Project Bindicator, Part 2: The Parts Arrive

A few weeks after my initial post about my Bindicator project, the microcontroller has arrived in the mail from China and it’s time to get assembling.

Although I’m sticking fairly closely to the original design, there will be a couple of differences that inevitably are going to require modification.

Firstly, the microcontroller itself. The original uses a Wemos D1 Mini which, as I understand it, the garbage can 3D model is designed around and it fits perfectly into the bottom of the bin. I’m using an ESP32-C3 Zero which is quite a bit smaller.

My plan here is to simply print a U-shaped support for the ESP32 that holds it in place, although I also already know that I’m going to need to to raise the cutout for the USB plug very slightly in order for it to align properly. It’s close already, and happily the hole is already an appropriate size for the USB-C connect my ESP32 uses despite having been designed for micro USB. I’m thinking that shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve, though.

The second change I hope to make is to the light source, although I’m not yet sure if my plan for that is flawed. The original design uses four individual RGB LED pixels. I’d prefer to use an offcut of an LED strip I already have lying around, but the problem is that the LEDs are much too far apart.

That said, the original design also divides the bin into four quadrants for the UK’s many different types of garbage, but where I live in Calgary there are only three garbage categories (general, recycling and organic waste) and at most two of those are collected on the same day. I’m therefore going to modify the light baffle from the original design and remove two of the three fins, splitting the bin into two chambers instead of the original four.

I’ve already done this part and made a quick modification to the original STL in Tinkercad, available here.

It remains to be seen if halving the number of LEDs will give me the level of brightness I want, but now that I have a modified baffle printed that’s the next part of the adventure, as I assemble a prototype. If it’s bright enough for my blue test print then it’ll definitely be bright enough for the finished product that I’ll be printing in white.

Watch this space for more to come!

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