Add a 9-pin Serial Port to your Raspberry Pi in 10 Minutes

Here’s how to add a 9-pin serial port to your Raspberry Pi, and it’ll only take you 10 mins. Well, maybe a couple of weeks to wait for the part to arrive from Hong Kong, but once it arrives, it’s only 10 minutes! ūüėČ

Here’s the part you’ll need. It’s an RS232 to TTL converter module containing a MAX3232 chip. The MAX3232 is important, as the older MAX232 won’t handle the 3.3v levels of the Pi, whereas the Max3232 will. It comes with a 4-way cable for connecting the module to the GPIO of your Pi. If you search on eBay for “RS232 Serial Port To TTL Converter Module MAX3232” you should find several. The one I got cost me ‚ā¨3 with free shipping from Hong Kong.

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Lapse Pi – Motorised Time-lapse Rail with Raspberry Pi

Here’s another article in the series of photography related DIY projects using the Raspberry Pi single board computer. This time it’s a Time Lapse rail.

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RAID Pi – Raspberry Pi as a RAID file server

This mini-project uses a Raspberry Pi as a RAID array controller. ¬†Now it won’t be the fastest raid controller on the planet, but if you’re only doing a bit of streaming, and a bit of backup, and would like a bit of redundancy, then this solution might be for you. OK, maybe not. The performance will be slow. Very slow. This article is not meant to be a serious solution, I just did it because I could. I did it to see if it would work. And it seemed to.

Macro Pi – Focus Stacking using Raspberry Pi

Here’s another in the series of articles of photographic uses for the Raspberry Pi SBC (Single Board Computer). This time, it’s re-purposing an old flatbed scanner as a macro rail for focus stacking images in macro photography.

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Camera Pi – DSLR Camera with Embedded Computer

I’ve had the idea of embedding a computer ¬†DSLR camera¬†for a couple of years now, but for whatever reason I never got around to¬†implementing¬†it, mostly due to the cost of small single board computers. Until now, that is. With the release of the Raspberry Pi, embedded computing has all of a sudden become much more affordable. At ‚ā¨35 for the computer, it’s far cheaper than any of it’s rivals.

So what I’ve done is take an old (broken) battery grip that I had lying around (for my Canon 5D Mark II), and made a few modifications to it so I could fit the Raspberry Pi SBC (Single Board Computer) into it.

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Spare Parts

I had a bit of a disaster the other day with my PC. The main boot drive on my pc became corrupted, so the pc would boot, but would not stay up for long, giving me the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) a few seconds after logging in. Normally this would be quite serious, in that I could have lost ¬†a load of data, had to wait to get a replacement drive, etc. etc. I’d just arrived back for a shoot, and had about 800 images I needed to go through, select the good ones, process, and get them delivered in a short timescale.

Well, as you may have ¬†have seen from previous articles, I’m rather interested in back-ups, and data redundancy, so no data was lost. I have 3 copies of everything, and 4 copies of critical data. So I didn’t lose sleep over having lost any data. The thing that could have concerned me next is the availability of a new hard drive to install the operating system onto to get the machine back up and running. I happened to have a spare 1Tb Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM drive on the shelf beside my PC. Unused, never initialised, never opened. Before I realised I had the spare however, I scoured the local PC-World and Maplin for a suitable drive. Any drive. PC World had no 7200RPM drives in stock at all. As for the prices for the 5400RPM drives, forget it. Then over to Maplin. They happened to have exactly what I wanted. A 1TB, Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM drive. I got 6 of these from overclockers.co.uk a few months ago for ¬£29 each, or about ‚ā¨35. When the guy at Maplin told me how much they wanted for it, I nearly fell over. ‚ā¨130! On principle, I refused to pay that, and went home where I knew I had half a dozen old 160G drives that would do the job (albiet slowly) until I could get a proper replacement in from overclockers.co.uk. I could get 4 drives in about 3 days for the same money that the local Maplin were looking for for a single drive. It was when I was going through the stack of 160G drives, that I discovered the unused 1Tb drive.

A couple of hours later, I had Windows re-installed, along with Photoshop CS5 and Lightroon 3.4, so I was able to get the images processed and sent off in plenty of time.

I guess this has taught me a lesson. Keep spares. Whether it’s Compact Flash cards, flash guns, cameras, or hard drives. If you can afford to keep a spare, then keep a spare.