Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Slashdot Submissions: Sensor to detect furnace malfunction and send email

Slashdot Submissions
We returned from holiday to find that our furnace had died. Miraculously neither pipes nor radiators were frozen.

The repair service recommends a device that will turn on a light in the window when the temperature dropes below a critical level. The theory is that our neighbor will see this and call us.

That's fine, but I'd rather a sub-50F temperature event trigger email from my server. Then I can route it to my cell phone, etc.

Seems like either a commercial product must exist, or someone must have adopted this sensor/light device to trigger an email message. Of course I'd like something that worked with OS X, but I have a Wintel server as well.

This would be a great Steve Ciarcia article in the BYTE days, but I'm looking for something less ambitious than his recent work.

1 comment:

k2h said...

I see i'm not the only one to notice that supercomputers we all own today are not as adaptable as the old school computers of the 80's. the inability to exapand our current PCs with easy homebrew projects has disturbed me for a long time. this could easily be solved by simple IO lines and a small program to control and read them.

we are kind of in luck. the parallel port (printer port) does offer some general purpose input/output lines, but many newer laptops don't even have one!

your project should be pretty simple. I have seen several products that have a temperature sensor to COM port, and the associated software to read it.

one simple thing is a digital multimeter with an RS232 interface. i'm not sure how easy it would be to make a script to read the DMM, but i'd imagine it wouldn't be too hard. check one out HERE, it costs 50$another thing would be a standalone product that plugs into the serial port. I would think think X10 home automation products would have a sensor to plug into your computer for around 50$ as well but I can't find a link.