• Tag Archives raspberry pi
  • Seismograph – Part 4.5

    Just a quick update to say that things are working and that I have added a thermal graph to the data.

    This screenshot is from my groov screen. It is easier for me to add live data to there than this website….. But I try and keep some of it synched.
    Anyway, the point of this is to show that the system picked up a ‘tiny’ M1.27 at my beloved Borrego Springs a few days after I got it in the new vault.
    I like the thermal plot, it shows the amplitude of the frequency of the data. Low bass at the bottom and tops out at 20 Hz at the top.
    Blue is low amplitude and works its way up to red.
    I need to do some more reading about how to read both waveforms, but its nice to have it and let it seep in in the meanwhile.

    I plan to put some 50/50 cement/sand mix around the tub, put a water edge around the edge to help the water run away from the tub and then make a foam top to keep the bugs out.
    Once that is done, we are pretty much done with the physical vault.
    At this point I will turn my attention to the software.

    [Edit – Due to the nature of scheduled blog posts, I tinkered with the software after I made this post, but before I could blog about the changes – whoa, that does not make sense even to me – anyway, I broke the main 12 hour trace graphic. The thermal one is still working, but yeah, everything was working great when I wrote this blog, then I messed with (before this blog was published) and broke it…. Perhaps by the time this blog goes live it will be working again – duno… anyway, time is weird. My names thebaldgeek and Im normal.]



  • Seismograph – Part 4

    Made the last physical change to reduce the urban noise this past weekend.
    We did a speed read of the USGS seismic vault construction guideline, you can pull it down and check it out here; https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/ofr-02-0144/ofr-02-0144.pdf

    In short, they recomend a bunch of things that I cant come at, either size wise, or cost wise.
    We tried to take the guts of the vault and reproduce it in the backyard.

    One thing to note from the recommendations, we don’t have to worry about the thermal aspects of the vault since the Raspberry Pi seismograph is not adversely affected by temperature changes.

    This is the big picture. We are going to dig a hole, put some cement in the bottom, stick the plastic bucket into the hole – grounding it in the wet cement – then put some more wet cement in the bottom of the bucket, then put a plate (USGS said glass, bit short on that so using some steel) on the cement and that’s hopefully that.

    So, lets get going…..

    Hole dug, and wet cement in the bottom.
    As per the PDF, we put a mound in the middle then pushed the tub down and settled it.

    It probably did not matter much, but we made sure it was level in both directions.
    The USGS said that we should put wet cement around the whole bin, but I was short on cement, so we just left it at the bottom. We could get some more and put it around the whole thing at a latter date, but, well, lets see how things go with just the bottom stuck down.

    Wet cement in the bottom, the plate on top and leveled in both directions.

    The Raspberry Pi setup is the same. I did not feel the need to change anything in this regard.
    The Ethernet brings both network and power. The POE adapter splits it off and routes it to the appropriate port.

    The fake rock is just sitting there for now, but the plan is to dig it in a little around the edge, put some sort of edging around to ‘seal’ the ‘rock’ to the ground and thus tub.
    We are planing a small garden around the corner of the retaining wall, both to ‘hide’ the rock a bit, but also to finish that part of the lawn, the grass never grows all that great, probably due to the grape fruit tree shade.

    The fake rock and tub are not the best, I like the seal on the old bucket better, but it was just too small and shallow. We could not find a longer one with the same seal, so we just have to make do.
    The big issue is bugs. A close second is water/moisture.

    So, the 300 dollar question, how is the urban noise?
    Duno. Its only been in place a few hours Sunday afternoon, we need to watch it for 2-3 days at the very least to get a feel for things.
    Don’t forget that you can view its almost live output here; http://thebaldgeek.net/index.php/seismograph/



  • Seismograph – Part 3

    What’s in the bucket?

    I started out with the seismograph sitting on my desk over night and yeah, it was a mess. Every footstep, every movement of the mouse, it picked it all up. I (thankfully) don’t have any screenshots of that trace. Trust me, it was totally and completely unusable.

    Next I tried the concret floor of the garage.
    It would pick up every time the garage door opened and closed and you could see Martty drive in and out.
    And yeah, since you didn’t ask, it would pick up the bass of every Trance rave we had……

    I put it on the back patio for a bit. Eh. It was okish.
    Honestly it was too close to the house wall. If I chased Malcolm down the stairs, it would pick it up, so it was not ideal, but it was better than in the house or in the garage.
    So, that said, it sat there for a good month or three.

    Next up, we read that really you need to build a seismic vault for the things….. Sure, perfect would be sweet, but I ain’t got the time, money or space for perfect, so what’s the next best thing?
    Stick it in a bucket.

    Here it is out in the front garden.

    Not much to look at really.
    It’s a plastic bucket with a screw on lid buried to the level of the top of the bucket.
    Trouble is, out the front garden, it picked up the next door neighbours washer / dryer…..
    Less than desirable.

    Here it is in the backyard.

    And this is where it is as we type.

    So whats in the bucket?

    A Pi and the power over ethernet adaptor.
    The Pi needs 5 volts DC at about 2 amps to run, I don’t want to have to run two cables out there, network and power, so you can buy these adaptors that put about 24v on the network cable at the head end and then step what ever is left down to 5v at the Pi end.
    Thus, one cable doing both jobs.
    Very handy.

    Here is the whole show close up.
    And yes, it’s not perfectly level here. That is part of the problem with the bucket, the Pi moves around a bit and it is not dead nuts level, so I have been popping the bucket lid every 2 weeks or so and making sure it is level…. The bucket was never a long term solution, so I did not bother with making it more stable in the level department…..

    Ok, so that is what is in the bucket.

    Bottom line. I am still not happy with the amount of urban noise I am getting, so Dad and I are brainstorming a smaller / cheaper seismic vault.

    Watch this trace.



  • Seismograph – Part 2

    We will get back to the topic of urban noise in another blog… This blog is all about what does an earthquake look like on my RaspberryShake?

    Sadly, because I have been so focused on cleaning up the urban noise, I have not been 100% diligent in taking screenshots and noting down the quakes that I have seen, so here are the few I have….

    This is from a different bit of software that I can run at my house.
    The plot is from the Pi and it is a small quake off the coast of San Francisco. I don’t remember what magnitude it was. Something around M2 from poor memory.

    This is the M5.6 in Montana the other day.
    This screenshot also shows very clearly why I want to reduce the urban noise, it makes recording the quakes a lot clearer.
    This quake is a bit interesting as it shows a bigger rumble after the quake started.

    This is the big M7.8 at the Solomon Islands a while back.
    I really like this trace as it clearly shows the P-Waves that come (not always, but usually with the big ones) some time latter, this is the quiver of the planet from such a big shake.
    The P-Waves actually come through the planet, not over like the quake.
    These P-Waves are important for us to understand lots of different parameters of the quake and the planet.

    I hope I get time to list some nice resources that are out on the web about all these different waves and why they matter.
    I never was much for geology at school, but this thing has me all excited to learn stuff that just never made sense back then.

    This one shows a very small quake (M1.6 from memory) just down the road from us at The Salton Sea.

    Last one….. As I was writing this blog, I looked at the current trace and it shows three perhaps four quakes…. I have never seen that many in one hit. Just amazing on the timing.
    They are all small ones, M1.48, M1.3 and M1.18 in Northern California.
    But, it beautifully shows the range of quakes that I can see from my back yard. it shows how well and very interesting the device is.

    As I said, its one of my favorite Kickstarter projects. I think now you can get a bit of a sense why.

    BTW, The guys have another project in the works at the moment, the new one has more features and is more expensive. I would love to back it, but just don’t have the money.
    Thankfully they are going to pass down to us as many of the software features as they can, one of which I am most excited about, and that is an email feature. I will automatically get an email when my sensor picks up a quake. That will make having the system a lot more exciting.



  • Raspberry Pi Zero – W

    Better late than never? Duno. History will be the judge.
    What am I talking about? Well, after the tech media and myself included took a massive jab at the Raspberry Pi Foundation for releasing one of the most crippled computers in the history of computers, they have done what they should have done in the first place and added Wifi and Bluetooth to the Raspberry Pi Zero.

    I am normally not a fan of the beta news site, but in this case, they have a great wrap up of what you get for your 10 bucks.
    Introducing the Raspberry Pi Zero – W.

    In a nutshell, you get a pretty useful little Linux PC that you can actually connect to. I will buy one in due course, I even have a use for this guy (now that I can talk to it while it’s in my house Wifi range).

    As usual, we can’t buy one. Out of stock pretty much everywhere. Constantly. That’s Ok (for me). It simply proves that I was right all along, they should have skipped the Zero and gone straight to the – W. I suspect before too long they will just quietly stop making / selling the zero and pretend it never happen.

    Note to all future computer / IoT device builders. Make sure your little ‘disruptive’ device has some connectivity huh… Because no matter what Gary says, we need to talk to your little wonder. We just do.