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Vlog #65: SuperHouse now has a Discord server!

I’ve resisted for ages, so viewer Lorenzo took matters into his own hands and set up a Discord server for SuperHouse 🙂

Within 24 hours of being announced, there are now more than 200 people on the server! To join the discussion about SuperHouse projects, home automation, MQTT, Home Assistant, OpenHAB, Tasmota, and many other things, go to this link for an invitation:

www.superhouse.tv/discord

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Vlog #63: Australia, worst place in the world for DIY home automation

Is it true that DIY electrical work can invalidate your home insurance policy? Can you go to prison for replacing the plug on a power board?

In Australia: yes. With the harshest restrictions in the world, Australian regulations don’t let you do anything unless you complete a 4 year apprenticeship, complete some certifications, and become a licensed electrician. It doesn’t matter that I’ve designed satellite payloads and that products I’ve designed have had more than a million units manufactured. Without completing a 4 year apprenticeship, there is no legal path for me to become certified to replace the plug on a power board.

Crazy.

And to top it off, clauses in your insurance policy that don’t seem to have anything to do with electrical safety can allow your insurer to refuse any claims that could be related to DIY electrical work.

If you’re into home automation, check out Rob’s YouTube channel, The Hook Up.

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SuperHouse Vlog #61: Light switches for sale

I finally, FINALLY, got around to putting the parts for my home automation light switches up on the new SuperHouse online store. I thought it would be easy: just put up four products, with 1, 2, 3, or 4 buttons. But then I realised that Australian wall plates don’t suit many people, so I have to make them available as kits to fit into different types of wall plates. Then I realised that people may want different colour buttons, so I have to separate the breakouts from the buttons.

So it got complicated.

Oh well.

For all the details see the light switch page.

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SuperHouse Vlog #60: Maker Faire Shenzhen, China

I’m in China visiting electronics parts suppliers and factories as part of the HardworX Shenzhen Innovation Tour, but today I left the famous Huaqiangbei electronics markets to spend some time at Maker Faire Shenzhen, the second largest Maker Faire in the world. This video shows a few of the makers exhibiting their projects. The faire itself stretches across a huge area and uses many buildings, and the basketball courts shown in this video are just one tiny corner of the event.

 

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SuperHouse Vlog #57: ESD mat for my electronics work benches

After years of using cheap lino cutting mats from the $2 shop, I’ve finally put proper ESD mat down on my electronics benches.

I wanted to use a nice blue mat, but Dave Jones (@eevblog) had a bad experience with discoloration so I decided to try plain grey instead. Hopefully this won’t end up going a strange green colour like Dave’s.

I got the mat from Oritech in Sydney. Their full range is listed here:

www.oritech.com.au/ESD-Control/ESD-Matting/pl.php

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SuperHouse Vlog #56: Internet Vision Technologies is no more

The last few months have been an emotional roller coaster as my wife and I complete the sale of a business that I began in a spare room at my mother’s house more than 20 years ago. This hasn’t left much time (or emotional capacity!) to produce SuperHouse videos.

This is a big change in my personal circumstances, so hopefully I will be able to make more progress on SuperHouse now.

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SuperHouse Vlog #55: The T-962C surface mount reflow oven

While working on new SuperHouse episodes I’ve upgraded my surface mount reflow oven. Most things I design are assembled in factories, but about 8 years ago I set up a toaster oven with a temperature sensor so I could do quick reflow at home for prototypes and small production runs.

I wrote up a tutorial about DIY surface mount assembly for Freetronics: you can read it at Surface Mount Soldering With A Toaster Oven.

Some years ago I upgraded the toaster oven by fitting an Arduino based automatic temperature controller, and since then I’ve baked several thousand circuit boards in that little oven. However, the time has finally come to replace it with a proper semi-professional reflow oven.

The T-962A is currently the most common cheap desktop reflow oven, but I need something a bit bigger so that I can run a few dozen boards at a time. I decided to go for its big brother, the T-962C.

Yes, I know the camerawork is terrible! Normally I’d re-film anything that looks as bad as some parts of this vlog, but TBH I can’t be bothered for a quick update 🙂

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SuperHouse Vlog #54: Husqvarna Automower scheduling

Grass grows at different rates depending on the time of year, so sometimes it’s necessary to change the Automower schedule to suit the growing conditions. Now it’s winter here in Melbourne and my grass is growing very slowly (and even dying off in patches) so I need to reduce the mowing time.

Husqvarna have made it very easy to change the settings directly on the mower, allowing me to change it from 2 hours of mowing per day to 1 hour.