In my previous posts in this series (I-III), I added night vision capabilities to the very cool NatureBytes wildlife camera kit. As in all maker projects – improvements had to be made.
Once I placed the night-vision capable camera in the field for testing, I discovered the LISIPAROI IR light board cannot be used in the wild. The device is just not powerful enough. If is fine for close-up work, but outside? Forget it.
It was time to turn disappointment into action. Plus, if it worked out of the box – what fun is that? Time to get serious. As I searched the web, I discovered weatherproof 12V IR lamps are cheap. These are designed to be used with CCTV cameras, most of which are 12 or 24 VDC powered. I purchased a pair for around $16 USD. The one I chose is made by a company called Phenas.
In Part-I and Part-II of this blog series, I assembled the terrific NatureBytes Camera Kit and mounted it on a tripod. I had to wait for parts to arrive before I could add night-vision to the kit. This blog post shows how I modified the camera kit so it can see in the dark.
The goal was to somehow mount and power the LISIPAROI IR light board while still maintaining the weather-proof integrity of the NatureBytes camera kit. The night-vision hack turned out to be pretty simple.
I found a small plastic box with a latching lid in the office supply aisle at a local Wal-Mart. It was designed to store paper clips on a desk, but Ol’ Sopwith had other ideas. The box was the perfect size to install a battery pack, trigger wire and IR light board. Continue reading
In Part-I of this series, I introduced the NatureBytes KickStarter project and finally got around to building the kit I ordered in 2015. I want to hack it so I can capture photos/ videos at night. I need to identify what nocturnal animals are exploring my yard overnight.
The Camera Kit is simply – Fantastic! Details of the kit and the build instructions can be found here. The first thing that struck me was the quality of the bright green case. This thing is an engineering marvel.
On June 24, 2015, a NGO named NatureBytes began a KickStarter campaign to raise money for a wildlife camera kit based on the Raspberry PI. Based in Berkshire UK, west of London, this conservation group set out to encourage kids to get off the couch and explore nature.
Within a month, the campaign raised £34,164 from 303 backers. This was 108% over the goal of £28,995. At that time, Ol’ Sopwith was living in London and was one of 50 backers who pledged £85.
It was expected the kits would ship in December of 2015, but there were delays caused by the complicated molding process used in creating the cases. I followed the updates closely because I felt their pain. Anybody who has ever been involved in the injection molding process of plastics knows how difficult this can be.
As promised, I have updated the AM2315 temperature sensor “How-To” document for modern times. The changes include:
- The removal of the obsolete quickwire library that caused so much pain.
- Removing quickwire also removed the dependency on Python3.
- Added the very capable i2c library tentacle-pi written by lexruee.
- Use of the Raspian Switch OS means these instructions work on any Pi.
- Streamlined 6-Step process.
I have tested the new procedures on every Pi that I have in the drawer. This includes a Pi v1, v2, vA+, v3, and the Pi Zero. Yup – they all work using the same software and the same pinout. Sweet!
You can download the new document and test script here.
For all of you that have contacted me in the last couple of months trying to get your sensor working, I apologize for the delay in getting this document updated.
Ebon Upton announced in a blog post on September 8, 2016, that 10 million Rapsberry Pi’s have been sold. This is an incredible feat in the middle of an incredible story. The world is a better place because of people like Ebon and his dedicated team. To top it all off, Ebon is the nicest and most humble guy you could ever meet.
Congratulations and thanks for the coolest gadget of all time.
On November 26, 2015, Eben Upton and his engineering team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the release of another member of the Pi family – Pi Zero. As far as I know, this is the first usable computer that runs Linux and costs $5 USD. This is an amazing accomplishment.
Rather than blog out all of the technical details, I suggest you download the latest issue of the MagPi. This is one of my favorite magazines, and the 40th issue is one of the best ever. It contains everything you need to know about the new Pi.
Cynics may argue that this Pi really does not qualify as a $5 computer since you need to invest in a couple of special cables to make is useful. Also, you need to solder in a pin header if you want to use the IO capabilities. So what? This is just another proof of Sopwith’s theorem – “If it works out of the box – what fun is that?”
The fact anyone can purchase a computer with this power at a $5 price point says it all. I suspect this device will be more popular with hackers and makers than with schools, but this remains to be seen.
Eben posted a video explaining the reasoning behind building a $5 computer. I am struck by his passion and dedication to the education of young people. His humbleness is striking.
Ol’ Sopwith has been pretty slow to warm up to the crowdfunding frenzy. My friends over at the Pi Supply Store alerted me to a pretty cool project that has it all; Pi’s, Pi cameras, nature, hacking, and young people.
I have hacked lot of projects using the Pi cam and have been on the constant lookout for a rugged case to use outdoors. Bingo.The Naturebytes Wildlife Cam Kit Project is a brilliant idea from a very passionate group of talented founders.
Take a look at this project and send a few dollars their way. Project has to be funded by July 25, 2015.
About a year ago I posted a ‘How-To‘ document describing how to connect an AM2315 temperature sensor to a Pi. I received many emails and many people posted responses to my blog entry.
One of the most interesting emails I received was from Dr. Michael Glenn, Plant Physiologist and Director of Research, at the US Department of Agriculture. Dr. Glenn was trying to solve a problem.
As we all know, global warming is an important topic today. Regardless of your personal views on the subject, the only way we will ever know the true facts about the impact of a warmer earth is to study it. Dr. Glenn and his research team do just that.
There continues to be great interest in hacking weather sensors on the Pi. A while ago I wrote a ‘How-To‘ for the AOSONG AM2315 temperature/humidity sensor that was quite popular. Today I have released another ‘How-To‘ for the AM2315’s siblings – the AM2302, DHT11, and DHT22 sensors.
I have found that experienced Pi/Linux users can get these sensors up and running in a very short time. For many hackers new to the Pi and or Linux, it is a challenging learning process, sometimes even intimidating. Sopwith’s ‘How-To‘ series are guides designed to help these folks succeed in their Pi project.
Each ‘How-To‘ includes screen shots for nearly every step of a project. Although this takes some work and makes the documents longer, I have found it is these images that help Pi enthusiasts understand each implementation step.
You can download the ‘How-To‘ below. The Zip file also contains the modified test Python script described in the document.
Post a comment if the ‘How-To‘ Series helps you with your projects. Improvements, edits, bug reports, and requests for other ‘How-To‘ topics are most welcome.
There is a kid out there who would love to help you hack your Pi.