFi password.  The device shall then connect to your network and when you go to the main page you should see the IP address your device has been given.
Your device is now configured for your wireless network and you can connect to it via an application such as https://www.hw-group.com/software/hw-vsp3-virtual-serial-port or socat if using linux.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

I'm back and starting to pull my powerwall back again.

I've been experiencing some issues as i foolishly shut it all down completely over the winter but there must have been some parasitic draw from a device and it get extremely low and i have resurrected it however one cell is low and has been getting to around 2v during the night so the powerwall is going to be pulled down and rebuilt i think, going for a different design this time.

I previously used Paul Kennets design which was a 24p packs which were then put in parallel with 3 other packs to create a 96p pack however this has a lot of interconnects so i think going for big 80p packs as many others have done shall be the best way forward.  To do this however i will need to strip all the cells out and retest everything and leave them for a few weeks to test for self discharge and then use repackr to assemble.

That is a lot of work!!!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Epever/Epsolar output to InfluxDB/Grafana

I setup reporting for my EPever solar charge controller a while ago using  using the following guide at sporadic projects.  It works but have been hankering for something a little more/different and saw a posting recently of someone using grafana and influxdb to report on their PIP based solar setup so i set about recreating this and in all honesty it wasn't as bad as i thought and after a few days i've gotten something up and running.



The first step was setting up my pi, i decided to reuse a aging pi1 which caused some issues as i couldn't install things from the standard repo's so it needed a little more tinkering.  I documented this as i went so i hope this helps others using it on a pi1 also.

The below shall download a precompiled influxdb setup and install it.  It will then add a custom repo to your sources list and install grafana and then start it up and enable it at startup.  Lastly it shall install php and the curl library for php and then install the influxdb library for php using composer.  Socat is optional but if your using one of my rs485 to wifi devices you shall need it to connect to the serial port over the network, if your using a physical connection you can update the code accordingly with the correct serial port.

wget https://dl.influxdata.com/influxdb/releases/influxdb_1.2.0_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i influxdb_1.2.0_armhf.deb

echo "deb https://dl.bintray.com/fg2it/deb-rpi-1b jessie main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/grafana.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grafana

sudo /bin/systemctl daemon-reload
sudo /bin/systemctl enable grafana-server
sudo /bin/systemctl start grafana-server

sudo apt-get install socat

sudo apt-get install php5-fpm
sudo apt-get install php5-curl

So you can get to the influxdb web interface you need to first enable it with the below.
sudo nano /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf
Change enabled = false to enabled = true under the [admin] section.

Next you need to conenct to the wifi serial adaptor so this is done using socat which we installed earlier
sudo socat pty,link=/dev/ttyUSB21,unlink-close=0,raw,echo=0 tcp:WirelessDeviceIPAddress:23&
sudo chmod 777 /dev/ttyUSB21


Once this is done you shall need to launch a web browser and go to

http://IP of your Pi:8083/

from here you can create a db called powerwall, it's self explanatory and very easy.  Then create a user called root with password root for the DB, i created it as an admin but that is optional.

Once you have done this you shall need to go to the web interface of the new grafana installation at the following address

http://IP of your Pi:8083

From here you configure the datasource as per below


Once this is done the database and grafana initial configuration is done.  You now need to download a few files from github.  I use the php library which toggio kindly wrote which made this possible, i'd say easier but possible is a more honest answer.

https://github.com/toggio/PhpEpsolarTracer
https://github.com/chickey/Epever-influxdb

Place the files into one directory together and run

php logger.php

If it works it should print out the current realtime and statistical information.  If you receive a could not connect error then please check that socat is still running correctly, i find it can drop out for.  If it's working ok then put it into crontab to run as frequently as required.

Lastly you then need to go back to grafana and start to create some dashboards which is simple and very wyswig.  If you want/need an example let me know and i can upload my dashboard.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016



I've two solar charge controllers from EPsolar or EPever as they are sometimes known. They are great and have a COM port for monitoring the performance of the panels and state of the battery etc but it's a pain to drag the laptop out and hook things up just to check the status. The COM port is a RJ45 port which uses the RS485 standard so i investigated commercial offerings but they were extremely expensive and as this was just to make things convenient for a personal home product i didn't fancy paying £50 out for the





I began to investigate doing this myself and using some off the shelf components and custom firmware from the guys at esp-link i was able to come up with the design you can see in the picture.






I've made both a instructable available here and also a set of YouTube videos on the procedure.


http://www.instructables.com/id/Wireless-Solar-Charge-Controller-Monitor-RS485-to-/




http://www.youtube.com/c/ColinHickey1

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Hi guys, I've kindly been sent a new gadget to have a look at by a company called 1byone in the form of a LED bluetooth controller bulb that also has a bluetooth speaker built in.  I plan to integrate this with the blinkybox toy i made for my kids so that they shall be able to control the room lighting as well as the colour of the box itself.

You can get the product here Link and I've put up a short video of it in action link.  I'm going to do a full review of it soon as well as a video when it's integrated with blinky box :-)
I did have to purchase an adapter separately for it to work in a standard baynet B22 socket (UK style) but it was only 72p link

They also have a promotion on a couple of other items which would be great for a party, a smoke machine Link as well as a sound activated stage light which again would be excellent for a kids Halloween party Link.  Lastly they have a deal on iphone 6 cases link