Thanks for the replies gents! I decided to go through with this and learn the hard way. I'm going to update this thread with helpful hints and tips to accomplish my goals with the thought that others maybe had the same idea and just didn't know how to go about it. I'm a complete newb when it comes to hardware and have a little experience on the coding/software side. I'll try to explain things as easy as possible.
I have a vintage fridge that I want to constantly monitor the inside temperature through a micro-controller and a temp sensor. That temperature will be sent to an Red/Green/Blue LCD screen that will display the temperature and be blue if cooling (beer's in the fridge) and red if fermenting (70deg). The Raspberry Pi will be installed somewhere probably inside the fridge so it need to talk to the micro-controller through my wireless signal and tell it what temp. I'd want it as well as have the ability to log the temperatures.
Apparently there are many many many ways to skin this cat. I'm looking for the most economical, user friendly, and easy to replicate setup. You'd think that would be any easy enough task eh? Here's what I've found to be the best way to do this.
Items I purchased:
1. Raspberry Pi Model B - this product is currently sold out at many of the online retailers so I had to resort to Ebay and spent $54 for a $35 product. I bought through a seller named triple9s and it came new in box in a few days.
2. 4GB SD card with Raspbian Wheezy preloaded: $15 https://www.adafruit.com/products/1121
. This is the Linux distribution that you need for the Raspberry Pi and the only thing you need to do is stick her in. No updates are necessary.
*No longer using! See post #9 - moved to Occidentalis v.02*
3. Waterproof DS18B20 digital temp sensor: $10 https://www.adafruit.com/products/381
. There are other temperature sensors out there. But their disadvantages and additional work required to make it a smooth install led me to this sensor which I'll be using the one-wire method.
4. MiniUSB Wifi: $10 I got this one off of Ebay as well. I chose a EDUP 300M wifi adapter from a seller named playb2c_cn. Took a little longer to get to my house since it came from shenzhen china but I literally took it out of it's case, stuck it in, ran wificonfig and was searching google in seconds.
5. 20x4 RGB LCD: $25 https://www.adafruit.com/products/499
- I chose the positive. It all comes down to preference really but I like it better then the 16x2. See #6 below as you may be able to save some money by going with the pi-plate and lcd package. I didn't have the option and they don't sell the pi-plate by itself so I'll be stuck with a 20x4 LCD and a 16x2 LCD that I won't be using (any buyers?
6. ** Very Important if using a RGB LCD with a Raspberry Pi **
I'll spare you the details, but to easily use an LCD that shows red/green/blue colors you're going to need this pi-plate. There are other ways to do this using level shifters, shield for an arduino etc. but for the newb...this is it. Wait for it to come back in stock. If you're not using an LCD - skip this step. https://www.adafruit.com/products/1109
7. USB hub so you can hook up your wifi, keyboard, and mouse into your Pi. Already had one of these.
*Powered hub is not needed for the EDUP Wifi dongle listed above. It uses a RTL8192cu chipset btw.*
8. 5v 1.0Amp USB to MiniUSB Power Source. I have a Samsung Galaxy SII phone and the OEM charger that plugs in to the wall works perfectly. I'd imagine the Apple ones will work also.
9. HDMI cord to plug your Pi into your TV and set up your LAMP server other other things.
My next post will be a how to for putting all the above together making it work with your fridge!