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In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz going on about having what used to be very mundane everyday household items become “smart” by being able to be connected to the internet and communicate with you or with other smart devices.
This concept - more commonly referred to as the “Internet of Things” (or IOT) - has unleashed an avalanche of smart thermostats, front door locks and refrigerators - all with the ability to let you know whether you need milk or that you’ve left the back door open and now the cat has escaped and is terrorizing the neighborhood.
Being someone who has made a career in the Information Technology field, I was starting to feel a wee bit out of the loop about these things - not a good place to be for any self-respecting IT guy.
I could have just simply read up on IOT devices, but why waste a perfectly good excuse for a bit of puttering in the shop…
You can literally build anything with a little electronic “LEGO”. A quick search of the internet showed me many examples of people building their own IOT devices in such a way.
One common thing that I found with these projects was that a lot of them used a small Arduino compatible device based on the ESP8266 board.
The really nice thing about these boards is that they are:
fairly small (maybe 3 inches long and about an inch wide) have Wi-Fi capability easily programmable with a number of computer languages extremely cheap (around $4 on e-bay)As a starting project, I wanted to do something fairly simple and fairly useful.
I was always a bit of a weather nut, so I decided that I wanted to build a wireless thermometer that would let me see what the temperature was while I was away from home. I figured that this would be a good first project.”

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