What It Was

Before I started this challenge, the PDU was in working condition. It could be controlled remotely by telnet, http web interface, and SNMP.  My goal was to make it into something that can be used with today's standards and more.  Lets move through some of the objectives, with a why and how.


  1. Telnet: The old interface had Telnet for remote access or serial. Both of which took you to an interface menu system that was hard to use.  Now I have SSH access, in which is encrypted and I can use id key pairs to gain access. I have not setup a menu system, because I do not think I would ever use this to control the unit, only to modify the web interface.
  2. Web Interface: The old interface was wasteful for space and non-responsive.  Using the interface on one's phone or tablet was not a good experience, because of wasted space all round and it did not resize to fit your device. The old application that was from around the year 2000 single page application (SPA), meaning that if I turned on or off an outlet, the whole page refreshed.  Now the new web interface is a SPA, with updates via web sockets.  You know instantly if someone else turned something on or off and get regular updates to the temperature in the room.  Use of the new interface on my phone or tablet are a major win.
  3. SNMP: Very good protocol, but not the best or easiest to work with. Plus the older version was not very secure.  I have replaced SNMP with MQTT and Web Sockets (WS).  MQTT can be easily used with Home Assistant for controlling the outlets and receiving state messages, like temperature.  This alone helps me to consolidate my home automation to one place and the more I can do this, the better my life and the life of my family is.  I have setup automation using the temperature and a fan connected to outlet 1.  Now that Summer is here and my office gets warm, this is again a major win.


Final Block Diagram


Eddy1 is in the PDU and controls the relays/outlets.  Eddy2 is in the cardboard box, yes I need a home, but I have not found a home cool enough yet. Home Assistant is running on another system that I use to automate lights and other items in the house.


Use the Source Luke

I have two Github repositories for my code. Check it out, play with it, use it.  Do what ever you want with it, well kind of.


Web Interface Update and LCD display

I wanted to show the web interface and LCD display.  First of all here is the web interface. It is responsive, so I showed a shot of three views, desktop, tablet, and phone.


Desktop View




Then you will notice that there is a LCD sections. Before all that worked was selecting the Time or Temperature to the LCD.  Now I have custom messages.  So the one shown, comes to the LCD looking like




Future Plans

The project is not going to end here.  I have ideas and more ideas as follows:


The original PDU only has 15A breaker.  Then each of the relays are rated for 20A. The device was never intended to run high power servers, well not 8 of them.  I will never use this to drive servers, but either routers, wireless bridges, and switches or office desk applications.  The first use, the amp load is fine how it is. mcb1 has suggested beefing up the relay traces for main power on the bottom and I think this is a good idea. I have not done this yet, because this is not going to be the final configuration and right now I am only powering a fan on an outlet.


The option I am currently leaning towards on using this is to be a power station for my office work desk. When I do this, I will only want a few outlets for small current draw at my desk plugged into this PDU. I am thinking at this point to only have two of the eight - 110V outlets and those would be then changed to some big solid state relays I have. I would also install a bigger 12 power supply in the unit, currently it is only 3A or 36Watts, and convert some of the outlet spaces into banana plugs for 12V power supply.  I could have these controlled by relays and would use mechanical relays to totally switch off power to the outlets. I am guessing this would consume another three of the eight, leaving me with three more.  These last three would have dual 5V USB connectors. This would allow me to power Raspberry Pi's or Edison's and  charge phones and tablets, etc.  This would be the biggest use I see in the future. I recently purchased a unit to do this, but it has not made it to my office work desk yet, so the need is still there.


One other upcycle idea I had as the seasons change is water monitoring and management.  I have two pumps in the basement and they pump out water very often. Now that the weather is not freezing out, I have two rain barrels that catch the water.  I would like to pump both of those back to a holding tank for the garden.  My idea is to use the Edison and maybe a few ESP8266's to monitor water level in the pits, pump operation, and control the mini solar pump to empty the rain barrels into the holding tank. This might be what happens, and maybe I will just re-use the Edisons in a future Upcycle or Green challenge.  I think I have seen rumor of a green challenge.


Thank All

This has been a great challenge. I have been having fun working with other developers and care more about helping others than winning.  We all win when we help each other. Right now I wish I had time to help Workshopshed with some Bluetooth PAN setup.  That would be cool and maybe we can work together in the future, but I am too busy now. Special thank you to Element14 for pushing me and Intel for the hardware.  I have ordered two stickers that I think are needed and put one outside my project. I think the Edison has lots of good uses, especially in the mini-board configuration.