The BeagleBox: a dirt cheap, tough-as-nails field computer

A small computer built into a Pelican case powered by a BeagleBone Black or your SBC of choice.

Maker/DIY

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Description

Support this and other projects through my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Andrew_Thaler

Fieldwork is tough. You're in the elements, facing wind, rain, and salt spray, sometime on an open boat far out in the Atlantic. You and your gear takes a beating. But you're out there because there's science that need to get done.

But your equipment is controlled via computer, and your data entry mandates a computer, which means your precious laptop needs to come with you. For graduate students and early career scientists, this can be a dilemma. I've see the calculations happen as my colleagues prepare for the field--Do I take my one and only computer out into the field and risk damaging it, or do I leave it brute-force my way through sampling without it. That is, if they're lucky enough to have alternative methods they can employ. For some gear, there's no choice but to take the computer.

This equation is, counter-intuitively, getting worse. Our sensors, sampling devices, and scanners are getting cheaper and lighter. Rather than buying a $20,000 piece of equipment, you can get a $20 chip, but there's a trade off, and the trade off is that chip based systems rely on external processing power, they need a general computer, and that means your laptop is coming with you.

I don't like going out on the water with my laptop. Losing it would be frustrating and time consuming. It's tough, but it's not tough-as-nails. And it's definitely not cheap.

So I tapped into the wealth of Maker experience I've accumulated over the last few years and build a new one, using a single board computer, some extra peripherals, and a 3D printer. And I shoved the whole thing into a Pelican case. Say hello to the BeagleBox, a dirt cheap, tough-as-nails field computer for about $200.

Full description can be found here: http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=18661

Support this and other projects through my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Andrew_Thaler

Materials and methods

-BeagleBone Black
-12V AC adapter
-5V AC adapter
-12V to 5V DC converter
-JBtek 10" 1280x800 Screen
-USB HUB
-Pelican 1200 Case
-MicroHDMI to HDMI cable

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51df1627020ceaa2798916667f9f8bd2?default=blank&size=40Pyromane added this to the To print collection ago
C6052e09e01968b3c50dc96c1e355efe?default=blank&size=40Hermann Kalwa added this to the Usefull stuff collection ago
Mini db446816448dd0642f315c1f67a3f45c 400x400AndrewThaler published this design ago