All things Raspberry Pi and Time Lapse

Archive for the ‘General’ Category


I recently found the Hypnocube 4Cube, which is a grid of 64 RGB (Red/Green/Blue) LEDs laid out 4 LEDs wide, by 4 LEDs long, by 4 LEDs high. Pictures are at the bottom of this post. I wrote a little bit about in in my previous post here (bottom of the post). I decided to buy one and I am glad that I did! It was a very fun kit to build. It looks amazing at night with the lights off and the LEDs flashing different patterns and colors. I did a time lapse video as I built the cube and that is posted here ( The video is pretty long (10 minutes) but I think it is worth it to see some of the details in building. The pdf with building instructions is available from Hypnocube to download here (it is the 4Cube link – and the jig instructions are right below that).

I wrote a script (below) that used ImageMagick from the Linux command line added the date stamp onto the pictures. Basically it changed directories into the folder, then for each file it got the date and time from that picture, then put that stamp onto the picture. After this step I used an action in Photoshop to crop the images and do some basic image adjusting.

for x in $var
cd $x
for y in `ls`
name=`identify -format %[EXIF:DateTime] $y | cut -d “:” -f1-5`
convert $y -pointsize 50 -fill white -annotate +1000+1000 “$name” $y
cd ..

Their manual only includes instructions for Windows. But that wasn’t where I wanted to have it connected. After some searching around I figured out that the Hypnocube was located at /dev/ttyACM0 by running “dmesg | grep tty” and it was listed there. Then I installed the “screen” command and then typed in the command “screen /dev/ttyACM0 38400” and it works just like a putty session from Windows. Then to exit out of screen “CTRL+a+d” and it will exit. To return back to the session “screen -r” and it goes back to the session again. This works from a Fedora Linux desktop and also from a Debian based Linux distribution on a Raspberry Pi. This offers some really cool options like controlling the Hypnocube from my Android by using ConnectBot which is a ssh client for Android. So I can ssh into the Raspberry Pi or my desktop and then using the screen command I can “login” to the Hypnocube. Then using their commands I can switch to the next visualization or the previous one. I can lock it on the current one or pause it.


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Gertboard LED test scripts

I originally tested the Gertboard using the C code. But then when it came to modifying it I am not very familiar with C. So I downloaded the Python code available here from and it worked great! I was able to modify it and made some of my own visualizations and rewrote some of the current ones for the fun of it. The first couple are pretty basic. The last one shown in this video (about 0:52 seconds ) randomly chooses one of the LEDs and then creates two different “lives” on either side of that LED. Each time through the loop each life can move up or down. So one can move up and the other move down, or they might both move in the same direction. This continues until one of them tries to move to LED 0 or 13 which doesn’t exist, and then they die. But the other one continues until it also tries to move to 0 or 13. On the screen it prints out how many times it moved. Best I have seen using the LEDs is over 200. But just running the code on the computer without the delay I have seen over 640 moves without dying.

Interesting and fun stuff!!

Building a Gertboard

Finally edited the time lapse of building my Gertboard. It took about 4-5 hours from start to finish. I missed a small portion of soldering the header pins because the camera ran out of battery. The surface mount components were the hardest, but after that it was pretty straight forward and really fun! Here is the link to Vimeo and the Time Lapse ( After finishing the board I ran the test scripts that were written in C and it worked except for the motor controller. For some reason it would not turn the motor. Still working on figuring out what I am doing wrong there…

Finished shot of the Gertboard connected to the Raspberry Pi.


GPIO Computer Case Fan and LED Cube

My 5V computer case fan arrived and I was very interested to see if I could power it from the Raspberry Pi. So I turned everything off, and plugged it into the GPIO cable. I had put the case back together with this cable because that makes it easy to access the GPIO. I went to fan manufacture and found that the Red wire was 5V input, the Black wire was ground, and the Blue wire was for the frequency readings. So I used some of the recent F/F jumper cables and plugged GPIO pin 1 into the Red for power and GPIO pin 3 into the black for power. Powered the Raspberry Pi on and right away the fan started up! Success! Now to go on and figure out a way to leave it plugged in and via software be able to control when the fan powers up. And possibly try to get the Blue wire working as well.

This site has a diagram of the GPIO pins.

First picture is the Raspberry Pi powered off… Hard to see, but the fan blades are stopped.


Next two shots are powered and show the lights on the Raspberry Pi and the fan is a blur.

IMG_0930_edited IMG_0936_editedAnd the next is the jumpers that came from Adafruit…IMG_0937_edited

I stumbled across this site today and was wondering about a Raspberry Pi controlled version…. They have a kit to buy that is currently $150 for the 4x4x4 cube. Sounds as if custom programming is limited to minimal so that is a bummer. There is a video here of someone who has done this with a Raspberry Pi. His notes about it are here. And there are some videos of people running it off an Arduino. Here is the youtube link to a demonstration of some of the things an 8x8x8 cube (blue) can display. This video and others from the same channel showing what the cube can do are amazing! A tutorial can be found here on a 4x4x4 cube using an arduino.

Pandora Internet Radio – In a portable box

Great tutorial here on Instructables on how to build a portable Internet radio box. This project includes some soldering, but has good instructions. I am going to look into installing pianobar as that looks like it could be really useful and right at home on the Rasberry Pi.

Gertboard Arrived!

My gertboard arrived today! So I setup the soldering stuff and went to work on the practice board from Elenco that I bought from Amazon. And I found out real quick that the soldering iron that I have is not high enough quality. The tip did not get evenly hot which made it hard to solder. So I decided to buy a different soldering iron. I bought this one from Adafruit as they have Raspberry Pi and lots of other awesome electronics and DIY kits/parts. So I am assuming that since they say that this soldering iron is a good entry-level tool that it should be worth it. So now the only problem is waiting for that to ship…

I was looking up some instructional videos about the gertboard and came across these three from Element14.

Advice about assembly – Surface mount – Through hole

And as mentioned in this video at approximately 6:10 he says that there was only 10 jumper wires that came with the kit, and there are 12 LEDs. So there is not enough jumper cables to connect all 12 LEDs at the same time. So in addition to the soldering iron I bought a pack of these F/F jumper wires and also a pack of M/M jumper wires.  This gives me the option of creating my own M/F jumper wires by combining one of each. And these come in packs of 40 so I should have plenty!

Adafruit is a really awesome website. And Sparkfun is really amazing too!

Here is a picture of what all arrived in the package from Newark. Gertboard on the left. Small components in bags in the center. And some of the bigger chips in anti-static bags on the right.


Next two images are of the GPIO cable coming out of the case that I posted about previously.

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The next two images are of the bare Gertboard. First one is the top of the board, and the second is the bottom of the board.

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Pro Time Lapses

This video on Vimeo is absolutely amazing! It is a combination of day and night shots that were taken in Yosemite National Park. This next video is also a collection of shots from Arizona and Utah. Both of these videos are absolutely worth the time to watch them. The second video is by a guy named Dustin Farrell and he has some great tutorials on shooting and post processing.

Yosemite –

Arizona and Utah –

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