Fridge and Freezer Temperature Monitoring

A couple of weeks ago I had the unfortunate problem of my freezer’s auto-defrost not kicking on an the coils freezing completely. This led to my fridge not cooling down past 60. I had to take apart my freezer for the first time to de-ice the coils to get it working again. Then I got the bright idea of using some of the spare temperature probes I have and a spare Pi to monitor temperature. So I wired up a Pi and created a dashboard for monitoring temperatures in Grafana out of a postgres database.

Wiring was really simple, I just followed this guide to wire multiple probes up:

Code looks like this:

A couple of minutes in grafana and I get some cool graphs like this:


The Avenue Burger at Barrelhouse 101

Location: Ventura, CA.

I found this burger ( on Imgur and wanted to try it out since I’m nearby. It was really tasty with a lot of flavors going on. The spiciness was great at first too. Lots of chorizo flavor but not a lot of burger flavor after a while. The ingredients were all fresh and tasty. It made quite a mess but was delicious! I’d probably try a different burger there next time.

Gitlab Pages + Namecheap

I came across a small issue when trying to use some namecheap domains with Gitlab pages, namely two stupid joke pages: and I couldn’t get the verification to happen after adding the TXT entries. One simple support issue led me to find the reason, which is namecheap appends the domain automatically to the field.

So instead of entering like gitlab suggests for the host, just enter _gitlab-pages-verification-code.www for example, which will fill in the rest. That did the trick.

Hope it helps some other folks.

Road Trippin’ with a Tesla

I purchased a 2018 Model 3 LR RWD back in June 2018 and have absolutely enjoyed owning an electric car. I appreciate the very minimal maintenance and being able to just charge it up when I need to at home without planning on visiting a gas station ever again. I’ve also enjoyed road tripping with the Tesla as supercharging is very accessible, quick, and easily let’s you take some time from the road to stretch and explore new places. I just completed a nearly 1400 mile road trip through Vegas, Zion National Park, and the Grand Canyon and again it was quite a thrill to explore new places. I drove over 3700 miles last year through Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denver, and Roswell.

The vast majority of what makes a road trip with a Tesla enjoyable is that its a very great car to drive. Its quiet, has quite a lot of pep for passing, and autopilot (adaptive cruise control and lanekeeping) is absolutely the most amazing thing in the world. If you have the opportunity to consider getting a Tesla, take a test drive, you won’t regret it. Don’t worry about range anxiety, this car can handle it. Using the nav you’ll get updates if you need to slow down or need to charge to reach your destination. If you’re road tripping and can stay at a destination charger — do it, waking up with a full charge is amazing. Great job Tesla!

FYI: I own shares in Tesla.

Fun with Sensors

I started woodworking some more in the garage, since I plan on doing this for decades to come I should worry a bit about air quality. I found a cheap sensor on eBay that can read particles the size of 1.0 μm, 2.5μm, and 10μm and provide both the AQI for that as well as a particle count. I bought a similar all in one device on Amazon which is nice for a visual I can move around the shop and another bare device I wired into the Raspberry Pi. The result of using my table and miter saw are below. The base-line is because I run a box fan and air filter setup to try and keep the air somewhat clean.

Miter peak at AQI 50 @ 10μm and tablesaw peak of 139 AQI @ μm as graphed with grafana.

As shown the air quality is pretty bad when using these tools. Which means I will be wearing a N95 mask while using them to be on the safe side. But it looks like setting up the cuts I need to probably be less worried due to my box fan air cleaners. Next up is collecting more data around cleaning up (I use a leaf blower to kick up stray dust for my box fans to catch) and sanding. The result will hopefully be a nice coffee table. The progress of which after this weekend is about ready for finishing:

Coffee table progress.

Sensor is the Plantower PMS5003 (spec sheet) (amazon affiliate link) — This one includes a handy breakout board so you don’t need to solder from Adafruit and some code: Link here.

One with a screen I found on Amazon, there are cheaper ones available (Mine was about 50 bucks I think at the time): (amazon affilate link)

LA Fireworks 2020

Most areas cancelled their planned festivities this year due to COVID-19. But looks like LA took it into their own hands. Looks cool from a drone, probably less cool from the ground, and annoying for dogs. But still pretty neat!

Ubiquiti UniFi Ap-AC Lite Troubleshooting after firmware fix

I recently did two things. 1) Upgrade the firmware on my Ubiquiti Access Point and 2) Replaced my router with PFSense running on an old Xeon-based machine I had. This led to a big problem when trying to get my access point to work, it just wouldn’t connect to the controller. It failed to be adopted by the controller so it couldn’t get its configuration. TLDR: The solution was to remove the device when it was turned off, turn it back on and then adopt the access point from the controller interface

I might have a bit of a unique setup. I only have the Access point and use a Linux server to run the software that manages it instead of the hardware they sell. So that might have caused problems. Overall I’ve been incredibly happy with the alien space-ship looking access point. I’ve never had to reboot it to get it to work and it gets pretty good coverage for being under my couch. Plus I dig the PoE single cable connection for when I eventually get into the attic to mount it to my ceiling. So if you’re looking for something good and relatively cheap, I do recommend it. Its about $80 on Amazon: Click here.

The Aliens have landed. link.

Troubleshooting steps:

  1. Unplug and plug back in… No dice.
  2. Hold reset button with paper-clip for 30 seconds… No dice.
  3. SSH to the device to set-inform-url… No dice.
    This one was interesting though. You can run: ssh ubnt@<ip of device> with the password ubnt to get to a busybox shell. From there you can run: set-inform http://ip-of-controller:8080/inform and see if it connects.

At this point I considered reflashing the firmware, but didn’t want to go through all the steps of setting up a tftp server, etc. to boot the image correctly. As a last-ditch effort I just unplugged the access-point, logged into the web console and deleted/forgot device, and plugged it back in. And sure enough it worked. So instead of trying even step 3 above, it makes sense just to forget the device and set it up after step 2 above.