Adding more to the thermostat

Adding more to the Raspberry Pi

Having already basically created a thermostat using a Raspberry Pi and a temperature monitor in conjunction with the WiFi power socket I was wondering what functionality I could add. Having looked around for a bit I found that there is a camera module available which can pick up infra-red light.

pi-noirThis is the Raspberry Pi-Noir camera module. Basically, it’s the regular camera module with the IR filter removed. The cable is connected to one of the ZIF sockets on the Raspberry Pi board, so that’s quick and easy. The reason I liked the idea of the IR camera is that it could act as a baby monitor camera – particularly at night. However, a camera that doesn’t filter IR light still needs an IR light source though, and this is solved with the Bright-Pi module.

bright-piThis is a board with 8 IR LEDs and 4 regular light LEDs that connect to the pins on the Raspberry Pi board. Unfortunately, the assembly instructions point out that ‘some’ soldering is required. Bugger. Having previously noted that my previous experience with soldering wasn’t entirely positive this did have me slightly concerned. Not being one to back away from a challenge, I duly ordered myself a soldering iron and as small a tip as possible.

It turns out I’m still not great at soldering, however, it seems I am good enough. It probably took me 45 minutes in total (which is quite slow really), but I managed to solder all the LEDs and the cable connector to the board. Even more amazingly the LEDs worked when the board was connected to the Pi and the control commands sent. I was quite impressed with myself at this point.


Adding all these modules meant I needed a case for the Pi – and there are loads of cases available. Having looked around, I finally settled on this one:

smartipi_raspberry_pi_case_compatible_with_lego_bricks_2A lego compatible case! With a camera compartment. Given this is going to be in The Son’s room – it definitely appealed to my geeky side. The only slight drawback was that the Bright-Pi add-on didn’t fit with the camera compartment cover – so the camera module would have to remain fully exposed. Not a disaster, and nothing a bit of Blu-Tac wouldn’t fix. See, I can do low tech solutions too!

The finished article now looks like this:

finished-pi-cam-tempOK, so I bought a few bits of lego as well … so that the camera can be raised up a bit, and a couple of blocks for the temperature/humidity sensor to sit on. The online document for putting the temperature/humidity module together had used glue to attach the module to a case – again, I used Blu-Tac to attach the module to the lego bricks.

The final addition to this project was to make sure that the camera output be available as a webpage – OH approval being important here. There seemed to be quite a few options available, in the end I settled for an implementation using MJPEG and making the results available on a web page – along with lots of configuration options. Making some minor changes I was able to put together a web page that included the live camera feed, and the last 6 hours of temperature/humidity monitoring in a graph. There are even Android and iOS apps available that can interface directly with the web page for viewing the camera output.

I could take things even further and enable motion detection and video recording, but so far I haven’t felt that is necessary.

More running …

Yes, it’s the regular running update. I had a run on Thursday night – unfortunately the GPS wouldn’t lock on the watch, so there was no Strava recording. However, the wireless earphones worked for their second use. I also had another run this evening, and the earphones worked for the third successive run. Unfortunately, it seems that there was a problem with Ghostracer during the run and the last lap has been lost, but the remaining run was recorded but the earphones worked correctly.


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