Coolers, Calculators, and Trackers: Raspberry Pi project ideas

Here are some fantastic Raspberry Pi project ideas!

Whisky Flask Cooler

What happens if you can’t get a heat sink in time for your project, but want to start immediately?

How about liquid-cooling?

Coin-and-flask DIY Raspberry Pi 4 NAS cooling by Joel. (Photo from Gray Code)

A guy named Joel posted this cooling solution with the Raspberry Pi 4.

According to Joel’s blog, he started using his Raspberry Pi 4 as a NAS to store stuff.

However, he wasn’t prepared at all. He received the Pi 4 as a gift but it didn’t come with any fans or heat sinks.

Basically, a whim struck him and he decided to go in head first.

“Didnt have it in me to wait, homemade NAS waits for nothing!!!,” Joel said.

Joel acknowledged that the Raspberry Pi 4 would throttle itself if it got too hot, but he thought it wasn’t a good idea to run computers at its limits.

Thus, he stacked a few coins and a hip flask.

It was a wobbly mess, but he managed to reduce temperatures by 9 degrees Celcius from 68 to 58 C under a large transfer load.

This little Jenga tower of metal coins and a flask did tip once and caused a short on the Raspberry Pi, but luckily it caused no damage.

So what’s the conclusion? According to Joel:

It’s not stupid if it works.

On a side note, here’s how you can monitor your Pi’s temperatures.

Mechanical Calculator

Jonathan Fortmann’s mechanical calculator (photo from Reddit)

Kids these days…

… make me feel like a boomer.

Not only did Jonathan Fortmann design a mechanical calculator hardware, he also programmed it using a Raspberry Pi Pico.

“This is my very first real physical and polished project and thus im very proud of it as a 14 year old :)” he said.

You can use this project as a calculator and if you modify the code, you can use it as a numpad keyboard device (HID).

You can find the code, KiCAD files and more information on Jonathan’s Github.

Pico Solar System Tracker

Dmytro Panin’s Pico Solar System project. (photo from Dymtro’s Github)

If you’re a fan of Kerbal Space Program…

Or if you are obsessed with the Apple Watch’s solar system tracker watch face…

Then you are probably going to love this.

For me, this project is proof of two things:

  1. It proves that the Raspberry Pi Pico can output useful, colourful graphics
  2. It proves that the Raspberry Pi Pico W’s wireless can substitute a real-time clock (RTC).

You need two components. The first is the Pico Display Pack from Pimoroni. The second is a Raspberry Pi Pico with an RTC or a Pico W (that syncs online to get the time).

Code and instructions are available here.

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