Measure Local Tremors and Vibrations with PicoQuake

Worried that machinery doesn’t sound quite right? PicoQuake is a vibration sensor that can help you determine if there is an issue.

Cameron Coward
1 month agoSensors

Outside of a few very specific situations, vibrations are almost always a bad thing. On a small scale, an unbalanced motor will vibrate, causing noise, premature wear, and efficiency losses. On a large scale, earthquake tremors can bring down buildings and bridges. The first step towards addressing or preventing such issues is data collection and PicoQuake is an affordable open source option suitable for a wide range of applications.

PicoQuake is a vibration sensor intended to act as an alternative to the expensive proprietary tools currently used in industrial operations. PLab designed it specifically to be versatile so that it can help in as many situations as possible. It can collect data on everything from the very slow, swaying movement of skyscrapers and bridges, to the high-frequency vibrations of industrial machines.

In theory, the first step would always be to collect data with PicoQuake under normal conditions in order to determine a baseline. After that, PicoQuake can help to detect any anomalous behavior in the future. Unusual vibrations are often indicative of failing components — especially when it comes to industrial machines — and early detection can save a great deal of money. Bushings are inexpensive consumable parts, but their failure can cause a lot of damage.

The PicoQuake device is roughly the size of a backgammon man and PLab designed it to be zip-tied in place. That makes it easy to attach on any machine or structure.

To achieve these goals, PLab equipped PicoQuake with a TDK ICM-42688-P MEMS accelerometer. That is a high-performance sensor with several different configuration options (range, sample rate, and filtering), so the user can tailor PicoQuake to suit their needs.

Users can configure their PicoQuake device and collect data through a USB connection to any computer (Windows, macOS, or Linux). The provided open source Python software includes a command line interface and an API, making it easy to integrate with existing systems.

If you want a PicoQuake, it is available on PLab’s Tindie page for $59. They are currently out of stock, but interested parties can provide their email to join the waitlist.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Proud husband and dog dad. Maker and serial hobbyist. Check out my YouTube channel: Serial Hobbyism
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles