Need some help on setting a shake up to measure surface traffic

A few years ago I purchased a few Raspberry Shakes and have not made very good use of them in the meantime but now would like to resurrect efforts to measure & characterize vehicle traffic occurring near the Shake. I have a few questions that perhaps you can help me with:

  • Can you provide some guidelines or point to some references on how best to set up a Raspberry shake to measure near surface vibrations as I would expect from nearby vehicle traffic?

For my first attempts I mounted the Shake on a thick, flat aluminum plate which had a 10 inch spike (also aluminum) attached. The spike was inserted into the ground and (I hoped) acted as the equivalent of an antenna for mechanical vibrations to be transmitted to the unit.

There are probably better approaches but this is what I tried - do you have any comments, suggestions or references I could look into?

  • The last time I used the Shakes I (with significant help from a more computer savvy colleague) we had to muck around to update the operating system (Raspian as I recall, and any other associated utilities). Should I expect to do this again? We purchased the unit over two years ago.

All and any help would be very much appreciated.

Hello zwitter689, welcome to the community!

It is definitely an interesting project, and a great application for our Shake, nice idea! To give you an example, I have mine installed indoor, on a wooden window sill, and I am perfectly capable of getting the traffic (mostly the heavier one, from cars, buses and trucks) from the nearby road, which is around 20m (70ft) away from the Shake position.

So, as you can see, it has good performance even with a normal installation. Yours should yield more and better results. How was the quality of the data for your first experiment with the aluminum plate?

Another user in the community has built a small concrete vault, similar to your approach, and located it only 5 feet (1.5m) from the road. His managed to get people walking, jogging, and the usual automotive traffic. You can read his experience here: Small outdoor vault

Regarding your second point, as our Quick Start Guide shows, the steps to follow to activate the Shake for the first time are pretty straightforward:

Now the Shake will update itself once connected to the internet, and also push the data on our online freely accessible servers. However, before doing so (and here’s the techy part, but it is not overly complex) you will have to burn the more recent software version on the Shake SD card.

You can find it here, with complete instructions:

Thank you for the quick and informative response. I will definitely be poring over this!

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Here’s an analysis I did of the traffic on a nearby thoroughfare using RS data:

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No worries zwitter 689, looking forward to your results once everything is completed!