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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.
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.