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Old 07-05-2020, 10:59 AM   #1
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Raspberry ideas

Given an excess of down-time this year I've been noodling with a Raspberry Pi and looking for boat-centric ideas.

My first implementation was a automated foghorn timer for the Kahlenberg. Dead simple with a Pi, a relay, and a SPDT switch.

So what next? A counter for the bilge pumps? A small display for the master cabin that will show maybe distance and bearing to the anchor point and the current wind (or any data I might want in the middle of the night)?

Other ideas?
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Old 07-06-2020, 02:36 PM   #2
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I'm scheming to use a Pi to upload data to a web site automatically so I can check on the boat remotely. Bilge alarm, bilge pump runs, battery voltage, etc... With a NMEA adapter you can get your code into a lot of data quickly if your boat is so equipped.
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:04 PM   #3
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Wondering what your using to get power to the Pi ? 12v DC to 5v.

I've been thinking of using one as an inexpensive PC up on the flybridge.

I was thinking too of something to run a bilge pump to drain the last bit of water out of the bilge. Maybe run 1 min. every hour or whatever. Run time and when it runs for a variable. Or measure the current draw and when the pump sucks air shut it off.
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:21 PM   #4
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For basic projects like these, an Arduino would be an even more basic option to play with. Iíve got one on my desk I figured out the logic and control to automate start/stop on my dc generator. Unfortunately, finishing projects for me is not nearly as fun as designing.

For monitoring, look at float hub. It already has the hardware put together and is open source. Dirt cheap for what it does.

Home automation hubs are great for remote monitoring and power switching too.
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:41 PM   #5
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I have a PI 3B+ running as an independent media center (music, photo, video, podcast and Text) permanently mounted in a small locker below deck. HDMI monitor/tv on wall -BT Keyboard/mouse. No CD's lying around anymore. It acts as a local wifi network host and provides wifi lan services to laptops, tablets and smart phones on the boat when underway. I have all my docs, logs, and owners manuals for "appliances" stored on the PI, nice to call up DSC radio manual (300 pages) on the tablet at the helm and blow it up to a font size I can actually read. (engine manual too) Hard copies stored at house, not on the boat.



It senses our marinas Internet AP (or any other one with security data stored) and will connect when it gets a usable signal. Then it downloads and stores email, podcast, news, and weather automatically. Will also send security alerts via emails.


Working on other functionality but am not using it for NAV/Com functions. That's all separated - never exposed to internet - and handled by purpose built hardware - mostly Garmin. Not sure I'm gonna link it to NMEA networks - maybe 0183 for DSC and GPS data.


Plenty of things for the PI to do, trying to stick to "convenience" related things - not mission critical!!
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solly View Post
Wondering what your using to get power to the Pi ? 12v DC to 5v.
A 12V Blue Sea 2.1 amp USB Adapter and a standard USB power cable works well for me, although it's a bit under the spec (2.5 amps I think is spec for the Pi), the 4.8 Amp model they offer now would exceed the spec.
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderer View Post
Given an excess of down-time this year I've been noodling with a Raspberry Pi and looking for boat-centric ideas.

My first implementation was a automated foghorn timer for the Kahlenberg. Dead simple with a Pi, a relay, and a SPDT switch.

So what next? A counter for the bilge pumps? A small display for the master cabin that will show maybe distance and bearing to the anchor point and the current wind (or any data I might want in the middle of the night)?

Other ideas?
Is the foghorn timing randomized to avoid being in synch with another vessel on an auto timer or with a zealous horn blower with a stopwatch? My Fogmate solves this.
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Old 07-06-2020, 06:04 PM   #8
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There are several 12 to 5 vdc converters of various current capacities on the market - I have a 5 amp unit installed right now. Picked up off Ebay. Reasonably efficient and doesn't produce much heat even at full load - minimum electrical noise.


Also in the process of adding the RTL-SDR USB broad band receiver ($20). Receives and decodes WEFAX and NOAA Satellite weather data - along with International Shortwave, Marine and Amateur Radio SSB radio. The Maritime Net on 14,300 mhz broadcast the WX once each hour on SSB. The SDR radio adds to the PI's current load. WEFAX (New Orleans) is up twice a day with verbal reports in between. NOAA satellites make a pass about every 90 minutes. Orher services on HF and VHF are available. Planning on adding a single band SSB transceiver to handle two way digital com using some new weak signal techniques which make long range marine (not satellite) practical. (Amateur radio required)


Rich - on your recommendation last fall, I swapped out VHF to the Standard Horizon GX2200 which has the FOG horn function built in - so fog is covered by that. Not sure how randomized it is -- LOL! But next project is too integrate one of those little ESP32 modules to make the windshield wiper intermittent - may add second wiper to the Admirals duty station!! $12 and tiny - I think it will fit inside the housing - Bluetooth or wifi controlled - from tablet or helm.
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Old 07-08-2020, 10:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Is the foghorn timing randomized to avoid being in synch with another vessel on an auto timer or with a zealous horn blower with a stopwatch? My Fogmate solves this.
Not currently but that is a trivial change. Good idea.
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Old 07-08-2020, 10:56 AM   #10
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Working on other functionality but am not using it for NAV/Com functions. That's all separated - never exposed to internet - and handled by purpose built hardware - mostly Garmin. Not sure I'm gonna link it to NMEA networks - maybe 0183 for DSC and GPS data.
I agree. Don't mind the Pi having read-access to the data but I won't be using it to put data onto the network.
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Old 07-08-2020, 11:00 AM   #11
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I was thinking too of something to run a bilge pump to drain the last bit of water out of the bilge. Maybe run 1 min. every hour or whatever. Run time and when it runs for a variable. Or measure the current draw and when the pump sucks air shut it off.
Here is one solution: A dry bilge for $50
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Old 07-08-2020, 11:29 AM   #12
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Also in the process of adding the RTL-SDR USB broad band receiver ($20). Receives and decodes WEFAX and NOAA Satellite weather data
Wow. That sounds very cool. I've got to look into that.
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:08 PM   #13
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A "Dry Bilge" project is on my list (for a lot of reasons). Some of Rule's newer pumps cycle to try to achieve a dry bilge but suffer from short comings. PO removed one from Starlite because it kept him awake - cycled every five minutes.



Been piddling with ESP32 boards linked to RPI via wifi - for things like wipers, bilge pumps, and Lights - "Node Red" code is new to me - and this old brain is way "under clocked" these days - don't have to relearn Python!!
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:19 PM   #14
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As for the weather receiver, I don't do any really long range cruising but my son does on his blow boat. He asked me to come up with something to get the weather reports - so I tried it. Been amazed how well it worked. The $20 SDR dongle receiver is a neat little device. There are a few others that cost more ($100 - $200) with higher performance but for just grabbing a weather fax or photo when out on the open water it's fine. Antennas are the biggest issue. A small V dipole will work for the Satellites, but the HF broadcast need a longer wire- or insulated back stay to work.


https://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-tuto...ellite-images/
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:31 PM   #15
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Check out these little gems:


https://makeradvisor.com/esp32-devel...ew-comparison/


They work great with RPI 3 and up - built-in wifi/blutooth - $15.00
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:17 AM   #16
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I have a PI 3B+ running as an independent media center (music, photo, video, podcast and Text) permanently mounted in a small locker below deck. HDMI monitor/tv on wall -BT Keyboard/mouse. No CD's lying around anymore.

Can you tell us more about the media center? What software is used? How is it controlled? What internet access is required, if any?


One of the big objections I have with the few commercial devices that I've used is that they all insist you have an account and the thing wants to phone home all the time, or more of the time than I want to allow. It's all part of companies wanting to have a "relationship" with me. Sorry, you are a tool. I don't have relationships with tools.
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:28 AM   #17
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Here is one solution: A dry bilge for $50
I saw that and am going work on doing that. Bookmarked the site. Only thing is I've used those little timers for a door on a chicken coop and they aren't the most reliable or robust. When they work they work but some of the ones I've had didn't last too long.

I thought using the Pi might be a better solution and able to be used for other things too.

Another question.. Can or how would you view the Pi output ( screen ) on a tablet remotely ?? WiFi or bluetooth maybe ?? Wireless keyboard and mouse I have. Just trying to mount the Pi below deck and use it anywhere. Noob here a pointer in the right direction would be great..
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:24 AM   #18
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My current thought would be to use multiple Pi's - they're so cheap. For instance:

I've got one in the pilothouse currently used for the horn. No display. I can SSH in as needed. The bilge pump circuits are right nearby so easy to hook them in. I have N2K data available to it via wifi.

For the master stateroom I might well just use another Pi with a small display. That could show the N2K info I'd want at night, accessed via Wifi. No need for a keyset. Even with a dedicated Pi this would be a much cheaper implementation than a dedicated Garmin/Raymarine/Furuno/etc display (not that cheap is a major driver here).

I'm a real noob here too. I do know there are lots of ways to skin this cat -- some probably better than what I just described.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:48 PM   #19
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Twist - etal,


I'm running "VLC" as a media center/player (https://www.videolan.org/) It's Open source, cross platform - and free!!! Will play almost every format of audio and video out there. Internet is not required but VLC can play streaming audio and video if connected. Its cross platform software, so it can run on the PI or on a tablet/phone (Android or Windows) and source the media from the on board wifi network attached storage.



To control the PI and/or any app running on it, I'm running "VNC" (software) via a wifi network. Currently, the wifi network is managed by an old ASUS router set up as a repeater/bridge that provides internet access when at the dock - LAN services all the time. The router also acts as a network attached storage device via a USB flash memory stick (65gb) for media storage - expandable as necessary. The only issue with this set up power for the router - requires a 12 to 18 vdc booster.



Audio (podcast and music) is routed thru the on board entertainment system via bluetooth. The on board system has its own remote as does the TV which is connected directly to the PI via the HDMI port.


As Dan noted, there are 100 hundreds of ways to "skin various cats". Everything is a compromise - cheap, speed, capacity - and I'm continuously playing with it to test various configurations, for optimum - and Dan don't forget the PI Zero W version. $10 for a lot of CPU - will at least handle the bilge pump project


Larry


PS will try to write up our findings and post in the library opposed to these long post!
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:11 PM   #20
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Thanks for the tip on VLC.


What sort of cataloging capabilities does it have? For example, I currently keep all my videos in iTunes and play back through an AppleTv. From the AppleTV I can see a list of all the movie titles (not file names, but titles), artwork, synopsis, cast, etc. Basically if the meta data is embedded in the video file, it will display it. I can also sort by genre, and perhaps other criteria too. This is all important to me for a large library.


It's a separate, and somewhat tedious process to fetch all the meta data and attach it to each video file, but once done, it gets carried with the movie file forever. What i don't want is a long list of obscure file names. I looked at the VLC web site and what they mostly talk about is all the video formats they support. I didn't see anything about cataloging or how the available movies are presented.
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