With a powerful processor, communication capabilities via WiFi, Bluetooth, or even longer range signals like cell modems, the Raspberry Pi is extremely well suited to remote environmental monitoring. For example, check out the video below from a remote water trough monitoring station described here, set up in 2015 with a Raspberry Pi to monitor a watering trough in Australia.
Though traveling to remote sites might provide a relaxing break for farmers while in transit, getting there can represent a large chunk of time that could be better used. Additionally, being able to catch water issues earlier is certainly better for animals, who otherwise might have to do without until the next visit.
One thing that makes a setup like this complicated, however, is reliably getting power to the ‘Pi. The Solar Pi Platter, pictured set up in the first image on this post, takes care of a lot of non-standard power details, allowing a Raspberry Pi to be powered via a Lithium-ion battery, charging said battery from solar panels or standard USB chargers, and importantly, a real-time clock to allow it to turn off to save energy as needed. Additionally, it features accommodations for analog inputs and PWM outputs, giving the ability for more versatile remote monitoring and control.
Or, as creator Dan Julio puts it, “[It’s] a versatile power board that can run Linux for $5 (and, now $10) more.” Check it out via the link above, or on Hackaday.io for even more info on the project.