Ignition Community Live: Maker Project Show & Tell

45 min video  /  42 minute read


Paul Scott

Training Content Manager

Inductive Automation

Matthew Ayre

Automation Development and Support Engineer


Mitch Landreth

Principal, Service Manager

Advanced Control Systems

Robert Graves

Technical Sales Representative

Inductive Automation

Max Carritt

Founder/SCADA Engineer


Joe Valdivia

Controls Technician

Roseburg Forest Products

For years, a number of industrial professionals who use Ignition at work have also been using it to build their own home automation projects. The release of Ignition Maker Edition last year added fuel to the Ignition-at-home fire. After seeing so many cool Maker projects from our community members, we knew we had to share some of them with you. So join us for a fun showcase of real, creative, non-commercial Maker applications designed for kitchens, backyards and gardens, and beyond. You'll definitely see new ways to use Ignition and might even find inspiration for your own Maker project.


Paul: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Ignition Community Live. Today is Episode 26, Maker Project Show & Tell. My name is Paul Scott. I'm the Training Content Manager here at Inductive Automation, and I'm the host of today's episode. I have several guests with me today. First, let's meet Mitch, Matt and Robert. Could each of you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? We'll start with Mitch.

Mitch: Hi, I'm Mitch Landreth. I'm one of the owners of Advanced Control Systems in Meridian, Idaho. We've been using Ignition in projects since 2012, so I was very excited when I heard about the Maker launch.

Paul: Right on. Thanks, Mitch. Alright, Matt.

Matt: Hi, my name is Matt Ayre. I'm an Automation Development and Support Engineer for OAL, based in Peterborough in the UK. I've been an automation engineer coming up for seven years now, but I only started using Ignition about a year ago. And I've been using it solidly since then, loving it so far.

Paul: Oh, that's good to hear. Right on, only a year, awesome. Thanks, Matt. Alright. And Robert.

Robert: Hi there. So my name is Robert Graves, and I'm a Technical Sales Representative here at Inductive Automation. Prior to joining Inductive Automation, I was working in IT for close to 15 years or so. And then a few years going back to school, wrapped up a degree in Electrical Engineering, and then... And outside of work, I like to tinker with electronics, microcontrollers. And I've just been very interested in IIoT, and it's pretty exciting when Maker Edition came out.

Paul: That's awesome! Right on. Well, thanks for joining us. Alright, so we also have two other guests who contributed videos about their project, Joe Valdivia and Max Carritt. Joe is a Controls Technician for Roseburg Forest Products. He wasn't able to participate today, unfortunately, but he did send us a video, which we'll take a look at later. Max here did send us a video and is available to... And actually was able to attend today. Max, you wanna go ahead and give us a little more information about yourself? 

Max: Yeah, hey, I'm Max Carritt. I'm an American living in Berlin, Germany. You might know me as the Founder/SCADA Engineer for SCADA Torch. But I recently started a new role as Senior Controls Engineer at Tesla. I've been using Ignition almost daily for the past six years or so, and I'm excited to share with you this project I've been working on.

Paul: Awesome! Alright, well, thanks for joining us, Max. Alright, so before we start looking at the projects, let's take a couple minutes and just kinda recap what Maker Edition is. So Maker Edition is a free version of Ignition that's for personal, non-commercial use. It's industrial-grade software that, really, anyone can use, hobbyists and folks that are just trying to learn the platform. You can build just about any kind of non-commercial solution with it, automating lights and energy usage, managing bills, building robots, dashboards, scoreboards, and really, anything you can think of. Maker is nearly identical to the full version of Ignition and it offers many of the same core modules for visualization, database interactions, reporting and device connectivity. Includes several other Ignition modules for adding specialized features and functions, so things like SOCs, Twilio notifications and web development. It also supports third-party modules for leveraging MQTT.

Paul: We released Maker as a way to strengthen the community. So we have community resources to help you learn more, build faster and share your projects. You can visit the forums to connect with other users who are using Maker. We have a category there that is specifically for Maker. You can visit the Ignition Exchange to download and to post assets or entire projects. We have a lot of Maker-compatible resources available in the Exchange. You can also learn how to use Ignition at Inductive University, and then take what you learn there and apply it directly to Maker. Furthermore, you can extend the Maker's functionality by developing modules with Ignition's SDK.

Paul: So we covered the basics about Maker, but now, it's time for the fun part. So we're gonna check out some real Maker projects. First, Mitch is going to show us his voice-control sprinkler system. Second, Matt will show us his Maker-compatible Exchange resources and gardening greenhouse project. Third, we're gonna learn about Robert's backyard weather station. Fourth, we'll watch a video about Joe's object detection app. And finally, we'll see Max's game management system. Alright, Mitch, starting with you.

Mitch: My sprinkler system was the first idea that popped into my head when I watched the Ignition webinar for the release of Ignition Maker. I had an Allen-Bradley MicroLogix that I used for the valve control part of the system. I also set up some Raspberry Pi devices using Node-RED and SparkPlug to send data to my Ignition server. Initially, I built a simple system UI in Perspective for controlling the on and off of the valves, and then I started building some UDTs and scripts with scheduled runtimes, along with safety timers if a valve gets left on by accident.

Mitch: After getting some experience with APIs, I started working with the Web Development Module and writing some scripts to handle API requests to my Ignition server. So I used that to add voice controls with Siri shortcuts to send an HTTP GET request to the Ignition server's IP address that runs a script on the server and usually, just triggers one of the valves to come on or off, or in the case of my "get off my lawn" script, it will turn on all my sprinklers in the front yard for 10 seconds. With my Raspberry Pi devices, I've been setting them up as kind of remote I/O throughout my house to communicate back to the Ignition server via SparkPlug. My current project is to control my garage door and have status indication for when it's open or closed using magnetic switches at both ends of the elevator arm. Back to you, Paul.

Paul: Right on. Thanks, Mitch. I'm going a little off the cuff here, but I gotta ask you, and I think I understand the point of "get off my lawn", but was there a specific inspiration for that? Or is that just playing around? 

Mitch: Cats.

Paul: Fair enough. Well, thanks for sharing, Mitch, appreciate it. Alright, Matt, you're up.

Matt: Thanks, Paul. Alright, so I thought I'd start a little bit with my home server 'cause it's a question I get asked every now on the forums. So for me, I'm using a four gigabyte, fifth-gen NUC as my Maker server, and largely, Raspberry Pi display clients from the home, as well as a mobile phone. But I believe Ignition can run a lot less than this. As I said, I spend a little bit of time on the forums. So this Heatmap was an example that I created for one of the questions on there. There's not really much to talk about, other than I completely plagiarized what was in the Ignition manual and just customized it a little bit. But it is quite a nice example that could be used in commercial applications. So this was created in Maker, but it could be used in full-blown Ignition using Perspective. Now, my next set of projects are largely home automation-based. Now, this is my URL casting project. I have a Raspberry Pi 4 linked to a TV in my kitchen, and this has a Bluetooth keyboard connected to it. But it can often be quite flaky, so I created this small project just so I could get around this issue. With it, I can use my mobile to browse to a web page that I want, and then I simply copy the URL into the Maker project and send it to the large display.

Matt: For me, personally, it's great for casting things like YouTube URLs when Raspberry Cast is being a little bit buggy. So under the hood, this is essentially just using Ignition Messaging just to pass information between the two devices. And this moves on to my Perspective notice board. Now, this was one of the first projects I made in Ignition Maker, and it was used to replace our physical notice board. Now, again, I use my mobile phone to take a picture of an item, and then I upload this as a BLOB to my database. I can then use the touchscreen client again in the kitchen to place it wherever I want on the board just like a normal notice board, really. Now, this project revolves around the dashboard component, which I find is a really powerful component and quite versatile. Definitely, one of my favorite ones to use. And there you go, there's a example of my kitchen display client there

Matt: Now, one of the things I've been doing while slowly renovating the house is installing CHILI devices about. For those that are not aware, these are basically smaller WiFi-controlled relays. There are other other versions as well. But I'm using the CHILI ones to control things like lights and the doorbell in my house. Now, because Cirrus Link have included the MQTT Modules in Maker, it's allowed me to experiment with this a little bit. Now, I mainly use MQTT for direct control of the devices 'cause I find it quite responsive. And then I use the REST API to set up schedules and adjust settings, which is all stored within the CHILI itself. Now, this has allowed me to create a system where none of the data or the control will release my local area network. The only requirement for an Internet access is for the Maker server to renew its license periodically, making this a pretty robust and secure home automation solution.

Matt: Finally, is my garden and greenhouse project, which is what I'm currently working on. I'm afraid I don't have a lot to show for it at the minute. But my main hobby is gardening, and I loosely practice square-foot gardening, which is a really handy way to quantify the garden itself. But this project is quite a behemoth for the projects I was just mentioning before the call. I was hoping to get this one out before August in the ICC, but I have a feeling it'll probably be next year by the time it's finished. Now, my main aims for this are to create a layout of my garden using the dashboard component so it could be added in the future, if I ever change it. I'd like to historically record things like water usage, the local climate, so I'll probably be stealing Robert's weather station code at some point. And things like crop yield down to the square-foot resolution. I'd also like to include things like a planning system for sowing calendars, seed stocks, and all forms with a deadline notifications and alerts. And I'd like to display this data using as many components as I can fit into the project release of charts, tables and anything I can get my hands on.

Matt: Now, the second part to this is I want to rebuild my greenhouse. So again, I'd be looking towards making this as much as possible. So this is where I put things in, such as automated watering systems, so probably steal Mitch's code there. Automated temperature control, which I believe, again, on the Exchange, Mathias [Bjerlund Poulsen] made a really nice project that can be used. And I'd like to include some solar power generation instead of running an electrical cable down there. So I'll probably use some RV solar systems for that and get it all hooked up to Ignition so I can monitor it and control it from there. So this will all feed back into my little mini garden SCADA and hopefully, I will post it on the Exchange for you all to see at some point. So that's me done, but I'd just like to say a big thank you to Inductive Automation and Cirrus Link for allowing for access to this, and allow me to play with Maker.

Paul: Right on. Oh, big thanks to you, Matt, for sharing. This is impressive for, would you say just about a year ago, you started picking up and developing Ignition? This is quite a bit, so that's awesome, thank you.

Matt: Yeah, no, that's fine. Yeah, definitely, I've used it solidly since that year started.

Paul: That's great, awesome! Alright, so next up, Robert's.

Robert: Alright, everybody. So a little bit on my project. So prior to building out my weather station, I've been doing some experimenting with some Adafruit's Feather ESP8266 microcontrollers and been able to set up some Modbus connections to collect some of that data like temperature, pressure and humidity. And I also set up a home Christmas light controller project that can turn on the lights on and off every night in December. That way, at 11 o'clock, when I went to bed, I don't have to go downstairs and unplug them, but anyways, just using simple things here and there just to automate some things around the house. But anyways, I've been looking at SparkFun's weather station guide for a couple months. They got that information on another service to upload data to, but when I was looking at it, I really didn't wanna pay any sort of monthly fee, or have to worry about storage limits. I really wanted control over the data and how it was presented. So that's kind of where this weather station idea came about and what I've been doing with it. So SparkFun's got a Weather Station Shield, and so you can have a weather station put together. And so the Shield and all the electronics are kinda housed in that part on the left there, and then it's powered by solar. And then at the top, you've got the wind speed, rain and wind direction sensors.

Robert: So kind of leave it alone in one solution there. So one of the issues I was having with the first set of environmental sensors that I had is anytime I really needed to make any changes to the code, I'd have to plug in a laptop and upload code that way, but one of the things with the microcontroller I used, which was a photon, a particle photon, microcontroller is about this nice over-the-air update capability. So a cool thing was, is I can work on my laptop now in the garage and and push those code changes out onto a really kind of makes it just kind of an all in one isolated weather station there that don't have to lug a laptop out doesn't require power out to the weather station, anything like that. So really quick and easy. As far as getting the data back from the sensors, as using MQTT, which has been fantastic. I mean, as soon as I push those changes out, Ignition picks up the new tags, get those into the system, I can start history using data on them and recording those off to a database. So really quick and easy. Working with Maker Edition there.

Robert: So it's really been kind of a fun project over the last couple months here. First, I think I was tinkering with it every day just kind of get stuff dialed in but lately, it's kind of been rock solid and keeps working. It's kind of a couple more pictures there. So here's what the insides of sensors look like. So you get to know the Weather Station Shield there with the temperature pressure, humidity sensors, and then the microcontroller in the middle. And then on the backside of that board, I've got a solar charger and a battery pack to to keep things running through the night. So that's what I got. And then there's kind of a screenshot of weather a couple weeks back in my backyard for anybody interested. So it's kind of handy.

Paul: It's awesome. Right on, thanks for sharing that, Robert, that's great.

Robert: Thanks.

Paul: Alright, so now we have two videos we're gonna take a look at. So first is from Joe, Joe's used Maker to build an Nvidia deep stream yellow object detection app. So let's watch this video and take a look at what that does.

Joe: Hello, hello Maker fans. My name is Joe Valdivia. And I'm a Controls Technician for a Northwest wood products manufacturer. And I've been using Ignition in my job for about last five years. What we usually do with it, we do dashboards with it, we do reporting, we do HMI development, and recipe management. So when Maker came out, I thought that was awful cool. That's, it's always good,it's always nice when the community gets some software they can work with and tinker with. I mean, it helps everybody kind of build on what they have. And you know, and they can really make their stuff at home. Awesome. So what I've done with it is on the right over here, you'll notice that there's a program running and what it does, it's a... What I did is I took Ignition and I loaded onto like one of these, this is a Jetson Nano and if you guys aren't familiar with it, it's basically a Raspberry Pi with a GPU on it. So and it's developed specifically for video processing. So these are fairly cheap, they ran from $59 and you can get there's a little bigger version that's $399. But this one here is $99. It's called a Jetson Nano. So I loaded onto basically everything you can do on the Raspberry Pi you can do on it. So what I did is I loaded Ignition Maker onto it. And I also loaded the... I loaded a database on it.

Joe: Put MySQL on there. And also what I did is I put a... How I'm communicating with the Jetson Nano is I'm using the MQTT. And if you notice what's going on here, it's like you can choose, there's 52 objects you can choose from. And if it recognizes it, you got over here, it actually counts it. So what I'm doing is how I'm connecting the Ignition to the Jetson Nano is I'm using MQTT and I'm using the Cirrus Link MQTT Module. So that's really nice. It works really good. I use the... I use their examples that they have, and I just kind of modified them to work with the Jetson Nano.And the Jetson Nano, what it's doing is it's running a program called Deep Stream, and it's a video processing and then what it does, it's streaming the video out with the annotations on it. And what it does is it streams out and then it's converted to a HTTP stream. And that's how the Maker is accepting it. And like I say, these are all when you click on one of these you can select something and it sends it, the... What you select via MQTT to the Jetson Nano. Now, right now I'm running a folder, a file right here, but pretty soon it'll switch over to an actual video. I am running a webcam.

Joe: Now, I have if you guys want to do this at home, I have a website and it's all, it has a couple of... I'll show you. I have a YouTube channel and it's all right here, how to get the Jetson Nano to load Ignition, how to load the MySQL on there, how to run it with Node-RED, how to use the Ignition with the GPIO pins, like I say everything that you can do with the Raspberry Pi, you can do with the Jetson Nano. Now as you can see now in a minute, it's going to switch over to like a live stream. And what it is, it's actually going to count the silverware and the forks on the table ... Nice when like a software company comes out with a community edition, because it gives everybody a chance to tinker. And I noticed a lot of people they really liked that. And they... You can learn a lot from tinkering, you can do... You can get your skills you can like I said, you can really set your house up to be pretty cool. So and like I say, since this is on Ignition Maker, you can access with your phone. So I have an application on my phone, where I actually run this on my phone. So here let's move this a little forward here. See here's the application where it's... This is a live stream, and it's picking out all the bottles and bananas and all this stuff. So and then it's counting them like you go down here you can select whatever they are and whatever they are, it notices you can count them.

Joe: So that's about it. Like I say, it's really nice to have the Maker out there for everybody, I hope, you know, people adopt it like much more because it's really, it's really nice. There's a lot of potential in there, like you can hook up to a PLC. So I mean, it's really, really nice. So like I said, if you guys want to I have all the instructions right here to install all this and get yourself running, and I have a website here, it's called the AI Triad. And what happens, there's a link to the tutorials for doing that. There's a link to the GitHub repo. And that has all the Python programs that I'm using to run this and it also has the... I exported that, the Ignition Maker application, so it's in there also. And you'll find that there. And then down here, I have a link to Ignition Maker. And a lot of these other things, these are just links to like, help you kind of do stuff. So, well,good luck with what you guys are doing. I think it's really awesome for Ignition to give us a new toy to play with. So thank you very much. Bye.

Paul: Big shout-out. Thanks to Joe for putting that video together in the first place. Again, we'll share that with everyone else. I appreciate you kind of showing us what you're working on there. All right, we got one more video we're gonna try to get through real quick, Max, we're gonna switch over and we're gonna try to take a look at what you've been working on here.

Max: Hi, I'm Max Carritt, I'm happy to be able to share it with you, a personal project I did using Ignition Maker Edition. So being stuck inside due to COVID some friends and I were looking for things to do. And we thought it would be fun to try playing Dungeons and Dragons together using Zoom. Sure, I don't need to explain what Dungeons and Dragons is to a bunch of IT professionals. But in case you don't know, it's a type of imagination-based game where one player, the DM, the dungeon master, tells the story to the other players who assume the identity of imagined characters. The players tell the DM how the characters interact with the story. And the DM reports the results usually determined by the game rules or information about the characters and dice rolls. Because this is something that we had never done before, we wanted to find some online tools that would help us play together. And we found one tool that manage the characters for us. But we found, and we found that very useful, but it was difficult for the DM to keep track of all the information. So I created this app to try and solve some of the pain points of gameplay while also trying to keep things as simple as possible. Let's check it out.

Max: So here's the landing page of the project. And when you log in, you'll be able to see the campaigns associated with a user or you can create a new campaign, I'm gonna select Demo and load that one. When you first start out, you of course wanna add the players that are playing with you. And so this is a third-party website called character.pf2.tools that lets you create a character and manages stats and remembers things for you. And so your character will have a whole bunch of different stats associated with them. And you can click on any one of these numbers to do a dice roll. And that's gonna determine whether you succeed or fail at whatever task that it is that you're trying to do in this story. So you can take that URL from any one of these character sheets on that website, place it in here. And here we have two example characters, Pook and Mugmitch. So now that we've added them to our campaign, we can hide the campaign setup. And they're listed here. And all these stats and their HP and that kind of thing. This is all continuing to refresh in the background and update in real time, including their dice rolls.

Max: So the dice rolls that we did just now on the other website, I can expand this tab. And I'm gonna see that dice roll that I just did here. So I can see all my player’s information of what they're doing on that website here in one place including like HP. So right now, Pook has 16 HP. If he was in combat and took some damage, he has 11 HP, we come back here and we see that update. If the DM or one of the characters wanted to do a dice roll or a stat check from this side of things, they can do that as well. So any of these numbers with the plus or minus next to it, they can check that or click that and it's gonna do that roll for them. And it's also gonna be recorded in the history alongside all the other dice rolls that were done in that third-party website. The next major feature is that you might wanna add enemies to the play cards here to keep track of their health and stats and stuff like that. So you can click on Quick Add if you want to quickly add a creature to an encounter. So I have I've scraped all the stats and data from another website and imported it into like basically a document tag in Ignition.

Max: So we can find something that we want the players to fight. And we have all the stats here that are going to be added. And then this is also a link to take you to the, to the official website, if you wanna look up a full page of what it says about that creature. But basically all this information I've scraped into Ignition, so it's all in one place. So you can edit their stats if you want, but I'm gonna keep the default stats the way they are, and add this clockwork mage to the encounter. And so I can click on Add, and now he's here along with the other characters. And kind of the cool thing about this is so I can just give this URL to the players. So I've hidden the information about this enemy from the player so that they don't know how much health or what his stats are. They're fighting it blindly. If I go back to the DM view, you can control it, you can do damage or heal. And you'll see that reflected there. You can do dice rolls for the enemy as well. And then the other thing that was taking up a lot of time was sorting for initiatives. So what typically happens is if when you enter combat with multiple enemies and players, you have to figure out what the turn order is. And that's like a kind of tedious process of everyone rolling dice, adding their stats, then the DM has to sort all that stuff manually.

Max: And so I've added buttons here that I'll do that automatically for the DM. So whenever a combat starts, you can just click this button and it's gonna go through everybody's stats and roll automatically, and then also sort them automatically based on the values that they rolled. And if there was a special case where maybe this character was hidden, you could select him and move him manually up and down through in the combat. And these play cards, these are all managed actually by the dashboard component. So instead of having a grid of widgets, I've created a column where one widget takes up the entire row and then I'm just doing a little bit of scripting in the background to manage the placement of where they are on the dashboard component. And then once the combat starts, you can click the start button and it's gonna highlight the first person to go. And then you can keep track of whose turn it is, which is something that we're having trouble with, constantly asking whose turn it is and who goes next. So that's another nice thing to have, is that we can just click on 'Next' whenever it's the next person's turn.

Max: The other cool thing is, for enemies, I've added this button to quickly look up all the information about them. And so this is another website that somebody created with data about the game. And so this is gonna automatically search for the name of the creature and pull up their information. And this is done in a docked window. We're using an iFrame. So we can close that. If the enemies or if the players kill the enemy, you can click remove and remove him from combat. And the last thing that I did was I built an encounter builder. So the DM might wanna plan, ahead of time, different encounters that the players might have to fight in a certain scenario. So here's one encounter that I've created. I can go into the bestiary again and find other things that I wanna add to the counter and just add that like that. And this is another docked window that I put that same bestiary in. So I'm gonna close that bestiary and now have an encounter that I wanna be able to load to my campaign, and you can load this basically at any point in time. This is just a saved set of data. And so if the players get to that point in time, I can click 'Load Encounter', find it from the list of things that I've saved and click 'Load Encounter'. These monsters are here. I can click 'Role, Perception and Sort' and then I'll do it automatically to sort whose turn it is and come back and start it.

Max: So those are the main features of my project. I should hopefully be on the call if you have any questions. I'd love to talk more about the technical side of this but I don't wanna take too much time with the video, and you can always email me at maxcarritt@scadatorch.com. My email should be included with the presentation. Thanks.

Paul: Alright. Well, thanks for the video, Max. So we're gonna go into questions here. I did have a question for the group here, so two-parter questions for you. Are you planning to build any other personal projects with Maker in the future? And then the second part would be, have you learned anything using Maker that you can apply towards your professional projects? Robert, let's start with you.

Robert: Thanks, Paul. Future projects for me, one of the things been looking at is adding in air quality sensors to be able to see how the air quality is here around the Sacramento area. So I think that's coming up next on my list of things to do and then maybe even also adding in, setting things up with UDTs and some template views. That way... My family's got a cabin up in Sonora, so maybe I can put a weather station up in Sonora so that we will know what the weather's like at one of our properties up there. So something like that that's on the to-do list, things I'm brainstorming here. The things I've learned about using Maker for personal projects, really just seeing it in action. Really, getting a chance to work with MQTT, I think, has been really valuable just how easy it is to set that up and then also just learn some bits about Modbus as well. So just the meantime, I can say that I've done something. I think that's always a good thing to be able to do. So yeah, back to you.

Paul: That's really awesome. Thanks, Robert. Alright, Matt, same questions.

Matt: For me, my main one was to try and get my garden code finished and probably a project to list all the projects that I want to do. Other than that, yeah, I've got things like Google Nest integration, I've got a Shelly Config UI that I need to get done, house notification systems, all forms of things that I'd love to get done. A main limiting factor for me is just time with a little girl running about of the house and mainly how much my wife will let me get away with, really. One thing I will do is, anything I do create, I will always put on the Exchange. So for better or for worse, they're on there for people to ridicule. And finally, yes, the Maker stuff that I've learned... Like I said, I've only been doing it for a year but I definitely wouldn't have gotten this far without Maker, having tinkering in the evenings and just creating different bits and pieces. And some of that I have used directly at work for OAL, so it's been a valuable resource for me. And if you ever get a reply from me on the forums, it will most likely have been tested or produced through Maker, so it's really powerful.

Paul: That's awesome, great. And thanks again for you and as well as anyone else that's been sharing stuff on the Ignition Exchange. It's been a pretty powerful resource for folks just to be able to see what other people do, how other people build things, dissect it, so that's awesome. Great. Well, thanks, Matt. Mitch, same questions to you.

Mitch: Just like the other guys, I've got lots of projects in mind, not a lot of time. The crossover between the Maker projects and production Ignition systems is pretty constant. There's always something that I can pull from one or the other and take back to Maker or production Ignition system, and that's the main benefit to Maker, is it's the same platform.

Paul: Awesome, right on. Well, thanks, Mitch. Alright, Max, same questions to you.

Max: I don't have anything... Any other projects that I want to make right now. I do have a list of stuff that I wanna continue adding to this project and I wanna try and reach out to more people playing Pathfinder 2 and see if they're interested in using it. And then as far as things that I've learned doing this, I think there's quite a lot that I learned doing this that will benefit professional projects. One of the goals that I have when I made this project was that I, it's not like publish it as a Gateway backup yet. But I mean, one day, I want to be able to send this to somebody, and it would just run. And so I didn't want them to deal with a database or sending that up. So some of the traditional use cases of where you would put things in the database, I stored them in a document tag and use JSON for, like, almost everything. And there was a little bit of tricky bits in there to do that with document tags. So I think I learned a lot doing that.

Paul: Awesome. Great. All right. Well, thanks, everyone. Just a quick mention here, if you haven't tried Maker Edition yet, you can download it right from our website. So just grabbing an Ignition installer, and during the commissioning process, I'll ask you which edition you want to use, you'll want to select Maker Edition, as we said, it's for non-commercial use, and it's absolutely free, it only takes about three minutes to get to install. You can get it today, when of course we do have documentation for it, we have videos for it. So we have a lot of resources to kind of get you started. But again, it's like when you're dealing with Maker for the most part, you're kind of dealing with standard Ignition with some minor caveats here. Alright, so we're gonna kind of end here on the Q&A, we do have a question in chat here. We will kind of go through each of the guests here. So the question is, how long did it take... did your projects take to build? So Mitch, let's start with you, do you have, like, an estimate? 

Mitch: If you include the hardware part of it, as well as the software development, it probably took about a week. But that was, you know, digging trenches and putting valve boxes in the ground. The Maker part of it, I did the Ignition Perspective part in one night. And then I put together the WebDev API calls and that integration with Siri shortcuts and another night, so really, just two couple-hour evenings I've worked really. And like I said, I've been using Ignition since 2012. So I knew where to find everything. But, it's all there for you and didn't take long at all.

Paul: Awesome. Right on. Matt. Same question. I know you're working on a couple different projects. But do you want to give us kind of like a general idea for any of them or anything that stands out? 

Matt: Well, yeah, just for context, I only normally get an hour or two a night, probably a couple of times a week to really work on anything. So not very much time at all. Things like the notice board probably took me a couple of weeks. But in terms of actual time spent on it is only a few hours. One thing that I was really surprised by was setting up the MQTT Modules and talking to the Shelly devices, I thought... It actually took me longer to find and read the documentation than to actually set up, it was literally 15 minutes. And I was sort of, "Is this done now?" And it was talking and working. So...

Paul: Awesome. All right. Right on. How about Robert? 

Robert: It, for me, it was probably more time on the hardware side of things. And I think it took me a couple nights, a little bit over a weekend, just kind of building things out and testing things, the solar charger, battery pack, that kind of took probably the longest time to get sorted out and working. So I wouldn't run out of power in the middle of the night. But got that sorted out now. And that's working good. The Ignition side, pretty straightforward and easy. Once, I mean, publishing the tags via MQTT, those get picked up right away. And then from there, it's, you've got tags, you can run to a screen tied to a component, start recording history on setting alarming on, I mean, that part went really quick. Most of the time, it's probably a couple nights, a little bit on the weekends, just kind of tinkering with the hardware. So.

Paul: How about you, Max? 

Max: I think we spent like about 60 hours on, like, the core features. There was some more, there was, like, quite a bit more time after that, like we would play and then we would say, "Oh, well this would be really nice to have or like we should change this, or find bugs," and stuff like that. And then there was definitely like a period of time where I was like, "Oh, I need to fix these, like, core issues. But instead I'm gonna, like, play with fonts for like three hours or something and, like, I'm gonna mess with this little thing that nobody's ever gonna look at." So it's how we do that sometimes.

Paul: Sure. Yeah, the rabbit holes that show in during the development process, right? At the... Sure. Cool. All right. So I did ask you guys about future projects you're kind of thinking about, but regarding the project you showed today. I know some of you already kind of commented on it already. But for your project you talked about today, did you have any sort of immediate updates you're kind of hoping to put together or to put into your projects. I know a lot of them looks like they're standing on their own, sort of complete, but there's always that one little extra thing you know you want to add so maybe you start with you, Mitch, how are you doing with your projects, are there things you're kind of in progress on still or are they mostly wrapped up? 

Mitch: Well, right now I'm working on moving my... The valve control's hardware part of that of, of the Allen-Bradley MicroLogix to a relay hooked up to a Raspberry Pi, just so that I can reduce the waste in hardware, I don't really need a $700 microcontroller to control my irrigation belt. So I'm in the process of migrating that over. But other than that, I'm just wiring up the magnetic switches for my garage door, and then figuring out how to use a Pi Zero is my next part of, like, adding sensors around the house for door opening events and stuff like that.

Paul: Right on. Okay. How about you, Matt? I know you're... It sounds like you had a bunch of different projects. So it sounds like you were just kind of moving to new things here. But any, like immediate updates for anything you showed off today? 

Matt: Yeah, definitely. My notice board, I've got a few UI enhancements I want to do just things like showing items fullscreen, bits and pieces like that, just small little changes. And another one that I'd really love to get done is creating a UI for the Shelly things so that I don't have to view them in raw JSON. That'd be really helpful. So there are definitely a couple of small ones that I'll be adding in.

Paul: Right on. Alright Robert, same question, any immediate updates for the weather station? 

Robert: One thing I keep thinking about is just a weekly or monthly status report, like what was the hottest day of the month, or what was the... When do we get the most rain or how much rain was recorded on this day. Not that's its raining much at the moment, but just summing up some of the data that I've been collecting over the last couple of weeks and months. I think it's just a gap I've got at the moment that I need to get filled. And then just timed in more sensors for the air quality and stuff that I mentioned earlier. Probably the two next things I'll turn my attention to once I get turned loose.

Paul: Sure, right on. Alright and Max I know you said... You sound like you were trying to get a little bit more hands-on testing, I guess you can call it. But any immediate plans for your game management project? 

Max: There's a whole list of different things that can happen to any characters, like whether they're poisoned or stunned, and there's different rules about each one of those, but I think that's probably be the next thing I'm gonna add is that if one of those things happens to somebody, you can select it from the list and select how many turns it's gonna last and it'll kinda manage that for you of keeping track of how long it's lasting and stuff.

Paul: Right on. Okay, looks like we've got a question in chat. It sounds like they're asking about APIs that anyone might have used to connect to a commercial product. Things like smart things, Google Home, Alexa. Did any of you in your projects here... Sounds like some of you did, but maybe I misheard. But have any of your projects or anything you sort of dabbled with working with those APIs and Maker. Mitch, let's start with you.

Mitch: Well, I didn't really use the APIs to connect any external services, but I'm writing my own APIs for the series short cuts to interact with my server.

Paul: Okay, fair enough. How about you, Matt? 

Matt: I've been using the API for the Shellys, and of course, not strictly API but MQTT as well. One of the main ones I've been having a conversation on the forums about is specifically Google development APIs. And there's some great examples on there for integrating with Nest and stuff like that.

Paul: Right on. Alright, how about Robert? 

Robert: The only thing I used one for was just getting the sunrise-sunset times for the service that had it. And we'll see what happens in the future, but that's the only spot I used an API for.

Paul: Sure, okay, and Max.

Max: Yeah, that other website that did our character sheets, I talked to the developer that... He basically just told me what the API web addresses for a character, and it just returns a bunch of JSON info. I'm using that in my app, and I actually think I have an Exchange resource in the Exchange for pulling information from a Plex web server. Plex is like a home theater server that you run at home, and there's a resource on there that shows you that... That'll get you the most recently highlight media items and show them in Ignition.

Paul: Awesome, great. It looks like we have another question. It doesn't seem... I don't think anyone's projects today apply to it. But I was kinda curious a bit, figured I'd share it. Question is, has anyone used Maker Edition for swimming pool equipments? I personally haven't heard of anything, but I am kinda curious living over here in California, it might be nice to have something monitoring the pool or what not. Actually, I could ask the guest here. Has anyone had a pool that they were kinda hoping to automate or any plans for that or... We'll kinda start with the same list here. Mitch, any plans like that, or no? 

Mitch: I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about it. My mom has a pool with a sand filter in it, and I've thought about setting that to automatically run the filter during certain times of the day. But beyond that, not really anything specific.

Paul: Okay, right on. Matt, same question, any thoughts about pool automation with Maker?

Matt: Way too cold for pools in the UK. Especially this year. But I suppose to be honest, as long as you can get it talking to Ignition, there's nothing stopping you if you can wire it up or if you can use a protocol that Ignition runs on it, it'd be easy enough to do, I'm sure.

Paul: Sure, sure. Robert, how about you? Back over here in California.

Robert: All we had was a kitty pool that the dog popped shortly thereafter we blew it up and filled it with water. That would send a pool to automate.

Paul: Alright, and Max, what's the weather like in Berlin there? Is there pool weather or not quite so much?

Max: Not so much, but I've definitely had more than one conversation about that topic with engineers when I lived in Texas. That's kind of funny, but I haven't done it.

Paul: Alright, well it looks like we're getting towards the end of the hour here, looks like we could've run out of questions. Let's go ahead and wrap this up. Big shout-out... Big thanks to my guests for coming over here and showing off your projects. You guys are doing some amazing things, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you come up with. And also a big shout out to our audience, thanks for coming in and joining us today, asking questions and attending. Happy to have you here. Our next Community Live is going to be on June 17th, so we hope to see you there. Thanks everyone.



Posted on April 26, 2021