Software

Adventures with a Pi2Go Lite robot

Having received a Pi2Go Lite for his birthday, my eldest son finished assembling it and wanted to move on to some software. He’s used Scratch at school so the intention is to use ScratchGPIO (thanks @cymplecy) to control it and get it following a line. There seems to be little documentation on using the Pi2Go with Scratch though.

I thought I’d get him started by providing an SD card with Raspbian installed and working.  We then plugged it into the TV and booted, set the SSID (we’re using a Pi3) and connected to the WiFi.  I then installed Tightvncserver so he could remote desktop into it.  All good so far. Continue reading

Experimenting with Thingspeak and ESP8266

A friend recently gave me an ESP12E module to play with. I’ve previously played with the ESP8266 at Open Source Hardware Camp 2015 when Omer Kilic ran an ESP8266 workshop. The workshop focused on NodeMCU and LUA.

My immediate thought there was to use LUA again and I built some NodeMCU firmware to experiment with different LUA scripts.  It worked pretty well.  Later I wanted to have a go with the NodeMCU support in the Arduino IDE.  That turns out to be very nicely done :-)

I’ve therefore added a couple of DS18B20 digital one-wire temperature sensors to the board and made use of the OneWire, DallasTemperature and Thingspeak libraries in order to collect data and push it to the web. Continue reading

BBB – mount and shrink a disk image

This describes how to take an image file (origBBB.img) that has been extracted from a Beaglebone Black (BBB) – (see here for how to do that) – and shrink it so that it will fit onto a smaller SD card.

First we need to be able to inspect the file system locally.  We can inspect the image file with:

file origBBB.img
origBBB.img: x86 boot sector; partition 1: ID=0xc, active, starthead 1, startsector 63, 144522 sectors; partition 2: ID=0x83, starthead 45, startsector 147456, 6979584 sectors, code offset 0x0

Continue reading

How to backup BBB eMMC card

Ok, so you’ve been playing with your BBB and you’ve installed this package and that package, oh and that package you forgot about.  So now you want to setup another BBB in exactly the same way but wait… oh no, what did you install again and how did you configure things… this could take some time.

That was me recently when I wanted to set up a second BBB.  I’d installed qt4-embedded on the eMMC as well as lots of other stuff and really didn’t want to start from scratch on another board. Continue reading

Beaglebone Black (BBB) Simple Web IO

Some time ago I wrote a short guide to getting simple webpage based control of the GPIO pins working on a Raspberry Pi.  I thought it time to do something similar for the BBB.

First off, I removed unwanted services but you may not be bothered about that so consider it optional.

After that, install Lighttpd and Php5 – see below. Continue reading

Getting openssl working with beaglebone black (BBB)

Today I needed to use MD5 in a C program on my BBB (running Angstrom) therefore I looked into openssl.
All seemed straight forward until I realised that my cross compiler tool chain did not include an arm version of the libssl library. Continue reading

Beaglebone Black with RS232 Cape

I’ve recently bought a Beaglebone Black (BBB) and an RS232 cape (BB-BONE-SERL-03). Mine is revision A1 (important to know which, see later).

At the time of writing this and at the time I bought it, I did not realise that the cape was not yet supported in the Angstrom release. Because of the move to kernel 3.8, the majority of capes available need some software modifications to get them working. A list of compatible capes can be found here.

What follows is a summary of how I got the RS232 cape working Continue reading

Quadcopter project resumed

Over a year ago I decided I wanted to build a small Quadcopter. I bought some Hexatronic 5 gram brushless DC motors (HXM1400-2000) and some 6A Turnigy speed controllers. I designed a lightweight aluminium frame on CAD and did some research on how to stabilise it and control the four motors.

I came across an open source flight controller project designed for Quadcopters called Simple Flight Controller (SFC) which is based on an MSP430 – specifically the RF2500 2.4GHz development modules. I modified the source to compile on MSPGCC and got it to say “hello world” to me but then had to shelve it due to pressing work projects. Continue reading

Raspberry Pi – it’s here!

My Raspberry Pi arrived a few days ago but I’ve been too busy with work to play with it until last night when I did make time to boot it with the default Debian image. All worked perfectly and I’m impressed with the little pi 8-)

I fancy trying RaspBMC on it next…

Restore a Windows7 Master Boot Record

A friend of mine recently asked me to install Linux on her laptop which I was happy to do. I installed Xubuntu alongside Windows7 as dual boot. After a few days of use, she complained that the Ordnance Survey “Getamap” webpage would not work. When I investigated, I found out that the website requires Silverlight to be installed in order to work.

When vieweing the OS website in Firefox or Chromium on Xubuntu, it asked to install Silverlight then set about installing Moonlight (the Linux alternative since Silverlight only seems to work on Windows). Sadly, Moonlight does not support the while Silverlight API therefore the website would still not work properly. Continue reading