LED Light Ready For Hacking
January 18, 2013 — 20:35

I bought one of these in Argos to see if there was anything interesting that could be one with it. It turns out that the thing is ripe for hacking if you wanted.



Heating Timer Mods -> Homemade Timer
January 14, 2013 — 11:06

For years our heating timer was sitting on the wall being not particularly useful. It was so awkward to reprogram new times into it that it had come to a point where it had a basic program on it and was mostly manually controlled by switching it on for 1/2/3 hours at a time. Finally i had enough of it and with some spare time on my hands i set about adding some remote control functionality to it. The first plan was to gain control over the “+hrs” button we were used to using and then see what was possible. In preparation i ordered an arduino ethernet shield but i wasn’t sure what i was going to do with it.

A popular method of controlling a switch with a microcontroller is to replace it with a transistor. As i didn’t want to interfere with the normal operation of the switch i traced back the pads on the switch to two vias on the PCB which allowed me to solder some thin wires in to attach the transistor to. To test i brought out GND and the base wire and reassembled. Running some simple code to toggle the switch let me cycle through the times and turn it off as expected.


Scraping HTML from Websites with PHP
January 13, 2013 — 21:06

Here’s a simple and useful PHP script that i’ve used a number of times to pull data from an external site to use elsewhere. I first used it with my Cartell.ie android app. To minimise data use on the phone the entered reg number is sent to one of my webservers which requests the cartell.ie site, submitting the given reg and returning just the vehicle information.

The phone requests server/file.php?registration=<reg number> Where the registration number is first read into the variable ‘reg’

$reg = $_REQUEST['registration'];