Coffee Control

by littleBits

Published on November 18, 2014

Brew coffee for Dad from anywhere! Coffee control connects any old coffee maker to the Internet, so that Dad can brew the perfect cup of joe, anytime.

Make your dumb coffee machine smart! Use littleBits to brew the perfect pot of joe anytime from anywhere.

How would you like a warm cup of coffee waiting for you upon your arrival to the office. Simply use your phone to turn your coffee maker on as you are on your way. This project is also great for controlling your coffee machine from bed upon waking up ;).

How it works:

When you press the button in Cloud Control [on your phone or computer], a signal is sent to the cloudBit, which triggers the IR transmitter. The IR transmitter sends a blast of infrared light which is picked up by the infrared sensor on the AC switch. Upon receiving an IR signal, the AC switch toggles any device that is plugged into it on or off. The bright LED acts as a visual indicator that your circuit triggered.

How To Make It


Set up your cloudBit if you haven’t done so already. Instructions for setting up the cloudBit can be found here.


Connect your circuit: USB power + cloudBit + IR transmitter + bright LED. We held our circuit together with a littleBits mounting board.

Click here for the circuit diagram.


Plug the AC Switch into the wall. Then plug your coffee maker into the AC switch and turn it on [Note: during setup, it is best not to have water in your coffee machine]. You will notice that the AC switch has a small oval-shaped sensor tethered to it. You will want to position this sensor so that there is a direct line of sight between it and the IR transmitter on your littleBits circuit. Note: the IR transmitter emits light out from the side of the board. You will need to position the circuit so that the side of the IR transmitter is facing the AC switch. IR light is invisible to the human so you won't see anything happen on the board when you trigger the IR transmitter. You will however see the bright LED flash quickly if the cloudBit is triggered.


Prepare the IR transmitter. The IR transmitter has four channels and is able to work with up to four AC switches. However, for this project, unless you have more than one AC switch, you only need to use one channel on the IR transmitter. Set one of the little switches on the IR transmitter to the "on" position.


Pair the IR Transmitter with the AC switch. If you have a button module handy, temporarily replace the cloudBit in your circuit with it [if not, you can still use the cloudBit - the button just makes it easier to test quickly]. On the AC switch, you will see a slow blinking red light. If you don’t see this, hold down the button on the AC switch until you do. On your circuit, press the button module to pair with the IR transmitter. You should see the red light on the AC switch blink very quickly and then go off.


Test the circuit. Now, when you press the button module, your coffee maker should turn on. Press it again and your coffee maker should turn off. If it doesn't work, check all the connections of your plugs and/or try adjusting the positioning of the IR transmitter. To reset the AC switch, just hold the button down until the red light starts blinking slowly again.


Make it smart! Once you know your circuit works, replace the button module with the cloudBit. Wait for the cloudBit to connect to wifi (the LED should be solid green), and then use the button on Cloud Control to remotely turn your coffee maker on and off.


Grind some coffee beans, add water, and brew!

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