Enginursday: "Getting Started With Raspberry Pi" Video Series

In this three-part video series, I show users how to setup their Raspberry Pi with Raspbian, connect a humidity and temperature sensor, and Tweet the results on a regular basis using Python.

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First things first - if you are still waiting on your Arduino Day order, the last orders are going out by the end of the week! Thank you for your patience! Now on to today’s post…

Have you been eyeing the Raspberry Pi but don’t know where to start? Does the thought of the immense amount of computing power* in a single board computer (SBC) give you nightmares? Well, look no further! I (along with the video editing prowess of our MarComm department) have put together a 3-part video series on getting started with the Raspberry Pi.

Over the course of the series, I show you how to setup a Raspberry Pi with the Raspbian Linux distribution, connect a humidity and temperature sensor, and send the results to Twitter on a regular basis. In the end, you’ll have your very own “Tweeting Weather Station!” In the process, you will get to configure the Raspberry Pi, write a few Python programs, and blink some LEDs (always exciting).

In the first tutorial, I walk you through the setup process for the Raspberry Pi and create a simple blinky program using an LED and Python. You will need a Raspberry Pi and some accessories, which can be found in this wishlist: Getting Started With Raspberry Pi - Ep. 1.

In the second video, we connect the Raspberry Pi to a WiFi network, configure our Twitter account to allow program access, and post a Tweet using Python. To accomplish Twitter posts, we will use the Twython package. If you are following along, you will need a WiFi Dongle to go along with your setup. The full wishlist can be found here: Getting Started With Raspberry Pi - Ep. 2.

Finally, we put everything together to create our “Tweeting Weather Station.” You will need an HIH-6130 Humidity and Temperature Sensor to attach to your Raspberry Pi. The programming gets slightly more complicated than the last two videos, but go with it even if it does not completely make sense. Here is the full wishlist: Getting Started With Raspberry Pi - Ep. 3.

If you have not tried using a single board computer yet, I hope that these videos will convince you to give it a shot. If you are currently elbow-deep in SBC goodness, what projects are you working on? What concepts would you like to see covered (in future videos, tutorials, and blogs) that could help other people learn about SBCs?

* When compared to other embedded processors, such as the 16MHz Arduino Uno

[Edit 8/20/14] The Python code used in the videos can be found here


Comments 11 comments

  • Again, nice job. Something that would also be nice, is if you posted the code on github, and a link was posted to it on the break out board web page. It would be good if sparkfun posted code for boards other than the Arduino on github.

    • Thanks! I posted the code on GitHub, which can be found here. I’ll see about getting it posted on the video descriptions and breakout pages as well.

  • Hello, I am new to writing Python programs, and I appreciate your tutorial on interfacing the humidity and temperature sensor to the Raspberry Pi. I noticed in the first two lines of the ‘Tweeting weather station’ program that you wrote ‘from twython import Twython’, and ‘from smbus import SMBus’. Is there a particular reason that you did this, rather than writing ‘import twython’ and ‘import smbus’?

  • A friend just pitched an idea to me, asking if it could be done on an Arduino. From the sounds of his requirements, I thought he would do better with a Pi, but I have no experience on them. This is perfectly timed, and will allow me to start learning and working towards what he needs. (You know, as soon as you have them back in stock.)

    Thanks, Shawn!

    • Glad it helped! And yeah, I’m surprised we actually went out of stock on the Pis.

  • Methinks that disk drive at the beginning may be older than Shawn. I’m guessing 20MB? I know my first 30MB was smaller…

    The thought occurs to me to wonder if they have the Arduino IDE running on either the Pi or the BBB? I could see it being amusing to develop Arduino programs using either a Pi or BBB… :-)

    • Turns out, it is possible to run the Arduino IDE on the Pi (it’s not much different than any other Linux distro). Check out this write-up: http://raspberrypi.homelabs.org.uk/raspberrypi-the-arduino-development-tool/

      Keep in mind that you can’t really run Arduino programs on the Pi natively, but you could program your Arduino from the Pi. I do recommend checking out the pcDuino, as they’ve done great work to run Arduino programs natively.

  • Can’t wait to watch! I am always looking for tips and tricks on the Pi. I’d love to see more.

    Thanks,

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