SmartThings, Arduino and Servo! ! Oh, my!

I have one the plexiglass battle, but I have not won the war.  I have my very simple circuit to drive three servos working, but that is only a small piece of the greater plan.


I have it setup with a small 4-AA battery pack for now while I am prototyping.  I bought the lipo rider pro from SeeedStudio to charge the battery during the day. Once I get all of the integrations working, I will swap the battery for that setup.

To communicate with the Arduino, besides the CC3000 wifi breakout, I am using the aRest server code from @marcoschwartz.  Since I was focusing on the hardware, I did my best hacking to get something working quickly.  Here is the hack to get the parameters to move the servo (don’t judge):

Once I get the hardware piece done, I will fix up that code to something that is less embarrassing.

Ok, this is where I enter my latest pit of despair 🙂  I use the SmartThings system in my house to control a lot of everyday tasks (I am really lazy).  For instance, when I walk into my kitchen the lights turn on and the turn off when I leave.  Again, Lazy!  The goal of this phase is to create a custom device in their system so that on the iPhone the blinds can be controlled with the slider control.  Below is what the Phillips Hue device type so you can see what the slider would look like.


Due to my insecurity issues, I tend to not post questions on  forums, but tonight I have reached out. lol.  The SmartThings community is very helpful, so I figured I might be able to solve my issue with their help.

Let’s see what they come up with.


Arduino, Plexiglass and Superglue, how can you go wrong?

Like most tinkerers, I started on a project that I have been whittling away at for a long time but haven’t finished.  I am trying to add automation to my faux wood blinds using an Arduino Nano, servo and a wifi card.  I had it working, a hack at best, but the battery setup that I had could not handle the load of the wireless board.

Fast forward to yesterday and I have made it a little closer to done.  Recently one of my buddies took me to this plexiglass store that he uses and I was inspired to get started again.  I had never thought of using plexiglass in my projects.  I bought  a sheet of remnant from this awesome place ePlastics.

You see, the rod in my blinds are in 6 sided, so trying to find something to couple it with was proving to be a challenge.  I won’t embarrass myself by telling you what I tried first, but assume that it was stupid.  With plexiglass I figured it would be easy to mount a servo horn to it and then make a cutout for the rod.

My intent for mounting the rod was to cut several pieces of the plexiglass and glue them together since it is only about 1/4″ think.  Once I had a block of glass, I would drill out a hole smaller than the rod diameter and then jam it in.  Well… turns out that I drilled the hole to big.  I tried to add superglue thinking that it could bridge gaps, but it didn’t do a great job.  The only thing that really held up was the glue between my fingers.

My code was all ready and tested, but this was a huge impediment.  It might have not been the glue that was the main failure.  From the last time I worked on this project, I had to cut out part of the bracket that held together the piece of the blinds that holds the rod and the pulley for the blinds.  When I put plexiglass in their to firm that up I must have cut it too tight and the rod wasn’t able to turn as freely as it needed to.  The glue may have held, but not with the rod being restricted.

I am going to add to the superglued block of glass that is mounted to the servo horn and drill into the new pieces.  I hope that I can get the rod mounted to it.  I think doing that and fixing the support piece will bring this one to a close. I won’t be able to get to this until next week, but I feel pretty confident that it will work.  I will post the results when it works.