Capacitive Touch Hack (for Fluval Edge Aquarium Control)

This post is about automating the light on the Fluval Edge Aquarium but can be applied to any capacitive touch button I imagine. It turns the light on at 10am in the morning, turns it blue at 8pm and finally turns it off at midnight. It has real time clock (RTC) to keep track of time and can recover from power outages due to storing current state in EEPROM.

My first attempt was to have passive control by creating capacitance on a piece of aluminium foil/tape and manipulating this to activate the sensor but I could not get it working so the not so elegant solution is to have a servo ‘touch’ the sensor on a schedule.

Video of it in action:

Parts Required:
Arduino (any), I used Nano.
RTC (any), I used DS1307.
Servo (any), I used HK15178 10g servo.

Connections: (aside from power which are all 5V)
Arduino A4 -> RTC SDA
Arduino A5 -> RTC SCL
Arduino D3 -> Servo Control (was yellow wire for me)

Paste of Arduino code below, don’t forget to add the RTC library, hosted here if you don’t have it already.

#include <Wire.h>
#include "RTClib.h"
#include <EEPROM.h>
#include <Servo.h>

Servo myservo;  // create servo object to control a servo 


char receivedChar;
boolean newData = false;
int pos_standby = 180;    // variable to store the servo position 
int pos_active = 100;
int led = 13;
int mode = 1;             //1 for PROD, 2 for DEV (Serial Input
int bulb_status = 0;
int starttime = 0;
int endtime = 0;
int loopcount = 0;
int address = 12;
byte value;

void setup() { 
  if (! RTC.isrunning()) {
    Serial.println("RTC is NOT running!");
  read_eeprom();              // Gets current position from EEPROM
  myservo.attach(3);          // Attaches the servo on pin 3 to the servo object 
  myservo.write(pos_standby); // Puts servo in default position
  Serial.println("Setup Complete");

  //#### Uncomment the below to set the RTC to the date & time this sketch was compiled ###
  //#### Then comment it out again and reupload sketch to Arduino ###  
  //RTC.adjust(DateTime(__DATE__, __TIME__));

void loop() {
  while (true){
      if (mode == 1) {
      starttime = millis();
      endtime = starttime;
      while (((endtime - starttime) <=10000) || (loopcount < 10000)) // do this loop for up to 10000mS
        loopcount = loopcount+1;
        endtime = millis();

    if (receivedChar=='a') {
    Serial.println("A Selected");
    servo_move(1); //Bulb ON
    else if (receivedChar=='b') {
    Serial.println("B Selected");
    servo_move(2); //Bulb BLUE
    else if (receivedChar=='c') {
    Serial.println("C Selected");
    servo_move(3); //Bulb OFF

void recvOneChar() {
 if (Serial.available() > 0) {
 receivedChar =;
 newData = true;

void showNewData() {
 if (newData == true) {
 //Serial.print("This just in ... ");
 newData = false;

void bulb_sequence() {
      DateTime now =;
      if (now.hour() > 10 && now.hour() < 20 && bulb_status!=1) {
          servo_move(1); //Bulb ON
      else if (now.hour() > 19 && now.hour() < 23 && bulb_status!=2) {
          servo_move(2); //Bulb BLUE
      else if (now.hour()>=23 && bulb_status!=3) {
          servo_move(3); //Bulb OFF

void servo_move(int x) 
  while (bulb_status != x) {

void servo() 
  myservo.write(pos_active);              // tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos' 
  delay(1000);                     // waits 1s for the servo to reach the position                       
  myservo.write(pos_standby);              // tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos' 
  delay(1000);                     // waits 1s for the servo to reach the position  
  bulb_status += 1;
  if (bulb_status == 4) {
    bulb_status = 1;
    digitalWrite(led, HIGH);  
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);  

void print_time() {
    DateTime now =; 
    Serial.print(now.year(), DEC);
    Serial.print(now.month(), DEC);
    Serial.print(, DEC);
    Serial.print(' ');
    Serial.print(now.hour(), DEC);
    Serial.print(now.minute(), DEC);
    Serial.print(now.second(), DEC);

void read_eeprom()
  // read a byte from the current address of the EEPROM
  value =;
  Serial.print("EERPROM Stored Value at Address: "); 
  Serial.print(value, DEC);
  bulb_status = value;

void write_eeprom()
  EEPROM.write(address, bulb_status);
  Serial.print("New EEPROM: ");

That’s it!

Using Python to get IP Address updates via Email

For those with Internet providers that change external IP regularly, this is a simple Python script to email you when a change occurs.

Get started by logging into your Linux Box / Raspberry Pi and install dependencies:

sudo apt-get install python-setuptools
cd /home/pi
mkdir ip_check
cd ip_check
cd requests-master/
python install

Copy the file (or copy below) into the /home/pi/ip_check directory: (Change the SMTP SETTINGS for your email address)

#!/usr/bin/env python

#This script establishes the public IP Address.
#It compares the IP to the stored IP address,
#if they differ the new IP is archived and an 
#email sent with the new IP address.

import sys
import csv
import time
import os
from smtplib import SMTP_SSL as SMTP    #This invokes the secure SMTP protocol (port 465, uses SSL)
from email.MIMEText import MIMEText     #For email
from requests import get		#Only additional package required

### Debug ###
debug = 0		#Give verbose output
force_email = 0		#Forces write to file & Email even if IP address not changed


### Program Variables ###
text_subtype = 'plain'
subject="New IP Address"
file_location = '/home/pi/ip_check/ip.csv'
archived_ip = ""
current_ip = ""

# Initialise the system and start the main loop
def main():
	check_file_exists() 	#Ensures we have a file to write to.
	get_archived_ip()	#Gets the last recorded IP Address	
	get_current_ip()	#Gets the current IP Address

def check_file_exists():
	if not os.path.isfile(file_location):
			print "File doesn't exist so creating it"
        		with open(file_location, 'a') as csvfile:
            			logfile = csv.writer(csvfile, delimiter=',')
            			logfile.writerow(["Date", "Time", "Public IP"])
			print "File Created, Updated and Email Sent"

			print "Issue writing to file"

def get_archived_ip():
	global archived_ip
	with open(file_location, 'rb') as csvfile:
		logfile = csv.reader(csvfile, delimiter=',')
		for row in logfile:
			archived_ip = row[2]
		if debug == 1:
			print 'My archived public IP address is:', archived_ip

def get_current_ip():
	global current_ip
	current_ip = get('').text

	if debug == 1:
		print 'My public IP address is:', current_ip

def compare_ip():
	if str(archived_ip) != str(current_ip) and (len(current_ip) < 100 ):
		if debug == 1:
			print "IP Address has changed"		
		if debug == 1:
			print "IP Address has not changed"	

def update_ip_file():
        	with open(file_location, 'a') as csvfile:
            		logfile = csv.writer(csvfile, delimiter=',')
			logfile.writerow([(time.strftime("%d/%m/%Y")), (time.strftime("%H:%M:%S")), current_ip])

def send_email():
	print "About to send email"
		content = "Current IP: " + str(current_ip)
		msg = MIMEText(content, text_subtype)
                msg['Subject'] = "New IP address!"
                msg['From'] = sender #some SMTP servers will do this automatically, not all.
		if debug == 1:
			print msg.as_string()

                conn = SMTP(SMTPserver)
                conn.login(USERNAME, PASSWORD)

                        conn.sendmail(sender, destination, msg.as_string())
                        print "Email Sent"                      
        except Exception, exc:
                sys.exit( "mail failed; %s" % str(exc) ) #give a error message

if __name__ == "__main__":

Okay we are now going to run it for the first time:

cd /home/pi/ip_check

All should work, not lets make it run every 15minutes automatically by cron:

crontab -e

and add the below to the file:

*/15 * * * * /usr/bin/python /home/pi/ip_check/

That’s it.

ESP8266 logging to InfluxDB (Ver 1.x & 2.x)

The ESP8266 is a $5 IOT device with huge capabilities. In this post we will log data to a remote Influx database running on a RaspberryPi.

I am programming the ESP8266 in the Arduino IDE, the ESP8266 library is required, you can find it here. I have a test code file (of copy from below) that you can upload after entering your InfluxDB I.P. Address, SSID & Password and it will start logging data immediately.

Code for InfluxDB Version 1.x (Version 1.6 specifically for me.)

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <ESP8266WiFiMulti.h>
#include <InfluxDb.h>

#define INFLUXDB_HOST ""   //Enter IP of device running Influx Database
#define WIFI_SSID "SSID"              //Enter SSID of your WIFI Access Point
#define WIFI_PASS "PASSWORD"          //Enter Password of your WIFI Access Point

ESP8266WiFiMulti WiFiMulti;
Influxdb influx(INFLUXDB_HOST);

void setup() {
  Serial.print("Connecting to WIFI");
  while ( != WL_CONNECTED) {
  Serial.println("WiFi connected");
  Serial.println("IP address: ");


  Serial.println("Setup Complete.");

int loopCount = 0;

void loop() {

  InfluxData row("data");
  row.addTag("Device", "ESP8266");
  row.addTag("Sensor", "Temp");
  row.addTag("Unit", "Celsius");
  row.addValue("LoopCount", loopCount);
  row.addValue("RandomValue", random(10, 40));


Code for InfluxDB Version 2.x (Version 2.1 specifically for me). Download Arduino library from here.

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <ESP8266WiFiMulti.h>
#include <InfluxDb.h>

#define INFLUXDB_URL "http://192.168.1.XXX:8086" // e.g. (In InfluxDB 2 UI -> Load Data -> Client Libraries), 
#define INFLUXDB_TOKEN "YOUR_TOKEN" // InfluxDB 2 server or cloud API authentication token (Use: InfluxDB UI -> Load Data -> Tokens -> <select token>)
#define INFLUXDB_ORG "influx" // InfluxDB 2 organization id (Use: InfluxDB UI -> Settings -> Profile -> <name under tile> )
#define INFLUXDB_BUCKET "YOUR_BUCKET" // InfluxDB 2 bucket name (Use: InfluxDB UI -> Load Data -> Buckets)
#define MEASUREMENT "esp"
#define DEVICE "esp_04"
#define ID "Development ESP"

ESP8266WiFiMulti WiFiMulti;
Point row(MEASUREMENT); // Setup InfluxDB data point

void setup() {
  Serial.print("Connecting to WIFI");
  while ( != WL_CONNECTED) {
  Serial.println("WiFi connected");
  Serial.println("IP address: ");

  if (client.validateConnection()) {          // Checks if can communicate with InfluxDB server
      Serial.print("Connected to InfluxDB: ");
  else {
      Serial.print("InfluxDB connection failed: ");

  Serial.println("Setup Complete.");

int loopCount = 0;

void loop() {

  row.clearFields();  // Clear Influx Fields
  row.clearTags();    // Clear Influx Tags
  row.addTag("Device", DEVICE);
  row.addTag("ID", ID);
  row.addField("LoopCount", loopCount);
  row.addField("RandomValue", random(0, 100)); //Helpful for debugging if needed.
  row.addField("25_Value", 20);
  row.addField("50_Value", 50); 
  row.addField("100_Value", 100);     

  Serial.print("Writing: "); // Print what are we exactly writing

      if (!client.writePoint(row)) {
        Serial.print("InfluxDB write failed: ");
      else {
      Serial.println("Wrote data successfully");

The Arduino Serial Terminal will display something like the below so you can if it is working. (My previous tutorial shows setting up InfluxDB, ensure you have the database “esp8266_test” created as we are going to write to that.)

 --> writing to esp8266_test:
data,Device=ESP8266,Sensor=Temp,Unit=Celsius LoopCount=256.00,RandomValue=37.00
 <-- Response: 204 ""
 --> writing to esp8266_test:
data,Device=ESP8266,Sensor=Temp,Unit=Celsius LoopCount=257.00,RandomValue=20.00
 <-- Response: 204

On the Influx Database we can look at the data by:

USE esp8266_test
select * from data limit 50

Below you can see the export from my database (I have shortened the time field for neatness). You can see I reset the ESP8266 a couple of times due to the LoopCount value.

time        Device  LoopCount RandomValue Sensor Unit    
----        ------  --------- ----------- ------ ----   
52808175073 ESP8266 1         38          Temp   Celsius                              
63108846141 ESP8266 2         35          Temp   Celsius                              
69802517277 ESP8266 1         13          Temp   Celsius                              
79892112240 ESP8266 2         12          Temp   Celsius                              
89961602267 ESP8266 3         14          Temp   Celsius                              
99998928411 ESP8266 4         22          Temp   Celsius                              
10053683452 ESP8266 5         10          Temp   Celsius                              
20120378415 ESP8266 6         28          Temp   Celsius                              
30175745403 ESP8266 7         14          Temp   Celsius                              
40732248123 ESP8266 8         38          Temp   Celsius                              
51232948067 ESP8266 9         15          Temp   Celsius                              
61322347831 ESP8266 10        13          Temp   Celsius                              
71424432515 ESP8266 11        19          Temp   Celsius                              
84740185749 ESP8266 1         18          Temp   Celsius                              
94790343615 ESP8266 2         21          Temp   Celsius                              
04839215465 ESP8266 3         13          Temp   Celsius                              
31864448941 ESP8266 1         32          Temp   Celsius                              
41956355523 ESP8266 2         36          Temp   Celsius                              
52018136222 ESP8266 3         30          Temp   Celsius                              
62083037888 ESP8266 4         22          Temp   Celsius       

That’s it!

Resources I used:

Backup InfluxDB

It makes sense to backup the InfluxDB periodically so we don’t loose all our data.

We can do this in the terminal by:

influxd backup -portable /home/pi/influx_backup/

Make it run every night at 2am by opening crontab and adding the below code:

crontab -e
0 2 * * * influxd backup -portable /home/pi/influx_backup/

Now it would make sense for the above location to be a USB drive etc. as if our main drive fails we would loose the backup along with the original data. We can do this by updating the crontab -e to:

0 2 * * * influxd backup -portable /media/YOUR_USB_DRIVE_NAME

I had to instal the below package to allow the RaspberryPi write to the USB drive:

sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

Another improvement would be to put all this in a script and push to another machine maybe over FTP but this is as far as I got right now and works well.

We can also see how much data is on the USB Drive by the below, maybe we will log this to Influx in future to keep an eye on backup sizes.

du -sh /media/YOUR_USB_DRIVE_NAME

That’s it!

Grafana Setup on RPi Zero

So you will have InfluxDB installed and data stored in the database, now we are going to visualize this data in Grafana. Click on the images to see the detail.

Install Grafana by:


sudo apt-get install adduser libfontconfig

sudo dpkg -i grafana_6.0.1_armhf.deb

sudo update-rc.d grafana-server defaults

sudo service grafana-server start

Grafana will be running now so in a browser you can navigate to the IP of your device, port 3000, for example User and Password is admin. We will create our first graphic later on but now back to the Raspberry Pi.

After a reboot check if Grafana starts up like it should. (mine didn’t)

service grafana-server status

If it does not show as “active (running)” then run the below:

sudo systemctl enable grafana-server.service

Okay now lets start creating a graphic, on a browser go to the device (for example and login, default user and password is admin.

Now we need to add a database, click on the cog wheel and select Data Sources and then click “Add Data Sources”

Setup your database like the below. rpi_01 is the name of the database I created in the previous tutorial. Then Click Save & Test. Everything should work.

Now lets create a graph, go to Dashboard -> Add Panel (top right area) -> Choose Visualization -> Graph. Set up the 4 setting tabs like mine below:

Now you will have a single graph like the top graph of mine below. Read on to understand how to efficiently show the data.

The above graphs all are showing the same data but by far the top graph is the easiest to read. This is displaying a moving average (10 samples) of the mean of the data. The middle graph is displaying moving average (10 samples) of the distinct data values. The bottom chart is just showing distinct values.

Another important setting is the Group By. Grafana only show as much data as it needs if you leave the Group By as time($_interval), otherwise it will fetch far more data than required in long time series and visualizations may fail to load.

Resources Used:

RPi Status Log to InfluxDB

In the last post we setup InfluxDB, now we are going to start storing system parameters every minute. It will work out of the box for Raspberry Pi and probably for some other Linux distros.

We are going to log the system uptime, the CPU & GPU Temperatures, the current CPU usage as well as the average CPU usage since boot.

The code is available here or copy from the end of this post. Put the code in a file called, don’t forget to update your IP address in the code and make it executable by:

chmod +x

We are going to log to database rpi_01, if you don’t have this created already complete the below:

create database rpi_01

Test our script run:


To confirm it works we can check the database:

use rpi_01
select * from system_status

and you should see something like: (type exit when you are done)

name: system_status
time   cpu_temp cpu_usage gpu_temp system   system_model   uptime
15329   39.5     14        40.1     RPI-01   ZeroW_V1.1   1386.68

Now we want the system status to be logged every minute, we do this by adding it to crontab:

crontab -e 

Add this line and save and close: (ensure path is correct to your file)

*/1 * * * * /home/pi/influx_scripts/

Check back after a while to ensure the logging is happening. In the next post we are going to show the status in graphical form using Grafana like the below: code:

# Gets SOC GPU Temperatures
gpu_temp_0=$(/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp | tr -cd '0-9.')

# Gets System Uptime
uptime=$(awk '{print $1}' /proc/uptime)

# Gets SOC CPU Temperatures
cpu_temp_0=$(cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp)
cpu_temp_3=$(($cpu_temp_2 % $cpu_temp_1))

# Converts the total CPU Usage into %

  for i in {1..6}
  # Since the CPU fluctuates, it discards the first reading and averages the next 5.
  CPU=(`sed -n 's/^cpu\s//p' /proc/stat`) # Discards the cpu prefix
  IDLE=${CPU[3]} 			  # Just the idle CPU time.

  # Calculate the total CPU time.
  for VALUE in "${CPU[@]}"; do

  # Calculate the CPU usage since we last checked.

  # Remember the total and idle CPU times for the next check.

if [ $i -gt 1 ] # Ignores 1st reading as this is CPU average since boot
	let Average="$DIFF_USAGE+$Average"

  # Wait 1s before checking again.
  sleep 1

let Average="$Average/5"

curl -i -XPOST 'http://your.influxDB.ip.address:8086/write?db=rpi_01' --data-binary 'system_status,system=RPI-01,system_model=Insert_Model_Name cpu_usage='$Average',cpu_temp='$cpu_temp_4',gpu_temp='$gpu_temp_0',uptime='$uptime''

Credit to resources I used:

InfluxDB Setup on RPi Zero

InfluxDB is a time series database. The build is robust and straightforward but first lets start with what didn’t work:

  • I could not get Raspbian Buster image to work for the RPi Zero, I reverted to Raspbian Stretch image. Get the image from the Raspberry Pi Archives. Grafana also showed issues on Buster so avoid the headache for now.
wget -qO- | sudo apt-key add -
source /etc/os-release
test $VERSION_ID = "9" && echo "deb stretch stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/influxdb.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install influxdb
sudo service influxdb start
influxd -config /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf
echo $INFLUXDB_CONFIG_PATH /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf
sudo service influxdb restart

Open the file /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf and ensure the [http] section looks like the below:

sudo nano /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf
  # Determines whether HTTP endpoint is enabled.
   enabled = true

  # Determines whether the Flux query endpoint is enabled.
  # flux-enabled = false

  # Determines whether the Flux query logging is enabled.
  # flux-log-enabled = false

  # The bind address used by the HTTP service.
   bind-address = ":8086"

  # Determines whether user authentication is enabled over HTTP/HTTPS.
   auth-enabled = false

InfluxDB is setup and running now but we have no data stored. First we must create a database in InfluxDB, then we can insert data:

create database rpi_01
INSERT system_status,system=RPI-01 cpu_usage=10

We can then view the contents of the database by:

use rpi_01
select * from system_status

You should see and entry like the below in your terminal:

name: system_status
time                cpu_usage system
----                --------- ------
1573332238034530963 10        RPI-01

We are now successfully manually writing to the database, in the next tutorial we will write a script to log the CPU & GPU temperatures of the Raspberry Pi and also the CPU Usage in %.

Credit to resources I used: