IoT Controlled Snow Machine




Story

The most homemade snow machine you’ve ever seen. Made from a hairdryer, polystyrene and MKR1000. Controllable from anywhere in the world*

*Must have internet connection

Motivation

I live in the middle of wet rainy England and my boyfriend lives in the south of Oregon, USA. This year, they had so much snow, it looked like a winter wonderland. I was so jealous, I mean just look how pretty it is here. We joked how we need an IOT device that turned the snow on and off, as he hated it but I loved it… cue lightbulb moment.

snowmachinepic




Arduino/Genuino MKR1000

I had previously played around with the Arduino uno and wifi shield, but as this project would be outdoors (mum said that I can’t get snow in the house), I wanted to use a wireless connection. I’ve been looking for a while for a reasonably priced method of wirelessly connecting to the internet and after googling around for this project, I was really excited to hear about the MKR1000, as well as the competition.

My go-to was to use a simple wifi server sketch, but then I thought it would be more interesting if my boyfriend could turn on the snow. Using the Web client in WiFi101 examples, I adapted it so it connected to a txt file on a server and looked to see if there was a 0 or 1. I then made a website that would write 1 or 0 depending on if the on or off button was hit respectively.

The Snow Machine

Now the Arduino was all setup, I just needed to connect it to snow. I couldn’t find the right adapter to plug it into the clouds so I made a snow machine.

READ  Ultrasonic range finder using arduino

Well I tried to make a snow machine okay ?

So version 1 is a hairdryer and a plastic 2l bottle with the ends cut off, using magic snow (powder that you add water to)

Version 2 has the addition of a cloth to stop the snow falling into the hairdryer

Version 3 has crumbled up polystyrene because I ran out of magic snow

Electronics

Shoutout to my dad here. It’s good having an electrician in the family.

My MKR1000 could turn an LED on, but I needed it to turn on my “Snow Machine” aka my hairdryer. I tried using a relay. I read on the Arduino website that the board runs at 3.3V, so I used a 5V relay on a board that can be reliably triggered by 3.3V. This was soldered to a 240V AC socket that I could plug my hair dryer in. Worked a dream!

I went to test this with snow (note, this is where I used up all of my magic snow) and found that when I turned on from the website, the snow machine kept flicking on and off. My dad thought it was due to the relay so we added a solid state 2-480V relay and added a power supply to that. We then realised the problem was due to wifi connectivity issues in the garden so it would probably work fine with just the 5V relay.




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