After many nights stretched over a few years, I’ve finally finished the preliminary design for my Raspberry Pi Brew Controller. All the circuits appear to work and now I’m ready to buy some parts to breadboard the design. I’m sure things will change along the way, but getting to the point where I can purchase things has been a huge hurdle for me. Expect to see many more posts as the prototyping comes along and hopefully I’ll get to a real brew controlled some time in the future.
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Once I was able to get into my Rasberry Pi (RPi) I started to think about how I was going to use it. I was pretty far along on my Ardunio controller and circuit schematics that I started to think that I would connect the serial cable to the Ardunio and build upon my existing design.
So I started to look at Craftbeerpi which seemed to have a pretty solid start on what I wanted. The more I looked it seemed to not have support to read from an Ardunio to the pre-made widgets. So I started scheming ideas to make my own program. For better or worse I was leaning towards a Python development. My brief time using Python wasn’t too great and I hated the tabbing format for block commands (if statements, loops, etc). However, after looking around it seems to be one of the more popular languages and something I should probably be more familiar with. From what I could see Django was about my best option as it looked like I would be able to get something up and running quickly. If I could follow instructions better I would have Django setup in about 20 mins, instead I spent a day fumbling with errors before I re-read the instructions.
With Django setup I started to wonder if I was making this too hard. So tonight I re-visited my I/O needs from my Arduino controller vs what RPi offers. Turns out RPi can fully support my needs and I don’t have to deal with interfacing with the Arduino a bit more. With that simplifcation, Craftbeerpi is now back to being my quickest way to getting a Brewstand Controller working. I think I’d still like to make my own program, but given that I tend not to have much free time (unless it is late at night) I seriously doubt that will ever happen once I get a controller working with Craftbeerpi. So now I just need to tweak the circuits a bit to adjust for 3.3V outputs and watching the currents.
I’ve been toying around with an idea to make my own brewstand controller. Over the past year or so I’ve been designing a front panel and circuits with plan to connect to an Ardunio for future semi-automation with an Android app. The more I’ve been kicking around ideas it started to seem like a web interface would be nice rather an Android app so that I could control it from any device. For my birthday I got a Raspberry Pi (thank mom and dad) to do just that. Here is a quick post about getting setup.
Took about 30 mins to find a microSD card and another 20 mins to find the adapter to fit into the normal SD card slot on my laptop. Great start! I followed the simple directions to format, download, and install the NOOBs file to the card. Setup the RPi with an HDMI cable to my laptop and powered it on. Nothing. When trying to switch over the screen to the HDMI input it kept telling me not HDMI input detected. After googling a bit I came across the idea to reinstall the Alienware On-Screen Display (OSD) program. So I did that and didn’t notice that it was the Win 8 version instead of Win 7. So that uninstall the version I had working. I stopped the night with my function keys on the keyboard not working and still hadn’t turned on the RPi
Found a Win 7 version of the Alienware OSD and got my keyboard working again. Decided to try getting things going headless with help from this post. So I re-installed the RPi software with SSH on. Then I plugged in a network cable from the RPi to my computer. After many different attempts I couldn’t figure out what IP address the RPi was on and could never connect to it.
Break. Need to actually get things done around the house.
Moved the RPi close the router and plugged it in to the LAN. I was able to see the device on the router screen and then SSH into the device for the first time! With this I was able to see the wireless cards MAC address and then configure the router to set the RPi to a fixed IP address. From there I was able to remove the network cable and still connect to the RPi over the wlan. Progress! I updated programs, added personal user account, and took sudo privledges from the default ‘pi’ username. Next, I set out to get X11 working so I could see program windows on my laptop rather than just a terminal window using Xming. I was able to get X11 working, but only for a program at a time (never the background desktop). And that is where I left things
Found another other ideas to get X11 sharing the desktop. This was to create a shortcut with the following Target:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Xming\Xming.exe" :0 -clipboard -multiwindow
This worked and I can now see the full desktop! Then found some more ideas why the HDMI wasn’t working and made some setting changes the the RPi.
Add these two lines to
/boot/config.txt and reboot Raspbmc:
hdmi_force_hotplug=1 sets the Raspbmc to use HDMI mode even if no HDMI monitor is detected.
hdmi_drive=2 sets the Raspbmc to normal HDMI mode (Sound will be sent if supported and enabled). Without this line, the Raspbmc would switch to DVI (with no audio) mode by default.
Success, I can now see the RPi through the HDMI! So there we go after 5 days I finally can see my RPi. At this point I think I’m ready to start moving toward setting up things to start some coding.