Project Castle Guardian

I finally have enough technical skill and time to create one of my most advanced projects. This project will consist of having a self-arming home monitoring system complete with an alarm and a satellite communication network. The Satcomm (satellite communication) unit will alert me via email if Castle Guardian is armed, disarmed, detects an individual & from where, as well as track their movements around the house. It will also have night vision IP cameras installed which upon activation will give me a bird’s eye view of the house complete with servos to adjust the angle. I intend on this system being nearly autonomous with the only activities requiring human input is the arming and disarming of the system.

I also intend to integrate Castle Guardian with my AARCS (Automated Animal Residency Control System) Unit, which has already been installed, but needs an upgrade. AARCS+ is the upgraded system complete with radio control, allowing each unit to communicate with Satcomm in cases such as the enclosure gets too hot/cold or if the humidity exceeds bounds. It’ll also allow me to monitor each AARCS+ enclosure at a glance anywhere around the world. This by far will be my most complicated project, & I’m ready to make it.

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[6April2020] Project Aurora

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End Goal: To have a fully automated solar panel system that maintains the health & welfare of all animals stowed there.

The time has finally come to move all of my animals to a larger, more comfortable space as their current location is becoming crowded. As I’ve grown my collection I’ve known that eventually I’d move to another space & that it’d have to be automated per the usual, which is where project Aurora comes in.

Aurora is a solar panel based project that uses the energy from the sun in order to power all arduino boards. The intent is for this to be a long term location for the animals as not only my collection grows but my programming abilities as well. I’d also like to spruce up the overall facility it’s in with a lighting system, office desk, & move my programming table out there as well. For now, here are the overall requirements for Aurora.

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New ATMega FTDI/ Unit Updates

Check Out Our Other Arduino Based Posts![/su_button]After a lot of inspecting, making, remaking my ATMega units, I’ve come to the conclusion that the issue isn’t with my ability to make them, but the FTDI programmer I’m using. I used to use this one, but as its description says, its not a genuine FTDI, so my computer likely bricked it. I bought a second one to ensure I didn’t just get a bad unit, but the replacement even stopped working. Perhaps there’s a variable I’m unaware of, but to be on the safe side I bought a genuine FTDI programmer & received it today with stunning success. Its capable of plug & play, & can program with 3.3v as well as 5v.


There are some gripes I have with the unit, one of which being that you need a M/F USB cord as the FTDI has a male connector instead of the usual female. Its weird, but is a small issue compared to how useful it is. A working FTDI means I can take the next step in my programming ventures by having a plug & play programmer to program my ATMegas. The picture below shows what I mean. I dislike having to make the pin connections, so for this ancient ATMega setup I used wires & make header pins to make it for me. A modern iteration of this setup is in the works for future use, but with major changes. Here are the public highlights:

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