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Raspberry Pi Accessories

8 Posts authored by: Drew Fustini


Phillip Burgess of Adafruit has used the Adafruit LCD Pi PlateAdafruit LCD Pi Plate to build a Raspberry Pi radio that can play Pandora streaming over Wi-Fi:

Raspberry Pi, the little wonder-puter that’s taken the world by storm, is so affordable that we can create nifty single-purpose “appliances” around them without shame. Here’s our take on one of the more popular such applications: internet streaming media, the Pandora music service specifically.

With the addition of a small LCD, a few buttons and a USB wireless network adapter, the Raspberry Pi becomes an affordable self-contained music streamer that can be moved to any room of the house…wherever you need your tunes at the moment. Just connect power and speakers or headphones.

Here's a video:




PiFace controlling DC motor speed (notice the LEDs fading in and out, too)



To follow up my last post, PiFace relay tricks: metronome & "playing" middle A, I'd like to show how Gordon's PiFace PWM code can be used to control the speed of a DC motor connected to one of the PiFace output screw terminals:



And the installation instructions:










Gordon of WiringPi and has created a nifty metronome demo program for the PiFace:


Here's the source code:


And the installation instructions:


As you'll notice in the above instructions, Gordon has figured out how to do PWM with the PiFace outputs!  Here is rather noisy application, middle A being "played" on the relays:


The background of Gordon's PWM PiFace work is in this comment on his blog:




13 - 1.jpg

I hosted a webinar today on the PiFace and Gertboard.  I thought it might be helpful if I shared the resources I used to create the demostrations:





I previously described the great Adafruit RGB LCD + Keypad Pi Plate and showed off the demo program.  I spotted this inspiring project on the Adafruit blog by David Singleton:


Raspberry Pi Timelapse Controllerer

A few weeks ago, I found this beautiful video on Youtube – a timelapse video of stars and the Milky Way. Seeing the stars appear to rotate overhead (due to the rotation of the Earth) and the intricate structure of our own galaxy gave me a profound feeling of the scale of the universe that we move through on spaceship Earth. Of course, I wanted to record my own Milky Way timelapse.


David writes:

I also recently got hold of an Adafruit LCD Pi Plate for my Pi so I’ve added a User Interface too.


Newark element14 has all 3 models of the Adafruit LCD+Keypad Pi Plate in stock:


RGB Positive 16x2 LCDRGB Positive 16x2 LCD  (colored background)

RGB Negative 16x2 LCDRGB Negative 16x2 LCD (colored text)

Blue & White 16x2 LCDBlue & White 16x2 LCD



The test clip of the night sky is very impressive:


And also the sunset at the beach:






I'm quite excited about Adafruit's new RGB LCD + Keypad Pi Plate which:

lets you control a 16x2 Character LCD, up to 3 backlight pins AND 5 keypad pins using only the two I2C pins on the R-Pi! The best part is you don't really lose those two pins either, since you can stick i2c-based sensors, RTCs, etc and have them share the I2C bus. This is a super slick way to add a display without all the wiring hassle.


The kit is offered with 3 different LCD options:


RGB Positive 16x2 LCDRGB Positive 16x2 LCD  (colored background; this is the model I assembled and pictured here)

RGB Negative 16x2 LCDRGB Negative 16x2 LCD (colored text)

Blue & White 16x2 LCDBlue & White 16x2 LCD


Any of the above models are:

perfect for when you want to build a stand-alone project with its own user interface. The 4 directional buttons plus select button allows basic control without having to attach a bulky computer.


Here's the demo program which displays text on the LCD and then changes the backlight color according to which button is pressed:




Unfortunately, it was hard for me to capture all the colors accurately with my smartphone camera.  In person, the contrast is better and backlight color is truer.  Here's another demo program which cycles through the different backlight colors:



The Raspberry Pi and the LCD Plate are inside the Adafruit Pi BoxAdafruit Pi Box in "convertible" mode (the top of the Pi Box is removed).  Here's a side profile of the Pi Plate to give a sense of its height:



Be sure to checkout the tutorial for the LCD+Keypad Pi Plate in the Adafruit Learning System.  One important note from it is:

If you have a rev 2 (512MB) Pi, or if you're not getting anything displaying, it might be due to the I2C bus number change in the Pi hardware. Edit using a command like "nano" and change the line


lcd = Adafruit_CharLCDPlate(busnum = 0)


lcd = Adafruit_CharLCDPlate(busnum = 1)


Here's how I changed the busnum to 1 (as I have a Revision 2.0 512MB Pi):


I'm using Adafruit's execellent WebIDE for the Raspberry Pi (shown below), so my files are automatically committed to my BitBucket repository


To give a taste for how simple it is to interact with the plate, here is a snippet from the demo program:



I'm developing a Pi project that will send sensor data to Cosm for logging and graphing and am excited to use this LCD+Keypad Pi Plate as a basic user interface.




image source:


Congratulations to Limor Fried, aka Lady Ada, for being name named Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of 2012!

I can't think of someone more deserving, and I'm sure many of my fellow element14 Community members feel the same way.  I really admire Limor and the company she founded, Adafruit Industries, for being committed to making cool products for makers of all ages and skill levels.  As a strong advocate of Open Source Hardware, Adafruit also makes their designs and code available for everyone to learn from and even improve upon.  They also have an outstanding collection of electronics tutorials and videos.


I was thrilled when element14 started carrying Adafruit’s accessories for Raspberry Pi.  I wrote about some of the cool projects you can make with Adafruit and the Raspberry Pi.  And I'm excited to have learned that there will be three new Adafruit products for the Pi coming to element14 in January.





I'm delighted that Ladyada has joined our Community, and Adafruit's wonderful Open Source Hardware products are now available from Newark element14!  The Raspberry Pi accessorries page now lists many of Adafruit's Raspberry Pi accessories.  Here is the full list of 20 Adafruit products available from Newark, and there are 19 Adafruit products available from Farnell.  (Farnell customers will have to pay delivery charge £15.95 once per order since it's direct ship from the US)


Here's some fun projects from my previous blog posts that can be built with Adafruit's products:






There's plenty more exciting examples on the Adafruit Learning System:







Finally, I've got to point out Adafruit's handy 8x8 LED matrix modules which come in GreenGreen, YellowYellow and RedRed.  Only 4 wires are needed to hook these displays up to the Pi via I2C.  Their great tutorial will have pixels dancing around in no time:



These LED matrix displays also work great with Arduino, too, and can be combined together to make awesome Halloween projects.