Raspberry Pi Zero – updating the gate opener with water meter OCR

Introduction

My Raspberry Pi 1B+ has been opening garadge and letting me know of the conditions for work nearly 4 years. Recently I’ve decided to replace this 2014 small board computer (SBC) with newer version. I’ve also looked at better (the principle Keep it Small and Simple – KISS) solutions that became available – i.e. ESP Easy on ESP8266 (controlling the relay and reading the contact switch is not too much for this platform, even with addition of environmental sensors), but after some thinking – the option of leaving the Raspberry Pi in place won because of one additional perk that I wanted to handle – a classic water meter. Yes, such an old analogue water meter. Fun!

Raspberry Pi Zero Front
Raspberry Pi Zero Front

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Domoticz part 5: Grafana, InfluxDB, Telegraf – beautiful and easy graphs

Grafana is the answer to the nagging question we’be been asking ourselves over the years – how to quickly and nicely present our data gathered from devices. InfluxDB on the other hand is the database that is as easy and simple to use, thus making it an ideal candidate for this job.
Let me show you how to quickly and easily put our data from domoticz and other devices to InfluxDB and then using Grafana – display in much more useful way than default domoticz graphs do.

What will we need?

Software

  • InfluxDB
  • Grafana
  • bash scripts

Hardware

  • Raspberry Pi – 4B+
  • OPTION: Raspberry Pi A/B/B+ lub Zero (armv6)
  • OPTION: A different ARM based micro-computer (i.e.: OPi PC” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Official Store – OrangePi PC using CPU H3/H2/H5) – they could be cheaper. It’s also entirely possible to use x86 computer with Debianem, but it’s going to eat way more than 4-6W when using ARM based. Here I used finally Orange Pi PC with latest armbian distribution, tested first on latest Raspberry Pi 2

Continue reading Domoticz part 5: Grafana, InfluxDB, Telegraf – beautiful and easy graphs

Raspberry Pi 4 – a surprise but also radical change in the project’s direction

RPI 4 ze strony fundacji
The new Raspberry Pi 4 is a very interesting change in the direction of the original project. Why? I will summarize what we already know, right after the premiere:

  • new CPU, with much more computing power – not because of the clock, but ARM cores in version A72. The execution process – 28nm, is perhaps not the newest (it has never been) and, as tests show – the current is the higher temperature of the plate, and clearly the warmer PMIC system than in RPi 3B +
  • 4GB RAM is the only option to purchase, in addition to very specialized solutions like a mediacenter
  • The key change is the the overall performance boost of the computer – the fast processor, the DDR4 memory (twice as fast as before), but the best decision is to directly connect to the CPU GigabitEthernet port (simplifying) and dramatically increasing the performance of USB ports. The fact that USB 3.0 was added is not as important as the transfer speed that you can actually get. This opens up completely new horizons for RPi – for example: connecting additional ‘power ups’ – machine learning sticks via USB
  • Power: at last no problems – the USB-C connector simply allows you to send more – more power. It’s now 5V / 3A – this simply means a powerful charger, but it does not mean that we will use the fast charging modes offered by USB 3.0 PD (so a 9V charger from the phone will not do us any good). Mini USB previously – was one of the main problems of the platform, to few amps…
  • “New” Raspbian based on Debian Buster still needs some work – stability, and the availability of libraries, but this will probably change quickly
  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation annouced new firmware for the USB controller – which will result in lowering overal temperature of the board – 4-5 degress, the controler iteslf about 10 degrees less, and the system will consume less power.

To summarize – the new Raspberry Pi 4 is definitely not anymore a computer for hobbyists and science, sometimes adapted to professional solutions – it is an efficient SBC for semi-professional projects out of the box.

The Raspbery Pi 4 enters a completely new path – especially for effective applications of popular buzzwords – AI / Machine Learning.

Update – January 2020

After a few months of presence on the market, you can summarize the pros and cons of the new tile from the Raspberry foundation:

Cons:

  • unable to boot from PXE / NFS / DHCP
  • unable to boot from USB
  • the problem of simultaneous use of WiFi and UHD 4K video mode

Pro:

  • lowering the demand for electricity and cooling – thanks to the improved USB bridge firmware

This last issue seems to me the most problematic and makes me wait for the next version – Raspberry Pi 4B + – since we have a USB bridge in the main chip (SoC) – what was the point of adding a foreign VIA bridge?

0.96″ OLED SSD1306 display and Raspberry Pi

[Update: 2019-03-30] Our reader, Paweł Kopacz, noticed that pip, setuptools and wheel are also needed
Quick and visually compelling projects don’t come easy ? Naaah, just like last time – let’s get on a very nice and easy project – attaching display onto Raspberry Pi. As we were chating on the Malinowe Pi Group, Hubert Wu pointed me to a OLED 128×64 display, monochrome. With a quite decent resolution of 128×64 and based on OLED technology this is a nice 0.96 inch display. Well, my first computer was running at Hi-Res of 640×400 and monochrome too. Priced at $3-$5 pops-up as: ”0.96″ I2C IIC Serial 128X64” in popular stores and is clearly based on original Adafruit SSD1306 – which would be my first choice!

Wyświetlacz OLED SSD1306 - grafika
A OLED SSD1306 display

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[UPDATED 03-02-2018] SMOG sensor – 2,5 and 10 micro meter particles

[Last changes]:
07-11-2017: Additional data from richer stations, Open-Smog Integration
20-12-2017: USB power control on Raspberry Pi 3, thanks to reader
02-03-2018: New API from GIOŚ Poland

SMOG is common nowadays in big cities. Let’s put together a working, precise own SMOG sensor, first for the 2,5 and 10 μm size particles. There is one issue – the choices are many, but only few are reliable, precise and have affordable price. Finally – after a log searching, I’ve chosen Nova Fitness SDS011:

  • precision is OK
  • fan included
  • ability to mount a small tube to access external air
  • very realiable
  • UART with USB converter included
  • Low Total cost: around $40 (with Orange Pi Zero) up to $60 (with Raspberry Pi)

Continue reading [UPDATED 03-02-2018] SMOG sensor – 2,5 and 10 micro meter particles

ESP8266 and SMOG part four: Sleep mode for SDS011 in ESPEasy MEGA 2.0

The SMOG sensor project became a bit complex – along with the addition of relay. In the mean time thanks to Gijs Noorlander and yours- since you build, ask and use the sensor – we got updated version of ESPEasy MEGA 2.0 for ESP8266.

Why the new blog entry? That’s because Gijs added the included in SDS011 function that when sent over serial connections allows to put SDS011 to sleep. Simple, elegant solution to extend the life and quality of the measurements of the SDS011 – better than relay approach.

ESP8266 ESP Easy MEGA 2.0
ESP8266 ESP Easy MEGA 2.0

Now, just by means of connecting extra jumper cable we can go back to a simpler version of the sensor – a union of first version with addition of the temperature and humidity sensor form the second one.
Continue reading ESP8266 and SMOG part four: Sleep mode for SDS011 in ESPEasy MEGA 2.0

Measuring air quality using Bosch BME680 and AMS CCS811 – IAQ, TVOC, eCO2

BME680 on Raspberry Pi 3

Measurement of basic environmental data in our apartment – temperature and humidity is one of the most popular applications of commonly available sensors for Raspberry Pi (RPi), Orange Pi (OPi) and ESP8266.

Then we added ability to measure the SMOG otuside and inside and today we will deal with two new and very interesting air quality sensors.
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Domoticz part 8 – Stable instance of Domoticz, 24/7/365 mode – high availability at home

As a result, a both fresh and advanced user finds himself in a situation where the system – ceases to work at all, or requires frequent restarts, or worse causes quick degradation of the main storage device – which is often (micro) SD card.

Is there a simple and effective solution to increase Domoticz’s availability on Raspberry Pi / Orange Pi?

Sure there is! But first – before you begin – make a copy of your (micro)SD working used in domoticz instance on your Raspberry Pi/Orange Pi.
CAUTION: We will perform operations that may lead to the loss of all data – so make sure you have a copy!

What will you need?

Software:

  • monit
  • rsync

Hardware:

  • harddrive either classic HDD or better SSD, small is OK from 32GB up to 128GB
  • heatsinks for Raspberry Pi/Orange Pi
  • USB 2.0 or 3.0 to SATA adapter – so we can connect the harddrive via USB port

Continue reading Domoticz part 8 – Stable instance of Domoticz, 24/7/365 mode – high availability at home

ESP8266 and SMOG part three: sensor protection, cloud upload

Last time we updated our simple SMOG sensor with display (OLED) and added BME 280 to verify the SMOG measurements – the environmental sensor – as we know that humidity over 70% can add up to the SMOG.
It’s time now to protect our sensor.
Continue reading ESP8266 and SMOG part three: sensor protection, cloud upload

Embedded devices: Linux on Raspberry Pi, ESP 8266 and others