Month: October 2016

Spooky pi-topHALLOWEEN Tutorial

Give your pi-top or pi-topCEED a haunted feel this Halloween with this spooky jack-o’- lantern tutorial!

Before we get started, this is the boo-tiful equipment required to achieve the ghastliest effects:

  • 5x yellow witches boil LEDs
  • 1x blood red LED
  • 6x 100 Ω reVolting resistors
  • 1x pi-topPROTO (or breadboard)
  • A few standard wires
  • 1x acrylic slice (included with your pi-top or pi-topCEED)
  • Access to a laser etcher (optional)
  • 1x pi-top or pi-topCEED

So, let’s get started by transforming our pi-topPROTO board into a magic dancing candle.


Step 1: Wire LEDs to your pi-topPROTO board

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 17.53.37.png
  • The red LED should be wired to pin 22(GPIO 25) on your pi-topPROTO board
  • The yellow LEDs should be wired to pins 11(GPIO 17), 13(GPIO 27), 16(GPIO 23). 29(GPIO 5), 32(GPIO 12)

The red and yellow lights will create a spook-tacular orange hue for your laser etched jack-o’- lantern acrylic slice!

Step 2: Wire LEDs to ground

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 17.55.35.png
  • Wire the cathode (negative pin) to the ground rail on your pi-topPROTO board, to keep things neat we have done this on the back of our pi-topPROTO board as seen in the image above!

Step 3: Use resistors to connect your LEDs to GPIO pins

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 17.57.45.png
  • Next, we need to wire the yellow LEDs to RPI pins 11, 13, 16, 29 and 32
  • The red LED should be wired to pin RPI pin 22
  • This will complete the full circuit

Now, we are almost there! Put the following Python code into the pi-topCODER editor and click run to test it:

import random
from time import sleep
from gpiozero import PWMLED

RED_LED = PWMLED(25)

YELLOW_LEDS = [
    PWMLED(17),
    PWMLED(23),
    PWMLED(27),
    PWMLED(5),
    PWMLED(12)
]

while True:
    RED_LED.value = random.uniform(0, 0.5)

    for led in YELLOW_LEDS:      
        led.value = random.uniform(0, 0.5)
    
    sleep(random.uniform(0, 0.5))

The code uses randomised pulse width modulation (PWM) in order create a candle flicker effect!

Finally, we need to etch our spooky acrylic slice – the design can be downloaded in docx format (see below). We recommend you convert it to a dxf file that can be used with a laser etcher 🙂

Download the docx file here: halloween

Here is our ghastly haunted pi-top acrylic slice:

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-18-09-43

Eerie green halloween……. 😉

So, for the final effect. Let’s run our code again!

Here is your spooky phantom pumpkin finished project!

halloween.gif

Makerfaire Berlin, Raspberry Pi Jam and Mozfest: a snapshot of what we’ve been up to this month

It’s been a busy month for us here at pi-top, we’ve attended several events and met a great range of inspiring people. This month saw the pi-top team heading to Germany for a second time this year, this time attending another Makerfaire in the bustling city of Berlin as Gold Sponsors.  

The event highlights the innovations and creative projects from the maker community, and this month’s event in Berlin was no different, with a colourful mixture of amazing projects, talented makers and inspiring inventions – from robots breathing fire, to a full size R2D2!

Whilst we were rarely able to leave our booth as we were often busy talking to attendees that stopped to meet us, or companion companies who were also exhibiting at the event – it was great to see familiar faces again after the previous Makerfaire in Hannover earlier this year. When we did get a chance to take a look around other booths at the event, we checked out Pimoroni, our fellow maker and educator friends from the UK, who had a real treasure trove of fun goodies at their booth, making it into a ‘candy store’ for makers, which we thought was pretty cool. One highlight of the event was being awarded the ‘Maker of Merit’ ribbon! Which praises creativity, ingenuity and innovation for our Makerfaire project.

We also caught up with James Mitchell, the organiser of the Raspberry Jam Berlin, who was also at the faire – this time with a spinning tardis and Twitter photobooth. Earlier this month, one of our friends, Nic Hughes held the very first Raspberry Jam meetup in East London, which is for fellow Raspberry Pi enthusiasts to come along and talk with other like minded hobbyists and developers. We enjoyed attending the event and ran a CEEDuniverse workshop in Digilab’s big workshop room.

To close this month, we’ll be heading to Mozfest in London on October 28th-30th, where we’ll be holding a range of workshops for the attendees. You can keep up to date with all of our news and events our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Here’s a few photos of the team from the Makerfaire in Berlin:

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-13-41-57

How to install pi-topOS to a microSD card

A simple guide for anyone who wants to install pi-topOS to a microSD card.

Prerequisites


You will need:

  • MicroSD card
  • A computer with microSD card slot, or an adapter to connect microSD to your computer (e.g. SD or USB adapter)

Next steps are to:

Step 1Download pi-topOS from our website.

Note: Please make sure that you are always using the latest release (you can check this by comparing the date in the filename to the date in the release on our OS download page).

Step 2 – Insert the microSD card that you want to write to into your laptop or PC.

Hint: all of our microSD cards ship with an SD card adapter, and you will likely need to use this (or a microSD-to-USB adapter) to connect to your computer.

Let’s get started!


There’s a great tool called Etcher, created by an Internet of Things company called Resin.io. This software has been specifically designed to write operating systems to SD cards and USB drives.

It works the same on Windows, Linux and OS X (trust us – we’ve tried!) and is incredibly easy – with only 3 steps!

1) Select the zip file that you just downloaded. You could extract the image onto your hard drive first, but Etcher is clever and extracts the file whilst it writes, so why bother? 🙂
2) Select the SD card from the list. If there are multiple drives that are available, make sure that the drive you select is the correct size, to prevent writing to the wrong drive. If you are not sure which drive to write to, then remove all other drives until only the SD card is in the list.
3) Click ‘Flash’!

 
That’s it! Etcher will install pi-topOS for you (AND it also verifies that it was 100% correctly written). Then all you need to do is plug the microSD card into your Raspberry Pi, and switch on the device.

 
If, for some reason, this is not working for you, then check out this blog post for another way to get it working or reach out to us via support@pi-top.com

All the best,

pi-topTEAM

New pi-topOS update October 2016!

Firstly, we want to say a huge thank you for all of the great feedback from our community that we’ve been receiving. It is with their help that we were able to make this update possible.  Our software team have been busy making some brilliant improvements to our operating system (OS) pi-topOS!

What has changed? 


There are a large number of new features and improvements to the new pi-topOS. Some of the key features are as follows:

  • Includes all of the benefits of the brand new Raspbian release (2016-09-23) (Raspberry Pi Foundation blog post here)
  • Smoother transitions between dashboard and desktop modes
  • Improved configuration wizard and dashboard tour
  • pi-topCODER now fetches online worksheets (which will be updated and expanded) – these can be stored locally, so you can access them anywhere!
  • Updated pi-top hardware interaction
  • OS stability and usability improvements
  • CEEDUniverse has lots of new features – the whole world and menus have been redesigned and there are several new mini-games to check out!

Overall, you should feel it running more smoothly.

We have done our best to ensure that updating your current SD card is as smooth as possible; however, due to the large number of updates (particularly those coming from the latest Raspbian release), we highlyrecommend downloading the image from our website (as described below).

How do I update? 


You can download the latest pi-top SD card image from the link below:

To install the OS, we recommend Etcher by Resin.io. It is the easiest and safest way we’ve found to install any operating system to your (micro)SD card! Plus, you can install directly from a zip file.

Once you’ve flashed your microSD card with pi-topOS, you can simply plug it back into your Raspberry Pi and go!

What happens after you download it?

You will be taken to the Welcome screen, where it will take you through the setup, show you around the dashboard, and that’s it – you’re ready to go.
Need some help? 

If you are having troubles downloading or the new pi-topOS please don’t hesitate to email us via support@pi-top.com – thanks! 🙂