Live Web Bicycle Dashboard - the code

*** NOTE: ControlMyPi shutting down ***

This post is a walkthrough of the code running on the Raspberry Pi as seen in the previous post: Live Web Bicycle Dashboard using ControlMyPi. This file, and the required mcp3008.py, are available in the examples from ControlMyPi. See "How to connect your pi".

Firstly at the top of the file are a few constants to use with ControlMyPi. The PANEL_FORM defines what ControlMyPi will render on the web site. Each update-able widget has a name so we can push changes up to ControlMyPi as new data is read from the attached devices. For example the 'P','streetview' widget defines a Picture widget. Whenever we want to display a new streetview image we can push the URL up to ControlMyPi and it in turn will push this change out to any browser currently viewing the page.

The last line of the panel defines two buttons and a status text widget. These are used to start and stop recording the telemetry to a file. More about this at the end of this post.

For information about all the available widgets in ControlMyPi go to here: ControlMyPi docs

The last few constants in this section define the URLs used for Google Maps Image APIs. %s substitutions are defined in these strings for us to apply longitude, latitude and heading later on. Also an API_KEY constant is defined here. You can comment this out initially to test but you will need to get a key eventually as the quota for image fetches is quite low without a key. With a key you get 25000 per day for free.

Created on 6 Nov 2012

Bicycle telemetry recorder with Live web dashboard through ControlMyPi.com

See: http://jeremyblythe.blogspot.com
     Follow me on Twitter for updates: @jerbly
@author: Jeremy Blythe

import serial
import subprocess
import mcp3008
import time
from controlmypi import ControlMyPi

JABBER_ID = 'you@your.jabber.host'
JABBER_PASSWORD = 'yourpassword'
SHORT_ID = 'bicycle'
FRIENDLY_NAME = 'Bicycle telemetry system'
             [ ['S','locked',''] ],
             [ ['O'] ],
             [ ['P','streetview',''],['P','map',''] ],
             [ ['C'] ],
             [ ['O'] ],
             [ ['L','Speed'],['G','speed','mph',0,0,50], ['L','Height'],['S','height',''] ],
             [ ['C'] ],
             [ ['L','Accelerations'] ],
             [ ['G','accx','X',0,-3,3], ['G','accy','Y',0,-3,3], ['G','accz','Z',1,-3,3] ],
             [ ['L','Trace file'],['B','start_button','Start'],['B','stop_button','Stop'],['S','recording_state','-'] ]

STREET_VIEW_URL = 'http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/streetview?size=360x300&location=%s,%s&fov=60&heading=%s&pitch=0&sensor=true'+API_KEY
MAP_URL = 'http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=%s,%s&zoom=15&size=360x300&sensor=true&markers=%s,%s'+API_KEY

The GPS class.

The constructor goes through a process of setting the GPS unit into 38400 baud and 10Hz update mode. During testing I noticed that if you don't increase the baud rate to 38400 (up from 9600) then the unit won't go into 10Hz mode. Presumably this is because there's too much data to get out per second at 9600 baud so it's incompatible. Finally I set the unit to only produce RMC and GGA messages - everything but the height is available in the RMC message.

Every time the read method is called on this class a single line is read from the GPS unit. If an RMC or GGA message is found then the info is decoded and the member variables are updated. As you'll see later the design of this whole application hinges around the GPS. The program basically runs as fast as the GPS produces output, since the unit is in 10Hz mode we collect all the data for an update and then there's a short delay until the next set of data. All this happens 10 times per second. During the "data gaps" the serial port 0.01 second time out comes in to play to stop the main loop from freezing allowing us to do things like read key presses from the TextStar display.

class GPS:
    def __init__(self):
        self.height = '0'
        self.time_stamp = ''
        self.active = False
        self.lat = None
        self.lat_dir = None
        self.lon = None
        self.lon_dir = None
        self.speed = None
        self.heading = None
        self.date = ''
        # Connect to GPS at default 9600 baud
        self.ser = serial.Serial('/dev/ttyAMA0',9600,timeout=0.01)
        # Switch GPS to faster baud
        # Assume success - close and re-open serial port at new speed
        self.ser = serial.Serial('/dev/ttyAMA0',38400,timeout=0.01)
        # Set GPS into RMC and GGA only mode
        # Set GPS into 10Hz mode

    def checksum(self,cmd):
        calc_cksum = 0
        for s in cmd:
            calc_cksum ^= ord(s)
        return '$'+cmd+'*'+hex(calc_cksum)[2:]

    def send_and_get_ack(self,cmdno,cmdstr):
        '''Send the cmd and wait for the ack'''
        #Cmd: The command / packet type the acknowledge responds. 
        #Flag: .0. = Invalid command / packet. 
        #.1. = Unsupported command / packet type 
        #.2. = Valid command / packet, but action failed 
        #.3. = Valid command / packet, and action succeeded 
        cmd = 'PMTK%s%s' % (cmdno,cmdstr)
        msg = self.checksum(cmd)+chr(13)+chr(10)
        #print '>>>%s' % cmd
        ack = False
        timeout = 300
        while (not ack) and timeout > 0:
            line = str(self.ser.readline())
            if line.startswith('$PMTK001'):
                tokens = line.split(',')
                ack = tokens[2][0] == '3'
                #print '<<<%s success=%s' % (line,ack)
            timeout -= 1
        return ack

    def read(self):
        '''Read the GPS'''
        line = str(self.ser.readline())
        #print line
        if line.startswith('$GPGGA'):
            # $GPGGA,210612.300,5128.5791,N,00058.5165,W,1,8,1.18,41.9,M,47.3,M,,*79
            # 9 = Height in metres
            tokens = line.split(',')
            if len(tokens) < 15:
                self.height = tokens[9]
            except ValueError as e:
                print e    
        elif line.startswith('$GPRMC'):
            # $GPRMC,105215.000,A,5128.5775,N,00058.5070,W,0.12,103.43,211012,,,A*78
            # 1 = Time
            # 2 = (A)ctive or (V)oid
            # 3 = Latitude
            # 5 = Longitude
            # 7 = Speed in knots
            # 8 = Compass heading
            # 9 = Date
            #Divide minutes by 60 and add to degrees. West and South = negative
            #Multiply knots my 1.15078 to get mph.
            tokens = line.split(',')
            if len(tokens) < 10:
                self.time_stamp = tokens[1]
                self.active = tokens[2] == 'A'
                self.lat = tokens[3]
                self.lat_dir = tokens[4]
                self.lon = tokens[5]
                self.lon_dir = tokens[6]
                self.speed = tokens[7]
                self.heading = tokens[8]
                self.date = tokens[9]
                if self.active:
                    self.lat = float(self.lat[:2]) + float(self.lat[2:])/60.0
                    if self.lat_dir == 'S':
                        self.lat = -self.lat
                    self.lon = float(self.lon[:3]) + float(self.lon[3:])/60.0
                    if self.lon_dir == 'W':
                        self.lon = -self.lon
                    self.speed = float(self.speed) * 1.15078
            except ValueError as e:
                print e

The TextStar class.

The TextStar serial LCD is a great little handy device not just for the 16x2 display but also the 4 buttons around the edge of the display for input. Normally I connect this straight into the serial pins on the Raspberry Pi, but in this case I have the GPS connected there. So, I'm using a USB to TTL serial converter. If you have a standard USB to RS232 converter you can use that too, just be sure to set the TextStar into RS232 mode.

The constructor opens the serial port through the USB and throws the first few inputs away. Something I noticed during testing is that when the TextStar starts up it spews out a few characters which could spoil the key reading code later. So, the start up routine reads up to 16 characters after a 3 second delay from opening the port. Also, I set up the "on_rec_button" event here. This is the method to call if the record toggle button is pressed.

As well as updating the display with the GPS and Accelerometer info this class displays the currently assigned wired ethernet address and ppp address. This is really useful as it allows you to plug in to a network and easily find the address you've been assigned so you can then ssh in. Secondly it's a confidence check that the 3g is working as you'll see the ppp address.

The key reading routine uses the 'a' button to rotate through the pages of info and the 'c' button to call the 'on_rec_button' event which is used to toggle recording.
class TextStar:
    def __init__(self, on_rec_button):
        self.LCD_UPDATE_DELAY = 5
        self.lcd_update = 0
        self.page = 0
        self.ser = serial.Serial('/dev/ttyUSB0',115200,timeout=0.01)
        # Throw away first few key presses after waiting for the screen to start up
        self.on_rec_button = on_rec_button
    def get_addr(self,interface):
            s = subprocess.check_output(["ip","addr","show",interface])
            return s.split('\n')[2].strip().split(' ')[1].split('/')[0]
            return '?.?.?.?'
    def write_ip_addresses(self):

    def update(self,gps,acc,rec):
        self.lcd_update += 1
        if self.lcd_update > self.LCD_UPDATE_DELAY:
            self.lcd_update = 0
            if not gps.active and (self.page == 0 or self.page == 1):
                self.ser.write('NO FIX: '+gps.date+' '+rec.recording)
            elif self.page == 0:
                self.ser.write(('%.8f' % gps.lat).rjust(14)+" "+rec.recording)
                self.ser.write(('%.8f' % gps.lon).rjust(14)+"  ")
            elif self.page == 1:
                #0.069 223.03 48.9 -0.010 0.010 0.980
                self.ser.write('{: .3f}{:>9} '.format(gps.speed,gps.height))
                if acc:
                    self.ser.write('{: .2f}{: .2f}{: .2f}'.format(*acc))
                    self.ser.write(' '*16)

    def read_key(self):
        key = str(self.ser.read(1))
        if key != '' and key in 'abcd':
            self.lcd_update = self.LCD_UPDATE_DELAY
            if key == 'c':
            elif key == 'a':
                self.page += 1
                if self.page > 2:
                    self.page = 0
                elif self.page == 2:

The Recorder class

The current status is logged to file every time there's a new reading from the GPS. So that's 10 times per second. If the Accelerometer is not used then dashes replace the X,Y and Z readings. Likewise if there is no GPS lock only the date and time is logged and dashes replace the rest of the data.

The recorder has a reference to the ControlMyPi connection and uses this to push an update showing the recording state. This is either "Recording" or "Stopped" and when it's stopped the generated file name is shown.
class Recorder:
    def __init__(self,gps,cmp):
        self.gps = gps
        self.cmp = cmp
        self.recording = 's'
        self.rec_file = None

    def start(self):
        if self.recording == 's':
            self.recording = 'r'
            self.rec_file = open("/home/pi/gps-"+self.gps.date+self.gps.time_stamp+".log", "a")
            self.cmp.update_status( {'recording_state':'Recording'} )
    def stop(self):
        if self.recording == 'r':
            self.recording = 's'
            self.cmp.update_status( {'recording_state':'Stopped - [%s]' % self.rec_file.name} )

    def update(self,acc):
        if self.recording == 'r':
            if acc:
                acc_str = '%.2f %.2f %.2f' % acc
                acc_str = '- - -'
            if self.gps.active:
                self.rec_file.write('%s %s %.8f %.8f %.3f %s %s %s\n' % (self.gps.date, self.gps.time_stamp, self.gps.lat, self.gps.lon, self.gps.speed, self.gps.heading, self.gps.height, acc_str))
                self.rec_file.write('%s %s - - - - - %s\n' % (self.gps.date, self.gps.time_stamp, acc_str))

The Accelerometer class

The MCP3008 is used to read the three voltages from the 3 axis accelerometer, convert them to digital readings and retrieve them over SPI. Details of this technique are written up here: Raspberry Pi hardware SPI analog inputs using the MCP3008. As the comment in the code states there's a little tuning to be done to get good readings.
class Accelerometer:
    def read_accelerometer(self):
        '''Read the 3 axis accelerometer using the MCP3008. 
           Each axis is tuned to show +1g when oriented towards the ground, this will be different
           for everyone and dependent on physical factors - mostly how flat it's mounted.
           The result is rounded to 2 decimal places as there is too much noise to be more
           accurate than this.
           Returns a tuple (X,Y,Z).'''  
        x = mcp3008.readadc(0)
        y = mcp3008.readadc(1)
        z = mcp3008.readadc(2)
        return ( round((x-504)/102.0,2) , round((y-507)/105.0,2) , round((z-515)/102.0,2) )

Construction and Events

In this section the objects are created and a couple of call-back events are assigned. If you don't have an Accelerometer set acc to None. Also, if you don't have a TextStar LCD set lcd to None. Notably the two call-backs are to handle incoming button events from either ControlMyPi or the TextStar keys.

# Start the GPS
gps = GPS()

# Create the Accelerometer object. Change to acc=None if you don't have an accelerometer.
acc = Accelerometer()

# Control My Pi
def on_control_message(conn, key, value):
    if key == 'start_button':    
    elif key == 'stop_button':


# Recording
rec = Recorder(gps, conn)

def on_rec_button():
    if rec.recording == 's':

# Start the TextStar LCD. Change to lcd=None if you don't have a TextStar LCD.
lcd = TextStar(on_rec_button)

The main loop

Finally, after connecting to ControlMyPi, the main loop starts. Here we call the readers and the updaters. We read from the GPS, Accelerometer and TextStar keypad every loop. We keep track of the time stamp we're on and when we move to the next 10th of a second we call the updaters.

The updaters are the LCD, ControlMyPi and the Recorder. The Recorder writes to the file every change of time stamp provided it's in record mode. The LCD and ControlMyPi write less frequently, a simple counter is used to action every n'th update.

You'll notice there is no explicit yield in the main loop. It's quite normal to put a time.sleep(n) into the main loop to stop tight-looping. In this case we're using the blocking serial port reads with their timeouts to yield.

ControlMyPi only needs to be updated with new information, if the GPS is not locked (active) then we don't bother to send the old information again. Instead we send a "NOT LOCKED" message. The status dict is simply filled with the widget names that we want to update and the new values. This dict is then sent to ControlMyPi with the call to update_status.
if conn.start_control():
        conn.update_status( {'recording_state':'Stopped'} )
        # Start main loop
        old_time_stamp = 'old'
        CMP_UPDATE_DELAY = 50
        cmp_update = 0
        while True:
            #Read the 3 axis accelerometer
            if acc:
                xyz = acc.read_accelerometer()
                xyz = None
            #Read GPS
            #Update ControlMyPi, LCD and Recorder if we have a new reading 
            if gps.time_stamp != old_time_stamp:
                if lcd:
                    lcd.update(gps, xyz, rec)      

                # Don't update ControlMyPi every tick, it'll be too much - approx. 5 seconds is
                # about right as it gives the browser time to fetch the streetview and map 
                cmp_update += 1
                if cmp_update > CMP_UPDATE_DELAY:
                    cmp_update = 0
                    status = {}
                    if xyz:
                        status['accx'] = xyz[0]
                        status['accy'] = xyz[1]
                        status['accz'] = xyz[2]
                    if gps.active:
                        status['locked'] = 'GPS locked'
                        slat = str(gps.lat)
                        slon = str(gps.lon)
                        status['streetview'] = STREET_VIEW_URL % (slat,slon,gps.heading)
                        status['map'] = MAP_URL % (slat,slon,slat,slon)
                        status['speed'] = int(round(gps.speed))
                        status['height'] = '{:>9}'.format(gps.height)
                        status['locked'] = 'GPS NOT LOCKED'
                #Update recorder every tick
                old_time_stamp = gps.time_stamp
            #Read keypad
            if lcd:        
    print("FAILED TO CONNECT")

That's it! If you're brave enough to try this yourself there are a few points where I've left some commented-out print statements for debug. This and some simpler projects are available in a zip on ControlMyPi here: How to connect your pi.

Have fun.

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