I've spent the last few days having a crazy, fun-filled, packed, hands-on introduction at work at the NPPC! I literally got started here with running tests, inspecting systems and patching old codebases.
Mainly I've been playing around with, the now a few years old, Raspberry Pi model B's. They're super fragile and hate being tampered with. That's meant that a lot of my time has been testing devices, checking images are not corrupted and re-imaging SD cards.
These Pi's are all part of a large system which controls an automated watering and weighing system for the use with various experiments. Getting this system into a usable state has been fun, but there is quite a bit of urgency as a new experiment is due to start in under 4 days!
One of my little side missions is to test the automated scales that we are using.
These numbers above show some readings I've set up to be taken every minute. I used a known weight of 2Kg and you can see that over time the quality of the scales are diminishing. Which when you play to do this over months... THIS IS VERY VERY BAD FOR SCIENCE EVERYWHERE!
A somewhat longer term project on this that I am hoping to work on is to revamp this system. Currently it is written entirely in Perl which in itself is quite an oddity. I would love to rewire all of the Pi's in use (15+), move them to be closer to their scales they handle and the water they control. I also plan on upgrading these to possible the Pi 3 as they are much more stable and power efficient (due to sleep modes, and handling of random power cuts). Additionally rewriting the software to make use of Python and more friendly clear to understand code, as well as maintain the documentation for it would make me very happy indeed!
Hopefully I will get to update my progress on this again soon!
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