05/06/2019 at 06:44 •
Since we start oversea shipping, I think it's nesessary to have a manual card in global language. I like ikea style instruction because it can be understanded by everyone and I have lot of fun in the design. Just can't wait to share it with you.
05/04/2019 at 01:48 •
Hi everyone, PiSugar is now available on Amazon. We are now ready for oversea shipping!
04/19/2019 at 10:06 •
Sometimes connecting a pi zero to a wifi is troublesome. Since there are many ways to do it, but you just don't get a card reader, monitor, keyboard or a laptop along with you.
I think this project, PiSugar aims to make a pi easier to play with, therefore we were trying to find a efficient way to control a pi. Bluetooth low energy (BLE) is a good way you cannot miss.
Here are some features of BLE:
- supported by Raspberry Pi 3/zero w
- supported by most of the smart phones
- no need for pairing
- no conflict with traditional bluetooth
- low energy cost
- won't loss connection when switching wifi (if you config wifi through wifi with a wrong password, you are setting your pi free )
At the very beginning I was making this just to solve the wifi problem. However, I think it can be more than that. It's actually a complete channel to transport data. If you can custom the characteristics, then you can make your own wireless pi controller. For example, you can safely shutdown the pi, get cpu load, temperature, etc. If you are building a pi car, you can control it through BLE, too.
Base on these, we had developed a BLE sevice on pi. From the service you can:
- get wifi name, ip address, pi model
- config wifi
- get other custom info. e.g. CPU tempreture, CPU load, or whatever you can get by shell
- remote control the pi to execute shell script and get response, such as shutdown, reboot, running a script, etc.
I choose Wechat miniapp to make the client app since Wechat is very common used in China and it's really fast to build a miniapp. People don't have to download native apps. They open miniapp directly in Wechat. Also, miniapp can access to bluetooth. I'm not sure whether Google instant app can access bluetooth. But even if it can, maybe it's just for Android? So I'm still considering whether I should build native ios / android app.
04/12/2019 at 06:02 •
The red wire from pin 7 acts as an antenna to amplify radio signals from the pi. I was using the pi zero to control my 27MHz Land Rover!
base on: https://github.com/bskari/pi-rc
I made this since I had watched a video on youtube. It's fun project creating a auto-driving toy car. I wish my land rover will drive by itself in the future...
04/12/2019 at 04:11 •
Main purpose of the design?
I think the main purpose is to make things smaller and more like a complete product. So we choose to supply power from the back, not occupying the GPIO pins. In one hand, it saves lot of space. In the other hand, I don't need to do soldering. If we choose a piHat solution, I still need to solder a GPIO header if I just have a zero (without h).
Friends asks me what I am doing with these circuit broads. I think it is interesting but hard to explain what it is. In fact, I would like to share these funny creations but people with little knowledge about hardware won't understand. Therefore, I think the better way to share this to turn it into a "useful" product, like a game boy, a smart calendar, a digital camera, etc... You can say hey, it's smart calendar, if you like, you can program it into a robot cat! So that's why we are developing different caps so that you can make a product by yourself in one miniute.
Choosing the backside solution means it's much harder to send data to pi zero. But graceful shutdown is still important for some pi project. Data transition means we still cannot give up GPIO pins. Although pi zero seems to have SPI bottom pads, they are to small to use. Also taking the USB data pads means we need to have a USB hub, which might not be necessary. Therefore we are still looking for a good approach to reach GPIO. I believe there will be a best way to balance the size and data.
Why not Qi?
I think Qi wireless charging is very useful if you want to stick the pi out of your window glass. The pi can be charge through the glass. No need to drill holes. However for general charging, there is little difference between wireless charging and using usb cable. So I think you can use a Qi tag in some specific scenarios. But it's not necessary in most of the time.
How about solar panel?
The idea about running a pi completely off grid makes me excited. However we need a pretty big solar panel to supply sufficient power to the pi. It's almost impossible to compress it a small dimension like pi zero.(or maybe in some day it will be possible) Therefore, like Qi, I think you can have a external solar charge in some specific applications.