Non-Invasive washing machine cycle detector project

Non-Invasive washing machine cycle detector project

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Ian writes – “This month, I will be attempting to create a method of detecting a washing machine’s status using a microphone and signal processing on a computer. This project is part of an independent study that I hope will eventually yield a website that would allow students to be notified of the status of their laundry and get messages when washing machines are available in their dorm. I’d love to hear any tips or ideas from fellow Makers!”Link.

18 thoughts on “Non-Invasive washing machine cycle detector project

  1. jmmiller says:

    I would look into motion sensing. Machines vibrate and no matter how good your washing machine is it will still move.

  2. turbotron says:

    Cool idea, but actually, something like this exists:
    It just got installed at my school this year, and it’s pretty cool.

  3. Nothlit says:

    Laundry rooms can be noisy places. I wonder how well the system can pick out a single machine amongst all the others running simultaneously. Sounds like an interesting project! I’ve seen many ideas for similar systems, but nothing using microphones.

  4. mvieke says:

    My company has developed a system to monitor manufacturing equipment. We glue piezoelectric sensors to the machine. It’s very easy to read the vibration, and the sensors are fairly cheap.

  5. nygren says:

    Here was the non-invasive approach I took a few years ago:

    Another friend of mine at MIT used light sensors on LEDs for a commercial washer in his dorm, but that was more invasive (and in around 1994 or 1995).

  6. SgnDave says:

    I worked for an appliance manufacturer for some time, and a lot of end-of-line testing that has to monitor the cycle status does so by the wall current. You can get a cheap AC coil current transducer (well, cheap is $50 or so for a good one) and then watch how much current is drawn. If you know what the current profile looks like for a given cycle, you can monitor that and have a pretty good idea, not just “done/not done” but “filling/spinning/agitating/etc.”

  7. drewp says:

    The current and vibration sensors don’t tell you when the user has taken the clothes out of the machine. The audio sensor might be able to do that.

    mvieke- going to post a link to your company?

  8. meadowlarkb says:

    It looks like eSuds is as old as 2002. Still eSuds are the washing machines themselves. They have to purchased by a landlord or university administrator, or in other words, often by someone else. They aren’t hacks.

    In any case I am designing a project too. My biggest concern is transporting the data wirelessly without dedicating a computer.

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