Category : Blog

Raspberry Pi Zero Case

I thought it was about time I invested in a Raspberry Pi Zero Case. I had been using all my Pi Zeros ‘naked’ for several weeks with no problems, but you never know if they’ll touch a metal surface or object and short out.

Browsing around there are a lot of really nice looking wooden cases. I liked this one and this one with connector names etched into it. Maybe I’ll get one of those for use as my ‘clean’ Raspberry Pi Zero Case. In the meantime I opted for this clear plastic one. Functional and a touch less costly than the wooden ones. Only £3.99 with free delivery – bargain.

pi_zero_case

When it arrived it looked a bit bulky, but that was because it comes with 2 top sections. One top section is completely closed in on top with no access to the GPIO ports. The other top section has the GPIO ports open and accessible. The picture shows the one with the ports accessible.
This case also comes in White and Black, but I found both those colours to be a bit plain for my liking.

The Modification

There was also a very minor issue with the new v1.3 camera connector and this case. The cover for the camera connector sticks out a fraction of a millimetre over the side of the Pi Zero. This prevent the Pi Zero from fitting correctly into the bottom section of the case. A sharp knife and about 30 seconds work saw me cut a little section of the side lip. This allowed the Pi Zero to fit perfectly.
You can’t see from the pictures below but it only protrudes into the inside lip. When the top cover is on that still encases the camera connector, so it’s not sticking out the side in any way.

IMG_20160707_104516IMG_20160707_104557IMG_20160707_104608IMG_20160707_104624

I’m now sporting a device housed safely in this really cool Raspberry Pi Zero Case. I’m also thinking of buying a couple more of these.

Raspberry Pi Music Player Project–Stage 1

I had a couple of hours free this evening, and so began to do work on the first stage of the Raspberry Pi Music Player project. This was mostly the modifications to the plastic power tool case which is going to serve as the ‘enclosure’ for the Music Player project.
Here’s a few pictures of the work…

First thing to do was to cut out a template for the speakers to make the marking easier.

raspberry pi music player - template drawing 1raspberry pi music player - template drawing 2

I then used that template to mark out where I needed to cut on the plastic box. I used the Dremel (fantastic piece of kit) to drill round the edge of the speaker hole.

raspberry pi music player - cutting 1raspberry pi music player - cutting 2

The speaker was a good snug fit, with none of the rough edges showing. This probably needs a little tidying up of that edge up before the final version.

raspberry pi music player - speaker fitting

Same again for the second speaker. Next, I started on a hole for the On/Off switch which I wanted on the side of the box. This is a green, 12v rocker switch that illuminates when on.

raspberry pi music player - switch 1raspberry pi music player - switch 2

With that done, I moved on to a few internal cuts to make sure there was room for the Pi (Model B+). The stereo amplifier board needed some holes drilled in the case to mount it in. That was pretty much the first stage complete. Looks quite neat so far.

raspberry pi music player - cutting complete

Next, will be the internal wiring and setting up the software for the Raspberry Pi Music Player. For this I’ll be using MPD. Watch this space for the next update…

Update (Sept 2016): The full project write up can be found here.

Music Player Project

I’ve been looking at building an outdoor music player for a couple of weeks now. I am looking for something ‘rugged’ that I can take outside and dump on the grass at a picnic or BBQ,  Battery operated (about 4-6 hours life), small display to show what is playing, couple of buttons to RW/FF and volume control.
I’m still trying fathom out whether to make it a Wi-Fi access point and allow control by connecting to it (web or mobile app), or to have it connect to the home Wi-Fi so that it can also stream internet radio / Google Play music. Maybe a switchable option is in order.

I had thought about housing the whole thing in an ammo box, but in the end I decided to reuse an old power tool plastic box (at least for the first version).

I already had most of the components – LiPo batteries, DC-DC ‘Buck’ Convertors, Power Tool Box, Pi,  and associated cables, connectors. The only bit’s I was missing were an audio amp and some speakers. I bought the speakers from Maplin (£2.99 each) and a 15Watt per channel, stereo audio amp from eBay. Those have all arrived now, so it’s time to get the Dermel and the soldering iron out.

I’ll be writing this up as a full project, with instructions etc, so watch this space

Update (Sept 2016): The full project write up can be found here.

Starting Pi Starter

Okay, first post…

It’s been a manic week at Pi Starter HQ, getting everything set up (domain names, hosting, websites, themes, etc) and planning out what things should look like (menus, sidebars, footers etc) but most of that is done, or planned now.
I’ve also been putting a lot of thought into what kind of articles are needed (suggestions in the comments if you want something specific), and I have a bunch of idea – more ideas than time available at the moment…

Loosely, I’m thinking of having :

  • Projects for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced level folks, hardware and software
  • Useful snippets
  • News and Announcements
  • A ‘Project of the Week’ (Fridays)

That’s the ‘starting’ point, we’ll see how things pan out and what people want to see, and adjust accordingly. I think there might be scope to cover Arduino and micro:bit projects too, but that’s on hold at the moment – plenty to do already.

So, time to get on with some writing…