4U Bayou: Using Your ODROID-GO for Scientific Research

When you’ve finished fraggin’ the DOOM world into pieces, how about saving the real world around you? It’s easy, and you get to use your favorite portable game machine. Yes, that’s right; with just a couple of simple modifications to your beloved ODROID-GO, you can become an environment-saving superhero (see Figure 1).

So, go ahead and build the stock portable gaming handheld kit exactly according to the online assembly instructions in the ODROID Wiki (http://wiki.odroid.com). Then get ready to mod your ODROID-GO and get out there and attack an environmental issue. Don’t worry, you can easily get back to making hamburgers with ColecoVision BurgerTime after you’ve saved the world.

Figure 1 - A logo that you can use for this project
Figure 1 – A logo that you can use for this project

What You’ll Need

  • ODROID-GO, assembled
  • ODROID Weather Board 2
  • 6-pin right angle header (www.sparkfun.com #PRT-00553 40-pin break-away male headers–right angle; $1.95)
  • 3 zipper-sealing sandwich bags
  • 1m (3.28’) of wire/cord/rope/twine
  • Two smart device apps:
  • Google Science Journal
  • Vernier Graphical Analysis
  • A local waterway, like the bayou in Figure 2, to be used for taking your scientific measurements

Figure 2 - This is our project site—a coastal Mississippi bayou
Figure 2 – This is our project site—a coastal Mississippi bayou

Step-by-Step Instruction

1. Assemble your ODROID-GO by following the ODROID Wiki instructions. You do not have to modify the handheld’s hardware.

2. Take the 40-pin break-away male header and snap off a six-pin length. Insert this header into the six, furthest right–looking down from the top–general purpose input/output (GPIO) pins (1-6). These pins can be found along the upper edge of the ODROID-GO case. After installation, ensure that the pins are pointing upwards as in Figure 3.

Figure 3 - The proper orientation for the right-angle header
Figure 3 – The proper orientation for the right-angle header

3. Carefully connect the Weather Board 2 to these header pins.

WARNING: Be absolutely certain that the Weather Board 2 is facing upright and pointed AWAY from the ODROID-GO case. When properly inserted you should be able to read the Weather Board 2 pin labels, upside down, from right to left: GND, INT0, ADC3, SDA, SCL, P3V45 (Figure 4).

Figure 4 - The Weather Board 2 must face up for taking environmental readings
Figure 4 – The Weather Board 2 must face up for taking environmental readings

4. Explicitly follow the “Arduino for ODROID-GO–Weather Station” online instructions on the ODROID Wiki. A brief summary of these instructions are: a. Setup the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for ESP32 programming. b. Connect the ODROID-GO to your PC with a micro-USB cable. c. Setup the ESP32 SPI Flash File System (SPIFFS) tool. d. Import the Weather Station Arduino example application and compile/upload it to your ODROID-GO. e. Remove your microSD card. You will not need it for this project.

5. Make these small changes to the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) file, index.html, inside the Weather Station example application’s Web page data folder:

line 36

<"h1">4U Bayou
<"h2">Format: Temperature C, Pressure hPa, Humidity %, Altitude m, UV Index, Visible lux, IR lux

<"h3" id=”dataLog”>

line 42
6. Continue following the ODROID Wiki instructions and upload the data folder using the ESP32 Sketch Data Upload menu tool.

7. Reboot the ODROID-GO (i.e. cycle the power switch, although this reboot should happen automatically). Environmental sensor data should be displayed on the device’s color liquid crystal display (LCD).

8. Connect to the ODROID-GO WiFi access point (AP): “ODROID_GO_#####” using the password “12345678.”

9. Start your web browser and enter this Internet Protocol (IP) address: http://192.168.4.1. Verify that the sensor data is synchronized between the ODROID-GO and the browser.

10. Turn off the power for the ODROID-GO and disconnect the micro-USB cable from your PC.

Your ODROID-GO environmental scientific research data-gathering device is now ready to be used in the field. The only data sets that we care about in this research project are temperature and visible light. While the remaining data can be retained for future reference, the bulk of it will be nonsensical. Why? Because the recordings will be made from inside three layers of sealed, airtight plastic bags.

In order to prepare for data gathering, switch on the ODROID-GO and let its readings stabilize. Once the data has settled down, insert the handheld into the first zipper-lock plastic bag. Make sure the seal is tight and then place the bagged gaming device inside the second zipper-lock plastic bag and seal it. Finally, slide your dual-bagged data “sandwich” into the third, and final, zipper-lock plastic bag and zip it shut, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 - All ready to go outside and record data inside three zipper-lock plastic bags
Figure 5 – All ready to go outside and record data inside three zipper-lock plastic bags

You will have to carefully make a small hole in the surrounding end flap of the third bag. Do NOT puncture ANY of the bags, only cut an opening in the loose flap. Now thread your wire/cord/rope/twin through this hole and secure it with a healthy knot. Your test equipment is now ready.

Log into the ODROID-GO WiFi AP (Hint: there shouldn’t be too many WiFi hotspots in your remote field location) and point your browser to the Weather Board 2 Web page. When you’re satisfied with the data, save a copy of the browser screen. This screen holds the data for the current conditions of the airborne atmosphere at your test site.

Slowly lower the ODROID-GO down into the water that you want to test (Figure 6). Keep an eye on the data that is streaming to your browser. When the readings have stabilized in the water, make another copy of the browser screen. This screen represents the conditions of the water at your site.

At this point, you’re done with your first environmental data collection exercise. This same process should be repeated at regular intervals over an extended period of time. For example, make a data collection every day for one year. If you are crunched for time, try a collection once a week for three months. Just remember that any data collection is better than no data collection.

Figure 6 - Don’t drop it or an alligator could become the next ODROID-GO gamer
Figure 6 – Don’t drop it or an alligator could become the next ODROID-GO gamer

What do you do with the data?

You can use the Google and Vernier apps for massaging your data into a pleasant, easily-digested set of graphs, photographs, satellite imagery, and text (Figures 7-9). Then, when your significant other chides you with, “Why don’t you do something productive with the silly game machine?” you can dazzle ‘em with your data while reaching for the BurgerTime ROM.

Figure 7 - Use Vernier Graphical Analysis for plotting your temperature data
Figure 7 – Use Vernier Graphical Analysis for plotting your temperature data

Figure 8 - Record the visible light data on a separate graph
Figure 8 – Record the visible light data on a separate graph

Figure 9 - Fill your Google Science Journal with graphs, photographs, notes, and your recorded environmental data
Figure 9 – Fill your Google Science Journal with graphs, photographs, notes, and your recorded environmental data

In order to return your ODROID-GO to its original gaming behavior, you will have to flash the GO-Play image file back onto the ESP32 and reinsert your microSD card containing firmware files, gaming ROMs, and game machine BIOS files.

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