Many people enjoying preparing stews and soups that take many hours to simmer. However, these dishes can be very labor intensive to prepare, and often need to be closely monitored to ensure that the correct temperature is held.
What it does
Our device is en electric pot stirrer that monitors the temperature of the pot, and another dish.
How we built it
The pot stirrer itself is made using the 80-20 framing system. A geared, brushed DC motor is attached to the 80-20 frame and powers the stir paddle. The stir paddle, which was 3D printed onsite, contains a pin and spring assembly that ensure the paddle maintains contact with the bottom surface of the pot. The motor is connected to a power supply controlled by a Particle Photon. The Photon gives instructions to the motor and receives data from the two breakout boards that convert the analog voltage from the thermocouples to a digital signal. One thermocouples is attached to the pot stirrer to monitor the stew, and another with a longer cable is available to simultaneously monitor another dish (such as a dish in the oven). The ios app connects to a REST api to send and receive information from the the Photon.
Challenges we ran into
The Particle Photon was not able to connect to enterprise WPA wifi which led to some connectivity issues. This was solved using a mobile phone hotspot. The DC motor also required a substantial current supply, which was solved using a power transistor.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The finshed product has a polished appearance (all of the wiring is contained an enclosure and the mechanics of the device are solid.)
What we learned
The team made substantial gains in ios development skills, such as push notifications and closures.
What's next for Watchpot
In the future, the watchpot could be able to directly control an oven or stove to achieve active temperature regulation.