RS485 | Node Network

Sensor-NetworkI’m a huge fan of Arduino, JeeNode, ESP8266. A few of them connected in a network is one of the best solutions to distribute sensors data, relays command and status, LCDs and so on. But what should we use for networking the nodes? Wifi is built into the ESP8266 so that’s a no-brainer. JeeNode has an RF12b working on 868Mhz, but what if you don’t want to use wireless? What if you want to use wired sensors and supply power to them over the same wire? I have looked at RS232 and Ethernet. RS232 is low cost but in its standard form best suited for point to point connections. Ethernet is much better, Ethernet Cards and libraries are easily available for the Arduino. Cost wise, it’s not the best solution, though.

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RS485 | Soladin 600

soladin600A few years back I bought a small PV Solar system. Only 3 230Wp panels and a Soladin 600 inverter. I installed the system myself on the shed using Ubbink Consoles. These consoles are really nice. They are lightweight, so easy to get to the roof and rock solid once weighed down with some 30x30cm concrete tiles.

soladin-schemaThe Soladin 600 has a serial port available but it is in an RJ12 form package. Interfacing is super easy thanks to the Soladin Arduino library. Just add two resistors and the hardware side is sorted.

I had a JeeNode lying around and with the addition of an MX485 IC, the connection to the RS485 bus was also sorted. A few lines of code later and the PV data from the Soladin Inverter was transmitting on a 10-second interval on the RS485 bus.

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Toilet Flush Sensor

Mounting a sensor to the toilet flush button can be very useful. We use it to operate a fan after flushing the toilet.

A reed switch mounted to the flush button wasn’t working. I tried and could not get a switch mounted and operating reliably.

water-sensor-angle2I found a different solution. Sure Electronics sells water level sensors that work using a float. They can be had in horizontal and angled versions. You can also find them easily on eBay and Aliexpress.

The float is operated by the water level in the reservoir. Our toilet fan is switched on and off by the actual water level so it will be on longer if you flush more water.

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