Our laundry machines are in the basement, when we remodeled our 1932 two story home, the staircases were sound insulated. The cute chirping of our front loading machines doesn’t stand a chance of cutting through. My wife mentioned that our machines have some sort of phone connection for servicing, she asked why can’t they tell her when the cycle is complete.
That started the build.
I had a couple Wii nunchucks from a broken Wii, they have motion sensors in them. A quick web search found an instructable http://www.instructables.com/id/Washer-Dryer-Laundry-Alarm-using-Arudino-SMS-Text-/?ALLSTEPS using a Arduino Yun, it was quite helpful, I had an Uno with an Ethernet card.
That started the build, which is straightforward. 4 wires from a Wii Nunchuck, and a few LED’s to see what’s going on, tweak the numbers to the machine and the laundry is IFTTT connected..
What about that other way
Before going too far, let’s consider different methods of grabbing an alert an Arduino could respond to. Vibration, current, and sound were all possibilities. I liked a current sensing method best, it however requires dealing with line voltages, even with an inductive sensor. The NEC is going to require the sensor be in a junction box. In my case both the washer and dryer are on independent circuits, so the main panel would be a fine place for the sensors. Since I designed and wired the whole lot, that method fits me quite well, for this project a blog post was one of the goals.
The main electrical panel method would limit the audience. So as MakerBee considered, a noninvasive solution fits the bill better. Vibration seemed better than sound to me, the variety of beeps and boops from today’s electronic equipment seemed more difficult to decrypt.
Nunchuck and more, requirements
A nunchuck is a pretty inexpensive method to get a motion controller wired up ready to go. A little desoldering yields a nice starting point. Most of my laundry experience is with top load washers. They vibrate to beat the band, the front loader we have now, doesn’t move very much. Of course when it spins, that all changes, but most of the time it just smoothly goes about its business. The nunchuck sensor is impressive, it easily picks up the slightest movement. Tapping one’s fingers lightly on a sturdy desk, a couple feet away is discernable.
Another requirement was an auto start function. I want the device to be hands off, it should notice the machine is running, monitor it until complete and fire off a text message. The dryer monitor shouldn’t auto start during a washer cycle, and vice versa. Lastly the device should indicate what’s it is doing through a couple LED’s.
The build, thanks to the nunchuck library is pretty easy.
Parts needed for one unit
1 – Arduino Uno
1 – Ethernet Shield
2 – Momentary contact buttons
4 – LED’s different colors. (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow)
2 – about 2K Resistors