Inspiration

Cheap forms of technology such as the dimmers throughout your household result in a large amount of vampire power. Vampire power is created by equipment constantly running and therefore wasting power even when it is not in use. Our group wanted to utilize knowledge learned in our classes and from our own extracurricular activities to create a project that can be easily integrated into society, can improve lives all over the world, and also helps the environment in some way.

What it does

Our project, Vampire Slayer, is a device that can be overly simplified to a smart power strip that monitors the power dissipation, current through, and voltage over each component per outlet. Our project makes use of the Spark Core Development Kit in order to connect multiple units to a controller through Wi-Fi. Therefore we are able monitor the specifications of each electrical component throughout the house and turn each device on and off wirelessly.

How we built it

We used a simple method to measure the power in the circuits. To measure current there was simply a resistor with a relatively low load (100 Ohms) connected in series with the circuit. The voltage across this resistor was measured and used to calculate current through the circuit. The voltage was then measured across all circuits (as they were the same) to measure the voltage across the circuits. These two values were used to compute the voltage. An NPN MOSFET was then implemented to control when to turn on and off the appliances. This was then interfaced through a website to control and read values from the hack.

Code of Spark Core is provided in links. Vampire Slayer Website has HTML code integrated on website.

Challenges we ran into

We realized early on that we would not be able to use 120V mains voltage in this problem. Using this would require sensors that were unavailable. So the board had to be reduced to more of a proof of concept to show that the idea can be done on a small scale. Further we worried that our original idea of a automated light switch already existed but I feel that we made something unique and useful with the smart power strip. When programming this project, we also came across many obstacles. The Spark Core Wi-Fi developer kit utilizes communication over wireless networks and saving and retrieving data from a virtual cloud. One of the largest obstacles was utilizing HTML to create a website layout that was able to display all the information we needed while also having all the interactive buttons and displays needed to manage the system. In our group there was no one with HTML or Javascript experience, and therefore we had to learn how to use jQuery to create a working page.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

A collective effort was put forth between all group members to decipher new languages. As a result, our group was able to utilize Jquery, HTML, and Javascript to create an interactive website pushes signals and commands through Wi-Fi to the Spark Core, while also retrieving the variables and data measurements from the Spark Core board and its multiple components.

What we learned

We learned how to use HTML to create webpage that outputs whatever data that we implement into the code. We also learned how to assimilate Javascript and jQuery in combination with HTML to create this project. Each member gained a large amount of programming experience while also learning how to utilize and program a Spark Core Development Kit. For those who were not ECE's they gained a further understanding of analysis of certain circuit characteristics.

What's next for Vampire Slayer

We hope to implement our project on a large scale. With the technology we had we were only able to implement a Low Voltage D.C. Analyzer and Controller. But by utilizing the same technology with additional sensors and components, we hope to recreate this power strip on a larger scale so that it may be utilized in homes throughout the world. Also if we had the opportunity to develop our project on a larger scale, we plan to optimize code while also enhancing the visuals and UI of the website.

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