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Raspberry Pi Checklist

Digital, portable, open source, and simple checklist for every day carry. Replace apps and paper for good.

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A stand-alone device to replace apps I use regularly, such as lists, flashlight, flash drive, and alarm clock. Something to be carried in the pocket every day, and used when needed. Simple use is the goal, which is why I chose to use a 16x2 LCD with an HD47880 controller, with buttons, as the main interface. The goal is to pull it out, wake the screen, then scroll through a list, and mark items done and undone. Hoping to support multiple lists that can be toggled on the LCD. Must be extremely durable and reliable. Raspberry Pi Zero will be used to open more options in the future, and simplify management. Hoping for drag and drop simplicity when uploading lists. A simple e-Checklist for people that hate paper and phone apps.

This is a project to help me organize my life a little better, but is primary a learning project that will force me to better document things, and force me to learn new skills that I really want to have. This is my first serious project.

I am currently using Microsoft OneNote for all my data organization. That is what gives me the nice "From" links when I post part names. I'm using a Nokia Lumia 1020 for all the photos, and getting as many parts from summitracing.com, dxengineering.com, adafruit.com, amazon.com, and a nearby Microcenter store.

I have many ideas for this that will probably lead to many different versions of this device. Right now, I am trying to get a very basic device together to keep me busy and productive. I really need a good way of managing many very large checklists. I will add to this section whenever I come up with something else worth exploring.

Check the logs often for updates, as that is where nearly all major updates end up. All feedback is welcome, even if you insist on telling me how I can just use a phone app for this. I understand, and do not care. I have my reasons, as stated in the description.

Desired Base Features:

  1. Manage multiple checklists, flipping through them with a single button.
  2. Mark items on a list "done" with another button.
  3. 12 hour battery life.
  4. Small enough to carry in a pocket everyday.
  5. Way to boot from USB or properly turn off the Pi from the LCD or a button.
  6. Store important information, such as addresses, phone numbers, etc.

Desired Additional Features:

  1. Built in LED flashlight with physical slider hooked directly to battery.
  2. built in camera for taking picture reminders.
  3. RGB backlit screen for color coding lists and list items.
  4. Beeper.
  5. Vibrating motor.
  6. Physical silence switch, like the iPhones use.
  7. Annoying, high pitch beep for messing with people.
  8. Electronic dog whistle for dealing with random animals and stop barking.
  9. Simple games to pass time.
  10. Full size HDMI port.
  11. Port covers to avoid pocket lint clogs.
  12. Simple way to add and edit lists from the LCD. Maybe a scroll wheel that scrolls through the alphabet.
  13. Store and play back media through HDMI using the LCD interface and buttons to control everything
  14. Rotary switch to change to various different modes of operation: checklist, whistle, camera, alarm clock, etc.

Current shopping list: Totals over $100 just for basic parts and supplies so far.

RaspberryPi Shutdown Button.py

Python script to safely shutdown the raspberry pi. http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Raspberry-Pi-Shutdown-Button/?ALLSTEPS

py - 1.25 kB - 03/19/2017 at 04:54

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  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3 with Camera Connector Small Linux PC that will run the entire device. This version will power the final version: https://www.adafruit.com/products/2885
  • 1 × 16x2 Backlit LCD, with HD44780 Controller and buttons Main interface
  • 1 × SD Card Used to hold the OS, programs, and checklist text files.
  • 1 × Micro HDMI to HDMI Adapter Needed to get a full size HDMI port on Rapsberry Pi Zero:https://www.adafruit.com/products/1358
  • 1 × USB OTG to USB Adapter Needed to get a full size USB port on the Raspberry Pi Zero: https://www.adafruit.com/products/2910

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  • Just Stopping By...

    Dustin04/03/2019 at 03:26 0 comments

    Recently I've been thinking about one of my oldest projects on here. My DIY truck camper. That got me logged back into here and I remembered this project. I've made no further progress here, but I do still intend to finish it at some point. The hardware is likely to be far different than what was first available when I first came up with this idea. By the time I get around to making this thing, I bet it will be easier than ever to add some really nice features. 

    The killer feature for me would be syncing Google Keep notes to it some how. I use tons of them, and having a super small device that could modify those lists would be perfect for me. Maybe have it somehow scrape the data off my notes, reformat for the small screen, then send back changes to the main note. No idea how to do that, so I'll start simple until I get around to learning programming. 

    I move back to my home state in a month, and will be right down the street from a good friend who owns a prop making business, and can help me design and make the case, which is the part stopping me from getting the hardware made. I did get a really nice Dremel Platinum kit for my leather working business, so I could as easily carve the case out of a nice piece of cherry or some other hard wood. Either way I do, I now have the means to build the hardware. Once that's done, I'll have a really good excuse and reason to finally learn Python and get to programming it. Maybe I'll simply find a way to link it to a smartphone on Bluetooth or wifi and run a webserver interface on it to allow editing lists and such on it. Time will tell.

    Just wanted to stop by and let everyone who's followed and liked this project know it's not dead. It's been on hold a few years while I stabilize my life and build the skills needed to bring it to life. I'll continue to design it with open source in mind, though I'll likely make a commercial version to sell through my business some day to fund future projects. Cheers!

  • Not Giving Up Yet

    Dustin09/11/2018 at 04:17 0 comments

    Its been about 1.5 years since i last updated or thought about this project. My life went down hill and I ended up putting all projects on hold. These days, I'm starting a business, and getting back into my electronics. I have to design and build some custom industrial equipment, so I might as well finish this project as I master some more skills. This one is still a long way off, but I still find value in it. Currently, I'm using an Android small with Google Keep, but still want to get away from that. I'd be happiest if my Raspberry Checklist could read and write my Keep account. We shall see how it goes.

  • Built in flashlight

    Dustin03/19/2017 at 05:41 0 comments

    As I am constantly in need of a good flashlight, I have decided to add one to this checklist. I have found a really neat, 1 watt LED that I can mount on the back of the case, and hook directly to the battery through a physical switch.

    1 Watt Cool White LED - Heatsink Mounted

    From <https://www.adafruit.com/products/518>

    The current daw on this should be low enough not to drain the battery too fast, but much testing will need to be done to determine the effect on battery life and case temperatures.

    I am considering the following switch as it is very simple, rugged, and easy to operate blindly.

    Breadboard-friendly SPDT Slide Switch

    From <https://www.adafruit.com/products/805>

    The built in flashlight would be made much more effective with the addition of magnets or a belt clip of some sort.

  • Random Thoughts

    Dustin03/19/2017 at 03:57 0 comments

    After reading a few automotive articles involving extensive Bondo work, I have decided to try to build the case for this project out of Bondo. The stuff is super tough, easy to work with, molds well, and can be sanded and finished quite easily. It also drills really well and I am sure I can tap it for case screws as well.

    I would also like to embed magnets into the case to allow it to stick to random surfaces so you could mount it as a dash cam or flashlight or something if needed. Would be a very handy tool for automotive work, as you could use the flashlight and checklist functions at the same time. Just turn on the light, bring up your transmission mounting checklist, and stick it to the frame somewhere.

    Still very excited to finish this project up as it will be one of my largest projects and most useful. I should have plenty of time and funds available within the next two months and might be able to hammer it out pretty quick. Figured I'd provide a quick update for those following and write some quick ideas down.

  • Project On Hold

    Dustin11/25/2016 at 18:59 0 comments

    After moving again, starting a new job, and a few other major events, I am unable to work on this right now. I have most of the hardware needed, but I am not a programmer yet. I will be going through codecademy soon, and will return to this when done. This is the most complex of all my current projects, and also the one I want to turn out the best. I am going to master a few more skills first and return to this when I have nailed the hardware and software on a few other projects. Still haven't given up on this.

  • New Parts Are In.

    Dustin08/25/2016 at 20:00 0 comments

    Just got my micro HDMI to HDMI adapter and Raspberry Pi Zero v1.3 in the mail the other day. Accidentally kind of stepped on the shipping envelope, but I think everything is ok. I opened them, inspected them carefully, set the on my desk, and that's where they have stayed for about 3 days now. Too busy to so anything with it now, just gathering parts and thinking about the project from time to time. Mostly thoughts regarding how useful this thing would be if I actually had it working right now...

  • Delay: Lack Of Hardware.

    Dustin08/18/2016 at 18:04 1 comment

    I have been putting this project off lately for a few reasons. Mostly due to getting used to a new job, lack of sleep, lack of time, and the biggest one: Lack of proper hardware. I have the Raspberry Pi Zero, an HDMI to DVI cable, a monitor with DVI, a wireless keyboard with touch pad that works with the Pi, a USB OTG adapter, a simple LCD module, soldering equipment, everything needed to prototype the hardware, and SD cards to write the images for the Raspberry Pi Zero.

    I am missing an HDMI adapter, a proper power supply, a USB hub, epoxy putty to make the case, battery and charging circuitry, and the knowledge to program this thing properly. I will try to order the missing hardware tomorrow when I get paid. I am hoping to get the hardware together by next week so I have a stand alone device, even if the software isn't ready. The software roadblocks will be significant for me, but I know I can tackle the hardware pretty quickly, so I am just going to focus on that for now.

  • Getting Back To This Project Again.

    Dustin08/18/2016 at 17:17 0 comments

      It has been a while since I even thought about this project, but I really need to get back to it ASAP.

      Things that need done to achieve bare minimum functionality:

      1. Outline that simplest process for flipping through tasks and toggling them "Done."
      2. Get the LCD screen working with Raspberry Pi Zero, then solder connections.
      3. Mount the screen straight to the Pi.
      4. Get a battery and charging circuit.
      5. Make a temporary, 2 piece case from epoxy putty, screw it together before set so it can be taken apart.

      As I find myself busier than ever, trying to get ready for winter, I find that completing this project will make my life much easier and help me stay on top of the ever growing list of things I need to remember, and take care of. Right now, I am going to focus on the core checklist functionality, keeping other desired features in mind as I design a temporary case, software, and peripherals. Even if I have to edit the code every time I need to add to the lists, that will be ok. I can keep writing things down in my notebook and add them to the Raspberry Checklist when I get to my computer next. This process should annoy me enough to force me to include a full keypad on the back or something.

  • Church Rummage Sale Score.

    Dustin08/11/2016 at 23:19 0 comments

    Picked up a really nice looking USB OTG adapter today for a quarter. The best part: Only had a $10 bill, and I saw somewhere there I knew many years ago who gave me a quarter. Saved me $2.70. One step closer to having this project moving again. Still waiting to get paid in the morning, then sorting out budget to see if I can afford to get the rest of the needed supplies for this project. I still NEED to get the Micro HDMI to HDMI adapter in order to get the Raspberry Pi Zero working. I will be buying the version 1.3 Pi Zero with the camera adapter as well, when it is back in stock.

    Of all my projects, this is the most exciting to me, as it will replace the little black notebook and pen I carry around constatnly. I am hoping to find a simple way to input new note items into the Raspberry Checklist directly from the little LCD. I may very well make a very tiny keyboard on it using the same type of push buttons that the LCD keypad uses. Just added a bunch on the front, since this thing has to be scaled up to accomodate a big battery anyway. Not set in stone yet. Need a good way to quickly input text into this thing, as well as the code to handle it. Very complicated at this point. May have to make the super simple one first, then start adding the features I dream of on the next version.

  • Switching Development and Testing to the Zero.

    Dustin08/02/2016 at 16:25 0 comments

    After assuming my Raspberry Pi Boards(Versions 2B+ and 3) are damaged from a crappy USB power supply, I have decided to invest the money needed to replace them in everything needed to get the Raspberry Pi Zero ready for testing, and buy a few more as backups. Developing the software on the Raspberry Pi 3 would be much easier, but not accurate to the final hardware, which may very well leave me with something that does not run properly on the Zero. I had considering this for a while, but hadn't committed to developing on the actual hardware just yet. This alos gives me a good reason to buy the new Raspberry Pi Zero with the camera port, and tinker with the idea of including a camera for taking quick picture reminders. Placing the order on adafruit.com, as I have never had a problem with them and have problems with a few other brands recently.

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ML wrote 08/01/2016 at 13:15 point

Personally, the GAIN for me would be a list that is NOT permanently connected to network, and therefore it is less likely to become a privacy concern.  A portable device with powerful encryption is very beneficial to me...

My cell phone is sync'ed with Email, and every list I've ever created on my phone then became a permanent record in my Gmail.  Annoying.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dustin wrote 08/01/2016 at 16:03 point

I completely agree. I have enough privacy concerns to worry about. I don't need anyone seeing my budgets, shopping lists, and reminders either. My phone dies at random as well, and I lose access to important data. Have considered putting step by step directions to important places, as well as phone numbers in it as well. Basically evolving into a backup personal data system. I'm glad someone else sees the value in this project.  Most people say "Just use your phone" and move on. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dustin wrote 07/27/2016 at 15:15 point

I don't know if YOU would gain anything from it. I don't like using my phone and draining my battery, and I don't like paper checklists.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martin wrote 07/27/2016 at 07:52 point

What is the gain in carrying an extra device with me instead of using a phone app?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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