Etcher – A tool to flash an SD card for the Raspberry Pi

May 12, 2017

We came across a tool called Etcher from Resin.io.  It is a tool meant to flash an image onto an SD card. This is especially useful to quickly setup your new Raspberry Pi. It is a one step process where you can select the image and flash the SD card for your project.

We put together a video that shows how to flash an image for your Raspberry Pi:

 


Raspberry Pi Zero Enclosure – 3D print time lapse!

May 7, 2017

I wanted to document my projects in vivid detail. Recently, I 3D-printed an enclosure for the Raspberry Pi Zero W. I recorded the printing process. The enclosure consists of two halves. The top piece broke while trying to remove it off the bed. In my second attempt, I printed the top piece separately and managed to remove it carefully.

Psst: I am learning to make good videos and I look forward to hearing your feedback


Jaguarboard – Yet another (not so impressive) SBC

December 29, 2015

I usually back Kickstarter projects(in the DIY electronics domain) that peek my interest. I recently backed the Pine A64, UP and the Latte Panda boards but the Jaguarboard is not one of them.

I usually look for a cool feature that would enable me to build a cool project using the backer reward. For e.g. The Latte Panda comes with onboard Wi-Fi/Bluetooth. It has an ATmega32U4 microcontroller that enables easier interface of sensors.

The Jaguarboard failed to impress me for a couple of reasons:

  1. Lack of sufficient GPIO count – They provide access to only 4 GPIO pins. I usually make use of more than 4 GPIO pins in my projects. However, it does come with an I²C port which could be used to expand the GPIO capabilities.
  2. Incompatible with the Raspberry Pi/Arduino add-on boards – It is not possible to port Raspberry Pi/Arduino projects that makes use of an add-on board to the JaguarBoard platform. It also doesn’t make sense developing expansion modules for the JaguarBoard as the lack of a broad user base is a distinct possibility.
  3. Comparison of specs on the campaign page – The campaign creators have compared the specifications of the board to the Raspberry Pi Model 1 rather than Model 2. The Raspberry Pi Model 2 comes with 1 GB RAM while Model 1 comes with 512 MB RAM. I think that is not a fair comparison.
  4. Unrealistic campaign schedule – In my opinion, the promised delivery date of the board is a tad unrealistic. They promised to deliver the boards by January 2016. The Kickstarter campaign itself ends only on January 22, 2016. As far as I know, Kickstarter takes at least 10 days to transfer the campaign money to your pocket. This puts the campaign roughly in the first week of February. Unless the campaign creators, plan to ship the boards using money out of their pocket, this is not possible.

They also have not released any planned timeline of the project. This is possible only if they already have a stash of boards manufactured, packed and stored in a warehouse.

In summary, I am not impressed by the JaguarBoard Kickstarter campaign.

 


DIY IoT Project | Planning a trip to the Sierras using a Raspberry Pi | Part 1 | DIY with Pi

June 1, 2015

Re-blogging my own post from another blog on using a Raspberry Pi to retrieve California state highway road conditions.

Mono Lake, California

DIY IoT Project | Planning a trip to the Sierras using a Raspberry Pi | Part 1 | DIY with Pi.


Travel tip: A tip to set up your Raspberry Pi in your motel room | DIY with Pi

May 24, 2015

Reblogging my own post from another site: I am traveling this memorial day weekend and I wrote a post on setting up your Raspberry Pi in a motel room to verify something quickly for a presentation etc.

Travel tip: A tip to set up your Raspberry Pi in your motel room | DIY with Pi.


PiFace Control and Display interface with a Google Coder project

December 26, 2013

I recently came across this contest from the makers of the PiFace Control and Display. The PiFace Control and Display is a stackable hardware board that comes with tactile switches, IR receiver for remote control applications and a small LCD.

I had less than a day to make something using the display. The theme of the contest is to countdown to a target date. I decided to use the Google coder image for the Raspberry Pi. The Google coder is a platform meant for beginners in web development and enables building our own website on a local network. A step-by-step instruction of the Google coder setup is available on the Google Coder page. The instructions are more or less similar to the Raspbian setup for the Raspberry Pi.

Accessing the Google coder platform from a Windows desktop requires the installation of the Bonjour drivers for Windows. The Google coder desktop can be accessed from a browser at the following address is http://coder.local. I downloaded the digital clock application from the Google Coder repository and modified the same to display the countdown timer on the PiFace Control and Display.

Image

I modified the clock such that it is possible to pick a date to count down. I used pickadate.js to pick a date from the calendar. for the countdown selection. The clock pings a web.py framework based webpage with the countdown data which is consequently displayed on the LCD.

Image

Countdown timer interfaced to the Google Coder application

I also wrote a couple of lines to control the LPD8806 LED strip lighting using a TV remote control. Based on the number pressed on the TV remote, the python script reading the PICAD’s IR receiver, sends a control word to the Arduino controlling the LED strip to switch the LED sequence.

Setup Instructions:

The Google Coder and the PiFace Control and Display setup instructions are available over the web. The modifications to the clock application and the python script are available from my github account.


Currency exchange ticker using Raspberry Pi + Pi Lite

July 8, 2013

I recently bought a Pi Lite board from Ciseco PLC, UK. The Pi Lite is an add-on hardware board for the Raspberry Pi. It comes with 126 LEDs and is controlled by an Atmega328p microcontroller (The one used in the Arduino Uno platform). The Pi-Lite uses the BCM chipset’s serial port for its communication to the Raspberry Pi.

Image

Pi Lite + Raspberry Pi inside an enclosure from Nudatech

Since the Pi Lite is a stackable add-on hardware, they have provided access to the Pi’s GPIO pins on the add-on board. It is possible to scroll messages on the Pi-Lite display by sending messages via the serial port on the Raspberry Pi. A simple step-by-step guide to setup the serial port to transmit messages to the Pi-Lite is available here.

I was able to run a simple program that fetches the currency exchange rate from the web and scroll the same on the Pi-Lite Display in two simple steps.

I got started by fetching currency exchange rate data:


import requests
import json

data = requests.get('http://rate-exchange.appspot.com/currency?from=USD&to=INR')
jsondata = json.loads(data.content)
retrieved_data = jsondata['rate']
print(retrieved_data)

We can scroll the retrieved data on the display by simply opening the serial port (The port at which the Pi-Lite is connected) and writing the string to it.


baud = 9600
port = '/dev/ttyAMA0'

ser = serial.Serial(port,baud)
ser.timeout = 0
ser.flushInput()

ser.write(str(retrieved_data))

Combining the above two steps, we have:


import requests
import json
import serial
from time import sleep

baud = 9600
port = '/dev/ttyAMA0'

ser = serial.Serial(port,baud)
ser.timeout = 0
ser.flushInput()

while True:
 data = requests.get('http://rate-exchange.appspot.com/currency?from=USD&to=INR')
 jsondata = json.loads(data.content)
 retrieved_data = jsondata['rate']
 print(retrieved_data)
 ser.write(str(retrieved_data))
 sleep(10)

I was not able to take a good picture due to the brightness of the LEDs. Hence, I am sharing a black and white video of the currency exchange rate being updated every 10 seconds:

Note: I am not promoting the Pi-Lite board!