Monday, September 10, 2018

21st Century Mapping

It’s been quite a few years now since I first discovered a site called DIYDrones… do it yourself drones. Those early drones were virtually all scratch built and used Arduino microprocessors for stabilization and control. The evolution of drone technology in the time since has been quite remarkable. Drones that can fly a predetermined course using GPS way points are now commonplace… as is their capability to take very high resolution pictures and videos complete with GPS coordinates embedded into the pictures. This results in a platform that can provide the data for creating high resolution topographic maps with elevation data in a fraction of the time required by more conventional methods.

I'm in the process of putting together an entry level but high powered Terrain mapping package for the purpose of creating contour line maps and other topographic products focused on the grading and civil engineering industry. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro pro which has a  camera with a 1 inch 20 megapixel sensor and a mechanical shutter capable of centimeter level resolution.

These survey units from Emlid feature new GPS architecture to provide survey grade accuracy for establishing ground control points to precisely locate your data on the real world terrain. They also have a high precision drone GPS units that works with their ground station to deliver unprecedented accuracy in this price range.

Here is a cloud server I set up that can process drone imagery...  Asphalt Plant

For turnkey data management I found an outfit called DroneDeploy... they have software you can install on your smartphone that can load a preprogrammed route into your drone to fly  a course of the over the property you are going to map. You can have preliminary data at your disposal in very short order.

Stay tuned for updates on this venture into 21st century mapping.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Cottonwood Trail

I've been doing handyman work as a sideline for a little over a year now and it has been both enjoyable and profitable. I would like to thank all of you that have allowed me to be your handyman. One of my more interesting encounters led to my discovery of the Cottonwood Trail on Lawsons Fork Creek. It seems I'm becoming more connected to this creek.. It seems to be everywhere I'm fond of frequenting. I enjoy riding a motorcycle and often ride on Hanging Rock road which borders the creek there at Valley Falls. It also borders the property at USC Upstate... its not so obvious there but I recently discovered that there are some nice trails alongside the creek there. Most recently I discovered the Cottonwood Trail by accident... I have a customer whose property is very close to the creek in the Fernwood area. After finishing a job there I saw a sign for the trail and decided to check it out. It is a 115 acre preserve complete with a boardwalk and nice trails in the heart of Spartanburg... if you've never been there you should check it out.

This is the view from my friends window... Lawsons Fork Creek is just across the road... they had this killer piece of glass art... A 12 inch cube of  fused glass with an incredible amount of detail in the colored cube in the center.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Handyman's ESP32 Home Automation Web Server

The ESP32 Handyman home automation web server is up and running. The ESP32 connects to your local WiFi network and then you can connect via your cell phone or your computer or tablet and control eight devices. These are hard wired to an eight relay device which you can see in my previous post. The ESP32 serves up the webpage and switches the eight relays which are in turn wired to the devices you want to control. Virtually all of my lighting is led types. In my shed / shop area I have at least ten led light fixtures all on one circuit. I checked the load with an amp meter and it was less than two amps. The relay switches are rated for 10 amps so no problem there.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Alexa Home Automation R&D

I spent the last couple of weeks getting up to speed on some of the home automation tools that are available off the shelf and home brew versions as well. Many of the components can be used with the Alexa and similar devices. I picked up a couple of the Echo Dot 2nd generation devices and have some of the remote control devices that work with it on the way.  I can see where this thing might be a bit addictive as well as being capable of some pretty sophisticated uses.

I picked up one of these ESP32 boards and it's what got me on the home automation bandwagon. I didn't really know much about it when I bought it but in researching some of its capabilities I learned that it and its predecessor the ESP8266 can be used as a remote device to be controlled by an Alexa. The 32 board is still pretty bleeding edge but has a ton of capability. It has both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and a great deal of  information about them is available on the web.

It was a fairly easy undertaking to set up the ESP32 device as a webserver on my home wifi network that can control via a web page... 8 relays that can control lights or other low current devices.

Control by Alexa is not so well supported on the ESP32 but there are many examples using the ESP8266. I have a couple of them on the way.

I also have some Sonoff devices on the way as well that work with the Alexa or with a phone app right off the shelf.

I will be posting more on this undertaking as these parts arrive and get put online.

Stay tuned πŸ˜€

Sunday, March 4, 2018

It's Been Busy

Time flies when you are having fun. Close to having the old G Model Allis Chalmers ready to go.These are funky rear engine tractors from the late forties. Designed as a cultivator to plow between the rows of plants... you could look down between your legs and see it at work.

Made a little smoke yesterday with the old Allis Chalmers G model. I had done a valve job on it...
the block looks a bit like a 4 cylinder Briggs and Stratton with the valves in the block. Got the head back on yesterday and tried it with a little starting fluid just to see if it would fire. Put a new gas line on it and it fired right up... purred like a kitten.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Years Resolution

I've not done very much posting here this past year... I'm hoping to step up my game a little... reconnected with an old friend of mine who wants to get a 29 model A Ford peach flat back into running condition. He's pretty serious about it and has even had heat and air installed in the shop where we will be working on it. Its a very nice place with a great view of Glassy Mountain.
A lot of folks learned to drive in one of these things back in the day. Its a custom flat bed that was used to haul peaches out of the orchard back when peaches were a big deal in Upstate South Carolina.
I don't think it needs a whole lot ... you sit on the wooden flat bed to drive.

He has some interesting toys and most could use a handymans touch 😎