electrical idiot builds a controller - a reef pi build

Mikeneedsahobby

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
512
Reaction score
913
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I was born a mechanical engineer. Which means for me the only thing that makes sense is computers must be run by tiny trolls. I like to leave pizza out at night so the trolls will be happy with me allow my computer to work the next day.

I want a controller though. It sounds like a good thing to have. I would like to control a heater. turn on and off dosing pumps (ATO and AWC) and shut off the loud skimmer pump in the evenings. So I went and looked for them and found APEX. and it's price tag....

Then I ran across reef-pi. Hmm I like to build stuff. I started reading and reading and reading. and reeding and reeding. and reeding and reeding. I read so much the last a turned into a e. seriously have you seen the length of the main reef-pi thread? Most of what I read was in another language, I think, but eventually I started learning the language a bit. I think I can order a beer and ask where the bathroom is in reef-pi language now.

Finally I discovered the reef-pi hats. This put me over. and here is my build thread. Maybe this will help other electrical idiots.

* just a warning. everything I build takes forever. Don't expect fast progress.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
Mikeneedsahobby

Mikeneedsahobby

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
512
Reaction score
913
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
So step 1: Get a raspberry pi working.

I bought a Raspberry pi zero w for $10 or so and an SD card.
IMG_3071.JPG

Then I started reading Ranjib's adafruit guide.
IMG_2318.JPG

and did the first steps, download and copy noobs to the SD. I put the SD card in the raspberry pi. attached a samsung phone charger and hdmi cable to the tv. and.... got nothing. hmm fail on step 1...
 
OP
Mikeneedsahobby

Mikeneedsahobby

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
512
Reaction score
913
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Making some progress.

The card is 64 gig. This formatted as a Sdxc type. Noobs won’t work with this format.

Three options.
1) buy a 32 gig card at most.
2) flash raspbian directly to the card (don’t use noobs)
3) reformat the card

I used option 2. And it worked!

Next step. Figure out how to get a keyboard to work.
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics

DaveMorris

MACNA2016 Co-Chair
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 9, 2009
Messages
786
Reaction score
559
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
San Diego, CA
I do a lot of DIY/Hobby/semi-professional electrical engineering (of sorts) and while the assembly comes very easy to me (helps that as the child of a real electrical engineer I used to spend the evening with my dad unsoldering components from old surplus circuit boards) the programming part eludes me. I find it to be somewhat daunting to learn a whole new language of programming. Now I know that the programming for the Reef-Pi is being handled by some very smart cats that do know what they are doing, but I need to know what's happening inside for two reasons...my overwhelming curiosity and I am wanting to modify the Reef-Pi to make it a "Dart-Pi" for my dart frog vivarium. I want to be comfortable getting in there to change names and "personalize" it a little.

So...I am right there with you. I'll be following along in your journey toward Reef-Pi success.
 

Bigtrout

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
1,185
Reaction score
2,823
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
So step 1: Get a raspberry pi working.

I bought a Raspberry pi zero w for $10 or so and an SD card.
IMG_3071.JPG

Then I started reading Ranjib's adafruit guide.
IMG_2318.JPG

and did the first steps, download and copy noobs to the SD. I put the SD card in the raspberry pi. attached a samsung phone charger and hdmi cable to the tv. and.... got nothing. hmm fail on step 1...
Are you sure the sd card was formatted correcrly and noobs was put on it properly? Try again

U plugged the microusb charger into the charge port and not the usb port?

Did anything happen...when plugged in and the pi finds an operating system on the sd card, the green led should be blinking/on.
 
OP
Mikeneedsahobby

Mikeneedsahobby

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
512
Reaction score
913
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Are you sure the sd card was formatted correcrly and noobs was put on it properly? Try again

U plugged the microusb charger into the charge port and not the usb port?

Did anything happen...when plugged in and the pi finds an operating system on the sd card, the green led should be blinking/on.

It is working now. It was the SD card format. Over 64 gig is not compatible with Noobs without repartitioning. (And the standard formatters for MAC will only reformat with the version Noobs won't work with). The solution was to image Raspbian directly without using noobs.

I also learned that a raspberry pi zero will work with a standard usb connection for power but a raspberry pi 3 b+ needs more juice, but this wasn't the issue I was having.
 

ScottF83

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
72
Reaction score
80
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
This thread made me smile as I'm in the same position! Though I'm an accountant with a hobby level knowledge of computer systems.

I'm at the stage of needing to solder all the wires and components to the HAT. Closest that I've ever been to soldering was nearly joining the RAF cadets at school, but that's got an extra letter somewhere...
 
Zoanthids

Ranjib

7500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 16, 2016
Messages
8,993
Reaction score
15,611
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Pleasant Hill, Concord
This is going to be another epic build thread :) . Your feedback around the electrical side will be very valuable.
If electronics/soldering is a challange, then theres two hat (wykat and michael lane), a standalone ph board (Roberto_b) and a full baseboard (theatrus).
Following along
 
OP
Mikeneedsahobby

Mikeneedsahobby

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
512
Reaction score
913
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
This is going to be another epic build thread :) . Your feedback around the electrical side will be very valuable.
If electronics/soldering is a challange, then theres two hat (wykat and michael lane), a standalone ph board (Roberto_b) and a full baseboard (theatrus).
Following along
Spoiler alert. I have a revision d baseboard from theatrus.

I think I will bump my head many times but if I can do it then anyone can. I’ll try to point out all the stupid mistakes I make.

Apparently the trolls in a raspberry pi 3 are thirsty and need 2.5 amps at 5v. Other idiots keep this in mind for power supply. The raspberry pi zero will operate with standard usb power.
 
Lazy's Coral House
OP
Mikeneedsahobby

Mikeneedsahobby

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
512
Reaction score
913
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Welcome to the wonderful world of reef-pi.
And here I was thinking my computer has gremlins and it turns out to be tiny trolls!!
Well that is just silly. Everyone knows that gremlins only eat pizza on tv. In real life they are gluten intolerant and don’t touch pizza. If it was gremlins then how come my computer works great after I leave pizza out?
 

DirtDiggler2823

If I can't break it, it doesn't exist
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
2,065
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Gambrills
Welcome to the REEF-PI Freeeeennnnzzzyyyyy ..

Are you done yet.
Can i see some images.
Did Ohh Sorry

Cant wait to see what you have in store for us
Welcome to the club!!!
 

DirtDiggler2823

If I can't break it, it doesn't exist
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
2,065
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Gambrills
Spoiler alert. I have a revision d baseboard from theatrus.

I think I will bump my head many times but if I can do it then anyone can. I’ll try to point out all the stupid mistakes I make.

Apparently the trolls in a raspberry pi 3 are thirsty and need 2.5 amps at 5v. Other idiots keep this in mind for power supply. The raspberry pi zero will operate with standard usb power.
I went with a 6A power supply. No issues with power to my pi3 thus far.
 
OP
Mikeneedsahobby

Mikeneedsahobby

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
512
Reaction score
913
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Tonight I finished 4 steps that Ranjib put in his guide to go follow someone else.
1 Preparing SD card - I did this yesterday.

2 First time configuration -
So I needed a keyboard and mouse to do this. The Raspberry pi zero only has 1 mini usb port. I don't have a mini to full size converter and I need more than one connection for mouse and keyboard. I also have a Raspberry pi 3 with 4 full size usb. I finished the install with the PI 3 and stole my wife's keyboard and mouse. For power I used an IPAD power brick with usb to mini usb samsung phone cable. This is not enough power! the brick gives 2.1A. The trolls want 2.5A. It worked long enough to finish up so all good but wouldn't be good long term.
The config was easy following the on screen setup. I didn't use the linked guide as it seemed to be for an outdated Raspberry pi version.

3 Network
This was part of the config. I connected to my wifi router.

4 SSH setup
Also part of the config. It is just a setting. Easy.

My wife decided she had to work and wanted her keyboard and mouse back. Silly wife. work is for daytime not evening. I guess this is why she makes way more money than me. (and pays for my hobbies). Never mind happy wife is a working wife.

I installed VNC viewer on my mac, found the IP address on my router and logged in remotely. Now I can sit on my couch and work with the pi!

I switched the SD card to the PI zero and everything still worked except the IP address changed.

IMG_1535.JPG

(on the ground in front of the TV, you can see the chandelier I replaced this weekend. With hobby money I have to also do her hobbies. These days that is remodeling. Anyone want an ugly circa 1990 chandelier?)

NEXT UP: Read paragraph two from Ranjib's guide.
 
Click to watch best scape method in 5 easy steps!

Speaking of your latest coral purchase...

  • It was a GREAT deal

    Votes: 94 37.8%
  • It was a good deal

    Votes: 77 30.9%
  • It was nether good nor bad

    Votes: 59 23.7%
  • It was a bad deal

    Votes: 15 6.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 4 1.6%
WWW.ANIMATEDCORALS.COM
Top