Did you even know the Raspberry Pi had a serial port? If you did and have tried to use it in Raspbian you’ve probably run in to some weird behavior. That’s because, by default, the serial port is tied up by the operating system so it can’t be reliably used in your projects. In this episode I show you how to configure the serial port so it can be used to make your awesome ideas reality.

I think we’re all still trying to figure out what Yo’s place is in the internet family but as of right now it’s basically a viral app. As soon as I found out there was an API for it I just knew I had to attach some hardware to it. Here’s a demo of what I put together.

The whole thing took me about 4 hours once I resolved my API issue (I originally gave them the wrong URL for the callback and had to email them to fix it). I want to share the process in case other people want to integrate Yo with hardware.

If you’ve been paying attention to hardware lately you’ve probably noticed how people have gone insane over remotely accessing their devices. In this µCast I’ll show you a simple way to get your project setup so that you can talk to it and control it via the interwebs. The best part, it only takes about 20 minutes.

My presentation from the Openwest Conference has posted to YouTube.

Really appreciated the opportunity I had to present and loved meeting some new people. Looking forward to attending next year.


I created a python module that makes interacting with specific hardware easy. You can find it here: µCasts Raspberry Pi Library

I’ve found myself writing quite a bit of code lately to interface with different pieces of hardware on the Raspberry Pi. I finally realized that for every new project I was copying the same code from the previous project to do things like turn on an LED or read the state of a switch. I decided that it was time to take all of that work and put it into a library that I could easily reuse with each project.

Simple Example

The python and node modules I’ve used to create projects in the past are very simple and generally easy to use. What they don’t provide, and aren’t meant to provide, is a higher level of abstraction around certain pieces of hardware. For example, let’s look at the TMP102 Sensor.

TMP102 image provided by Sparkfun as CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

[UPDATE]: I’ve had requests to post the finished code on Github for those that want to just play with the completed app. It’s now available at https://github.com/sidwarkd/pimonitor.

About a month ago I came across the CommandPi iOS app. It looked interesting so I paid the 99 cents and downloaded it to my iPad. The problem was, it didn’t work. I would provide my SSH credentials and after logging in the program would crash. So like any curious developer, instead of waiting for a fix I set out to write my own.

To be fair to the creator of CommandPi, what you are about to see is not meant to take anything away from that app. The app creator has put together a very nice UI and the crashing issue has been fixed. I just wanted to see how easy or hard it would be to create a knock off using ExpressJS, Angular and Bootstrap.

Cheat Sheet Image

As part of my Skillshare class Unleash The Raspberry Pi Through Physical Computing I created a cheat sheet that I reference when working on hardware projects involving the Pi.

You may find it useful when working on your own projects so feel free to download and share. Let me know if you think I’m missing something important. I’m working on an HTML version and will update this post when it’s ready.

Rasperry Pi Hacker’s Cheat Sheet

Have you ever bought a breadboard that had extremely tight connection terminals? The kind that you can’t connect anything to because everything just bends. I get that breadboards need to securely hold things but not being able to easily insert a resistor or capacitor is just ridiculous.

My suggestion is the find a breadboard the is as smooth as butter to connect to and never stray from it. Surprisingly enough, I find Radio Shack breadboards to have very nice connection terminals that require no break-in.

How to Fix It

If you do have a breadboard that has overly tight terminals there is an easy way to fix it although it does take a little time. Simply grab a pair of pliers and a length of male header (4 to 5 pins long). Grab the short side of the header pins firmly with the pliers and then push the header pins into the terminals. With a length of 5 pins you can handle an entire vertical row at a time. That’s all there is to it. After doing this your components should slide easily and securely into your breadboard. Here’s a vine showing the process.