The primary mission of the Raspberry Pi is to educate kids, but the Pi has proven useful outside of the classroom. The Pi can be turned into a retro gaming console, media center, print server, and even a web server.

It’s versatile, it’s small, and with the right casing, it’s durable. That’s what makes the Raspberry Pi the perfect tool for any outdoor project you want to build.

Outdoor Projects for Your Raspberry Pi

Most of the outdoor projects you build with your Raspberry Pi need to be powered by batteries and solar panels unless you have a handy electrical outlet. Eight Battery Powered Pi Projects You Can Try:

  1. Outdoor camera system
  2. Automated farming bot
  3. remote controlled underwater vehicle
  4. high altitude hot air balloon
  5. weather station
  6. car black box
  7. Infrared bird camera
  8. Drone autopilot system

Each of these projects can be powered by a battery, a solar panel, or both (if you want your batteries to charge). Let’s talk through each of them.

1. Outdoor camera system

With the optional Pi Camera Module, it’s pretty easy to build an outdoor camera system with a Raspberry Pi. You can even create a moving camera system. if you want to save on power consumption and storage, especially with a battery or solar panel.

You don’t necessarily need an additional camera module for this, as any Linux-enabled USB webcam should do the job. A project like this can be used for security purposes to watch for intruders, or for more enjoyable purposes, such as live camera feeds from your animal kingdom.

2. Automated farming bot

Sustainable living is great if you have time to invest. Thanks to the FarmBot open source Pi project, you can automate the process and build an automated farm in your backyard instead.

You can buy a kit with everything you need already, or you can buy, print and assemble everything you need separately. The Raspberry Pi and Arduino microcontroller controls the kit, but you will need additional hardware to buy or build.

The FarmBot project suggests that you can save $700 a year on vegetable costs and recoup your investment costs in four years (or less if you design and build your own kit). If you want to eat better and save money, this might be the project for you.

3. Remotely controlled underwater vehicle

Thanks to its waterproof case, the Pi is a good remote-controlled submarine that, from the layman’s point of view, is an unmanned submarine.

While the OpenROV project sells their own DIY submarine kits, you can build your own Pi ROV using their open source platform available for download on the OpenROV GitHub repository.

You will need a pi, tether, motors and a propeller, and an ROV control board to build a project like this.

4. High altitude balloon

With the optional Pi In The Sky Kit and a helium balloon, your Raspberry Pi can be sent to the nearest space to take photos or stream video.

Turning your Pi into a high-altitude balloon doesn’t have to cost the earth thanks to the low cost of the Raspberry Pi itself and the (reasonably) low cost of helium for your launch.

You’ll need an optional tracking and shooting kit, such as a Pi camera add-on. You will also need tracking equipment, such as a laptop with an RTL-SDR adapter.

5. Weather station

Raspberry Pi DIY Weather Station
Image courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

If your ambition is a little closer to home and you want a clearer view of the weather, the Pi can be the brains behind your own garden weather station.

For such a project, you will need suitable equipment, including various sensors, as well as a rain sensor and a weather vane. Don’t forget to buy or build a waterproof case and install the Pi with a solar panel.

Once your station is built, you will need to have access to the data. The Raspberry Pi Foundation recommends using Initial State, a real-time streaming platform. You can then use the data you recorded to monitor current weather conditions as long as your Pi has an internet connection.

6. Car black box

Worried about dangerous drivers? Thanks to the RoadApplePi project, you can protect yourself in an accident and record evidence with the car’s black box. The Bluetooth OBD-II adapter can record your car’s real-time performance using the OBD-II port. port about your vehicle. You can combine this with video evidence from the road using a USB camera.

Built-in Wi-Fi Pi 3 or Pi Zero W turns into a wireless access point. You can connect to this using the web app on your phone or laptop to access on-board data if you don’t want to remove the Pi from your car.

The software required for this project can be found in the RoadApplePi GitHub repository.

7. Bird Box Infrared Camera

If you are a birder (a bird watcher, for you and me), you will want to see «bird life» up close. With a Raspberry Pi and an IR camera add-on, you can create an infrared camera for birds in your garden.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s NoIR camera add-on makes it easy to build a Pi bird box. Along with the NoIR camera, you will need infrared LEDs to illuminate the camera. You can attach them to the Pi’s GPIO pins directly with a 220 ohm resistor.

For self-assembly, you will need to power the Pi from a battery pack and a solar panel. You also need to mount the Pi on an appropriately sized bird box.

8. Drone autopilot system

Have you ever dreamed of building your own self-driving drone? You can with the Pi and the Navio2 add-on to guide it.

Navio2 is a HAT (Hardware Attached) extension that installs on top of your Pi’s GPIO pins. It includes a variety of altitude, acceleration, and orientation sensors—everything a drone’s autopilot system needs to keep it aloft.

You will also need hardware to make your Pi fly. Think of a frame, propellers, motors and a suitable power supply and body. If you don’t feel like building it yourself, there are several Navio2 build kits to get your Pi up and running.

Battery operated and built with ambition

You can navigate the ocean or the sky, or keep an eye on your garden, all thanks to the Raspberry Pi. With a rugged chassis and the right accessories, the Raspberry Pi will be the perfect computer source for any outdoor project you want to build.

If you don’t have an outdoor project on your radar, consider some of these great uses for the Raspberry Pi.

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