Gold Panning Timer with Raspberry Pi
Tasked by his brother Marcus – Victoria Gold Panning Association president – with finding a cheap solution for an electronic timing system, Daryl spent 18 months creating his own wireless timers. Each timer comprises a Raspberry Pi Zero, LCD, RFID reader, and a big red stop button: “These are actually emergency stop buttons which are waterproof and when pressed they will lock and stay pressed until released.”
After considering 3D-printing the timer case, “Due to the cost restrictions and the requirement to be waterproof, I ended up using a kitchen food container,” reveals Daryl. Each timer box is mounted to a backing plate fitted with a metal roof which serves “to help keep muddy water off the display and as a solid mounting for the stop button.”
Gold Panning Timer: Modular design
One of the design considerations was to make the timers modular so that they could be assigned to any panning bay, allowing easy replacement if needed. This is where the RFID reader comes in. “When the timers first boot up, they are not assigned any specific bay number,” says Daryl. “It will wait until we scan the specific bay RFID tag number before it knows which bay it is.”
Once all bays are assigned, the starter PC loads the heat information from a spreadsheet and broadcasts it wirelessly. “The timer picks out its own bay number information from the message and displays the heat number and competitor’s name on the LCD,” explains Daryl.
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