Some Raspberry Pi creations are truly out of this world but this one is as down-to-earth as a Pi project can get. Created by a maker who goes by Billydent over at Reddit, this moon calendar makes it possible to track the lunar cycle from the safety and comfort of your living room. Not only is it driven by our favorite SBC, but it also features e-Ink display which helps conserve power.
The idea began when Billydent decided to make a Pi project as a gift for his wife. With Mother’s Day around the corner at the time, he devised a plan to create this decorative yet dynamic moon calendar as a totally unique present. He initially opted to use a Raspberry Pi Pico but found the Raspberry Pi Zero was much easier to use when it came to getting images to output on the e-Ink panel.
The calendar runs for a short amount of time once a day. The Raspberry Pi Zero is scheduled to boot early in the morning. It doesn’t even require an internet connection to update. Billydent programmed the Pi to pull data from a table stored locally which determines what day it is and what phase the moon should be in.
The Pi Zero is connected to a 5.65-inch Waveshare e-Ink with support for up to seven colors. For power, it relies on a PiJuice Zero with a 1200 mAH battery. A USB cable is available on the rear for recharging or to use as a power source. Billydent was even so thorough as to include a battery indicator for when the power drops under 20%.
The software operating the moon calendar was created from scratch by Billydent and was written in Python. First the Raspberry Pi boots at a predetermined time. Next, the Python script pulls the data and moon phase from a table. As an added bonus, a random moon-themed quote is selected, as well. All of the information is then compiled onto the e-Ink display before the Pi shuts down. Because it’s using an e-Ink display, the image will remain visible without power until it boots again and the next day’s image is formatted.
If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project, check out the original moon calendar project thread shared on Reddit by Billydent which includes plenty of pictures and extra details about its construction.
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