pxlBlck – An IOT/SmartHome information system

pxlBlck is a system of hardware and software to set up an information system for the SmartHome. Various software and hardware options are available. Thanks to the integration in an ESPEasy plug-in, the pxlBlck’s can be automated without external automation software. In combination with external automation software (e.g. NodeRed, MQTT server, etc …), various notifications such as a doorbell, notifications via social media (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook, …), call notifications on mobile devices and landlines can also be displayed.

Each pxlBlck can be equipped with several sensors. It is also possible to measure different environmental data, to forward this data via WiFi and/or to react to this measurement data.


Short overview

Each pxlBlck type shown is operated using the pxlBlck plug-in for ESPEasy. The LED matrix or hardware used can be specified in the ESPEasy web overview.


History of origin

Originally the pxlBlck consisted of an 8×8 WS2812 aka Neopixel LED matrix (looks like a square/block of pixels. Hence the name :)), which is controlled by an ESP8266 and the corresponding software.

The aim was to keep up to date with the events in my SmartHome in a simple way. It kind of bothered me that I collect all kinds of data with my SmartHome, but rarely see this data.

For example, I was informed on my smartphone when the doorbell rang, but what if I do not have my cell phone with me at the moment (which can happen at home)?
(Admittedly, a little luxury problem for me, but for people with hearing problems this is a real problem.)

So I was looking for an easy way to get information about current events in the SmartHome. Ideally, this type of “SmartHome Event Viewer” would also be so cheap and discreet that I can equip any room with it.

In the meantime I have integrated the software component into an ESPEasy plug-in. With the help of this “pxlBlck plugin” it is now possible to control not only the 8×8 LED matrix used at the beginning. Over time, new types of matrices have been developed and added.

Here is the (so far) list of supported WS2812 aka Neopixel LED matrices:

  • 10×10
  • 8×8
  • 16×16
  • 8×24
  • 8×32 (=Pot)
  • 1×60 (= ringClock, ringClockMini, slotClock)
  • digitClock
  • PipeLamp
  • FibonacciClock
  • WordClock

Overview of the hardware platforms

In the following paragraph you will find an overview of the supported pxlblck platforms. These each contain an LED matrix in different sizes. With the help of one of the pxlBlck platforms you can set up an information display that provides you with important information and events from your SmartHome in a decorative and unobtrusive way – if necessary.

pxlBlck_Pot

The pxlBlck_Pot consists of an 32×8 LED matrix that is built into a 3D printed planter. The LED matrix is only visible when it is switched on.

You can find the detailed instructions for building the pxlBlck_Pot in the article pxlBlck – Build your own pxlBlck_Pot


pxlBlck_8x8

The pxlBlck_8x8 consists of an 8×8 LED matrix and due to its small size (7x7x3cm) it can also be used without taking up a lot of space. If desired, the time can be displayed on different dials. Animations and user-defined icons can be displayed for events.

You can find the detailed instructions for building the pxlBlck_8x8 in the article pxlBlck – Build your own pxlBlck_8x8


pxlBlck_SlotClock

The pxlBlck_SlotClock consists of a 1×60 LED matrix (basically an LED strip) which is inserted into a 3D printed base and covered with a milky, milky plexiglass plate. With the help of the circular division into 60 equal segments, the time can be displayed using the familiar “analog time” scheme.

You can find the detailed instructions for building the pxlBlck_SlotClock in the article pxlBlck – Build your own pxlBlck_SlotClock


pxlBlck_RingClock

The pxlBlck_RingClock is very similar to the pxlBlck_SlotClock. It is also built using a 1×60 LED matrix and can display the time according to the same scheme as the pxlBlck_SlotClock. However, the LED strip of the pxlBlck_RingClock is installed in a ring and not in a disc. This makes the design of the watch even more unobtrusive. The microcontroller for control is built into the base of the pxlBlck_RingClock.

You can find the detailed instructions for building the pxlBlck_RingClock in the article pxlBlck – Build your own pxlBlck_RingClock


pxlBlck_PipeLamp

The pxlBlck_PipeLamp consists of a 26cm high column. A 12×8 LED matrix is installed behind the satined Plexiglas tube, which can display various animations and, if desired, dials. Up to four tilt switches can be installed in the base of the pxlBlck_pipeLamp. This allows user-defined actions to be triggered by tilting and tilting the pxlBlck_pipeLamp.

You can find the detailed instructions for building the pxlBlck_RingClock in the article pxlBlck – Build your own pxlBlck_PipeLamp


The pxlBlck plugin

To control the different platforms, you can use the pxlBlck plug-in for ESPEasy. ESPEasy is a framework for the ESP8266 and ESP32 microcontrollers. With the help of plugins its basic functionality acn be extended.

The pxlBlck plugin is such a plugin. It takes over the control of the different platforms and also offers various functions, animations and features that can be executed via commands.

How to install this plugin including ESPEasy on your pxlBlck platform and how to use the various features is described in the following articles.


I hope everything worked as described. If not or you have any other questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. Also, ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

Fab

P.S. Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you appreciate it that I share these information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee box. 🙂

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