Adventures in IOT (Part 1 of n)

9th July 2015 - Development, hardware, iot

Well, I have been going a little IOT crazy for the last few months, and have been Hackathoning in pretty much all my spare time, so I’m going to do a few posts on some basic knowledge I have picked up in IOT, namely using Ardunios and Arduino clones on Windows and mac.

Firstly, IOT on the mac, using Arduino created boards is pretty simple as the mac doesn’t have a USB driver layer that windows has. However, using clones and 3rd party chips like the ESP8266 on the mac has proven to be a little bit of a challenge.

I bought a handful of UNO and leonardo clones from xsource and while they work perfectly fine with the standard sketches using bog standard sensors, everything goes awry when clones are used.

This is because a vast majority of the clones use a WC CH340 chip for comms, which the standard arduino pack doesn’t 100% support. Seems fine in windows however, so go figure. And as I am trying to use my mac a bit more (thanks, web dev community), I started taking it to the hackathons so had to get this issue sorted.

Unfortunately, the drivers from the manufacturer are not signed so Yosemite doesn’t trust them. So, you can either piss about with the linux subsystem or download them from someone on the interweb who has packed them into a trusted package. Thanks dude! However… they cost a small fee (€7.47), but its worth it.

Also worth getting is “Serial” which has a ton of drivers cooked in for when you need to dick about with a serial connection. Get it from the app store.

So far, all my clones have worked ok (after driver installing, as above), even though I have been pretty random with my buying just because they mostly come from china and I never know whether they will turn up or not. Generally, the boards have cost around €7 – €10 and have took around two weeks to wing their way across the world.   ESP8266s have cost around €3 – €5 and can be used to make wifi enabled devices. I have hooked these bad boys up to azure, webAPI, heroku (node) and a nice IOT cloud service at which allows you to pipe data directly to a cloud endpoint. You can then create triggers based on the data it receives to get sms alerts, emails, signals sent to other devices and a load of other pretty cool stuff very easy and very quickly.

I’ll be putting some demos up, probably using IOT with azure in the coming days so stay tuned.

Catch you later