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Send Alert To Smart Phone Project

zunebuggy

Jun 9, 2010
16
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Jun 9, 2010
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Years ago I was an Air Force electronics engineer when capacitors were the size of my thumbnail and 8 bit processors were cool. I have really fallen behind in technology. I am even in a different career field now and have been for years. Besides picking up a few books on electronics here and there and websites like this, I find I am quite a novice again but I would still like to tinker.

I wanted to make a swimming pool float alarm that will alert me on my phone when the water level has reached a certain height. I know how to make a float switch but have never made anything that sent something to my smartphone (which is a Droid Bionic btw). I also am fairly skilled at C#, Java, Python, VB and VB.NET. Not only would this project be useful to me, but I want to learn something new along the way.

I am not sure what the easiest/best way is. I am not necessarily looking for easiest solution. If I can get this to work, I'd like to make one for my mailbox, clothes dryer, clothes washer, monitor temperature of my basement freezer, etc.

I don't want to buy a device that already does this. It defeats the purpose of wanting to learn and giving myself a project.

1) I could encase a Raspberry Pi (or some smaller device) in a waterproof housing and modify a USB game controller as my switch interface and have the Pi text or email me... That's fairly easy and I get it.

2) Learn how to make a standalone device that will use my home network to "talk" to my phone or send a message.

3) Make a Bluetooth device. I don't see this working because the range is probably very limited.

4). something I have not thought of...

I eventually want to build some stuff I can control from my phone, but I'll save that for another time.

Any links to schematics, suggestions or suggestions of books is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 

sirch

Dec 6, 2012
109
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Dec 6, 2012
Messages
109
If you only want to receive the message while you are at home then WIFI will do, if you want to send messages via the cell phone network google "GSM Modem".

If you go the WIFI route it's probably best to have the phone poll an embedded web server (on RasPi or whatever) at a suitable time interval
 

GreenGiant

Feb 9, 2012
842
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Feb 9, 2012
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842
as Sirch has said wifi would be easiest Bluetooth the next more intricate then you move to text messages/emails via GSM.

Via wifi is going to be via email, thats the only way without some other pieces of tech, if you wanted to you could get a few pieces and do it iwth Xbee, or the like, which has a range of about 100 feet or so.

Bluetooth you would have to get some other pieces, to add to it, but you can make it into a pop up message on the phone, or chirp or many other things.

Via GSM is going ot be the hardest, and you will need a fair amount of items to make it work, and you will need a quite significant power source (only 5 volts or so but something that can provide 2+ amps any time it would send a text message or email.
 

sirch

Dec 6, 2012
109
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Dec 6, 2012
Messages
109
Actually, thinking about the bigger picture, since you plan on extending this to other parts of your home, it may be worth investigating home automation, I believe there are some open source home authomation server projects out there that do this kind of thing.
 

zunebuggy

Jun 9, 2010
16
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Jun 9, 2010
Messages
16
Thank you very much. It looks like there is a lot of good ways to approach this. The XBee looks promising. I found some very affordable units and it appears they can be programmed to do whatever I need it to do. It seems like my van's keyless entry technology would be perfect. It has quite a range using low power and it sends what I assume is a unique digital identifier to the receiver. The receiver could be connected to a dedicated PC in my home. Each device, my pool float switch, clothes dryer, mailbox, etc... could each have its own unique key. The PC would then know by which device sent the signal what alert to send.

Thanks again. :)
 

GreenGiant

Feb 9, 2012
842
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Feb 9, 2012
Messages
842
The only downside to Xbee is setting it up, all the forums will say its easy, and simple, but it is a little complicated, look up some video tutorials, and look into channel, and mode.
 
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