Category Archives: Tutorial

Raspberry Pi Zero Model W Tutorial 2: Making a Wireless Portable IP Camera

Raspberry Pi Zero W Camera
Super Cool Portable Wireless streaming IP Camera

This is a super cool project where we build a concealable, portable, live streaming IP camera based on the Raspberry Pi Zero Model W, and the Raspberry Pi camera module. In order to do this lesson, you need to start with Lesson 1,  where we show you how to get the IP address of your Pi zero, and how to get it booted. For this project, you need a Raspberry Pi Zero Model W. If you do not have one, you can get the ESSENTIAL HARDWARE HERE.  In addition, you will need the Raspberry Pi  Camera, which you can GET HERE.  The Pi Zero needs a special Camera Cable, which you can get HERE.

That should be the equipment you need to this really fun project. When you are ready to go, the instructions are in the video below.

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!

Beaglebone Black GPS Tracker LESSON 4: Easily Transfer Files Between Beaglebone and PC

One of the things that surprised me about the Beaglebone Black is that it does not come with any simple, direct way to transfer files back and forth with a PC. For our GPS project, we will need to transfer our logged GPS data from the Beaglebone Black to the PC. What I have found is the easiest way to transfer files is using WINscp. You can download this software at:

Download and install the software, which takes just a few minutes. One downloaded, launch the program. You will see a window like this:

Login Screen for WINscp

Under  host name, you will want to put the IP address of your Beaglebone Black. If you do not know the IP address, we explain how to get it in LESSON 2.

For the default Beaglebone Black configuration, the username is root, and there is no password. Fill in these blanks, and then click “Login”.

That should take you to this screen:

WINscp Dashboard

At this point the right panel is a view of your Beaglebone Black files. You can navigate by clicking on the folders. An the left is your PC files. You can drag and drop files between the two panels to transfer them to and from the PC and Beaglebone Black.

Beaglebone Black GPS Tracker LESSON 3: Parsing the NMEA Sentences in Python

Beaglebone GPS
Beaglebone Black connected to the Adafruit Ultimate GPS

In the first two lessons in this series, you learned how to hook the Beaglebone Black to the Adafruit Ultimate GPS breakout board. We then learned to read NMEA sentences from the GPS, and how to control the data the GPS spits out. In this lesson we will learn to parse the NMEA sentences into useful data. You need to make sure you go back and review the first two lessons, as this one draws heavily on those. Also, you need to start with the code we had developed in LESSON 2. (If you need the gear we are using, you can get the Beaglebone Black HERE, and you can get the Adafruit GPS HERE.)

In this code we move most of the work up into our GPS class. That makes the main part of the program simple and intuitive to use.


Beaglebone Black GPS LESSON 2: Sending Commands to the Adafruit GPS Module

Adafruit GPS
Adafruit Ultimate GPS Connected to the Beaglebone Blak

In lesson 1 we showed you how to connect the Adafruit Ultimate GPS breakout board to the Beaglebone Black and how to read the NMEA sentences streaming off the GPS over the UART pins. In this lesson we will show you how to send commands to the GPS to better tailor its operation for our needs. There are a number of commands that can be sent to it. Some of the things we we can control are the baud rate it communicates at, and the rate that it takes and sends data. We can also influence which NMEA sentences it sends.  In this video we will go over the different commands we can use.

To review, you should connect the GPS as follows:

Beaglebone GPS
Adafruit Ultimate GPS connected to the Beaglebone Black Rev C Microcontroller

The video explains the code step-by-step, but here it is for your reference.

This code sets the GPS to communicate at baud rate of 57600, and set it to read and report 5 readings a second. It then sets the GPS to only report the $GPRMC and the $GPGGA sentences. It then constantly reads and reports the NMEA sentences.

Beaglebone Black GPS LESSON 1: Hooking Up the Adafruit Ultimate GPS

Beaglebone GPS
Beaglebone Black connected to the Adafruit Ultimate GPS

If you went through our series of 12 lessons on the Beaglebone black you should be familiar with the basics of this microcontroller. We are now ready to move on to more advanced projects. In our earlier lessons on the Arduino, we built a GPS data logger and integrated it with Google Earth using the Arduino Uno and the Adafruit Ultimate GPS Breakout Board. While that was a great project, we finally ran out of horsepower with the arduino, and what we could do was limited by the memory limitations on the Arduino. Also, it is very hard to parse strings in the Arduino IDE, so interpreting the NMEA sentences is a rather large challenge with the limited string functionality in Arduino.

Python on the other hand makes quick work of string manipulation and the Beaglebone Black has plenty of horsepower for any manipulation of the NMEA sentences we might want to do.

In order to play along with this project, you will need a Beaglebone Black Rev C, which you can get HERE, and the Adafruit Ultimate GPS which you can get HERE. The video below takes you through the project step-by-step, as well as the description below.

Once you get your gear, you will want to hook up the following circuit:

Beaglebone GPS
Adafruit Ultimate GPS connected to the Beaglebone Black Rev C Microcontroller

Note that we are working off header P9 and we are using P9_1 as ground, P9_7 as VIN, we are using P9_24 as  Tx and P9_26 as Rx. Please note that you can see a detailed Diagram of the Beaglebone Black pinout HERE. Also notice that Tx on the Beaglebone is connected to Rx on the GPS, and Rx on the Beaglebone is connected to Tx on the GPS. Tx is like “talk” and Rx is like “listen, so you want to listen to the pin that is talking, and you want to talk to the pin that is listening.

Our goal in this first lesson is to establish a connection between the GPS and the Beaglebone, and to read in the data streaming from the GPS. We want to get a fix, and verify that we can read and print the NMEA sentences that contain the various position, altitude and velocity data.

The video takes you step-by-step through the code. The following simple code will get you streaming data from the GPS to your terminal window. In future lessons we will break the data down and show you how to get your position from the raw NMEA sentences streaming in.