As all of us (in the UK, anyway) escape the clutches of the pandemic restrictions, I’m in the mood to re-stimulate my grey cells (cellS?) 😉 and get my brain back into gear!
I’m going to dive into the world of the Raspberry Pi! For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the ‘Pi’ is a tiny computer that’s incredibly cheap and small… and powerful!
My Mentor in all of this, is my long-time mate Chris, who’s got years of experience in this area, so I know I’m in good hands! 👍
The Pi can be built to do a gazillion of things – from replacing a household PC to controlling a robot, the list is almost endless.
My initial aim is more straightforward(ish) though – to build a small unit that monitors our gas and electricity use, and then display upcoming costs. It’ll be a sort of Smart Meter on steroids! 😛 And some!
Chris and I are splitting the job into two chunks. Chunk 1 will be to build a basic Pi and get it up and running followed by the second chunk focussing on the capture and display of the energy data.
I’m planning to build the latest Pi version – the ‘4B’ (whatever that means!). It’s got pretty much all the sockets you’d find on a standard PC and although it’s less powerful, in its favour, it’s tiny, measuring just 85.6mm × 56.5mm (that’s about 3½ inches x 2 inches in old money!) – think of it as about the same size as a deck of cards!
Everything you need can be bought online (so no need to even visit a shop!) and I discovered that compared to other computer tech, everything is very cheap – the 8Gb model, the highest spec, only costs around £50. Happy days!!! 😁
OK, I needed to get a case for it, and for my particular project, a screen too, but the low cost and its diminutive size still made it a very convenient piece of kit. Once we’d bolted together all the parts…
…the Raspberry Operating System needed installing – and that’s where Chris’s expertise kicked-in!
We finished the ‘first chunk’ in just under three hours – and it all looked pretty good!
Chunk 2, where we link up all the various data sources, is planned over the next few months. So far, so good.
Cheers for your help Chris!! 👍🙂