Welcome to February! It seems odd that we are already in our second month of 2012.
I've been making pretty good progress lately on my thermostat, however, most of the work done has been updating the software embedded within the microcontroller, which makes it hard to convey physical progress. I plan on creating and posting a video of the user interface, which should give a pretty good idea of the usability of the thermostat.
I've had this hardware setup for a while now, but haven't really given any indication of it other than a theoretical description of it. So I thought I'd post a few pics to give you a visual idea of what it is I spend so much time aimlessly staring at with glazed eyes.
This first picture is the main "board" with the complete system attached. And by board, I mean a scrap piece of wood I had sitting around the garage that I painted. It just seemed to be a good way to keep all the parts together on a movable object.
The parts along the bottom of the board are components of the user-interface; the Menu, Up and Down buttons are on the bottom left and the LCD screen on the bottom right.
You can see the microcontroller chip in the middle of the white breadboard, the other electronic components are spread out between the remainder of the white breadboard and the blue breadboard at the top-center of the picture.
The PC board in the center of the picture with the USB cable is the PICKit2 board. This board creates an interface between the microcontroller (the PIC) and my PC. It allows me to upload the program to the PIC, start, stop, and reset the program as well as may other debug functions.
This next picture is the AC/DC power converter. This converts the 120 volts of AC (alternating current) power from your outlet to 5 volts of DC (direct current) power. This is similar to what you will see if you were to take apart one of the big heavy outlet blocks that power the majority of your electronic devices.
And finally, I snapped a picture of all the components as well as the box (seen in the bottom left corner of the picture) that all of this needs to fit in to.
All I need is a shoe horn and a hammer and it will fit just fine!
I'll try and get a video out soon to give you an indication of how the user interface works.