Often times people find themselves facing an unusual task where there isn’t an off the shelf solution that fits the bill and replanning the entire show just isn’t feasible. Let’s custom build a device for that task!

It wasn’t that long ago when I was trying to find off the shelf monitoring and control systems for my greenhouse when I became painfully aware that I would have to change umpteen things in order to use them. What’s even worse is that I would end up losing my capability to do many of the things that I’m currently doing in order to use these off the shelf offerings. This was absolutely unacceptable, so I engineered and built my own system completely from scratch.

After I made that system open source (named Climate Czar) I got bombarded with emails from my website asking how to make similar smaller items for dedicated obstacles that people were facing. Quite a few of those inquiries turned into actual jobs, so that showed me that there is a definite market for this stuff. I have also done the same thing for other issues that I had around here. Now I can control my well pump for my sprinklers from my phone, complete with timers!

If you have an obstacle standing in your way that could be solved with some automation, just drop me a message using the contact form! The world of microcontrollers has made it easy (well, at least for me) to analyze a problem, break it down into logical steps, and code my way through it in order to drive devices to overcome the obstacles. 20 years ago, things like this would require hundreds of dollars spent at Radio Shack and months to engineer and debug. These days, a completed unit with more capabilities can be built in a few weeks for a fraction of the price.

I can say this with confidence because I had some strange geeky hobbies when I was a kid and built a lot of things the old way. Starting at 13 by miniaturizing a crystal radio to fit into the case of a 4-color ball point pen, and a clone of a 30 watt solid state Marshall guitar amplifier when I was 17. I even built a Z-80 CPU based stage lighting system for a band that I was in back in my 20’s which was programmed from a Yamaha CX-5M computer using my own BASIC program.

Safe to say that after all these years of building things that other people insisted weren’t possible, I can create whatever you need to overcome an obstacle standing in your way. If you take a look at my RPi Smart Still controller, it shows that using robotics to achieve the end result is also a real possibility (servos and stepping motors are wonderful inventions). Shoot me a message using the contact form and let me know what you have in mind, I love a challenge!

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