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raspberry pi and the homestead  RSS feed

 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
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Yes, I spelled it right
DIY hi-tech relatively low cost amazingly versatile computer version of erector sets.
Among other things, you can build a weather station that gathers temperature, humidty, barometric pressure, wind direction and wind speed, detects lightening, takes time-lapse pictures of your garden (or whatever) and puts it all up on a webpage for you. Or interfaces with your iPad and gives you all your data displays there. Plus linkng up to Weather Underground and letting you compare your current data to historical for your area.

Personally I have barely begun to look into this technology and it is already mind boggling.

Very low power demands, one weather station build I have looked at uses two 3.5 volt solar panels, a pair of LiPO batteries and can run for twentyfive hours on an eight hour charge.

These systems can be used to control servo motors, which suggests they could monitor a greenhouse and open and close vents as needed.

Has anyone used this tech yet? Found any good applications for permaculture?

I have to think that time lapse photos of gardens is probably a terrific promotional tool. Get people watching your website to see when the baby lettuce for heir salad is ready!
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 312
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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cat chicken urban
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I have a variety of raspberry pi projects- both finished an ongoing!

ChickenPi- chicken coop door opener/closer and coop-CCTV. Streams video so I can check on the chickens from the house, is also CCTV for the tool shed. Has a weather station (including wind speed, direction, rain gauge, relative humidity, temperature)

HousePi- runs a network of 50-odd temperature sensors embedded throughout the house, plus some damp and humidity sensors. Runs the bathroom fans when humidity reaches certain thresholds. Allows me to run the central heating, with temperatures controlled by room rather than using a single thermostat. Sends email alerts when things get too hot/cold/start leaking/etc. Also runs the aquarium- heater thermostat, is the timer and dimmer for the led lights

GamePi- a wireless (battery powered) timelapse camera, or infra-red wildlife camera, depending on which mode it is in. Has been set up as timelapse whilst I was planting the garden- so I could see things grow. As a wildlife camera by the pond to see who was visiting (lots of pigeons), and over the back fence to see what wildlife was coming form the woodland (hedgehogs and a fox).

I also have one being CCTV down at some land I rent that isn't near my house, it is CCTV on the tool she down there, and takes photos when infra-red is detected (mostly photos of cats and badgers). Uploads images to the cloud when disturbed so I get the photos as emails- ie when people open the shed and try to nick things, or pinch the produce I grow there. This is battery powered as well, an old car battery and a solar panel on the shed-roof.

I'm building one to run the greenhouse (not that I have built the greenhouse yet), to water things for me whilst on holiday and open and close vents.

Most of mine are mains powered and talk over wifi- as both are usually available (teeny urban plot). Two camera-based ones work off of batteries- one with a solar panel, and one that I charge off the mains (LiPo mobile-phone powerpack).
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
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Thanks Charlie. Just the sort of stuff I was hoping to hear.
For me this is new stuff, last time I built a computer from parts gigabyte drives were expensive and a huge amount of storage

Even so, after brief research, it seems there is quite a community sharing an enormous amount of information about how to build these devices.

Still trying to get a handle on approximate costs, which is not entirely easy
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 312
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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cat chicken urban
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For cheaper and lower power things- look into arduino. Not enough processing power for anything involving a camera, but just for sensors an arduino wins (built in analog-digital converters, for one). however arduino requires a fair few addons to be able to talk to your general wifi/ethernet network, so for connectivity the pi wins hands down!

I'm in the UK so my prices aren't going to be the same, but a general model B+ r-pi is £19. An 8-channel ADC is about £13 (you can buy the bits to make your own for about £3- but the effort of making the pcb is worth the extra £10). A huge amount of ready-made addon boards are available that make making almost anything easy. A motor driver board was £10, PWM board (for servos or dimming LEDs) is £20. The pi camera is about £17 (and they do a very nicely infra-red one)

If you want any advice/etc, ask away! I can ramble on about these things for hours!
 
Clay Rogers
Posts: 33
Location: WI Zone 5a
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Charli - could you post some details of your projects? They sound awesome!
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 312
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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cat chicken urban
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What kind of details would you like? I custom-built all of my projects with a mixture of purchased add-on boards and my own handmade pcbs, to meet my specific needs. I have instructions written for some of them, but others I built rather quickly and their workings are a mystery to me (even if I did make them!)

An easy one is the Chicken-Coop CCTV. It sits attached to my tool shed (so also acts as CCTV for that), and lets me check on the chicken-run from the house. It has two infra-red illuminators (these things: http://tinyurl.com/jmdbd34), one raspberry pi, one NoIR Rpi camera, and a PIR sensor (http://tinyurl.com/h2uqxrf). I installed ready-made software for streaming - Rpi_Web_Cam_Interface (http://elinux.org/RPi-Cam-Web-Interface), then have a python script that takes a photo when the PIR is triggered.

Full instructions here: http://oozamaflips.net/index.php?id=73

ChickenPi also hosts some environmental sensors, including temperature, barometric pressure, light intensity and humidity. This is done with a purchased analog to digital converter (ADCpi) and some cheap sensors. Full instructions:
http://oozamaflips.net/index.php?id=74

There's also weather sensors (wind speed, direction and a rain gauge) and a coop-door opener (currently offline as a squirrel has chewed through the power wire)- no instructions for that yet but I do intend to write some eventually (if only so I remember how to maintain it)!

Battery-powered landPi needs an overhaul, it hasn't survived winter. My solar panel wasn't powerful enough to keep it going with the little light we get over winter. Again there will be instructions when it is complete!
 
Clay Rogers
Posts: 33
Location: WI Zone 5a
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Charli - Thanks for the information! That is the sort of thing I was looking for.

I am interested in home automation and technology and it seems that farm/garden automation and use of technology isn't something I see a lot. Or, maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.

So, if you see any other examples, let me know. Also, keep us posted as you put your own projects together.
 
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work - Edison. Tiny ad:
Rocket mass heaters in greenhouses can be tricky - these plans make them easy: Wet Tolerant Rocket Mass Heater in a Greenhouse Plans
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