Beefed up Sensoring

A friend bought a couple of Sensirion SEN54s and I helped him get one working, and ended up buying the extra from him. It had been a few years since I researched what sensors were out there that worked well with Raspberry Pis, and were more on the industrial side than the hobbyist side. I was immediately enthused by Sensirion’s documentation, and their sensor looked top notch. My friend did all the homework on reading specs and comparing with others, it was really a no brainer.

With this SEN54 we’ve gained:

  • accurate humidity (the previous sensor was worthless)
  • VOC
  • PM1.0
  • PM2.5
  • PM4.0
  • PM10.0

It’ll be interesting to see the patterns. I’m honestly a little worried about what the particles will reveal seeing as we’re running 2 wood stoves in the house for half of the year. Reassuringly, the first few readings show we’re in the green, but then Nicole opened the stove to let out a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and the readings skyrocketed well above WHO guidelines for particles.

But those are only delicious cheese particles finding their way into your nostrils, surely that can’t have and adverse health effect. Jokes aside it’s interesting to see how much of a tail this benign event has. I’ll be really curious to discover more, I really have no idea what I’m looking at yet.

I am very glad to see the Pis become established as industry capable devices. It’s honestly remarkable what I’ve thrown at them over the years while they kept serving their purpose.

Introducing Curious Kraken

For a while I’ve been wanting a more capable Internet Enabled RC car, something that could go outside. Well, I finally got working the Wild Thumper I got a few weeks ago.

This is still very much a prototype

I initial tried controlling the motors with 3 L298Ns for each of the wheel pairs, but they overheated. So I tried a couple of other motor controllers, the ones that did the trick are a couple of BTS7960s.

Rated for high current, heating is simply not an issue

I ported the Nosy Monster code to work with them, and I improved several things,  mostly around smoothing controls. You can’t just start these motors are full power, you need you ramp up and down. This is to be mechanically gentle on the motors, but it also helps with piloting.


We’re figuring out the wifi range around the house, it’s worst than I thought, well, for live streaming video at least.

Iterating on a case for the electronics


The suspensions are excellent, the motors could be beefier

More to come…

The Nosy Monster’s Big Brother

Every time I throw the Nosy Monster outside, it can’t handle even the best cut grass. The wheels just don’t cut it. So I finally splurged and got a Wild Thumper from SparkFun.

There’s a million things I’d like to do with it, and I don’t know how many I’ll get to. But at the very least, I’d love to have the vehicle able to go outside. WiFi goes pretty far around the house, and it so it would have a nice range of operation.

I’d love to set it up so random people on the internet can pilot it. Maybe via some sort of voting system.

I’d love for it to be energy autonomous with a solar panel.

And I’d love for it to be able to take some rain and snow.

The later is unlikely to happen, the rest very well may over time. Ultimately, this will be a better setup allowing for more development.

The Nosy Monster will remain in its current funny form. We’ll need to find a cool name for this new one, but I want to see what it looks like when it’s done first.