Neopixel Notifier

Neopixel Notifier

I was looking for solutions to make a notifier to for various projects. I while back I made something similar with a small OLED screen but this time I wanted something more “wife friendly” so I set out. I had a few neopixel WS2812 RGB LEDs laying around and some NodeMCU ESPs. I went with a NodeMCU board for simplicity of micro USB power already onboard but you could use any ESP for this project and it should work.

So I started searching how to cobble them together and I found

Which led me to… which led me to here

This was perfect. I took the ESP8266 and connected it via MQTT to subscribe to a topic for changing the colors of a WS2812 (neopixel). All you do is send RBGW code (255000000000 is red for example) via the topic.

The code works great, after changing the topics and such. But its not up to my liking. So here is my re-coded version. I basically made it easily editable, add all the variables to the top.

Now I can slap an ESP and the neopixel in something for notification. I just have to remember what each color means and I will let Node-Red send the changes when needed. Fucking awesome. I can use this for temperature, rain, mail delivery, change the color if someone has ever pressed the doorbell that day…its endless. Only downfall is one alert overrides the previous color (is that really a downfall?) so the alert is “over-written”. So if you are going to use it for say timing on something or modes of the day or what have you, single project use, then it should fit the bill.

I happened to have to have a 3D printer and came across a really nice model of a lamp (Bioh Lamp) that I decided would work perfect as a notifier. After I made some modifications and added NodeMCU standoffs it worked perfectly. Don’t get me wrong it took a few tries to get the spacing right and I tried a few approaches before using the NodeMCU so the older standoff for centering the WS2812 is still there. Unfortunately the author has is locked up pretty tight and used the Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial – No Derivatives license so I cannot share it.

I used an old Apple iPod USB cable and chopped it up wired it to the boards. Also repurposed an old iPhone charger to use as the power supply. Perfect!


Code below.

View Post

My OctoPrint (nightmare) Setup

My OctoPrint (nightmare) Setup

While I was digging around for 3D printer stuff I came across OctoPrint (and OctoPi). OctoPrint acts as a print server for your printer. So you don’t have to do the SD card shuffle anymore, or waste a power hungry x86 for the task. My printer is not in the same room as my computers so this works a treat. Also, it allows you to monitor the entire process. It also supports a camera to watch the build. Perfect, I have a RPi camera available. I also found a tutorial to allow OctoPrint to support turning relays off and on to control other stuff (lights, the printer itself, etc…).

(Stay with me, this post is a little erratic)

I followed this and it helped me a lot:

If you have a cheap eBay Raspberry Pi LCD module you will most likely need to go here

For my 3.5″ Inch “RPi LCD” I needed this: wget sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade  (needed to get 109mb)

Install the driver and it toggles the mode to LCD display: Note: The Raspberry Pi must be connected to the network, or else the touch won’t work properly for some reason.

Your screen should pop on to show the command line, I also got booted from my SSH session, closed by remote host – as the Pi rebooted.

The OctoPi images runs off Jessie Lite, so there is no GUI which fucking sucks, so we need to install one.

Install lightdm (needed 222mb in downloads)

sudo apt-get install lightdm sudo raspi-config

Boot Options > boot go desktop and login as ‘pi’.

Fuck didn’t work.

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xserver-xorg sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xinit sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods  (needed to get 140mb, 315mb used…Jesus…)

try again to…

sudo apt-get install lightdm

startx without lightdm

no go… Fuck.

startx……ok? tossed errors. Lets reboot. pixman.

./scripts/install-desktop  …. didn’t work either.

Black screen and cursor… ugh damn it all. Nothing but fucking grief… Damn you Jessie Lite, and damn you for removing the GUI guts, and while I’m at it damn you OctoPrint for not having the GUI shit either…

Use the image that works with the screen, that i still have or ? Well the image is Wheezy so shit, nope. Lets try a new install of Raspbian on a SD card, then add the video driver. Will we get a desktop?

So Jessie (full) and lets try the newest drivers for the screen this time?

I finally got it fucking working, and I am not happy that it took this long, and I am not happy with the unit as a whole. Most likely because I m using an RPiB2 maybe? I have also tried a RPiB and that was soooo fucking slow… to the point it was unusable with a touch screen. Might have been ok for just the OctoPrint server but I didn’t even try it I switched back to the B2 immediately.

So… load the OctoPi image (Jessie lite bastards) and once that is done, do the LCD show bullshit… it should reboot and give you a desktop…

Now the god damn camera wont work…I tried the B no go, tried the B2 no go. Tried the B2 again wtf? Oh maybe I should enable the camera via raspi-config?….wtf no where does it mention that, not anywhere… after i found a forum post saying to enable the camera it finally fucking worked…wtf guys.

Now another fucking problem… the browser. Chromium wont load, requires a kernel upgrade or some bullshit… dude wtf, I just downloaded your “complete” image. Complete my ass, I have to do extra shit then it ain’t fucking complete. Epiphany works but no supports for kiosk mode. Jesus…

Is this fucking worth it??

On top of that I hear transferring files via wifi to the SD card is horribly slow. Most people seem to just stick to using the SD card and use the screen on the printer… all for touch control and a camera…gah.

Three fucking days….solid days so far… trying to get this bullshit working.

So to get chromium to work I had to upgrade the kernel, rpi update….

Which broke the fucking LCD screen….fuck this shit. I give up. I’m going back to square one. reflashing the SD card with OctoPi (Jessie lite) enabling the camera and leaving it as touch screen.

I feel depressed now, and lost three days of my life. Dont make the same mistake… or buy an official RPi screen and a new RPi 3. I would actually recommend a 7″, as the 3.5 is way too small. It doesn’t even fill the whole screen.


(Update: this shit was a pain in my ass. I turned out just flashing a straight copy of OctoPi to the card and running it as is. And to correct my mi-information, OctoPrint allows you to transfer files to the Pi or the printer SD card. Going to the Pi is fast, the printers SD card is where it takes FOREVER. Just don’t do it.)