For those who in some way aren’t already acquainted, #VanLife refers back to the development of dwelling out of a van whereas touring across the nation or world — usually whereas working alongside the way in which as a “digital nomad.” This life-style was already rising quickly in recognition, however then exploded in the course of the COVID pandemic as housing prices rose and folks seemed for methods to flee crowded city areas. Technically talking, one might dwell out of any van whereas sleeping within the again on a pile of garments. However a significant a part of #VanLife is RV-style conversion and PeKaWay’s VanPi merchandise can present a technological edge.
The most well-liked automobile amongst #VanLife people is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cargo van, which offers a number of inside area. To make their Sprinter vans livable, most trendy nomads select so as to add many RV-style facilities like beds, showers, bathrooms, photo voltaic methods, TVs, kitchens, air con, and rather more. These methods get sophisticated, and monitoring them and controlling them just isn’t a trivial process. Even longtime gamers within the RV business battle to streamline these methods. For instance, the warmth and air con in most RVs work independently with their very own controls as a substitute of sharing a thermostat like they do in a typical house.
PeKaWay’s VanPi is a Raspberry Pi-controlled system that may deal with nearly each machine, equipment, and utility in a camper van, journey trailer, or RV. It’s a bit like a house automation and IoT (Web of Issues) system for four-wheel properties — in truth, it even works with Apple HomeKit. It is a full and well-devised ecosystem of merchandise that’s each open supply and expandable to accommodate most use instances.
The PeKaWay VanPi Relay Board
All of it begins with the VanPi Relay Board, which accepts both a Raspberry Pi 4 Mannequin B or a Raspberry Pi Zero W 2 and acts as interface for the varied methods. Because the identify suggests, it comprises relays (eight of them) for direct management over a number of methods. It will possibly, for instance, toggle energy to heaters, lights, water pumps, and so forth — something that pulls lower than 10 amps. It additionally comprises connections for as much as 4 temperature sensors and 4 tank sensors (for recent water, grey water, and/or black water). It additionally helps an LCD touchscreen interface so customers can management every part from a central location.
The VanPi Measurement Shunt
A number of add-on boards and modules develop the potential of the VanPi Relay Board. For instance, the reasonably priced Measurement Shunt board displays battery voltage and sends the info again to the central Relay Board by means of an RJ11 cable. The DIMMY board comprises eight MOSFETs managed by a Wemos D1 for dimming lights. We anticipate PeKaWay to launch different boards and modules sooner or later, although the present choices can deal with most vans.
Lastly, the IoT Bridge module offers distant entry to a VanPi system. It comes pre-installed with a world SIM card with two years of service (customers can reload that for a charge). After including the IoT Bridge, customers can hook up with and management their VanPi system by means of an iOS or Android app. Think about with the ability to flip in your van’s heater as you’re ending up your final run at a ski resort, so it’s good and heat if you get again—that’s doable proper out of the field with the VanPi Relay Board and IoT Bridge.
These merchandise can be found now by means of PekaWay’s on-line retailer. There are additionally tutorials, documentation, and downloads out there on their web site that can assist you hack and tweak your VanPi merchandise.