I splashed out $NZ120 on the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
and a case
today. Assembling it took all of thirty unsatisfying seconds.
I'm blown away by the capabilities of this little device. If it weren't for compiles and the need to run Enterprise Architect
and other specialised applications in a Windows virtual machine it could almost replace my workstation. The key feature of the new 3B+ model for me though is Power over Ethernet (PoE
) and because it has it, this little baby is destined for great things.
Our beach house is on an island in the Marlborough Sounds
, one of the most remote locations on Earth. There is no infrastructure at all: no roads, telecommunications, waste disposal, or any other public utilities. Access is by boat, helicopter or seaplane. The location is the epitome of off-grid
requiring a great deal of self-sufficiency to live there. Merely obtaining a 3G Internet signal
necessitates a large, amplified antenna, precise tuning, beneficient atmospheric conditions and -typically- more patience than I can muster.
Because of this the beach house is difficult to remotely manage and needs to operate fairly autonomously, which is where the Raspberry Pi comes in: all systems need to be integrated and controlled by the Raspberry Pi.
Right now I have a Model 3B
in place to monitor and manage the off-grid electricity system which comprises solar collection, lead-carbon battery storage and 240v supply. The following systems are in place but yet to be integrated:
- Water supply (from freshwater stream to a tank, including IoT devices measuring levels, flow, purity)
- Security (including access control, intrusion detection and video monitoring)
- Biological waste management, recycling and fertilisation (including IoT devices measuring levels, flow, pH, moisture)
- Gas (including IoT devices measuring consumption)
- Environmental (including Weather Station metrics, vermin eradication and native wildlife tracking)
- Telecommunications (including servo movement for signal acquisition)
Integrating all of these systems will take a while and utilise a plethora of different technologies. All
of which are supported out-of-the-box with Raspberry Pi, and many of which come from the OpenHAB
project which handily, also provides a simple user interface to it all.
This $120 device is going to do it all eventually. But today -thanks to PoE- I'm just happy I no longer need to run a 20 metre cord to power the bloody thing.