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Raspberry pi: build your own tether free communications devices.

Discussion in 'STEM-Science Technology Engineering Mathematics' started by hypnos, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    The new pi 4 is a monster, base models still $35, more enhanced models with more power (allot more power, up from there.)

    https://www.adafruit.com/product/37...zWbZU9e72-Bg7Rji4cutlQqgBH57zEHBoCaqwQAvD_BwE

    Pi top is compatible with raspberry pi computers, the new pi comes with Wifi already on the board, but you can connect to ethernet directly also. For 300$ for the kit, and minimum of 35$ for the pi, you are still competing very closely with the chrome book in price and performance.

    Use class 10 SD cards for file storage.

    https://www.adafruit.com/product/1272

    GPS module.

    https://www.adafruit.com/product/3147

    And the cellular break out that comes with a SIM card.

    This allows you to make voice calls, send texts or use data from your Pi.

    I would say in total for additional features and hardware you will be able to build one to your own specs and with as much tech as you want at about 500$ or lower.

    Considering a new top of the line Samsung, or apple smartphone is around $1000 the pitop is actually an incredible deal.

    You can add any OS you like, but comes preinstalled (usually) with NOOBS. A linux distro for ease of operation for non computer science whizzes.

    Tons of forums and youtube videos for reference.

    You can make these devices smaller than a laptop with touch screens etc. But, they obviously won't be in a similar and friendly form factor as cutting edge smartphones.
     
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  2. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    Excellent report, Thanks! Now it needs to be offered in a dark colored case.
     
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  3. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    Allot of the popular colors like black sell out fast. You can find them in many colors but, it isn't anything that matte black spray paint and clear coat can't fix. There are also protective adhesive backed skins you can add to your computer.
    It's weird changing your head around to DIY vs store bought options, but the only limiting factor to appearance or features is the amount of time, and skills you want to invest in these projects.
    All of the components are removable, or at least easily taped off if you want to give your pitop better aesthetics.
     
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  4. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll offer up my mini review of adafruit.com as well...

    They are an excellent company to deal with from support, to shipping, and website blogs and learning center (including forums) for makers that really know their stuff.

    I would recommend Rasberry pi over any other competing computers of its type, simply because they have a massive community of support, and that means getting things working fast!

    I did not have the same luck with the Texas instruments beagle bone black...

    While there are many cutting and even bleeding edge designs that are technically superior to the PI, the R-Pi is in allot of ways the "AR15" of single board computers.

    Back to adafruit....

    While it seems that from a political standpoint (because everything is so political now) that adafruit seems to lean to the left a bit in terms of marketing with rainbow this and that. Some projects, and products, while geared to very vanilla, "friendly" consumer tinkering can still benefit us as preppers in a multitude of educational ways.
    That being said, for better hacking, and privacy based information you will need to venture out of adafruit and into other "darker" places for information on what is truly possible with SBCs (single board computers)

    As an example, they may show you exactly how to set up a device to monitor air quality for pollen, or make a weather station, but may not show you how to make something to detect radiation, track radio signals, encrypt traffic, or other surveillance and counter surveillance information.

    In a way, adafruit is like a little safe space sandbox for kiddos who want to learn about circuits in a very school friendly way. I like a different school...hak5, offensive security and sites like it will direct you to more Interesting areas of hardware and software.
     
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  5. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh. And thank you! You are very welcome.
     
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  6. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    Color is less an aesthetics factor than an OPSEC factor. The bright green model shown in the ad is just too easy to see.
    I've been a fan of Adafruit for years. I also recommend them for many other electronic gadgets.
     
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  7. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    They are good! Great company from a consumer standpoint. Shopping around can sometimes get you better prices, but ADA is sort of the big kid on the block for this arena of DIY. They are pretty much best buy.
     
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  8. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    By better aesthetics I do mean OPSEC type colors, that is a more pleasing aesthetic for me. So I know what you mean. Everything I buy other than certain survival equipment is in some type of earth tone or dark color.

    I have been toying with the idea of purchasing some high performance board coatings for water and dust proofing, to mil spec. High grade coatings dissipate heat better, and allow performance at temps other consumer grade boards cannot, due to the solder physically melting and creating a bad connection, these high performance coatings keep the circuits and the solder in place, whether in a liquid state or not.

    Also...kydex.

    If I was to build a device closer to the form factor of a tablet or smartphone I would make the device enclosure from kydex which is available from many retailers around the web.

    As far as water proofing ports and other issues related to ruggedization go, calking silicone with a little starch and food coloring can make small parts to cover ports, or make large things like custom fitted (and custom colored) protective coverings like phone cases etc.

    DIY Panasonic tough books....
     
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  9. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd also look at using a 3D printer to make port covers and internal parts. @Jerry D Young... You might consider making these too.
     
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  10. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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  11. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    The corn starch will not allow the silicone to adhere to sensitive electronics, when mixed to the correct amount. (Until the silicon will no longer stick to your fingers)

    Electronic grade silicon is available, and it happens to be the best type from every aspect of its physical properties, to my knowledge.
     
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  12. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    https://www.diamond-mt.com/parylene_conformal_coating_solutions.html

    Conformal, or conformance coatings are a simple way of saying a specification like IPX5 or IPX6 etc. (Mil standard, and so on)
    You can read about the performance ratings of devices claimed to be IPX6 for example with a simple search. Some are fully submersible, or simply water and dust resistant. Be sure to buy the correct coatings for your application.
     
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  13. Jerry D Young

    Jerry D Young Active Member

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    The current crop of offerings for Raspberry Pi systems are mostly single use or are for multiple Pi arrays for specific types of computing. Just not much available to stack several of the available hats in order to do many different things. You can stack the Pi boards easily, but not the hats. Choose one and you can get a case for it. If you want more than two pretty specific ones, then you either leave it undressed or you make your own case. I am definitely going to look for a 3D printer.

    I have looked far and wide for a case to use the GPIO extender cables to have multiple functions, but to no avail.

    I have to say, though, that the least expensive of the Pi 4Bs is not that much more capable than the Pi 3B+. Definitely some, though. The one I went with was the 4GB ram/32GB SD. I was not sure at the time what size SD cards it would handle, so I just got a 64GB and it is working fine.

    At some point, after I can get the thing to do more than turn on and off, I will get a 128 or possibly a 256. I did pick up a 12v to 5v power converter so I can run it on my 12vDC power system. The 12v 5" monitor is not here yet. I was very disappointed in the 3.5" direct mount monitor. I was not aware that it was single monitor only capable. And it does not have the GPIO interface extended. Everything else would have to go on the other ports such as the USB and LAN.

    There are some that can use other monitors at the same time, but you really have to read the fine print and understand it.

    I have not been able to find the specific software that I want to use with this first one, that will do what I want. The secondary functions I want are also not readily available at reasonable costs, either. However, I do believe I will eventually be able to make it work the way I want, and then I will get several more to set up specific, but still multipurpose units for redundancy, and the ability to run most of the functions at the same time.

    Despite the USB-C power limitation, which really is not if you use one of the other options to power the board and/or the hats, the addition of the USB 3.0 functionality and the full functionality of the LAN port, with the two HDMI ports really sold me on the package.

    Definitely worth what I paid for it, and the time it is taking to research the possibilities on how I can do what I want to do. Now, if I can just find three or four Samsung S4 Smartphones in working order (no phone, just the handheld computer part fully operational) I will be very close to be able to do what I want. Oh. And the 3D printer.

    Just my opinion.
     
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  14. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, there are some issues as far as some of the hats go. That is one thing I really liked about the beagle bone black. The GPIO pins were both Male and female sided to allow stacking of multiple "capes" as they are called instead of "Hats" for the Pi.

    The issue I had was powering all the devices at once. One hat can be powered, but not all the hats from the power of one SBC alone depending on the size and power demand.

    But, these different "hats" in some cases can be powered and connected via bluetooth or wifi and not required to be connected directly.

    The other benefit is that these devices are 35$ , if you need multiple Pis to do multiple tasks, it isn't too difficult or costly to make that happen.
     
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  15. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are wanting to buy S4s to build a super computer it may be of interest for you to research rasberry pi cluster computers.

    People are building super computers by stacking 10 or more of these 35$ computers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  16. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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  17. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    I would like to have (need) a larger screen because my eyes just can't read those tiny 3.5: screens.
    I'm looking for at least a 14" diagonal.
     
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  18. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    They should be HDMI. Plug it into your TV.

    If distance away is an issue in a living room, you can easily buy bluetooth keyboards and mice with a dongle for one of the several USB ports on the Pi. So cheap you can leave it on the TV if it suits you, I've seen a few tutorials of mounting to TV and using as a multimedia player. Roku has absolutely nothing on that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  19. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    I really want to play with near field communications as I did with the beagle. (Had hardware, no software)

    The NFC Cape allows for reading and writing of RFID tags, bluetooth low energy, radio, etc. Unfortunately, zero software available and no guides for the hardware. I gave the beagle to a electrical engineering student in Mexico with all the extra capes I bought (4 different ones) he was thrilled to say the least and I'm sure will put them to better use than I ever could without someone to hold my hand. I'm allot of things (allot of negative adjectives) but not a software engineer. Not even close.
     
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  20. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    @Jerry D Young , that issue is another excellent example of why you need a bread board, and for you, probably a very large one.
     
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