It’s a hack: air washer controlled by room lighting

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Some products just seem annoying. [hardmar] discovered that the air filtration system installed in his son’s basement lumber workshop was geared for the best airflow, but was rather poorly positioned to actually turn the thing on and off. For some reason, the device has its only line-of-sight IR receiver on one side which, when mounted in some positions, forces the user to be in the completely wrong position to use the supplied remote control.

We sometimes find it unhelpful that devices that are specifically designed to be mounted with different orientations are not equipped with IR receivers in different locations to ensure good controllability. It would get annoying very quickly to have to contort yourself in a certain position just to turn something on, and some people might not care at all.

Proper dust control is paramount to continued good health and is essential in any work or community area. When you work with wood, there is a lot of dust. It cannot be avoided and it penetrates everything, including the lungs. PPE is not enough. In your own shop, too, you should still manage the dust production as well as possible. The options range from central extraction and machine-specific solutions to air washers that are mounted on the ceiling to capture these fine particles.

Instead of solving the IR placement problem, [hardmar] wanted the device to be tied to the lighting system so that it would turn on as soon as someone turned on the appropriate light and then stay on for a period of time after the user left to further purify the air. His simple hack was to first record and analyze the IR protocol used by the remote and program an Arduino to send on / off commands. Next, he hooked up a phototransistor aimed at the light to provide the necessary “user presence” trigger to tell the Arduino when to activate the scrubber. Super simple and effective. We love this non-invasive approach of customizing standard devices to our specific needs without even showing them a screwdriver.

As [hardmar] admits the hack isn’t implemented neatly, it’s just enough to make it work, and that’s a good thing, sometimes all you have to do is one job and nothing more.

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