Tag Archives: Hacks

El Carrillon | The MagPi 92

via Raspberry Pi

Most Raspberry Pi projects we feature debut privately and with little fanfare – at least until they’re shared by us.

The El Carrillon project, however, could hardly have made a more public entrance. In September 2019 it was a focal point of Argentina’s 49th annual Fiesta Nacional de la Flor (National Flower Festival), where its newly overhauled bell tower proudly rang out a brand-new, Raspberry Pi-enabled tune.

Many years ago, festival organisers created custom hardware with a PIC (programmable interface) microcontroller to control 18 tuned bells. Each bell is associated with a musical note, from A3 to D5 with all the semitones. Until its long overdue update, the tower’s 18 bells had rung the tune to Ayer, also known as Yesterday by The Beatles. They now have a brand-new repertoire of MIDI-based tunes, including the theme from Star Wars.

For Gerardo Richarte, the originator of the project, there was a little extra pressure: his dad is on the board of the NGO that organises Fiesta Nacional de la Flor, and challenged his son to come up with a way to update the bells so different songs could be played.

Ringing the changes

With the challenge accepted, Mariano Martinez Peck explains, “We chose Raspberry Pi because it was inexpensive, yet powerful enough to run Linux, Python, and VA Smalltalk. We could find ready-made HATs that actually matched the pinout of the existing flat cables without much hacking, and only a minimal amount of other hardware was needed. In addition, there was plenty of documentation, materials, tutorials, and GPIO libraries available.”

The bells had a pre-existing driver module

The project aim was to be able to run a mobile-friendly website within Raspberry Pi Zero that allowed control, configuration, and playback of MIDI songs on the bell tower. “In addition, we wanted to allow live playing from a MIDI keyboard,” says Mariano. The project developed as a live test and iteration update, but the final build only came together when Mariano and Gerardo’s moment in the spotlight arrived and El Carrillon rang out the first new tunes.

Coding a classic

The decades-old chimes were controlled by assembly code. This was superseded by Python when the team made the switch to Raspberry Pi Zero. Mariano explains, “Raspberry Pi allowed us to use Python to directly interface with both the old and new hardware and get the initial project working.”

However, the Python code was itself replaced by object-oriented VA Smalltalk code – an environment both Mariano and Gerardo are adept at using. Mariano says, “Smalltalk’s live programming environment works really well for fast, iterative development and makes software updates quick and easy without the need for recompilation that lower-level languages [such as assembly or C/C++] would need.”

El Carrillon’s bells can now play any MIDI file on Raspberry Pi, and the notes of the song will be mapped to the tuned bells. However, as the testing process revealed, some songs are more recognisable than others when reproduced on chimes.

A final feature enabled Gerardo to bag some brownie points with his father-in-law. He recently added a web interface for controlling, configuring, and playing songs, meaning the bells can now be controlled remotely and the song selected via a smartphone app.

The El Carrillon bell tower forms a striking backdrop to the flower festival and other cultural events

Read The MagPi for free!

Find more amazing projects and tutorials in The MagPi #92, out now! You can get The MagPi #92 online at our store, or in print from all good newsagents and supermarkets. You can also access The MagPi magazine via our Android and iOS apps.

Don’t forget our fantastic subscription offers, which include a free gift of a Raspberry Pi Zero W when you subscribe for twelve months.

And, as with all our Raspberry Pi Press publications, you can download the free PDF from our website.

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Sinilink WIFI-USB mobile remote controller

via Dangerous Prototypes

Peter Scargill blogged about his AliExpress Sinilink WIFI USB controller project:

So here’s a thing – I had this all set up and working perfectly with Tasmota on my WiFi – then plugged the unit (USB male end) into a USB3 connector – and it immediately lost the lot – well, the settings, not Tasmota – I had to go back to using my mobile phone as an access point and re-enter the info. That’s annoying but the reset after USB3 plugin might be related to somehow triggering the “normal” Tasmota device recovery, which indeed does a “factory reset”. So what I did next after advice from subscriber “sfromis”, was to use “SetOption65 1” in Tasmota console (which is a non-volatile setting) and I’ve had no trouble since – on the same USB3 hub.

More details on Scargill’s Tech Blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Internet connected fire/smoke alarm project

via Dangerous Prototypes

Martin Harizanov blogged about his cheap DIY IoT smoke detector:

This project is an upgrade to a previous project of mine – the DIY IoT smoke alarm. It is a more advanced version that uses dedicated hardware rather than the generic “Funky” project + external components. In essence, the module integrates into cheap smoke detectors and provides wireless event transmission plus periodic battery measurements to cloud infrastructure using BBoilRF as a gateway (over MQTT).

More details on Martin’s corner on the web blog. See part 1 here.

Check out the video after the break.

DIY wireless temp/humid/pressure sensors for measuring vacuum sealed 3D printed filament containers

via Dangerous Prototypes

Scott M. Baker writes:

I made some wireless sensors, using BME280 temperature, humidity, and pressure sensors, together with SYN115 transmitter modules. I used these to verify the storage of vacuum sealed “PrintDry” 3D filament storage containers.

See the full post on his Scott M. Baker blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Some of the best bicycle projects for #CycleToWorkDay

via Raspberry Pi

Avid followers of our Raspberry Pi Twitter account may be aware of just how bike-loving the residents of Pi Towers are. From the weekend cyclists to Cambridge-London-Cambridge racers, the flat land around our office calls us to jump on a bike and explore the fenlands.

#CycleToWorkDay

In celebration of #CycleToWorkDay, we’ve brought together a collection of some of our favourite bike-themed Raspberry Pi projects, perfect for those of you who enjoy a bike ride — or a pint!

Bicycle-powered beer dispenser

The Glaswegian company Bright Signals was tasked with a tasty project: create something for Menabrea that ties in with the Giro d’Italia cycle race passing close to the beer brewery in Biella, Northern Italy.

Menabrea Beer Bike Raspberry Pi #CycleToWorkDay

The result? This pedal- and Pi-powered beer dispenser that went on a 4-week celebratory tour ending in Glasgow.

You can learn more about this project here.

A rather dandy Pi-assisted Draisine

For a minute in the 1800s, before the introduction of pedal power, the balance bike, or Draisine, was the fun new way of getting from A to B.

Draisine 200.0

Uploaded by ecomentode on 2017-06-08.

A team at Saarland University, Germany, headed by Prof. Holger Hermanns modernised the Draisine, bringing this old vehicle up to date with power assistance thanks to the Raspberry Pi.

Read more about this Draisine here.

Raspberry Pi–powered cycle helmet

Jen Fox’s Raspberry Pi safety helmet prototype uses an accelerometer and a Raspberry Pi Zero to monitor impact force, notifying the cyclist whether or not the impact of their fall deserves medical attention.

Make an Impact Force Monitor!

Check out my latest Hacker in Residence project for SparkFun Electronics: the Helmet Guardian! It’s a Pi Zero powered impact force monitor that turns on an LED if your head/body experiences a potentially dangerous impact. Install in your sports helmets, bicycle, or car to keep track of impact and inform you when it’s time to visit the doctor.

While you should always seek medical attention if you have a bike accident, the notification LED on the helmet is a great way of reminding stubborn cyclists that their accident was more than just a tumble.

Learn more about Jen’s build here!

Matt’s smart bike light

This one comes up in conversation A LOT at Pi Towers. Matt Richardson’s smart bike light project uses a Raspberry Pi and hall effect sensor to determine the speed you’re cycling at; a project displays your speed in front of the bike.

Raspberry Pi Dynamic Bike Headlight Prototype and Test

Here’s the first prototype of the Dynamic Bike Headlight. I managed to get it out onto the street to try it out, too! My previous video about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzRAcZq0imM View other videos on the vlog: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOPvnSRDf2EuIYj18l7iBdgt-27ZnOAdP&feature=view_all Subscribe here: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=mrichardson23 Visit my site: http://mattrichardson.com/

For those who know Matt Richardson, we hope you appreciated this blast-from-the-past, beardless Matt. In fact, we know you did.

Find out more about this bike light here.

The Bicrophonic Sonic Bike

British sound artist Kaffe Matthews has created a new type of cycling experience. The cyclist divides a virtual map into zones, and the Bicrophonic Sonic Bike plays back music to the rider based on which zone they are in, courtesy of an on-board Raspberry Pi with GPS dongle and speakers.

What is Bicrophonics?

Bicrophonics is about the mobility of sound, experienced and shared within a moving space, free of headphones and free of the internet. Music made by the journey you take, played with the space that you move through. The Bicrophonic Research Institute (BRI) http://sonicbikes.net

As you can see from the video, the sound played can range from the calming peace of the countryside to the rather loud, disturbing buzz of the city.

Learn more about the tech behind the project here.

Hacked Kindle bike computer

David Schneider’s bike computer displays speed, distance, time and more on a Kindle he hacked with the help of a Raspberry Pi.

DIY: Build A Better Bike Computer

A Raspberry Pi and Kindle make vital information about your bicycle journey readable. Read more: http://spectrum.ieee.org/video/geek-life/hands-on/video-build-a-better-bike-computer

The experimental browser on the Kindle displays a web page hosted on the Raspberry Pi. And the glare-free E Ink display makes the screen easy to view regardless of light conditions — perfect for sunny weekend bike rides.

Find out more here.

Any others?

Have you hacked your cycling experience with a Raspberry Pi? Do you have a pedal-powered project in the works? Or would you simple like to boast about your bike and cycling achievements? Let’s get the cycle conversation going in the comments below. I’ll start!

The post Some of the best bicycle projects for #CycleToWorkDay appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Eight(ish) Raspberry Pi projects for the summer

via Raspberry Pi

The sun is actually shining here in Cambridge, and with it, summer-themed Raspberry Pi projects are sprouting like mushrooms across our UK-based community (even though mushrooms don’t like hot weather…). So we thought we’d gather some of our favourite Pi-powered projects perfect for the sun-drenched outdoors.

Air quality monitors and solar radiation

With the sun out in all its glory, we’re spending far more time outside than is usual for UK summer. To protect yourself and your adventurous loved ones, you might want to build a Raspberry Pi device to monitor solar radiation.

Raspberry Pi summer project

“Solar radiation is the radiation, or energy, we get from the sun.” explains project designer Uladzislau Bayouski. “Measurements for solar radiation are higher on clear, sunny day and usually low on cloudy days. When the sun is down, or there are heavy clouds blocking the sun, solar radiation is measured at zero.”

To measure more health-related environmental conditions, you could build this air quality monitor and keep an eye on local pollution.

Particulater air quality Oliver Crask Raspberry Pi summer project

Maker Oliver Crask describes the project:

Data is collected by the particulates sensor and is combined with readings of temperature, humidity, and air pressure. This data is then transferred to the cloud, where it is visualised on a dashboard.

If you’ve been building your own hackable weather station using our free guide, these are also great add-ons to integrate into that project.

Build Your Own weather station kit assembled Raspberry Pi summer project

Automatic pet and plant feeders

While we’re spending our days out in the sun, we need to ensure that our pets and plants are still getting all the attention they need.

This automatic chicken feeder by Instructables user Bertil Vandekerkhove uses a Raspberry Pi to remotely control the release of chicken feed. No more rushing to get home to feed your feathered friends!

Raspberry Pi summer project

And while we’re automating our homes, let us not forget the plants! iPlanty is an automated plant-watering system that will ensure your favourite plant babies get all the moisture they need while you’re away from your home or office.

Planty Project

An automated Plant watering solution that waters my plant every day at 8:30

Electromagnetic bike shed lock

If, like me, you live in constant fear that your beloved bike may be stolen, this electromagnetic bike shed lock is the solution you need.

Raspberry Pi summer project

The lock system allows for only one user per lock at any one time, meaning that your bike needs to be removed before anyone else can use their RFID card to access the shed.

Time-lapse cameras

With so much sunlight available, now is the perfect time to build a time-lapse camera for your garden or local beauty spot. Alex D’s Zero W time-lapse HAT allows for some glorious cinematic sliding that’s really impressed us.

Slider Test Sunset

Slider settings: -960 mm drive distance -400 steps -28 seconds interval Camera settings (Canon EOS 550D): – Magic Lantern auto ettr – max ISO 1600 – max Exposure 10 seconds

If you don’t think you can match Alex’s PCB milling skills, you can combine our free Raspberry Pi timelapse resource and Adafruit’s motorised camera slider for a similar project!

Infrared laser tag

Raspberry Pi summer project

While it’s sunny and warm, why not make this Raspberry Pi Zero W laser tag for the kids…

…and then lock them outside, and enjoy a Pimms and a sit-down in peace. We’re here for you, suffering summer holiday parents. We understand.

Self-weighing smart suitcase

“We’re all going on a summer holiday”, and pj_dc’s smart suitcase will not only help you track of your case’s location, it’ll also weigh your baggage.

Raspberry Pi summer project

Four 50kg load cells built into the base of the case allow for weight measurement of its contents, while a GPS breakout board and antenna let you track where it is.

Our free resources

While they’re not all summer-themed, our free Raspberry Pi, Code Club, and CoderDojo resources will keep you and your family occupied over the summer months whenever you’ve had a little too much of the great outdoors. From simple Scratch projects through to Python and digital making builds, we’ve got something for makers of all levels and tastes!

Getting started with Raspberry Pi summmer projects

If you’re new to Raspberry Pi, begin with our Getting started guide. And if you’re looking for even more projects to try, our online community shares a sea of tutorials on Twitter every week.

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