The electricity price lamp

We could say that we are pretty much beginners in this field. One member of the group has done the blender course. In our school we have done so far some coding with java script, css, html and used some code library.

In our team were Heidi, Juho, Robert, Hannes and Pekka.


Top of the list for us was:

A lamp that changes colour according to current electricity price. Basically by looking at the light you can see if it is a good moment to turn on the dishwasher (example). Why we chose this one? We are currently in a global energy crisis so we thought a device like that could be useful.

Automatic plant watering device. Device that would measure the moisture of the dirt and that way they would get the information when it needs to be watered. It would also have some kind of water storage system so it would be automatic.

What did you need to learn

We needed to learn pretty much everything. First we needed to improve some brainstorming skills and for that we used the 6-3-5 method. It was very useful because it removed the doubts that we might have about our own ideas. We learned that during the innovative process, it’s important to have an open mind to new ideas and think without any constraints. After all the ideas were layed out, we took a closer look on what is actually possible to really create.

Next thing to learn was the skills we needed to build the final product. For that we needed to learn how to use arduino program, learn how to code c+, how to code and process API data, learn how to build something based on the arduino manual and how to plug in esp32.   

The building phase

Today we had our first short lab session. We installed Arduino programs to our computers and started experimenting with it. We build a small device that turned the led light one when pressing the button.

Now we wanted to do something that could help us with our project. In order to get the lights work with the data we had to first find out how the led lights work without the data. We found a tutorial from the web page random nerds’ tutorial and built the setup we needed. Changing the code was the more challenging part. We tried quite a few things but eventually we got it to work towards the direction we want to. It still seems that we have a long way to go but we are moving to the right direction which is the most important thing.

The LED strip

Here you can see our first setup. We are working on the code to get all the lights to burn in the LED string.  So far we only manged to make one or two lights on and we are trying to create a loop.


Then we found out that we might have some issues with getting the data from Fingrid. We are trying to find alternative solutions. Juho and Pekka went working on the code to get it from a 3rd party.

We are also trying what the rgb tones that we want actually look like in the LED light. We made a plan what rgb colours we want to use and we are building Project 8.1 Control RGB LED through Potentiometer to test them out.

1st try of color mapping

The color palette ended up not working, ‘cuz we didn’t realize that the rgb values above don’t look the same in LED lights. So, we had to do some testing with the LED stripe to find proper colors that we were happy with.

We found a code that we could use to test out the wanted LED rgb values. It turned out that the “plan” we made what would be the right colour was not very good because they looked so differend in the LED string. So we defined the rgb values straight in to the code a tired what they would look like in the LED. We found 6 (note originally we had planned 10 shades) good shades that we want to use. We also defined what would be the electricity price range – what is expencive & what is cheap. We now we have six colors we want to use in the final project.

Juho was designing the box for the light with blender and spent many hours on it but eventually we decided to just use a box that was ready so Juho did all that work for nothing.

We had originally send an email requesting the data about the prices of electricity to entso.e but it turned out to be too complicated. Instead of that Pekka found from lämpö  (heat forum a simplified version of it. He also got it to work!

Code for color by price

Juho and Pekka were able to connect the electricity price code with the screen, yay!

Spot price off the Web

We finished the code and got the LED to connect with the electricity price. Everything is basically ready, we just want to do some fine tuning for the box to make it more pretty to look at.

The prices of the day can be found from the code library and they are ranked to 24 slots from the cheapest (1) to the most expensive (24). Pekka then divided them in the code in six, so that the colors are flexible with the prices not based on values set by us but rather by the scale in which the price operates during each day.

Since we now have a lot of empty time in our hands Juho is thinking should he 3D print the box or are we going to keep on using the one we already have.

Building the final device

And there is is ! Works just the way we hoped and the look is also very similiar to what we had planned. Very happy with the end result !!!!

The complete device running

The outcome

What did you learn?

Well… we learned pretty much everything. At the beginning we learned of a few different techniques for innovating. We learned more on electronics. We learned how to find information and adapt it while learning new.

Did this course make you more interested in tinkering, or was this a one-off thing for you?

We felt that it was rewarding to build a project from our own idea and to see the concrete results of our own handicraft. This course had a more hands-on approach to learning than most other courses that are based more on theory.

What further ideas did you get for making in the future?

Well, we got a glimpse of the IoT world and might take up on any upcoming courses in this area of it.

Also we believe this gave us a lot of confidence for further projects. In the beginning we knew basically nothing, but we still managed to make everything work.

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