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2015

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RASPBERRY PI PROJECTS

Just between you and me, it can sometimes be tricky finding enough content for "top lists" like these. At times it almost feels like you're settling for certain entries, rather than really wanting to put them front and centre.


When it comes to the Raspberry Pi, however, that's not really much of a problem. The difficulty is whittling down the huge number of projects that you guys post over the space of a year into just 10!


But you're dear to me, reader, and I've selflessly persevered to bring you my top 10 Raspberry Pi projects of 2015.


It's a subjective list, of course, and I'd love to get your opinions on which hacks particularly caught your eye over the last 12 months. So take a look at my list, and let's see how it compares to your own in the comments section.


Car DVR with Raspberry Pi 2 and Pi Camera Board

by aaroNiGHTS

Aaron put together a great project here in building his own in-car DVR, but he also raised a great point that offered the real reason he made it into the top 10. A cheapo DVR is available for less money, and at a lot less cost, but his reasons for using the RPi in this project are hard to argue with; the camera has the full weight of the Pi 2's processing power behind it, which very, very few CCD camera modules can boast.

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Pi Ball – A Spherical and Interactive Raspberry Pi 2 Case

by Catwell

Cabe Atwell puts a lot of projects together on element14, as you know, but for several months after the Raspberry Pi 2 was released, a lot of people were dwelling on its lack of an official case. And quite rightly, as small boards like this need protection. Cabe's answer to this much-asked question was particularly inspiring though, and well worth looking back at.

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Create your own cloud server on the Raspberry Pi 2

by DaveYoung

This is actually a follow up to a previous project put together by Dave, when he set up an original Pi as a cloud server. That version had its difficulties, so when the Raspberry Pi 2 arrived, he took the opportunity to update it and did an outstanding job.

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Raspberry Pi Photo Booth (with Touch screen & Thermal printer)

by fvan

Thermal printers have enjoyed a new lease of life over the last 12 months, not least because of fun projects like this one. Simple and classic, and reminds me of that photo booth at the beginning of Shrek (only without the dancing wooden doll things, of course!).

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Raspberry Pi - Network Spy Energy Saver

by mcollinge

Our very own Matt Collinge posted this one, and although we're aiming to put the focus on members today, it's such a great project it can't be easily overlooked. Energy efficiency is a big deal these days for all number of reasons, so Matt figured out a way to put a Pi 2 to eco use. I'm quite cheap, so I'm definitely going to put this on my maker's list!

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Adding a Shutdown Button to the Raspberry Pi B+

by ipv1

Although it might not seem like a particularly technical task, the lack of a shutdown button to help protect your Pi's Linux OS is seen by many as quite an oversight in terms of design. Fortunately, Inderpreet took care of business (and again for the Pi 2, in fact).

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Connecting to a Remote Desktop on the Raspberry Pi

by ntewinkel

So many Raspberry Pi projects use the device headerless (no display or controls), so Nico's efforts here are worthy of attention. He showed us all how to take control of a Pi over the network, and never need a monitor again!

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Raspberry Pi IoT ticket printer for online stores.

by justiciero24

Although we've already had one project that used a thermal printer, Daniel's ticket machine still earns a spot in the top 10. For small business users, the internal RPi monitors email addresses and prints off tickets when an order comes in!

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Miniature Solar Cells and Improving Real-Time GPIO Performance

by shabaz

What Shabaz has clever done here is to build a project -- a Raspberry Pi voltmeter -- as a way to demonstrate something quite different; how to greatly improve GPIO input stability. This will have applications reaching beyond his project, and into many, many others.

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Ultimate Guide to Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2

by peteroakes & others

Much of this great work has been done by Peter Oakes, who's uncovered more about running Windows 10 IoT Core on the Raspberry Pi 2 than most anyone else online! So we're not just looking at one project here, but a whole series that takes the Pi into exciting new territory.

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We are the developers of WTware - thin clients operating system. This year we released new free version for Raspberry Pi 2. It makes connections to Terminal Server with Windows Server OS installed and so you can use Windows Applications on Pi 2. Please, try it: http://winterminal.com

The Raspberry Pi Zero form factor, makes it perfect for use in smaller project. Combined with internet connectivity, a display and some kind of input, it could be used to visualise virtually anything.

 

Using a Pi Zero, an I2C OLED display from Adafruit, a miniature wifi dongle, two push buttons and a custom 3D printed enclosure, I attempted to create a small device which can sit on my desk and report various things, such as:

  • time and date
  • network settings
  • social media stats

 

This could easily be expanded to display the weather, latest email received, tweets you are mentioned in, or even the latest discussions on element14. The choice is yours!

 

One button cycles through the different screens, the other triggers actions depending on the active screen. For example, on the network settings screen, the button forces the Pi to reconnect to the network.

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The wiring diagram, code, 3D files ... are available in a complete blog post on my website should you want to know more about this build: Raspberry Pi Zero Internet Connected Information Display – Frederick Vandenbosch

 

Check it out and let me know what you think!

I received my Raspberry Pi Zero earlier this week


While holding it, I noticed one of the USB hubs I had, had the same form factor as this new Pi. So I combined the two into a as small as possible package.

The Pi is powered from the USB hub and the USB OTG port is connected to the hub, providing 4 ports for connectivity allowing to connect wifi/keyboard/mouse/bluetooth/...

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All connection details for the wiring etc ... are available in a complete blog post on my website should you want to recreate this build: Raspberry Pi Zero – USB Hub Mod | Frederick Vandenbosch

 

Enjoy!

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Welcome back to the Trick or Trivia Blog. In this installment, I will show off how I built the candy dispenser that will set beside the tombstone. Unfortunately this part of the project did not turn out as I had planned because I could not find the type of bowls I was looking for. I did managed to cobble something together that works, and I will be able to build a better version for next Halloween.

 

My original idea was to use faux concrete flower urns that typically can be found beside tombstones. I got the idea from some flower vases I saw at the local Hobby Lobby back in July, but was unable to find them again at any store I visited. So I improvised and bought two cheap Halloween Candy bowls, and hacked them into something that would work. While this is not the most refined solution, it worked well in the end.

 

The Hardware and Tools Needed

 

 

Below you will see a list of the hardware and tools used to build the candy dish that catches the dispensed candy.

 

  • Two large bowls of similar size
  • 15-20 Sticks of Hot Glue
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • 6”x6” Square of Plywood
  • Knife or Scribe
  • Shims Made from Scrap Cardboard.

 

 

Installing The Touchscreen

 

Before we get started on the candy dispenser, I wanted to quickly show you how I installed the touch screen into the Tombstone. I spent a lot of time mulling over how to mount the screen, and after several different mockups, I decided on just using hot glue to secure it. Unfortunately during the time I moved to my new home, and the time I began working on this (a week later) I found that the Raspberry Pi Screen had cracked after a heavy box had been stacked on top of the box the screen was wrapped up in. So I had to order a new screen and wait on it to arrive.

 

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You might remember that when I carved out the tombstone, I left a square patch near the top, fairly blank. This is the place where I cutting out the recess for the screen.

 

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To get started I transferred the screen’s metal housing dimensions to a piece of scrap cardboard. I then cut out the waste cardboard, and checked the screen for fitment.

 

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As you can see, the screen fit perfectly inside the template.

 

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The next step is to cover the flat part on the tombstone with painters tape. This will give us somewhere to trace out the rectangle we need to remove.

 

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After eyeballing the placement, I traced the rectangle onto the painters tape. I tried to keep this as centered as possible, but in the end it was off a little, but no big deal as it is a 100+ year old digital tombstone!

 

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Next I use a razor knife to trim the excess tape away. This gives me a clean line to follow when cutting out the foam.

 

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Using a cheap box cutter I was able to remove the foam rectangle with little trouble. If I had to do this again, I would have used a jig saw to cut this out as the cut would have been easier.

 

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Finally, a shot from the back showing how I used hot glue to secure the screen in. I am withholding the shot of the screen installed from the front until the next installment of this series.

 

 

Building the Candy Dispensing System.

 

 

The heart and soul of this project was the touch screen, but we can not forget the reward that we owe the children who visit us on Halloween night. When I originally prototyped the candy dispensing system, I had a plan in mind that would utilize a faux flower urn and smaller candle dish to hide the dispenser. The Dispenser was planned around that urn, and its dimensions. Unfortunately I was unable to find that style flower urn for sale when the time came to buy it despite several being on the shelves of Hobby lobby just days before. I would not let that stop me though, and I improvised with two large candy bowls from the dollar store.

 

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To get started, I needed to find a suitable piece of scrap wood. Fortunately I found this piece of ⅜” thick hardboard laying around from an old cheap book shelf we had planned to throw away. I cut a suitable sized piece off and heated up my glue gun.

 

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While the glue gun was heating, I mocked the dispenser hopper up, and found some scrap foam to use as a shim to set it at an angle. You can use cardboard or even dry hot glue to raise the back of the hopper up.

 

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With the angle set, I used a knife to trace an outline of the foam so I could remove the paper covering. I did this because I know from past experiences that hot glue does not stick to this surface very well.

 

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Then I simply cut through the black paper layer, and used my knife to rough it up a little for better glue adhesion.

 

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I then added hot glue to the roughed up surface. The glue sticks I am using are considered “High Temp” meaning they melt around 350f, and honestly they were a little too hot for the foam I used, but they are all I had. In retrospect, I should have used “Low Temp” glue sticks.

 

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I then placed the foam on top of the glue. One of the bad things about using “High Temp” glue sticks is that you will get burnt instantly if any squeezes out the sides and comes in contact with your finger. This is much less of an issue with “Low Temp” glue sticks. I buy these sticks by the 25lb box, so I have an abundance of them.

 

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Next I glued the smaller foam strip down. This part was tricky as the high temp sticks are hot enough to melt this foam. I let the glue gun cool down some before applying any glue.

 

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For the next part, I managed to find a low temp glue stick in my Girlfriend’s craft room. I knew I would melt the foam with the high temp sticks. I should have removed the black paper here as well but I got into a rush and forgot to cut it out until it was too late.

 

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Finally I glued everything down and held pressure on it until the glue cooled. It looks very messy here, but I did clean it up a bit.

 

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With the hopper secured in place, I was able to mock up the servo placement. It took a few tries, but I finally managed to get the edge of the board trimmed down enough so that the plunger was able to travel enough to eject the candy.

 

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With the optimal placement found, I used my used my knife to carve out a hole that the servo could fit inside. Then I used hot glue to secure things.

 

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With the candy dispenser assembly completed I moved on to modifying two bowls. Basically I cut a relief into the bottom of the black bowl, and a similar relief into a side on top of the other bowl. I then used about 20 glue sticks to secure everything together.

 

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I am not going into much detail on this bowl design on purpose as I feel that the odds of someone finding similar bowls is slim to none, and there is surely a better way to do this. Here you can see that I have placed the glue about one inch up on the purple bowl and let it “flow” onto the black bowl about an inch as well. I did the same on the inside.

 

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Here you can see how I layered the glue on the inside of the two bowls.

 

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One more shot of the inside. You can almost make out the candy hopper.

 

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And a final shot of the bowls pared together. You can see the hopper in the big bowl, and the candy feeds into the smaller bowl. Both of these will be perched on a stand beside the tombstone and the black bowl will have a jack-o-lantern cover as to hide the dispenser.

 

That is going to wrap this installment of Project: Trick or Trivia. Check back in a few days for the next installment, where we bring everything together, and demo the system working. Until then, remember to Hack The World, and Make Awesome!

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