Category Archives: Raspberry

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New adventures with the fabulous Raspberry PI

So in the last 6-7 months I have become really interested in electronics. When I was a kid (14-15) I built an FM transistor radio out of a kit that my dad bought me,  but I really didn’t learn any electronics. Maybe some basic soldering, but that was it.

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With the arrival of the Raspberry PI, a small credit card sized computer at only $ 35.00, my interest in electronics and programming were rekindled. So I bought a few of those machines and started playing around with them. Pretty soon, I understood I needed to buy some peripherials, as just tinkering and watching results on a terminal screen wasn’t fun enough.  So I decided to buy to screens from Adafruit. One 2.8″ TFT touchscreen, and one RGB 2×16 character LCD screen with buttons. The products arrived unassembled, which was part of the idea. So out came my soldering iron and I actually had to do a bit of trial and error before I got the hang of it!

IMG_1231The smaller 2×16 LCD screen was actually the hardest one to solder together! It had a total of 96 points to solder!

Once soldering it, I needed to see if it was working. There is a cool software utility for the Raspberry to identify equipment attached to the GPIO ports, called i2c-tools ( “sudo apt-get install i2c-tools“). At first run, i2c-tools didn’t find the screen, so I had to check it over in search of bad solder points (I found 4 in total). After re-soldering them, I ran i2c-tools again and got this: 

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The “20″ at line 20, was proof that I succeeded. The screen was being recognized! After that it was just a question of downloading example libraries and go loose on the screen!

The second screen, the TFT touchscreen was way easier to assemble, actually. Only 52 points, not counting the optional 4 buttons (another 8 points to solder). With that one, I can boot the PI into the console on the screen, and even use the GUI with my fingers!

tft screen

My nest project is to try to add some wireless capability to the Raspberry. I already have a wifi dongle connecting this magnificent little computer to my network, but I am thinking more of 433MHz wireless connections, like the ones existing in  countless gadgets (weather stations, alarm systems, electric garage doors, etc).