Posts from ‘Raspberry PI’


bwMeterCaseThe home and small business routers these days that us geeks would be interested in buying are shipping with SNMP server functionality built in as standard, and when their not there’s normally some way of breaking into the Busybox Linux distro (that most of them use) and installing some kind of SNMP daemon.

However there’s always cases where that options not available for some reason or another, in these cases you can use a setup like Kurt’s, where he decided to build a passive bandwidth monitor (even through the router in his pictures does support SNMP?!).

See a basic video of it in operation here:

The basic setup consists of a passive network tap; This is basically just a fancy way of saying that you’ve cut into the pairs of a Cat5e network cable and added in an extension of the pairs to your own device. The device that you add in should be doing nothing other than monitoring, so that it’s not transmitting any data on to the cable that would confuse the other two host which assume their are directly connected to each other with no other hosts on the network segment. The limitation of this setup is you need physical access to the cable, and due to the nature of high speed ethernet it would only work on 100Mbps connections or less.

The electronic brains behind the setup is a ENC624J600 chip to interface with the ethernet layer, chosen because of it’s raw ethernet functionality, this was connected up to an Atmega128 using the SPI interface which would run the core code to count packets and plot on the LED display.

To have a look at Kurt’s full write up on the project, head over to here.


We all remember an imaginative childhood and wanting to be an astronaut shooting through the galaxy, well for some children (adults?) that could almost become a reality!

Using a Raspberry Pi, Arduino board and some other electronic wizardry, Jeff High Smith has come up with this awesome full featured mission control desk, basically it’s a bunch of varying but satisfying switches, LED’s, speakers and screens that simulate a mission control desk and a realistic flight scenario.

It’s really something you need to watch to understand how awesome it is, sit back and click play on the below YouTube clip.

Now I’m sure you can’t wait to build your own, I mean one for your child of course! (adults wouldn’t be caught playing with this, would they!?), the whole build is documented on the Maker website with some more great pictures of the setup and helpful ideas on how to get going. Clicky here –

Don’t forget we’re always wanting to hear about your projects, so leave a comment or pop up and eMail !


So at PingBin we have decided to start doing a weekly round up of the great Raspberry Pi projects, the plan is to have one of these every week assuming you Pi hackers pump out enough cool projects that we can blog about, if you have any projects you would like to mention just pop up an eMail or Tweet.

Time to get started!

SnowBoarding HUD Pi Style

IMG_1031So first up is a great SnowBoarding HUD (Heads Up Display) from a guy named Chris, check out his Blog Post here. The Hack is basically using some MyVu Glasses and building them into a set of normal snowboarding goggles, the MyVu can interfaces directly with the Raspberry Pi’s normal video output interface (not HDMI) which makes the Python code a lot easier to write as it’s just a generic display.

Along with the Pi and Glasses there is also a battery back to provide enough power while throwing yourself down the slopes, and a GPS dongle which means using the power of python your going to get some great features such as, accurate speed, mapping routes, top speed etc…

All in all it’s a great project, however at £160 it’s certainly not the cheapest.

Need some help parking?

The next project again uses some nifty Python programming, this time Jeremy (blog) has used some Python with a webcam and small LCD display to measure and display distance readings to a user for help parking, it certainly better than them annoying beeps you get from most reversing sensors these days.

As with most great projects all of the coding is on his blog if you want to make your own or just have a play around, plus the distance measuring is also covered on another blog post by Jeremy which we have covered before. Keep up the great work and our only request would be to integrate that bell as well 🙂


Finally some news…

A bit off track here but this week Sony announced that they have created their 500,000th Raspberry PI board in their new factory at Wales, that’s actually doing a production rate of 40,000 Pi’s a week, now that’s a lot! At this rate we are expecting 1Million to be created some time in July. If you want to read more on that story click here.



raspberry_pi_ledIn this post I will take you through the fairly simple task of getting your Raspberry PI to control an LED via the GPIO interface, the task is simple however it lays a great foundation of knowledge for any further projects where you want to interface with an external electronic device.

So the first step is to install some software on to the Raspberry PI operating system via terminal or a remote SSH session. We actually want to install “wiringPi” however to do that we are going to use the very popular version control tool “git”, which should explain the following commands.

1. Software Setup

First we will install the core software required for git to work:

sudo apt-get install git-core

Next it’s aways best to ensure that our device is on the lastest version of software, so we will do an update and upgrade, depending on how long until you last did this it could take a while, coffee anyone?

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Ok so your back after the software update, now we are going to download the latest release of wiringPi;

git clone git://

Now go into the directory and just double check with the pull command that you have all the required files.

cd wiringPi
git pull origin

Now time to build the software with a command that’s fairly easy to remember:


For the physical setup you will need an LED of your preferred colour, a small 270 ohm resistor and some wire to connect everything together. I would recommend using a breadboard as well it makes all this cabling and prototyping far easier to setup and tweak.

Below is a very simple diagram on how to setup your circuit.



So now it’s time to make a really simple script, paste the following into your terminal session:

gpio mode 0 out; while true; do gpio write 0 1; sleep 1; gpio write 0 0; sleep 1; done

Note: Control + C will exit the program.

Let us know how you got along in the comments below, I will be adding another guide soon on how to get a few LED’s all working.

Raspberry PI Web Cam

Raspberry PI Web Cam

The Raspberry PI is perfectly equipped to turn your USB based web cam into a fully functional IP web cam that you can have lots of fun with, from there you could use tools such as Python to make your project more unique, im having a go at counting passing traffic.

If your wanting to something a bit more simple you could just have a web cam that can be access from anywhere with an internet connection, which is what you will end up with at the end of this guide.

Your shopping list…
  • Raspberry Pi with an OS installed
  • USB Powered HubAmazon UK – Amazon US
    • Important; This one worked for me, however it’s not worked for others, you will find this is the case with a lot of the powered USB hubs, research before buying.
    • We need a hub because the camera’s draw more power than the Raspberry Pi can actually provide, you see the same with some keyboards and USB dongles.
  • Web Cam

You could also look at an external power back and WiFi if you want to make it mobile, a few people have put these in a garden or somewhere without a static power/network source.

1. Get the software ready

To start with we’re assuming that you have a working Raspberry Pi on a local network with internet access, the next step is to update your Pi ensuring that you have the latest software and drivers installed.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Next it’s time to install the software, and we’ll be using a fairly light weight application called Motion, this will do a few things for us including accessing the USB camera, getting the images, and streaming them via a built in web server. As the name suggests it will also track and trigger events on motion detected in the video frames (more on that later).

sudo apt-get install motion
2. Plug in your web cam

So now the software is on there it’s time to plug in the web cam and ensure that everything is working, ensuring that you plug it into the powered hub, and then into the PI. Otherwise the webcam will not get enough power to turn on.

When plugged in type the “lsusb” command, you should see a line there with your web cam manufacture, that proves that you have the basic connectivity working.

Bus 001 Device 002: ID 04ea:1142 Microsoft Corp.
3. Configure the software
sudo nano /etc/motion/motion.conf

In here there are a few basic changes that you need to perform:

  • Daemon = OFF to ON
  • webcam_localhost = ON to OFF

You can change other settings but it’s recommend you don’t take more than 2 frames, and you been the default frame pixel size, for stability.

4. Start the software

To ensure that the motion service will actually start as a daemon we need to change another configuration setting, so enter the following:

sudo nano /etc/default/motion

Then change the value “start_motion_daemon=no” to “yes”

Finally you can start the motion service to stream the web cam images

sudo service motion start
Quick Example Image

Quick Example Image

Then after about 30 seconds browse to the new web interface, which should be at the below URL (where is your Raspberry PI’s IP address)

5. Final Tweeks

Web Port

You could change the web interface port to 80 (from the default 8081), so that you can just browse to the IP address without having to put :8081 at the end, it’s really simple to do, just:

sudo nano /etc/motion/motion.conf

And then change “webcam_port 8081” to “webcam_port 80”, save the file, and restart the motion service.

sudo service motion restart

Port Forwarding

Final suggestion is enable port forwarding on your home broadband router to the Raspberry PI on port 80, that will mean you can access the web cam from anywhere in the world. There are too many routers in the word to explain how to do it here, but I am sure you will find some help on Google, if not please just leave a comment.

Warning; If you give it internet access via port forwarding this does take up quite a bit of bandwidth, and anyone can see your webcam feed, so only show what you want people to see 😉

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