Makers have an answer for everything

10:00 am(1/26/2013)- I get a text from @leftyfb “pipes broken at lowellmakes come fast”

11:00 am-  We find our store room with 2 inches of water, laptops switches and sparkfun kits all drenched.



11:30 am- Makers get to work!! @leftyfb brings in water pumps used in his fish tank to pump water out.

1:00pm- More makes join in with mops and buckets

2:00pm- The Lowell fire, police and public works try to stop the broken water line.

3:00pm- The water still keeps gushing down the crack on the wall

water water everywhere...

water water everywhere…

4:00pm- Makers build a dam to contain the water



5:00pm- There is too much water for the fish tank pumps to pump out.

6:00pm- We head over to lowe’s to get a real water pump.

7:00pm- We have the water pump hooked on to a timer that goes on every 30 min. to pump the water out from the store room to a drain

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timer connected to the pump

9:00pm- Ha! now we are getting some progress. but the water still keeps pouring.

9:30pm- Makers take apart laptops and use compressed air to salvage a few remaining laptops that were not completely drenched.

10:30pm- Makers get to work on a flood detection system using raspberry pi, pi-face and a block of wood.

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pi-saves the day…

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water detection..

11:00pm- With some bad python codes and the twilio API , we put together a floating water detection system that would send us an text message if the water rises above a certain level.(code here)

11:00pm- We setup up dropcams to keep an eye on the space.Thanks dropcam!! live feed

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a watchful eye

12:00am- All the makers go home for a nap 🙂

The pump worked the whole night in 30min cycles to pump water out, the dropcam kept an eye on the leak and the raspberry pi made sure it woke up the Makers if there was more flooding…  This might have been a small problem that was completely over engineered but this shows the dedication and creativity of Makers and their skill to use what was lying around to solve a real problem. The professional water damage contractor who came in the next day was surprised and very impressed with the ingenious way this problem was tackled and he said “we could not have done this better”… Thanks to all the makers who gave up their Sunday night plans to be here and help us out. keep checking out lowellmakes for updates (or @lowellmakes)

vend a tweet!!

Just got done with the twitter enabled vending machine at Lowell Makes. Twitter has always helped people to connect to the world, and there is no reason our vending machine at Lowell makes should not have a twitter account. With some awesome Bash from @leftyfb and my pet python ,Tweetmachine now looks out for your tweet and vends out a 3D printed toy for every tweet. check out our cool demo and come over to lowellmakes to play around with the tweetmachine. You can find our code here; more improvements coming soon.

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Living with your raspberry pi…

I have finally been able to put together a few tutorials on how i used my raspberry pi and how you can do the same, i have referred a lot of tutorials and guides to come up with this, and i hope this would be useful…The Host Your website instructable is quite basic and would help you get started on your raspberry pi, The talking to sensors tutorial is more advanced and required an advanced understanding of linux commands and Python. So go ahead have fun living with your raspberry pi…

System call explained

I recently got stuck with this problem, when i do a system (“/bin/mytestexe -s 13”)call. it  would return a 100 insted of a 1, many forums do give a lot of vague explanations why this happens. the the answer to this problem can be found in the WAIT.h file. If you go thorough this file we will get to know that. The return is 4bytes long not 8…
2byte code return, 2 byte execution info
1) bytes code return:
It shows the value my code has returned. my function (executable) used to return a 1. this makes the output 100.

2) bytes execution info
It shows the info of the command, for example the compiler could not find “/bin/mytestexe” it would return a 127 error if it cant the the file. Refer (sys/wait.h) for more details efinisions of the error codes.