First, pick a spot where you'd like to monitor. This is the tester bin area at Adafruit.
Then make sure you have access to a power outlet. If you do not, run an extension cable to the place where you will need it.
Add jumper extensions to the sensor ends so that they can be placed at an appropriate distance apart. Make sure that the POWER, GND, and DATA lines do not get mixed up.
I used a wooden skewer (the pointy end removed) and some tape to align one side of the sensor with the other.
The range of the sensor ends at 20" or 50cm so make sure the ends of the sensor do not exceed this length.
Next, align the sensor ends so they are directly pointed at each other. The WipperSnapper dashboard will be useful to monitor from a mobile device to see if the beam is aligned correctly. It may take some adjusting.
Once you get a continuous "unbroken" message, test it out by waiving your hand through the beam to see if you can break it and that it can reset after your hand passes through.
After you've checked that the spreadsheet is correctly logging the beam breaks and that you're getting emails when you should be, that's it! You are set up for success :)
Fill 'er up, then ding!
Q: What do you do when the bin is full and you've emptied it?
Time to empty the bin and start over. Once you've emptied the bin, you must also delete the recorded spreadsheet data. We're working on a better solution for resetting the bin data but that's what works for now.
There are many possible ways to integrate this method of counting with a "limit reached" notification in everyday life. Here are a couple of ideas for your next project:
IR sensor input
- You have a pile of laundry and when it gets too high send an email notification to do laundry.
- You have a pile of books or clothes to donate and when it gets too high send an email to go donate.
- Your dog or other pet has tripped a sensor near the back door more than normal. Send an email when the sensor is tripped X number of times (i.e your dog wants to go outside and take care of business).
- Water cup counter: Track the number of cups of water you drink with a button press. Send yourself an email when you get to 8 cups.
- Coffee cup counter: limit the number of cups you drink by tracking each cup with a button press. Send an email when you've reached your limit.
- Track your focus: Press a button each time you leave your desk. Send an email when you've reached your limit.
If you can count it, you can WipperSnapper it :D