Pi Project Update

Over the last few years, I decided to make my “Outdoor automation” a little more permanent and indoors. The Pi lived outside in my garage or screwed to a floor joist in my basement. My goat was to provide the same functionality but in a safer case, and have it permanently installed. The tasks the solution needed to perform were as follows.

  1. Water the lawn during the summer
  2. Control the Christmas lights during the winter
  3. Play music for Halloween on Oct 31.

I controlled the watering with a 4 bank relay. My plan was to have the ability to control 4 watering zones. I still only have the one water valve but I do want the ability to add up to 4.

During the month of December, I wanted to control the Christmas lights. 1 relay for the eve lights and 3 more for the floodlights on the lawn. The floods alternate colour ever 30 seconds.

The Hardware & Software

Pi Model B

I already owned most of the hardware for the Pi. It was the outdoor box to house the outlets and pipe. I also wanted a box inside to mount the relays, transformer and the Pi.

I used an 8 channel relay board. I soldered 4 relays together for the 25V AC side and the other 4 for the 120V AC side. If at any point I need to change the board, I will be replacing this one with 2 x 4 channel boards. This will then separate the high and low voltage.

Relays are wired up.

The Pi was always the best candidate for these tasks. The Christmas lights and Sprinkler projects were built in Python3. You can find the code for these here.

The Halloween project just plays some scary music to a speaker I place just near the door. I ordered a 15′ 3.5mm cable extension to get the audio from the Pi out to the front lawn. This cable I run through the window because it’s used once a year for one day. The code for this is available here.


Setting up the layout.
High voltage is hooked up.

I died… Okay maybe not.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Iā€™m sure a lot of you have wondered what happened to me. Well there is one simple answer, school. Unfortunately any spare time I have is spent doing projects and working on homework. If you want to keep track of my doings, I am on Twitter which is on the left side of my blog or you can hit follow on my profile.

Christmas this year was fantastic. You can see all of the pictures that were taken from my family get together on Facebook. After all the probelm with my desktop computer I have finaly figured out how to get it running stable. Turns out all along it was a issue with the OCZ ram. New ram for Christmas and BAM, away she goes. Second gift I recived was a new monitor. It’s nothing fancy, Samsung 21′ widescreen display to replace my 21″ CRT monitor that has seen better days.

Other then that, that was my Christmas. Like I said, the best way to keep track of me is through Twitter and if you need to contact me best way would be by e-mail here. I will be posting another tutorial soon using the old PS2 Head set into a Guitar Pre-Amp and the mic input on World of Warcraft.