Project Curacao: Remote Sensing in the Caribbean
What is Project Curacao?
This series of articles discusses the design and building of Project Curacao, a sensor filled project designed to hang on a radio tower on the island nation of Curacao. Curacao is a desert island 12 degrees north of the equator in the Caribbean. It is a harsh environment with strong tropical sun, salt spray from the ocean and unremitting heat. But it is a beautiful place to visit and a real challenge to build and install a Raspberry Pi based environmental monitoring system (Note an abridgment of these articles were first published in a modified form in MagPi magazine – excellent magazine).
Hourly updates are posted on the ProjectCuracao webpage on an hourly basis when the box is running. Thank you MiloCreek for hosting this page. Remember that the project will shut itself down on really cloudy days to preserve the battery.
Project Curacao is designed to monitor the local environment unattended for six months. It will operate on solar power cells during this time and will communicate with the designer via an iPad App called RasPiConnect. The charging and discharging peformance of the system will be monitored as well as the degradation of the solar cells measured. The system will be designed to reboot itself via a watchdog timer and will reboot itself when power is available in the case of a low power or sun condition.
Project Curacao consists of four subsystems. A Raspberry Pi Model A is the brains and the overall controller. The Power Subsystem consists of LiPo batteries and charge management. The Environment Sensor Subsystem has in-box temperature, outside temperature, luminosity, barometric pressure and humidity sensors. The Raspberry Pi Camera Subsystem contains a Raspberry Pi Camera and a servo motor controlling the cap over the camera to keep salt spray off the camera lens.
What is coming Up?
Part 2 will describe the Solar Power Subsystem. Part 3 will describe the Arduino BatteryWatchdog. Part 4 of this article will describe the environmental subsystem of Project Curacao and the use of a Raspberry Pi controlled fan. Part 5 goes through the Raspberry Pi Camera Subsystem and Part 6 describes the software system used for Project Curacao.
All of the code used in this article is posted on GitHub at github.com/projectcuracao