PiJuice is the ultimate module for all portable Raspberry Pi projects (complete with our revolutionary PiAnywhere technology – the best way to take your Pi off the grid!). Includes many fun maker projects and a solar power version too!
One of the things we promised as a stretch goal was that we would design and release a PiJuice compatible waterproof maker case. We have just got the first draft design back from our friends at CamdenBoss so we thought we would share these with you.
The top picture shows the fully IP rated waterproof case. As you can see it has glands and mounting options as well as windows for camera and motion sensor mounts.
The smaller plastic part in the second picture is a "sensor attachment"...basically the point in this is to provide a somewhat weatherproof area outside the fully waterproof case for mounting sensors and other items that need to be in an open environment but can still do with being protected from abuse etc.
We hope to have the first prototypes from CamdenBoss soon and will post pictures of them as soon as we do.
As promised in the last update, we have an update on the Maker Kits now that we have got the Maker Kit Case sample in from CamdenBoss.
We thought it might be easier to do this as a video. We then received a few missing parts that we did not yet have in and also realised we had forgotten to mention a few points about the kits....so we did TWO videos!
Even still, we have forgotten to mention one very cool feature of the case...scroll past the videos for a picture and news about that :-)
Maker Kit Case Demo
This first video goes through the Maker Kit case, how to assemble it, how to install the camera and some of its basic functionality:
As you can see, it is quite a versatile case. It fits the Pi, PiJuice, Media Center HAT and the camera module all in a neat package. It has "knockout" parts for accessing the joystick / buttons from the Media Center HAT, should you prefer that to a touch screen. It also has a kickstand in order to use it as a "portable pocket pi"!
Games Console Demo
This second video goes into a demo of the games console functionality and also some bits that we forgot to mention in the previous video:
As mentioned we have space for lanyards / straps. We also should have a tripod mount in the final case to allow you to use the kit with "GoPro style" accessories! As you can also see, we have a Bluetooth PS3 control with a phone clamp which doubles up as a really good PiJuice Maker Kit clamp!
So there you have it - a very functional product, all in a single case.
Lenses and suction cups
One thing we forgot to mention in either video (doh!) was about the threaded mount inside the kickstand to allow you to use external camera lenses (excuse the tape holding the camera in place - we are using that to hold the camera here because we are waiting for the mounting hardware):
As you can see, the hole cut out in the maker kit case to allow the camera in, is threaded to accept "smartphone camera lens" style lenses with them just screwing into place to make the camera more versatile.
You can also see on the back of the case that there are "keyhole" mounts - obviously these can be used to wall-mount the case, however they have also been designed to allow you to use them with suction cups so you can attach this whole assembly to a window or other surface.
We hope all of this adds a lot of useful functionality and makes your Pi a lot Juicier!
Due to the issues with the first case sample (missing tripod mount etc) we have to do another sample. This should only take a couple weeks. We have already placed an order for the full production quantity but this can obviously go ahead once we have confirmed a sample. With CamdenBoss, production normally takes 3 to 4 weeks. So we are within 6 weeks there we think.
The final piece in the puzzle is obviously the Media Center HAT. We have got production samples for these and have approved them (a long time ago actually)...but unfortunately we are STILL waiting for a production timeline from Embest / Farnell on these. They are messing us around a bit and we were due to launch that product in June so they are already very late. We are doing the best we can to get updates and may have to manufacture them elsewhere at this point but we are doing our best to manage the delays and as soon as we have a solid timeline I will let you know.
A fair bit of news for you this week and lots of pictures, so lets get started!
Maker Kit Cases
We have spoken a lot about the Maker Kits recently, and the production that is being done to finish that part of the Kickstarter. There are around 150 of you who are waiting for Maker Kits so we want to share some updates with you on that.
As you know, we are pairing the PiJuice with our soon to be released Media Center HAT for the Maker Kits (in fact, you will be the first recipients of those HATs before they are even released!). This provides IR input and output, a joystick or buttons and a 2.83 inch touchscreen to the Maker Kits. This will be paired with a PS3 style controller, a mount and a case that we have had designed by the lovely folks at CamdenBoss to accomodate it all into one single case!
You can see some pictures of the case below:
The really neat thing about this case, is that it has a kickstand, and a camera mount all built in to the one box. So you can use it as a point and shoot camera, a portable pocket Pi or a games console with the controller. Pretty awesome all round! And with the Pi 3 it will have WiFi and Bluetooth built in as well.
We should have the first sample of the case in the next week or so, and will post pictures of it once it arrives.
PiJuice and Pi Zero
For those of you who follow us on Twitter, you might have already seen this!
We have had many requests to use the PiJuice HAT with the super low cost Pi Zero v1.3 and Pi Zero W...for obvious reasons as they use much less power than the Pi 3 Model B and 3B+.
So we have also had CamdenBoss design a new PiJuice case that accommodates a PiJuice HAT and Pi Zero all in one neat design. (in this picture, it still has protective plastic on it, which you can remove - just FYI)
We have already started production on these cases and should have them available from our website in around 2 to 4 weeks hopefully. As soon as we have them we will post an update with a link here and on our Twitter page. Hopefully these should generate even more cool projects than we have seen already!
Another thing we shared on Twitter last week was some pretty exciting news of a new product we are working on....PiJuice Zero!
As you are probably already aware, the Pi Zero is a hugely popular version of the Raspberry Pi! As we mentioned above, we have had a huge amount of requests and questions about using the PiJuice HAT with Raspberry Pi Zero boards, most likely because it brings with it a huge amount of benefits such as smaller form factor and weight as well as a much cheaper price tag and lower power consumption. All of these things are great for remote and low cost projects as well as many other projects too.
The PiJuice HAT / Pi Zero case we have made serves some purposes really well, and allows you to use the PiJuice HAT (complete with super-simple on board battery) but it does not make as good use of the small form factor of the Pi Zero, which is important for some projects.
So we decided to make a super-tiny PiJuice called the PiJuice Zero. Here are some pictures and renders of the boards:
As you can see from the photos and renders above, we have removed the on-board battery and removed some other features (less headers, less buttons, less LEDs) and only put components on a single side. However, in terms of core functionality the PiJuice Zero can do everything that the PiJuice HAT can do but in a tiny package...as you can see, it is pretty well packed with components...it was a bit of a struggle to fit everything on!
The white 3 pin connector on the top of the board is for the battery and we will be providing with each board a connector with 3 wires coming from it that you can use to connect to the battery of your choice (so you don't have to source the connector and crimp it onto wires yourself!). We will also sell these cables separately.
The incorrect colour (deep purple) samples you can see were the first prototype boards that we got made (the pink colour of the HATs is a custom colour, so not possible to do quickly for proto runs so we went with the nearest colour we could see). We have tested those and they work brilliantly so we have moved on to the next stage of manufacture - getting "golden samples" made. The pink PCBs you see as the first two pictures are some of the boards from this run. These will be production quality boards and will be used to perform the CE and FCC testing as well as for verifying the production process before we move into bulk manufacture.
We are not in a major rush to release the PiJuice Zero and finishing this Kickstarter is an absolute priority however we thought there would be a lot of you out there who may be interested in this product. We are probably going to be launching this directly on our website once we have units available and we intend to give early access and a discount code to backers to enable them to get in early, should they want a PiJuice Zero!
We will provide more info on the PiJuice Zero as we have it!
We found out the other day that WalMart have on their website a 3500mAh battery that is compatible with the PiJuice. This might be a quick and easy way for USA based backers to get their hands on a larger capacity battery.
We have ordered a couple and are testing them with a view to adding them as a pre-configured battery option in our software (will let you know when that is done).
You can order one of the batteries from this link:
We have also sent him some JustBoom gear so he can integrate that into his car as well and compare it to the HiFiBerry. Looking forward to seeing the results!
Again, if you follow our social media profiles, you may have seen that this week we launched colour coded male headers for the Raspberry Pi Zero board as well as Pi Zeros (both W and v1.3) with coloured headers pre-soldered to the board.
We are very glad that the vast majority of you have now received your PiJuice boards and we are excited to see everyone sharing the projects they are working on. It is awesome to finally see them out in the wild.
If you have had any issues with receiving your parcel, please send us an email to email@example.com and we will do our best to resolve it.
Firmware and software updates
Since you all received your PiJuices and further to our previous update on Kickstarter you will know that having 2500+ people testing your product all at once is a pretty good way to find bugs!
We can't thank you enough for all the testing you have been doing of the hardware, software and firmware - it will enable us to make the product better and better as we go and a large number of you have been posting issues / concerns on GitHub to help us in this quest.
Today, we uploaded a new software updated to v1.3.3:
These are both available now, and you can install them using the guides on GitHub. In around a couple of days, the new software will be available via an apt-get update, apt-get upgrade from the Raspbian terminal and the new firmware is contained within this updated software package so you will be able to just do a one-click firmware update from there.
This fixes the vast majority of bugs and issues with the firmware and software, however the software and firmware will continue to be improved on an ongoing basis so keep your eyes peeled for more updates in the coming months. And if you do find any bugs or other issues please post on our GitHub issues page here - https://github.com/PiSupply/PiJuice/issues
Media Center HAT compliance testing
As you will all know from previous updates, we have got a good plan for the Maker Kits now which involves using our Media Center HAT that we developed in house.
One of the major steps to getting this released, as with the PiJuice HAT itself, was the CE and FCC testing of the board. This was completed this week by SGS who is a contractor that Embest / Farnell (who are producing the boards) use for all of their testing.
The full test documents are available at the above link, if you are interested to peruse them. This now allows us to push straight into full production as we have already had the golden test samples and this is the penultimate step in getting the Maker Kits shipping. Now it is just a bit of a waiting game as we wait for production of both these and the Maker Kit cases.
It seems that the vast majority have got your PiJuice HATs now. We have been seeing a lot of activity on GitHub and on our support ticket platform!
We just wanted to say thanks for posting all the issues there, we are a bit overwhelmed with PiJuice support at the moment in part due to our Maker Zone being down (our own fault) and in part due to so many of you receiving your PiJuice HATs at once causing a significant increase in support requests. We are only a small team so it is proving a bit difficult to address all of these as quickly as we would normally but we thank you for your patience at this time. We also want to thank Ton over on our GitHub page, who is a volunteer, but has been putting in a huge amount of time to help everyone.
This whole problem has also been exacerbated by a change in Raspbian breaking some software features and a change in our software team leading to a 2 week period of very little ability to fix these issues (the developer who made the PiJuice software leaving, and a new engineer getting up to speed!).
The silver lining on all this, is that this is a REALLY good test for the software and the hardware and it seems most of the bugs are from the software and one we have identified in the firmware. Once these are resolved, we hope it should be pretty smooth sailing after that.
Thanks again for your patience, we are working as fast as we can to get things resolved!