Zumspot Revival (I was wrong!)

Ok so I wrote recently that the ZUMspot Pi boards were no longer available from Bruce and I made the mistake of concluding that meant they were no longer available. Tuns out I was wrong! The ZUMspot Pi boards are available in the USA exclusively from HRO (Ham Radio Outlet)

There’s four listing’s when you do a search on their website for “ZUMspot”

So yup, I was wrong! I’m happy to wrong because it means that you can still get yourself a ZUMspot Pi board!

MMDVM Hotspot with ZUMspot Pi

So I’ve entered the relatively new digital modes (for me anyway) of DMR & YSF. This requires either a digital repeater or personal hotspot to access. The popular way to do this is with a software suite called MMDVM and currently there’s two Raspberry Pi images available that take care of having to build everything yourself. The first is PiStar and the other is by KB5RAB

I’m using the Pi-star image as it’s headless (meaning it doesn’t require a keyboard & monitor to run)and uses a webui to configure and uses a read-only file system once everything is loaded, whereas the KB5RAB is a full Raspbian desktop.  As you can see from the pictures I’m using a Raspberry Pi2 and the ZUMSpot Pi and a dual colour OLED.

When portable I have 10000 (mAh) 5v power pack that is about the same size as the case I’m using for the Pi2, so a few rubber bands double looped holds it all together rather nicely! The ZUMSpot Pi hat is the perfect size for fitting the OLED screen inside the case using some double sided foam tape stuck to the HDMI socket and the very top edge of OLED is resting on the CPU heat sink. Initially I was going to attach the I2C ribbon cable to the bottom of the Raspberry Pi, but if I ever want to swap the ZUMSpot out I’d be without the OLED so instead I attached it to the ZUMSpot hat.

 

Finally links to items…

Pi-Star by Andy Taylor

ZUMSpot Pi by Bruce Given

Generic OLED screen

Generic Nextion screen

 

Weather Underground Webcam

Over the years I’ve tinkered with having a live webcam taking a picture of the weather conditions in my local area. Recently I rediscovered an old Logitech E3500 webcam that I figured would serve the purpose quite well. There’s a limitation with USB on a Raspberry Pi, some things will work as expected without any trouble and some things not so well. It turns out that the E3500 camera suffers from over exposure and the sensor simply gives you a blank image! at first I figured is was a v4l2 driver issue but the webcam behaves just fine on my notebook (both in Linux & Windows) so some further experimenting with things simply didn’t work out to well, so basically provided there wasn’t too much light or too much glare you’d get a good image captured using fswebcam and when things weren’t you’d just have a plain black image being produced. So I decided to abandon the idea of using the E3500 and turned to the PiNoIR camera for raspberry pi. this camera although lacking a UV filter produces a good picture. I decided to place the included blue filter over the lens to see if that makes much difference with the captured image.

pinoir
Raspberry Pi Model A+ and PiNoIR Camera

This is the PiNoIR camera facing south and upwards, yes it’s and overcast day with patches of drizzle! anyway you’ll notice that there’s some foliage from a plant on the next door neighbours property that looks a little strange that’s because you’re seeing the effects of photosynthesis and can only be seen in the IR band of light (normally filtered out) So that picture is acceptable so I’ve started uploading and image every 5 minutes.

IMG_20160223_113037
Logitech E3500 captured using fswebcam

This is a capture done with the Logitech E3500, mid morning and facing south-east with yet another overcast day! but it wasn’t long after this picture and the remainder of the day was just a black image. so it was a FAIL!

IMG_20160227_195459
Raspberry Pi Model A+ and PiNoIR Camera

The Raspberry Pi is resting on the window seal with a ball of Blu-Tack preventing it from moving or falling off. One of the problems with pointing cameras outside in a suburban area is making sure that you don’t have it facing directly into your neighbours window (or similar)

 

The Raspberry Pi is using Raspbian Jessie Lite and this is missing ftp so that will need to be installed before you can start to sending your pictures. I have the following two scripts running from crontab, pinoir.sh captures the image and saves it locally in /tmp  Then wuftp.sh uploads the image to weather underground via ftp. The “MAILTO=” prevents crontab from flooding you with an email for every time its run! However there’s no mail server on the raspberry pi but if you were going to use something like on a standard Debian install you’ll soon like that “MAILTO=” trick! also the “>/dev/null 2>&1” should also prevent anything from triggering an email as it’s piping all stdout to the bit bucket of /dev/null

Crontab

 # m h dom mon dow command
 MAILTO=""
 14,29,44,59 * * * * /usr/local/bin/pinoir.sh >/dev/null 2>&1
 */15 * * * * /usr/local/bin/wuftp.sh >/dev/null 2>&1

wuftp.sh

 #!/bin/bash
 HOST='webcam.wunderground.com'
 USER='user'
 PASSWD='password'
 FILE='/tmp/pinoir.jpg'
 /usr/bin/ftp -n -v $HOST << END_SCRIPT
 user $USER $PASSWD
 put $FILE image.jpg
 quit
 END_SCRIPT
 exit 0

pinoir.sh

 #bin/bash
 raspistill -w 640 -h 480 -q 100 -x -dt -bm -n -o /tmp/pinoir.jpg

 

Things to do… put an overlay on the captured image with a time/date stamp or similar and possibly get the standard raspberry pi camera so that the images are true colour instead of the slightly washed out type they currently are. 😉

Raspberry Pi Addiction!

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve got a little attraction for the Raspberry Pi.  I got my first in early 2013 at a time when I wasn’t able to play with it straight away due to other commitments (it was bushfire season and I was volunteering for the Tasmanian Fire Service. Since then I’ve got a small collection! they have been used for different things and at one point I was hosting this blog until after six months of MySql queries finally killed the sdcard (thank you backups!) so I no longer self host this blog but the experiment proved that it can be done however it’s better to not rely on SDCard media as there’s a limit to the amount of read/write cycles and eventually it will fail! so back up, back up back up if you are keeping anything important.

So I currently have the following Raspberry Pi’s, 1x Pi1 Model B, 1x Pi1 Model B+, 1x Pi1 Model A+, 2x Pi2 Model B and 1x Pi Zero and the current arrangement for the Pi’s is as follows…

  • Pi1 Model B being used as my APRS T2 server (amateur radio)
  • Pi1 Model B+ uploading weather data from a Lacrosse ws-2310 to Weather UnderGround.
  • Pi2 Model B using a RTL2832u DVB for Flight Radar 24 uploading ADS-B aircraft data.
  • Pi Zero setup with Transmission for seeding the current Noobs/lite and Raspbian/lite images.
  • Pi1 Model A+ has a PiNoIR and I’ve been occasionally using it to monitor things in the dark!
  • The others are currently resting (for now!)

So I’ve gone a bit link crazy but at least if you don’t know about something I’ve linked it to save your google foo! 😉

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Raspberry PiZero

I managed to get my hands on the much sought after Raspberry PiZero the smallest of the Raspberry Pi line. The PiZero was release with edition number 40 of the MagPi Magazine that included the PiZero board for free! (well you had to buy the magazine!) but now 3rd party distributors have limited stock and I managed to get mine from my favourite electronics supply Little Bird Electronics.

2885-06

I was not quite sure what to do with the PiZero and then it struck me that it’s the perfect thing to host the current official OS Raspbian & the NOOBs bootloader. so it’s currently running Transmission-daemon and is seeding four files.

Screenshot from 2016-01-17 10-54-01

Obviously this won’t be it’s only role but until I find something better this will do!