Category Archives: Raspberry Pi

Review of the Raspberry Pi Zero

I was extremely excited to learn of the Raspberry Pi Zero. It is a trimmed down version of wildly popular the Raspberry Pi, and one designed for embedded operation. In getting the Pi Zero I was really impressed with its small size and low cost. It has a small HDMI output, and two micro-usb inputs (one is OTG).  The Pi Zero is about the size of a stick of gum, and is priced at $5. While I was impressed with just about everything associated with the Pi Zero, in my mind it has one fatal flaw. It has neither an Ethernet Port, nor on board Wifi. To really use the Pi Zero for any of the applications I would be interested in, Wifi or an Ethernet connection would have to be added. Making this more difficult is the issue of the Micro USB connection. I am not aware of any micro-USB wifi units. Hence, we must buy a cable that goes from micro-USB to USB, and then get a USB Wifi Dongle. The cost of the cable alone will likely be more than the Pi Zero itself, and destroys the small form factor provided by the Zero.

So, as much as I love the Pi 3, and as much as I wanted to love the Pi zero, I am going to have to give it the thumbs down. I understand when you make something small and cheap, you have to give up things. But, I with they would have dropped the HDMI output and one of the USB connectors, and provided on board Wifi.  I am hopeful they will at some point release an upgraded Pi Zero with on board Wifi. Then I would pursue development on this platform.

Low Cost Raspberry Pi IP Camera

Raspberry Pi Camera
Low Cost IP Camera with Raspberry Pi

In this lesson we give you a step by step tutorial on how to create a low cost IP camera from a Raspberry Pi and the Raspberry Pi camera module.  (If you need to get a Raspberry Pi and Camera Module, we recommend this complete starter Kit, which you can order HERE.  If you already have a Raspberry Pi, and just need a camera, you can get the camera module HERE.) We are going to assume you already have your Raspberry Pi up and running, and are able to make a connection to it via Putty or SSH. If you are completely new to the Raspberry Pi, you should probably start with the  first two lessons on THIS PAGE.

This video will take you through the steps one at a time. In addition, the tutorial below has the commands that you can copy and paste. We recommend you both follow the video, and get the steps from the instructions below, so you do not have to manually type the commands. Be very careful . . . you must be precise in following these instructions for things to work.

OK, now assuming you have your Raspberry Pi up and running, and you can connect via Putty or SSH, These are the steps to get your dandy personal IP camera working. You will type or copy and paste these lines one at a time into the Raspberry Pi command line.

STEP 1: Get Your Raspberry Pi Up to Date:

STEP 2: Install Lighttpd Web Server:

STEP 3: Enable Server to Process PHP Scripts

STEP 4: Create a PHP WEB Page:

Now you will want to type or paste this info into the nano window.

STEP 5: Save your nano file with these key strokes:

To be clear, you press the Control key and the letter “O” at the same time. Then press the enter key. Then press the Control and “X” key at the same time.

STEP 6: Restart the Webserver:

STEP 7: Check That the WEB Server is Working:

Go to a browser on a Windows computer on your network, and type:

(NOTE: You would use your Pi’s IP address above. The number I use above is the IP address of our Pi. Your number will be different. You can find out your IP address on the pi by typing ifconfig into the terminal window.)

If you configured things correctly, you should get an Apache info page pop up.

Also, you should be able to see your php information page by entering:


Again, you should use your IP address. If you did things correctly you should have a page come up with lots of tables describing php configuration

STEP 8: Reboot Your Computer

STEP 9: Install the crtmpserver

STEP 10: Backup default crtmpserver file

STEP 11: Edit flvplayback.lua file

 Open the file in nano editor:

Now edit your file to these values:

STEP 12: Save and Exit 

To be clear, you press the Control key and the letter “O” at the same time. Then press the enter key. Then press the Control and “X” key at the same time.

STEP 13: Restart crtmpserver

STEP 14: Remove ffmpeg

We need to make sure we have a clean copy of ffmpeg, so safest thing to do is un-install it in case an old version is on your pi.

STEP 15: Intall Latest git-core and ffmpeg software

and then:

and then:

and then:

and then:

and then:

and then:

STEP 16: Now Make and Install the software:

These two commands will take a while. After inputting the commands go and get some coffee.

STEP 17: Install Samba:


We will want Samba to easily exchange files to and from windows.

STEP 18: Edit Samba File:

Now you need to add these lines to the smb.conf file. You should add them into the SHARE DEFINITIONS section, after the netlogin part.

After adding this code, my SHARE DEFINITIONS section looks like this:

Now save and exit the nano editor with:

Ctrl O
Ctrl X

At this point, your Raspberry Pi should show up on your Windows computer network on your windows machine.  On your windows machine, open a folder, click on “network” on the left, and you should see your raspberry pi show up. Now you can move files to and from your Raspberry Pi from Windows.

STEP 19: Install Strobe Software and WEB Page:

We will want to be able to view the live video stream in a browser, so we need to install the Strobe software. These next steps will install and enable the strobe feature.

Now the easiest way to get the strobe software is to download it on a windows computer. You can get the software by going to:

and downloading the latest version of strobe media playback.

Now open the zipped folder and drag and drop the folder “for Flash Player 10.1” to your desktop.

Now move the CONTENTS of the unzipped “for Flash Player 10.1” folder onto your Raspberry Pi. You will want to move the CONTENTS of “for Flash Player 10.1” folder into the /home/var/www/html/strobe folder on your Raspberry Pi. If you installed Samba correctly, the Raspberry Pi should show up when you open a folder in Windows and click on “Network”.

Now you have the strobe software installed and you need to create a Strobe WEB page to display your live video.

First, make sure you are in the html folder by typing:

On your raspberry pi, now issue the command:

Now paste this code into your Nano window. You can paste by copying the code below, and then going to your Raspberry Pi command Window, and right mouse clicking.

Now you should save and exit nano with these commands:

To be clear, you press the Control key and the letter “O” at the same time. Then press the enter key. Then press the Control and “X” key at the same time.

STEP 20: Enable Raspbery Pi Camera Module:

At the command line enter:

Scroll down and enable the camera.

STEP 21: Start the Camera:

You are now ready to fire up the camera. You can start the camera by issuing this command in the Raspberry Pi command window.

STEP 22: View the Live Stream

Now to view the live stream just open a browser on a computer on your network and type in the IP address of your pi:

(Use your ip address. The one above is my IP address.

This has been a long project, but I hope well worth it. If you follow the instructions EXACTLY, it should work. Enjoy!

The Ultimate Raspberry Pi Project: To the Edge of Space with Raspberry Pi

We have what we consider to be the Ultimate Raspberry Pi project . . . we send a Raspberry Pi instrument package to space, and telemeter live data back to earth, including live video over HAM radios. We do the telemetry with an innovative technique we call Ethernet over Ham, where we use the 2.39 GHz Ham band right below commercial WiFi.

We have had 5 successful launches, and are preparing for the launch of Eagle VI in Early February, 2017. Watch the video and see a live demonstration of our raspberry pi based system. Enjoy!

Raspberry Pi LESSON 37: Run a Remote Graphical Desktop From the Raspberry Pi

In earlier lessons we showed you how to remotely login to your Raspberry Pi using the putty SSH program. This is great for many things, but sometimes you would like to have the full Raspberry Pi graphical desktop available from a remote computer. In this lesson we show how to run the Pi Graphical User Interface remotely. The software is TightVNCserver, and it really works great. The video above steps you through installing and running the software.

Raspberry Pi LESSON 36: Operate Your Raspberry Pi in Single Click Mode

I really hate having to double click on icons or programs to get them to open. This lesson is a quick one, but explains how to get your Raspberry Pi to open files, folders and programs with a single click of the mouse. To do this boot the Pi in the Graphical Interface. Then click on the file cabinet icon to get a folder to open. Then under Edit select Preferences. Then check the box that says “Open Files with Single Click”.  Done!