New projects: Pi’s and Arduinos

Recently I’ve been working on several new projects, all of which use either a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino.

Site-To-Site VPN

A friend of mine recently opened a new satellite office, and as part of his day to day work had a requirement to connect the two together so resources on either side could see each other. Site-to-site VPN I thought, and what better kit for the task than a couple of Raspberry Pi’s. Nice and small so they can be kept along side the routers. Each site had a simple ADSL broadband link, with a couple of PC’s connecting up.

I’ll run through the complete setup in a seperate post as a Howto/tutorial, but the process was so simple to get them setup literally flash raspbian to a couple of SD cards, go through the motions to get a working console. I removed any unneeded packages, then installed and setup OpenVPN. After a bit of broadband/user error at one of the sites, simply opening the ports on the routers firewalls it all connected up beautifully. Fileshares and network based resources were all available wherever they wanted.

Home Automation
For a long time now I’ve been wanting to implement some kind of home automation system. After looking at X10 i was a little disappointed, as the technology was very dated and slow but also very expensive. Any other newer technologies were a little out of my price range, and also a very closed shop. So after about 12 months of it being on the edge of a project, a lot of research has been done and I think I am now in a position to put something in place. I’ll be using a mixture of Arduinos (or shrimps if I can), Raspberry Pi’s and other tech.

The idea is now coming to fruition due to a decision to transform all the lights in the house to 12v from 240v. This will make working with lighting a lot easier and safer, and cheaper due to not having to employ a spark to do all the connecting for me. The rough plan of attack will be to combine arduinos and mosfet transistors as switching mechanisms. Also implemented on these arduinos will be ethernet shields in order to connect the circuits up and have them centrally managable.

Essentially taking a traditional, feed -> switch -> bulb circuit and turning it into feed -> transformer -> arduino -> “switch” -> bulb. the switch component will be defined by the use of the light and could comprise of a push button SPST, an android app, a PIR or a combination of those. I plan to use a combination or software technologies for running all this, MQTT, python, PHP etc.

I plan to replace any fluorescent lights with LED strips, and have been toying with the idea of RGB here too which will bring a whole new depth to the lights. Many things to consider and a lot of exciting tech to play with, that is accessible, cheap and using open standards.

Exciting times.