Category Archives: Raspberry Pi

Michelle’s Hamstrometer is in Raspberry Pi Geek!

This past summer, I read online that the breed of hamsters I own runs more than any other breed: “an equivalent of four human marathons each night on average.” With hopes of figuring out what exactly the “hamster equivalent” of a marathon is, I did a study on my hamster’s gait. And finally, with hopes of discovering whether or not there was any truth behind The Internet’s claims, I built a small Raspberry Pi-powered pedometer and stuck it on my hamsters’ wheel.

This month, the lucky portion of you who can read German can check out a 5-page spread on my DIY hamster experiment in the latest issue of Raspberry Pi Geek!


Before coming to CRASH Space, I lived and worked in Berlin, which makes having my work in a German magazine all the more personal and exciting for me. (Not to mention, many of our CRASH members are native German speakers!)

If you want, you can buy the latest issue here. You can also see the (less cool ’cause it’s not in a real paper magazine) version of the article here.

Michelle’s Hamstrometer is in Raspberry Pi Geek!
Buy it buy it buy it buy it

Also, check out this sweet German translation of my bio they made:

Michelle’s Hamstrometer is in Raspberry Pi Geek!

How I Open Sourced My Hamsters for Science

Determined to validate the oft-misguided claims of The Internet, I’ve spent the last month tracking my hamsters’ activity via a homemade Raspberry-Pi-powered Hamstrometer. And recently, I was approached by SuchWowTV to be featured in one of their videos!

If you’re interested in the details behind the build, you can head over to my blog and check out all of the pics and gifs I made of the build process!

Kevin’s Cat Wheel Activity Tracker

CRASH member Kevin Jordan is worried about his fat cat.

His fat cat needs more exercise, and like many of us, would greatly benefit from the motivation that comes from a little healthy competition. Unfortunately, we live in a world of tyranny and injustice, and there are no features on the many popular fitness trackers that are cat-friendly.

But like a true maker, Kevin has taken action.

In his own words:

My wheel from OneFastCat needed something. I wanted my cat to be able to compete on Strava with other cats but there was nothing available. Strava is a website and mobile app used to track athletic activity via GPS.

So, I made this system.

It is a breakbeam sensor connected with a Raspberry Pi computer. A fin on the outside of the wheel breaks the path of the sensor. Each rotation is mapped into a GPS location in the real world, moving 3.5 meters per rotation. After 100 seconds of no activity, the Raspberry Pi automatically upload’s to Toonces’ Strava page. The system resets automatically for the next wheel run.

Next up: Figuring a way for Toonces to run on the wheel without interaction from me. He can drive a car, but can’t run on a wheel.

Do you even Strava, cat?

For more information, check out his blog idreamincode!

Raspberry Pi Special Interest Group

Have you heard about Raspberry Pi, the inexpensive computer for under $25-45 dollars?

If you have a Pi, or are just wondering what all the excitement is about, join us the 4th Tuesday of Every Month for a Special Interest Group.

Here’s a fun link showing what people have done with their Pi’s:

Fourth Tuesday of Every Month.

April 9– Special Guest Speaker from Low Voltage Labs

April 9,  Special Guest Speaker–6 to 9 PM

Design a Raspberry Pi HAT using KiCAD running on the Raspberry Pi 2

A step-by-step guide to creating a Raspberry Pi HAT using the KiCAD suite of EDA tools running on the Raspberry Pi 2 itself.

The KiCAD project is an open source suite of EDA tools. KiCAD runs on Linux and the new Raspberry Pi 2 now has enough processing power to run KiCAD. KiCAD includes tools for schematic capture, netlist creation, printed circuit board (PCB) layout and a gerber viewer.

This presentation will cover:
– What is a HAT?
– Requirements for a HAT to be called a Raspberry Pi HAT
– Installing KiCAD on the Pi
– Drawing a schematic in KiCAD
– PCB layout in KiCAD
– Creating gerbers files
– Get your HAT PCB built

This is a great opportunity to preview a talk that will be given at the Bay Area Maker Faire. 

Low Voltage Labs designs and sells Open Source Hardware for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and easy to solder kits.

NYC Resistor Info Screen

We’ve added a new information screen at NYC Resistor on the new wall that we built next to the new laser cutter. It has a Raspberry Pi connected to the local ethernet and boots into a full-screen kiosk display based on the instructions. To do this we modified the /etc/rc.local to invoke Chromium in “application” mode, which has no GUI chrome or user-interface elements:

 chromium --app="$URL"
NYC Resistor Info Screen

Right now it shows us current tweets about @nycresistor, although the plan is to add video feeds for a front-door camera, Laser-vision and other stats about the space. Have any idea how to make this display more awesome? Let us know!

How-To: Interface a 50′s-Era Teletype Machine with a Modern Day Tablet

The teletype donated to Nova Labs by NYC Resistor at the 2013 New York Maker Faire was put to good use. Hacked by Bob Coggeshall (Sudo Bob), an in-depth how-to on hacking a teletype to be controlled with a modern-day tablet is available on his blog.

MAKE Magazine featured the project today on their blog! Read the article here.

Adding More Temp Sensors

Since my previous post I have added a couple additional temperature sensors to my piHouse project.  One is an outdoor temperature sensor that I previously programmed but never installed outside, and the other is a new sensor in my bedroom.  This involved some hardware planning and effort installing because I had to run a cable through the house and outside, but once I tested the new cable run, it was relatively simple to duplicate the software for the sensors I already had.

The part of this that took the most time was pulling the cable and then soldering the connections.  The biggest problem I have is placement of the outdoor sensor.  I am having issues with direct Sunlight.

Here are some highlights, you can find the whole story here.  This time I also include some examples of the commands I use on the raspberry pi to obtain the data.

When testing my hardware connections, I use this command to ask the pi to take a reading and then display the result to the command line:

house@raspberrypi ~ $ cat /sys/bus/w1/devices/28-00000512f401/w1_slave 2>&1


ROOM TEMP lowered during day, OUT temp. sensor moved outside

Adding More Temp Sensors

Three-way splice for room temp.

Adding More Temp Sensors

Added bedroom plot, outside sensor in sun

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

In March I posted about using my Raspberry Pi to monitor my furnace and the temperature of my apartment.  I moved over the summer and the new apartment does not have the same type of heating that the last apartment did. So I had to make some changes.

The Pi now interfaces with a Rinnai heater, which was slightly more complicated than the furnace thermostat.

Here are some highlights, you can find the whole story here.

The new heater, a Rinnai Energy Saver-551F

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

The Wiring Diagram and the Block diagram are on the inside of the front cover

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

Photo of “MICRO COMPUTER PCB” with relays circled

Aaron’s piHouse Monitor part 2

Assembling the whole thing

LED Wall of awesome nearly funded!

by Dan Royer

Several weeks ago our wonderful wall of LEDs returned to it’s Burning Man owners. It was 10×42 pixels and loved by all.

To replace it I’m running my third VHS funding drive. (The first was an 3D printer filament group buy, the second was the group quadcopter buy with Jon G.)

Every $30 will pay for one 8×8 panel of LEDs and a power supply. Just like the old wall it will be totally programmable through the Raspberry Pi. When the parts arrive I will host a group build party for all donors at VHS. Come decorate and assemble your panel in an afternoon of fun. Rainbows everywhere!

See two new panels

I’m also accepting $60 order of one-for-vhs-and-one-for-you. Take what you learn home and apply it to your next project. Burning Man? BITF? Bike Rave? Work less party? Halloween? So many good reasons! Please make clear this is what you want or I will assume you are donating two panels.

Minimum Goal

The minimum goal is to get 6×2 panels ($360) for a new wall that’s 48×16 LEDs.
Achieved 2014-07-08

Stretch Goals

If we get more donors than needed we’ll put the pixels closer together for a more detailed picture.
6×3 panels ($540)
12×2 panels ($720)
12×3 panels ($1080)
12×4 panels ($1440)

Donate Before…

This funding drive will end 2014-07-21.

Send your donation via Paypal to dan at marginallyclever dot com, or cash/credit card in person at VHS on Tuesdays from 20:00 to 22:00.