Pages with tag Raspberry Pi

Automatically load Live TV & DVR on the Raspberry Pi & HDhomerun & PLEX

This is update to an earlier video series over getting rid of the Cable TV box, and instead using the HDHomerun box from Silicon Dust. In this update we're shown how to set up a Raspberry Pi running Kodi so it automatically goes into the HDHomerun Kodi Extension. The result feels exactly like a regular Cable TV box at a fraction of the up-front cost and with zero ongoing cost.

Booting a Raspberry Pi from a regular disk, avoiding the flaky SD card

The Raspberry Pi is a cool little computer allowing you to do lots of crazy DIY projects interfaced through the GPIO port. While the Raspberry Pi is a small embeddable computer, because it runs Linux the Raspberry Pi is instantly approachable by any programmer. The biggest flaw in this picture is that it uses an SD card as the boot device. SD cards are not exactly fast nor reliable, preventing the Raspberry Pi from being used in serious production situations.

In April 2017 the Raspberry Pi foundation released the ability for the Raspberry Pi Model 3 to boot off a drive connected via USB. That instantly opens the door to using reliable regular disks rather than unreliable SD cards. The downside is that disks must connect via USB2 limiting disk throughput speed. As with anything there are plusses and minuses, but this is an interesting step forward.

For those seriously interested in using a Linux-Single-Board-Computer with a regular disk, some of the other devices will be a better choice. For example the Orange Pi Plus 2 has a SATA connector.

Build your own Raspberry Pi 3 computing cluster Single-board-computers like the Raspberry Pi 3 are an inexpensive way to do all kinds of computing tasks, including supercomputing. The computers, ethernet switch, and cooling fans can be powered by a USB power supply. The example software to use is Einstein at Home. However one could use other kinds of software. The system design shown has a private network between 7 Raspberry Pi's all connected to the ethernet switch and an 8th RPI acting as a gateway to that network. By going through the process you learn details of configuring the Linux DHCP service, a NAT Router, and more.
Build your own security camera system with Raspberry Pi and cheap webcams You can build a powerful and flexible motion sensing security camera system using open source software on a Raspberry Pi and similar single board computers. The key is the MotionEyeOS that neatly bundles everything you need into a Raspberry Pi image. Simply burn it to an SD card, attach cameras, boot the Raspberry Pi, and start configuring. It easily supports monitoring multiple cameras, which can be USB webcams, WiFi cameras, the Raspberry Pi camera, or other MotionEyeOS instances. I have an original-version Raspberry Pi (low CPU power) driving two cameras and it handles things just fine.
How to back up your Raspberry Pi SD card, or copy it to another (larger?) Raspberry Pi SD card SD Cards aren't exactly the most reliable of data storage devices. What happens if you've put hundreds of hours of work into a Raspberry Pi system, it's all on your SD Card, and the card craps out. Have you saved your work? Or maybe you need to move to a larger SD Card because you've run out of space. Or maybe you want to duplicate the card to have additional systems. These tasks are pretty easy, but not intuitively obvious. It'll take some time at the command line, but fortunately the commands are easy.
Inexpensively stream your MP3 collection with Raspberry Pi and Pi MusicBox Why pay megabucks to buy a commercialized music streaming gizmo that requires a monthly fee? You may already have the MP3 files, and with the right software a simple computer like the Raspberry Pi is sufficient to stream the music anywhere on your home network. The Pi MusicBox software makes it incredibly easy to setup, the only wrinkle being to have a large enough storage device. Fortunately the Raspberry Pi can easily use a USB hard drive.
Initial notes on using MAX485 based TTL-to-RS485 adapter boards with Arduino or Raspberry Pi

I've been looking for an inexpensive but robust way to connect an inexpensive embedded computer to an RS485 network. The MAX485 based interface boards look enticingly inexpensive, and claim to be easy to connect. They should be more reliable than a USB RS485 adapter, because the MAX485 boards are hardwired to GPIO pins. It took much searching to find any advice about connecting these adapters to a computer. The board I received was marked DI/DE/RE/RO on one end, and Vcc/A/B/GND on the other. The latter is clear, that's power and the RS485 pins, but what could the other end mean.

Installing OpenVPN on a Raspberry Pi Zero W, inexpensive security for your peace of mind Nowadays our personal privacy is being threatened by new government policies. Fortunately the open source world gives us tools with which to secure our lives. This tutorial goes over installing OpenVPN on your home network, giving you a secure method to access resources on your home network from anywhere else. Suppose you have a NAS with many terabytes of data at home, but you're traveling thousands of miles away and need to access that data. A VPN service on your home network provides a porthole through which to do so, provided you have VPN software on the computer you're carrying.
Live TV & DVR on the Raspberry Pi & HDhomerun & PLEX

This video series goes over getting rid of the Cable TV box, and instead using the HDHomerun box from Silicon Dust. Silicon Dust makes a series of TV tuner boxes that are extremely flexible and out-of-the-box supports streaming television content to devices around your home network. The devices support multiple TV tuners so your household can watch multiple TV channels simultaneously, and there are many software DVR systems that can interface with Silicon Dust's products. The HDHomerun device is meant to replace cable TV boxes, letting you subscribe to cable TV systems without paying a monthly fee to lease hardware from the cable TV provider. Plus, because these boxes stream to devices over the local WiFi, there's no need to rent multiple cable TV boxes.

The project uses the PLEX media server, including running the PLEX software on a NAS drive. In the second video he presents a very expensive solution. In the third video he presents a preferred setup using a Raspberry Pi as the DVR running LibreELEC, the Raspberry Pi version of Kodi. The result is a very nice looking DVR and TV Tuner. A NAS drive is used as mass storage for the DVR, and he also integrates Kodi/LibreELEC into an existing PLEX media server he has on his network.

It's claimed he saves about $60 per month on cable TV fees. You can completely eliminate cable TV fee's by using over-the-air television, and Silicon Dust sells products for that purpose.

Kodi is a system for organizing "Media", whether that's Audio, Video, TV Shows, or Photos, for viewing on televisions. It has a "10 foot" interface meaning it's meant to be used from the couch via a remote control. LibreELEC lets you run Kodi on small computers like the Raspberry Pi.

Make Live: PiKon Raspberry Pi Telescope

The PiKon Telescope combines the Raspberry Pi, some PVC drain pipe and a few 3d printed parts to become a high power telescope capable of some impressive astrophotography. This video goes over building the thing. A primary problem is that the official design uses a type of PVC pipe easily available in England, with a 5" diameter, that isn't available in the USA. You can order a kit of parts from the fellow in England.

The design is a reflector telescope, meaning that a key component is the Mirror assembly that fits in the back of the tube. At the other end of the tube is a "spider" that holds the PiCamera and handles the focusing.

It uses a regular PiCamera with the focusing lens removed. Focusing is handled by moving the camera assembly back and forth.

Overview of a simple MODBUS/RTU RS-485 temperature sensor

We want to experiment and learn about controlling MODBUS devices from devices like the Raspberry Pi or Arduino. In traditional process control systems, you use a PLC device costing several hundred dollars, and programmed with "ladder logic". Today single-board-computers are cheap, and are attractive for embedded control systems. Without breaking the bank, I found some ultra-cheap MODBUS temperature sensors made in China, available for about $10, and after some trial and error and more error, I have some success to report. In this post we'll simply go over the device I chose.

With any MODBUS/RTU device it's important to evaluate the setup and use of the device. What serial-line parameters to use (baud rate, parity, stop bits, etc), setting the client ID, and the registers which can be used, are all basic considerations. While this post looks at a specific device, the general outline of the evaluation is what is done for every MODBUS device.

Raspberry Pi Zero W, inexpensive Zero goodness, now with WiFi for just $10 The original Raspberry Pi Zero was a game-changer for inexpensive computers, offering a full-fledged for just $5. The biggest problem was the lack of WiFi. The Raspberry Pi foundation have now fixed that, unveiling the new Zero W with both WiFi and Bluetooth.
Read a MODBUS temperature sensor through USB-RS485 adapter on Ubuntu and Raspberry Pi

Running MODBUS/RTU over an RS485 network is pretty cool, in an old-school way. The technique was invented decades ago, and allowed you to connect to a few dozen MODBUS devices over simple twisted pair copper wire, over a thousand feet distance or more. It's such a successful technique that it has not been supplanted by new modern communication technologies like TCP/IP. Unfortunately most modern computers do not have RS-485 interfaces. Fortunately there are many USB-RS485 adapters available. In this article we'll use a cheap USB-RS485 adapter on both a Raspberry Pi and a regular x86 Linux box to communicate with a simple MODBUS temperature sensor.

What we'll do is create simple MODBUS client programs, in C and Python, to communicate with the chosen temperature sensor device.

Relive the glory days of Mac OS 7 on a Raspberry Pi Have fond memories of Mac OS 7 but unable to find an old Mac? With a simple Mac emulator, an inexpensive Raspberry Pi becomes a competent old-school Mac capable of running Mac OS 7. Oh, and all those old games. The video goes over what's involved, so have fun.
Using Raspberry Pi as Amiga emulator that's better than a real Amiga

The Amiga 1000 was a ground-breaking computer of the 1980's. Many of us think it was far and above better than the other computers of that time. Unlike the 1980's era Macintosh, the Amiga was properly multitasking and had better multimedia, and of course it was a zillion times better than MS-DOS. But then in the 1990's Commodore Computer Corporation went out of business after promising several advanced Amiga systems. That left Amiga fans stuck and abandoned.

Fast forward over 20 years, and the Raspberry Pi is a flexible inexpensive Linux-based computer that's inspired all kinds of hacking projects. In this case, an Amiga emulator running on Raspberry Pi allows you to run AmigaDOS applications.

A speed test shows that with Amibian, a Raspberry Pi runs 250 times faster than an Amiga A600. Running various heavy-duty applications run faster than on an original Amiga. This is under an EMULATOR, since AmigaDOS of course was written for Motorola 68xxx processors while the Raspberry Pi is an ARM processor.

Using VNC to access remote desktop on Raspberry Pi or other computer behind a NAT firewall

Connecting to a remote computer is very powerful, because you can access remote files, remote applications, and so forth. Those of us building home automation or other Internet of Things devices sometimes install those devices at a remote location behind a NAT firewall, and then need to access the computer's desktop environment. For example, I have a Beaglebone Black at a remote site over 3000 miles away, and needed to run Firefox on the BBB to access some things. It's not feasible to go to the device in person, therefore the question is how to access the remote desktop.

VNC is the primary choice for this purpose. It has a lower bandwidth requirement than running X11 over the Internet, plus you avoid the complexity of installing an X11 server on Windows or Mac. Simply install a VNC client, instead. The key hurdle is getting past the NAT router.

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