• Tag Archives raspberry pi
  • 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.


  • Back. Not back.

    Can’t believe that it’s only been 3 and a bit weeks since I got back from the most epic Australian adventure ever.
    Have / having had a little bit of trouble getting my head around being back home, but nothing major.

    Throwing myself into some tech and that has helped a lot. The first week or so consisted of a fair bit of movie watching (I plead jet lag and just wanting to crash after work), but the past week has seen almost no TV and tinkering each night.

    Using the Opto 22 Raspberry Pi starter kit for this one…. That and (as you can see at the end of the video), a tiny bit of Node-RED.

    Bought the boss’s old Phantom 3 Pro drone.

    Been taking it for my Sunday morning Smart Car drives and slowing getting confidence in flying it and getting better at taking landscape photos with it.

    Of course, you can’t fly a drone and not take a dronie….

    Still planning on getting around to committing to study for, sit and pass my Part 107. (aka, drone license).

    So, I guess you could say I am back, but don’t feel back.
    Not sure what to do with the blog. Same as last time I suspect, write about what interests me and you lot can sort it out on your end.

  • Raspberry Pi 3 – now with added Wifi and BLE !!!!!!

    I should have blogged about this the day it happen, but I was rather busy (yah for scheduled blog posts), so we get to hear about it a week and a bit latter.

    Enough to say, I let out a big heavy sigh and said ‘About time’. (Actually, that’s not exactly what I said – but in the interests of keeping this blog PG, it’s close enough).
    They have released the latest Raspberry Pi 3 and guess what, it has Wifi and Bluetooth Low Energy built in……. Yah!
    Not only, but also, it now gets a 64 bit quad core CPU ticking over at around 1.2GHz. Still only 1Gb of RAM, but eh, the connectivity, same footprint and much the same price almost make up for it.
    In case you are wondering (I know you were), it is still crippled with piping the Ethernet through the USB bus, so it is still pretty slow, but again, what you are going to be using this thing for, I really don’t think that matters in real life.

    Am I buying one? Sure. Haven’t as yet, it would be overkill for an airplane tracker setup, so I don’t have a use for one just yet, but rest assured, there are more than one of these guys in my future.

    The reviews are sounding really good, people are saying you can, for the first Pi time, actually use this one as a computer. I would love to build a tablet with one of these at the heart. Could be really useful.

    There are a ton of links for more info, but here is a less techy one;

    Raspberry Pi 3 Launches — 50% Faster, With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth And An Eye On IoT