If you're looking for a quick way to get weather reports from your Raspberry Pi, we just came up with a super fast way to put a weather station together with everyone's favourite fruit-based 'puter at its core.
Step 1: Disengage the Pi from its transportation receptacle.
Step 2: Install the Pi within the central vicinity of an outward-facing fenestration.
Step 3: Perform a visual assessment of the real-time data.
Step 4: Go to Step 1
Nope, it's not raining. It works!
I'm not a fan of Ikea. In fact, it's a place I usually try to avoid, until I discovered that you can hack it's ultra-cheap tables into retro video game systems! You know the one I mean: PIK3A: The Raspberry Pi 3 IKEA Retro Gaming Table.
You guys have been busy making your own versions, which I'm thrilled to be reading about. Keep those photos and top tips coming.
But in the meantime, meet PIK3A Mark II.
This is, in many respects, the same build as the PIK3A Mk I. The idea came about when I initially bought the square LACK tables that we mounted a monitor in, and added controls to. I was casually keeping an eye out for a table that'd accommodate two players, with six buttons each. You know. A Street Fighter II machine!
There were definitely options, but the table size makes them prohibitively intrusive for the average living room. So I needed a way to reduce it, while maintaining the full control set.
The answer presented itself in the LACK TV stand; a narrow, 90cm by 26cm table that boasts a shelf and a table top deep enough to accept the joysticks and buttons. By dispensing with the monitor and going straight into the TV, the unit is easily accommodated in your average (well, as average as us element14 types ever really are) front room.
There isn't much to explain about the build that isn't already covered in the PIK3A Mk I. I cut two access holes in the bottom so I could get to the joystick and buttons for each player, and drilled start and coin buttons into the edge as before.
I kept the Raspberry Pi 3 external, mounting it in a case underneath the table top, in the centre. It's still nicely hidden, and there's only a short length of USB cable from the controls into the RPi. The benefits of this are that you don't need any extensions or panel mount connectors for the micro USB input or HDMI output. It also makes it easy to get to the SD card, should you need to.
There's no need for any acrylic or polycarbonate sheeting over the top either, given that there's no screen, making this a quick, simple yet highly effective variation on the PIK3A.
That said, one nice tweak might be coming up with a way to eliminate the HDMI cable and send the video to the TV wirelessly. Any thoughts on that?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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!
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).
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!
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!
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.
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.
We've been cruelly teasing you all week about a project we're about to kick off here at element14, as we alluded to the brand new Raspberry Pi case we had delivered.
But you guys were too quick for us. Although there were a few wry suggestions about what was being delivered -- including a rather excellent notion about building a Raspberry Pi juke box (watch this space) -- most of you astute Pi eaters sussed out that we've bagged ourselves a classic, upright arcade cab that'll soon become the company's most effective time wasting tool to date.
The facts are these:
Great plan eh? But there's no shortage of work to be done before the pixels can be set free.
There are a few factors we're endeavouring to accomplish in this project. Firstly, we want to keep the whole thing under the £500 mark, thereby making the build comparable to buying a contemporary games console. So anyone who builds along with us can divert any funds they might have allocated to an Xbox or PlayStation, and have themselves an arcade cab instead. It's a gift to yourself that keeps on giving.
We also want to re-use as much of the cab as possible. It's got a power supply in there already, and it still has its old 15KHz arcade monitor, which you can't beat for that authentic look. Hooking it up to a Raspberry Pi isn't going to be any small task, of course, and we're not even sure if it's working right now.
And then there's the controls. We'll need to interface the joysticks and buttons with the Raspberry Pi, which in itself isn't a particularly difficult task. At least, it wouldn't be, if the RPi had enough GPIO inputs for eight joystick directions (four for each stick), 12 game buttons, two game start buttons, a working coin mechanism, and however many controls we need to operate the OS front end and emulators. Hmm.
So we'll be calling on the element14 community for input and assistance at most every turn, and would love to hear any hints, tips or ideas you might have about putting together a Raspberry Pi arcade machine. In the meantime, we'll bring you regular blogs and discussions about how the project's going, and how you can help.
For now though, here's a look inside and outside the cabinet. I'll be downstairs, cleaning it for the first time in 30 years...