Two posts a year is good right?  Well I am going to pretend it is and aim to post a bit more.  We have been busy but wanted to post a couple of updates.  The first is we are going on a year with our first dive into home automation and monitoring with the RaspberryPi – we have a cellar that we automated the ventilation of and built in the ability to monitor it anytime any where.  Additionally, we have a monitor on our chest freezer now that is our cache of meat from hunting and odds and ends from the garden, the freezer is older than me and it would be devastating to lose it and know about it.

The freezer is pretty simple, actually both the freezer and the cellar are quite simple and just make efficient use of technology to do what would take us time everyday to do, should we open the damper in the cellar?  Is the freezer staying cold enough?  At some point in the near future I am aiming to have complete write up of both but today I will give you the top line description of the cellar project.  In the north east corner of our basement was a room that because of how the house was built was buried on three sides with one interior wall.  On the north end of that room was a window that needed replaced, as did the other three in the basement.  These have been since replaced, but back to the cellar.  The window in the cellar was replaced with an insulated wood panel, in the middle of that panel was a home built damper we built with a small motor wired to a couple of limit switches and a relay.  In addition to opening and closing the damper baffle the relay controls a fan used to  boost convection when the damper baffle is open.  This relay is driven by the output from the RaspberryPi, a picture of the damper can be seen below.

The RaspberryPi reads the temperature and humidity of the the cellar in two places as well as outside, additionally it monitors its own battery to  make sure that should the power go out and the battery get low it will shut itself just in case it is a bit too cold outside.  Sure we could look at a thermometer outside and compare it with the temperature inside and make a decision but the RaspberryPi can do it all night and day everyday.  More soon on this build but I wanted to put some time between implementation and documentation, like a year.  One more teaser picture below that was poorly stitched together by my phone.

And finally, since we have been over here just sitting on our hands, we were gifted a greenhouse this fall.  Not something we had planned on but it came up on Craigslist and we were reminded how small the world is.  But we picked it up, moved it 10 miles down the road and its sitting in the barn being refurbished, I think I smell another Pi project coming.



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DISCLAIMER: This will void your warranty.  You will probably lose all the data on your drive.  You might die, who knows.  Don’t try this at home.  If you do decide to do this be sure to wear latex gloves as to not mark your platters.

With that out of the way, lets get down to it, rarely do I write about anything other than food and in a strange far out way this will be related to food.  For quite sometime now my passion for technology and food have collided and I have been working on building out my Digital Cook book and working on and iPad app to accommodate it.  Recently while I was out of town the server on which the majority of this application resided bit the dust or at least the drive with the data one did.  As a person who should know better I have no excuse, but, none the less the data was not backed up.  There was one copy of the database and the data in it.  Fail.  With options running out and not wanting to pay to have the data professionally recovered I took a last ditch effort to recover the data myself.  Much to my surprise it worked.

Thankfully when I built the machine I used identical drives I had laying around.  Because of this I could swap the platters from one drive to the other and that is what I did.  I took the platter (the CD looking thing that lives inside a hard drive and holds all the data) and installed it in the working drive, after removing its platter.  I then tore into my network attached storage chassis, removed the drive in there and plugged in my Fraken-drive.  Bam, disk spun up and Windows recognized it.  Pulled my data off and let out a squeal of delight.  All of my hard work has been saved.  As a by product I have some pictures and videos of the process someone is bound to appreciate.

Hard Drive Platters Exposed

Hard Drive Platters Exposed

Moral of the story is BACK UP YOUR DATA.  I will be doing that first and foremost on my new server configuration to avoid the sense of panic upon realizing you have to start over.

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