** UPDATED JANUARY 31, 2018 **

The latest update includes a whole new section in which you will learn how to build your Raspberry Pi Bench Computer using a low cost relay board instead of the (hard to find) Piface Relay+. You will also learn how to use a GPIO breakout board that makes it very easy to secure wires to your Raspberry Pi

This Raspberry Pi project course will show you how to integrate a variety of components into a gadget that you can use to automate your work bench.

I call it “The Bench Computer”.

With the Bench Computer, you will be able to control any device and appliance on your electronics work bench, like turn on and off your bench lights, soldering iron and fume extractor.

The Bench Computer provides a great framework on which you can build your own home automation projects Out of the box, you will be able to control anything with a simple on/off switch, like lights, fans, heaters etc.

I have designed this course to help you get started. What you get the Bench Computer to do is entirely up to you!

Here are the main components (software and hardware) that you will learn about by taking this course:

  • The Raspberry Pi (version 3 is recommended, but any model with a 40-pin header will do)
  • The Raspberry Pi 7-inch touchscreen
  • The Raspberry Pi Camera v2
  • The Piface Relay+ HAT (contains the small relays used to control 12V devices) OR a Keyestudio 4 Channel Relay board
  • A GPIO board breakout
  • Larger external relays used for controlling mains appliances like lights and your soldering iron
  • Python 3 and the Tkinter framework for building the application
  • Things that you want to control, like low-power 12V LED strips and fans, and mains appliances like a soldering iron.

Scroll further down for a list of learning objectives for this course.

All code is available on Github, and is free to download and use as you wish.

A list of parts is available in the first section of the course (free to view).

In 9 hours of video content and over 70 lectures, you will learn the necessary skills for interfacing you Raspberry Pi with your workbench.

1 – Introduction
[0010] – Required Software START
[0020a] – Required Hardware, Part 1
[0020b] – Required Hardware, Part 2
[0030] – Things to drive with the Bench Computer
[0040] – Residual current device
What me first! A study guide

2 – Basic Setup
[0050] – Setup the Raspbian operating system on an SD card
[0060] – Attach the touch screen on the Raspberry Pi
[0070] – Boot for the first time
[0080] – Attach the Piface Relay+ to your Raspberry Pi

3 – More setup: enclosure and networking
[0090] – Make the enclosure
[0098] – Connect a Bluetooth keyboard
[0100] – Setup Wifi using a keyboard
[0110] – Setup Wifi using Ethernet
[0120] – SSH without password
[0130] – Setup remote desktop

4 – Taking photos and video with the RPi Camera
[0140] – Connect the camera
[0150] – Taking still images
[0160] – Taking video
[0170] – Converting H264 to MP4 video
[0180] – Splitting large video files into smaller ones

5 – Control with the Piface Relay+
[0190] – What is a HAT?
[0200] – The Piface Relay+
[0210] – Piface Relay+ software setup and demo
[0220] – Blink script walkthrough
[0230] – Connect and control a 12V LED strip
[0235] – Shrink tubing
[0240] – Connect and control a 12V fan
[0245] – Improving the wiring

6 – Environment monitoring with the DHT22
[0250] – DHT22 wiring and demo
[0260] – The PIGPIO daemon
[0270] – Set autostart for PIGPIOD

7 – Controlling mains loads with an external relay
[0300] – Using a 5V relay with the Raspberry Pi
[0310] – Calculate the relay driver circuit
[0320] – Test the circuit on the breadboard
[0330] – Design the relay driver PCB
[0430] – Test the relay driver PCB

8 – Construct the relay controller box
[0350] – Walkthrough the enclosure features and construction
[0351] – Testing
[0352] – Tools
[0353] – Demonstration
[0360] – Relay box controller external wiring
[0370] – Test the finished relay controller box with software

9 – Meet Tkinter
[0380] – Introduction to Tkinter
[0381] – Labels
[0382] – Events
[0383] – Text Entry Box
[0384] – Images
[0385] – Custom styling
[0386] – Notebook
[0387] – Grid Layout

10 – Write the Bench Computer application
[0390] – User interface design with a wireframe
[0400] – Step 1: Create the skeleton application
[0410] – Step 2: Implement the Control tab
[0420] – Step 3: Implement that Camera tab
[0430] – Step 4: Implement the Environment tab
[0440] – Test the completed application

11- Bench Computer Mk II using the Keyestudio 4 Channel Relay (or similar)
[1001] – Introduction
[1010] – RPi Bench Computer Mk II demonstration
[1030a] – Disassembly planning
[1030b] – Disassembly
[1040] – A look at the GPIO breakout board
[1050a] – A demonstration of the Keyestudio relay board using RPI.GPIO
[1050b] – A demonstration of the Keyestudio relay board using pigpio
[1060a] – Assembly of RPi Mk II, GPIO breakout board
[1060b] – Assembly of RPi Mk II, electrical check
[1060c] – Assembly of RPi Mk II, relay board
[1065] – Testing the external wiring
[1070] – Python Mk II application script walkthrough

Ideas for improvement

Raspberry Pi: Make a Workbench Automation Computer

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