Introducing CHAI - a CAME gate controller to Home Assistant Interface

I have a parking gate with a Came BXV controller and wanted to fully integrate it with a home automation system. Using a good old ESP8266 and ESPHome, I can now exactly control the movements from Home Assistant, get feedback of the actual gate position and state, and control it remotely or set-up alarms in case it stays open for too long for example.

So let me introduce CHAI - a CAME gate controller to Home Assistant Interface

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RefloWaffle: A dirt cheap reflow oven - the Belgian way

"For her a Moulinex, for him delicious meals"

Though I don't do many PCBs, I guess every hacker must have a reflow oven. So this is a project I've been pursuing on and off for nearly 4 years:
A small, portable, and dirt cheap (less than $25) reflow oven.

After a few tests with a traditional electric oven recovered from the trash, I concluded its thermal inertia was so high it would require massive modifications to achieve anything close to a decent reflow profile, and as I didn't feel like spending much money on a large oven, I looked for a better way.

And I think I found it. Read on for more...

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Pfff... git...

OK, I may be old. I've used VSS, CVS, SVN and Mercurial and always felt comfortable with them.

But from the day I started to use git (because, you know, "git is the new black"), I can't for the life of me grasp what a correct git workflow is. Add github on top and welcome to the world of nonsense of git clone checkout pull fetch merge update origin master branch reset.

In the end, there is only one truth : Pfff...


Migrating this blog from Gandi to my NAS

In January 2020, I received a mail from Gandi, the registrar for my domain name, stating that they were ending the free "GandiBlog" feature after 13 years of service.

I admit I'm not using this blog much, but some posts have been somewhat popular, so I thought I had to migrate it and started considering my options:

Gandi themselves propose a migration path but it requires a paying hosting, and I didn't feel like paying for such a small use. So I started investigating the possibility of hosting the blog locally on my NAS, and here is the result...

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18650 Battery charger reverse polarity protection


Having many 18650 battery cells to charge, I bought a few dirt cheap TP4056 modules (0.22 EUR per piece) and discovered that they are "not designed for" reversed polarity cells. In other words, reversed battery = instant magic smoke.

As I know for sure I will insert more batteries in the wrong orientation again sooner or later, I wondered what the best reverse polarity protection would be. This thread addresses this very topic, but at the time of this writing, it ends with:

Q: "Has anyone actually tested this solution in real life?"

A: "Good question..."

So I thought I would test and share the results here.

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