MoteinoMEGA based Data Logger

Ed Mallon runs the Cave Pearl Project which is all about “developing a data logging platform from inexpensive pre-made breakout boards, and are using this at the heart of new environmental sensors that anyone can build.” Ed is also a contributor in the forum, and has posted a great in-depth tutorial that steps through making a submersible data logger. From the blog’s own summary:

In this tutorial, a logger is built using a 3.3v Moteino MEGA with a 1284p CPU @ 16Mhz, w 4K eeprom,16K SRAM for variables & 128K program space. Considerably more than the 328’s 1K eeprom, 2K ram & 32K progmem. Also has a spare serial port for GPS/NEMA sensors.

MoteinoMEGA based Cave Pearl in ‘Prototyping Trim’ with I2C OLED screen & ADS1115 ADC. INT1 & Aref jumpered. The built also includes an RTC backed up by a coin cell.


It’s great to see Moteinos being put to serious work in such interesting and niche projects. While a custom PCB could be built to reduce the amount of wiring and make for a more compact logger/breakout solution, this tutorial is targeted and perfect for those who want to learn the skill of building data loggers or similar projects using off the shelf components. Thanks Ed and the Cave Pearl Project!

GarageMote 3D printed case

Forum user [aw] has graciously shared a 3D printed case for GarageMote. If you have a 3D printer you can download and customize/print the model from thingiverse. The model includes the option for a chain magnet snap-on which is really convenient for chain driven garage openers.

Update: a sensor pylon is now available also, which can conveniently hold the hall effect sensor for the magnet holder, a very nice addition. The kit sensor is omnipolar so it will detect the magnet in either direction.

Using PowerShield with Moteino & WeatherShield

John from John’s DIY Playground put together a nice video of setting up a Weather Node powered by a PowerShield from a LiPo battery, watch his assembly vide and demo below.

Although you could directly power the Moteino + WeatherShield from a LiPo battery, this is a good example of how you might assemble & use the PowerShield to get 5V from any lower voltage and power Moteino and other sensors for low power operation.

He also shows how to program it and configure it in his IoT Gateway software.

John mentions he made another video of a similar setup, this shows mating only the WeatherShield and a Moteino  with integrated antenna. Here it is:

Biking sweeper detectors

Cliff Batson (N4CCB) has put together a network of cycling event sweeper detectors. In a biking event the “sweepers” are the last bikers who ensure nobody in the race gets left behind. Each of the 4 routes of the HRR cycling event has 2 sweepers.

They are equipped with a Moteino transmitter running on 9V battery power that keeps them going all day for the event, while transmitting a beacon every 4s. They beacon their identity to the various checkpoints/rest points and in sag vehicles (cars with “bike detector” receiver units) to keep track of which bikes are near by.

According to Cliff the range of the Moteinos is very impressive, even when crammed into a pill bottle alongside a 9 volt battery. When the last 2 sweeper bikes came through the his Rest Stop at the end of the day, he got notified of the arrival of the first bike and then, about 30 seconds later, was notified of the second bike’s arrival. He then left the Rest Stop area and walked toward the street and he couldn’t even see the 2nd sweeper bike for the 100 mile route. But, about 10 seconds later, it came into view, quite amazing and something you may never achieve with 2.4ghz. Nice little project, check out the video linked above for more details and demo.

Motorized blinds with Moteino

James from looked into automated blinds but when he saw the eye watering prices he decided to make his own wireless motorized blinds. He posted a great detailed tutorial to do just that. The result is motorized blinds automation device that is wireless, low power and costs just $40 for the DIYer. This is a blast considering commercial devices can cost upwards of 10x or more. Here are the highlights of his project:

  • after experimenting with Bluetooth, he decided to use Moteino a try for it’s ability to use ListenMode and make the project very low power
  • the chosen motor was the 28BYJ-48 stepper motor for its low cost ($2), quiet operation and fine control ability
  • he used Fritzing to design a simple yet very elegant shield to host his motor driver and Moteino and posted the schematic, layout and BOM then fabbed the PCBs at MakerStudio:
  • the whole assembly is pretty compact, it uses a 4xAA pack to yield a consumption of just 46µA while running the motor an average 12s/day, that comes to a theoretical 7 years life on a set of high quality 4xAAs. In real life that should last at least 2 years. Here’s what it looks like assembled and installed:

And a demo of it in operation:

Meet Bobwi the dancing robot

I thought this project was too good to pass and I wanted to share in the blog. Forum user G4lile0 posted a funky little robot project that is more mobile and agile than it looks in the photos – it can dance like Michael Jackson! Watch this video to see what I mean:

He published more details in this this Github repository, and for the 3d-prints see this thing on thingiverse. Also see the original forum topic where updates be posted later. This is based on the educational robot Zowi, but instead uses a Moteino + bluetooth module and a 3d-printed case.

Featured project: Nin10do game console

Retro gaming enthusiast Daniel Spies has put together a wonderful RetroPi game console (Now on LifeHacker Australia!) that can emulate popular consoles like NES, MEGADRIVE, PLAYSTATION and has shared his project for posterity. He designed a 3D printed case in Autodesk123D with a stepper motor operated front cover, indicator LEDs, ATXRaspi for power and reset control, and of course the RetroPi for the RaspberryPi OS. It’s one of the most polished projects I’ve seen from an amateur maker/hacker and it includes a series of very detailed youtube walkthroughs of the entire hardware+software setup. Here’s the first part of the video series, where he’s building the wiring/electronics and fitting it into the 3D printed case:

Here are some snapshots I captured that highlight some of the details of the project:

The rest of the videos and more details of the build can be found at his Nin10do project page. It was a pleasure watching him build this cool project so be sure to check it out as well!

Autonomous filming of GPS+Moteino moving objects user [Walker Eric] is an RC airplane enthusiast who wanted to record his plane flights autonomously, without the need of a 3rd hand or having to ask a friend to stand by for this purpose. The flying target should ideally be in the center of the camera field of view. For this purpose he designed a nice video-tracking system composed of a small LiPo powered Moteino+GPS unit that is mounted on the moving target (the RC plane). This reports frequent GPS positioning to the base receiver unit which controls a video camera movement via motors and follows the fast moving RC airplane.

He has managed to produce a really good prototype and has even submitted this as a 2015 Hackaday Prize entry. Zooming is desirable and it’s one of the features he is still working on. Overall this was a great project that Eric has shared with me and I’m quite happy that the Moteinos involved can handle the GPS coordinate transmission between the moving airplane and the base station.

This project could of course be used to autonomously record video of other types of RC moving objects. I can also think of people who want to film themselves doing some activity or record a moving object/animal etc. Check out his project page for more videos, photos and details of the build, and give him a skull!

Moteino Compost Sensor Network with Adafruit-FONA GPRS relay

I occasionally get emails from people that use my products in their projects and some of them are real gems. Other times I just run into them online somewhere or someone tips me off somehow. I did a poor job of keeping track of these but lately I thought I should start presenting the nice ones, maybe there are other people that have interest in similar things.

In this post I’d like to present a compost sensor network built by instructables member kinasmith. Who knew composting can be so interesting and complex.CompostNetwork2

It sounds like composting on a large scale requires careful monitoring of certain parameters so that the pathogens that aid in the process are kept happy and efficient. [Kinasmith] shows off a detailed and beautifully put together instructable that uses Moteinos, temp sensors and a solar powered Moteino+AdafruitFONA gateway to relay the data to his Sparkfun cloud, among other things. He goes into a lot of detail and I really like the nice touches and the effort that went into giving this project more than that hobby level feel. Check this cool project out on instructables.


Adventures in Moteino with CuPID: Remote Temperature Monitor

What every new system design has in common these days is wireless. Like bacon, it just makes everything better.

Put a sensor wherever, read it from somewhere else. Put the power and control where you need it. For the CuPID/Pi, it is no different. [Colin] from [CuPID Controls] has build a great interface around Moteino nodes and has done a fantastic job documenting his build and code. He wanted to put remote sense and control modules out into the wild and read and aggregate them as it makes sense. All the setup steps including source code are shared in this blog post.

His code is based on a new innovative approach he himself has endeavored to develop, called the UniMote. Here’s how he describes it: we want our Moteino programming to be modular. For most or all applications, we want the same code to run on the ATMega, so that we can just reconfigure IO, control units, and other functions by remove parameter changes — without reflashing the code if at all possible. He posted about it in the forum, and here is the link to his blog where he goes into the details.

It gets hot up there in Portland and he wanted a convenient way to check when it’s “OK to come out for a drink”. What better way to do it then with a water-proofed UniMote’d Moteino temperature monitor installed on his porch? Portland is also very rainy and he needed to ensure his setup will endure a stress test:

As a final note here, his user interface to his system is quite impressive, Be sure to check out this great project on his blog.