Monday 8 November 2021

Live streaming bird box upgrade to Pi Zero v2

The Raspberry Pi Foundation just released an update to the Pi zero W from v1 to v2, see here for full details

I had one of the bird boxes down for some TLC and swopped the v1 for a v2 and did some before / after benchmarks.  I'm most interested in its improved wifi as well as likely faster compute time since it's moved from single core to quad core CPU.  Bear in mind that that these pi zeros are in bird boxes up a tree and rely on nearby wifi signal to operate, so I'm interested in upload speed, the time taken for compute-based tasks and how much heat they generate.  I used benchmark scripts here 

Temperature: It gets hotter! there's a +12 degrees Celsius for the v2 under load.  These units are enclosed in the top portion of a wooden nest box so that extra heat needs to go somewhere.  In a near copy of this box I've installed a vent in the camera section with aluminium grill for ventilation which this one does not have so it'll be interesting to see how much of a difference this makes.

Internet speed test: Download is much faster, however this will be streaming a video signal out, so  any download speed bump isn't going to do much.  There is minimal difference upload speed so I'm not expecting increased streaming bandwidth.  Testing is on the workbench so I cant say if the wifi throughput is different whilst its up a tree.

CPU test: CPU tasks complete much faster.  This matters in my use case since the regular v1 pi zero W suffers from drop in video stream signal when undergoing video encoding, so if there's a bird in the box and the unit is encoding a video the streaming signal may drop leading to temporary loss of signal.

You can see some droppings in this box, so something's been roosting in it.  Once its back up in the next few days and a few repairs are done then hopefully the'll be some more things to report.

For interest, this box came down as non-functional and was found to have a corrupted micro SD card, and a load of the entrance hole sensor connections had corroded away, so its now had some rough and ready emergency soldering, a new SD card and is back working again.  The front piece is missing from this 'behind the scenes' pic  showing my bodgy fixes...

Here is an roosting Great tit who is resting in the #2 version of this box as I write this, but with v1 pi zero w, it'll make for an interesting comparison when #1 goes back up.