Archive for the ‘Guides’ Category

New Lesson! Scratch On.

Posted: March 23, 2013 in General, Guides, RGB-LED Kit

New lesson available:

RGB-LED Lesson 2 (Scratch GPIO) – Getting Started

With thanks to SimpleSi –

We can now attach the RGB-LED kit to Scratch and interact with the real world!

Scratch gets a friend to help with GPIO hardware.

Scratch gets a friend to help with GPIO hardware.

With a little help from the, Scratch can control REAL things!

Broadcast "pinpattern1000000"

Perhaps soon Scratch will turn your lights off at night, and make you breakfast in the morning!

There will be a follow up soon which will introduce some new methods to customise the interface for controlling hardware.

Note: This is different to the lesson which I mentioned before, that one (python) is still in development, so watch this space!

No more excuses, get your Pi out!

Posted: March 2, 2013 in Guides

Had a chance to try the Pi?

I’ve spoken to many people about using the Raspberry Pi, what they do and when and how they use it.  Often, the answer is, “I’ve been meaning to do it”, “I need to find time and connect it up to the TV” or “I’ll have to set it up in the spare room sometime”.

It is strange since, nobody thinks twice about booting up the laptop or switching on their phone and spending a few hours doing stuff on there, so the Raspberry Pi should be no different.  I think one of the things people have issue with, is that they are not used to sitting down in a specific place/room and simply using a computer, or are put off by taking over the living room TV or perhaps putting the family PC offline by stealing the keyboard and screen.

It is easier than you think!

The thing is, once you have a few useful tools and programs enabled, you don’t always need a screen, a keyboard or a mouse… In fact, you can often get away with just power and a network connection, and then just use a convenient laptop, phone, tablet or computer…  Your Raspberry Pi doesn’t even need to be in the same room (or in some cases even the same country if you get really fancy).

Lots of solutions…

For a range of solutions, take a look at my new:

Guide to…Remote Connections

In particular, I would recommend taking a good look at the section on X-11 Forwarding, it has surprised me at how useful and easy it was (and how little is it mentioned).

Anyway, you can tell everyone else and look super smart, try doing something like that with MS Windows (if you can, then I would love to know)!

Leafpad through X11-Forwarding

Leafpad through X11-Forwarding

I hope to continue to build and develop the page to provide information and links to help everyone get connected and using their Raspberry Pi’s.

So no more excuses, get your Pi out of the drawer and start using it TODAY.

You are the one’s doing the Lessons, so please let me know what you think.

Update:  Please feel free to still vote on this poll (I’ll check back from time to time).

I have now posted solutions for the extra credit sections of the current lessons.  I will continue to put extra credit sections in the lessons and then provide the solutions a little later (as voted for).


One of the problem of working on the MagPi Magazine ( (and now developing hardware “stuff”) is that I need to have my Raspberry Pi with me a lot of the time.

The one drawback is my Raspberry Pi gets a rough ride!

End result is a broken SD-Card slot and a quick fix is required.

Clamped Raspberry Pi

My broken Raspberry Pi needed a clamp to boot


Sometimes it can be simple.

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Guides
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been writing some GPIO control stuff recently using a few different languages and tonight it was the turn of python.
Now from using different languages I’ve grown accustomed to using the BCM references for the GPIO pins.  However as some of you may know, these differ slightly between Rev1 and Rev2 of the boards so it is important to ensure your code matches and is easily adapted for the board you are using.

Pinout for Rev1 and Rev2 RaspberryPi

Diagram includes BCM GPIO references (GPIO.BCM), common functions, Header GPIO references, and Pin numbers (GPIO.BOARD).

An easy solution is simply to use a define for each and edit the code accordingly.  But for python I’d often heard it suggested to automatically detect the revision of the board, which seems very sensible to me.


Making circuits and trying things out shouldn’t be difficult and with a few basic items you can get started straight away!

Prototype of H-Bridge Motor Controller on a Breadboard

Prototype of H-Bridge Motor Controller on a Breadboard (as featured in MagPi Issue 8)


For more information take a look at the:

Guide to…Breadboarding

Adafruit’s Pi T-Cobbler

I recently received the Pi T-Cobbler, a very convenient way to interface with the Raspberry Pi.  It takes the GPIO header and breaks it nicely out into two neatly labelled rows and plugs directly into a breadboard.

Pi-TCobbler Supplied By AdaFruit

Pi T-Cobbler Supplied By AdaFruit