Quick Start Guide to Setting up BOINC & SETI@HOME on Raspberry Pi3

If you have an extra Raspberry Pi 3 laying around, you can put it to use on SETI@HOME.

This guide uses the Raspberry as a Headless Server, i.e. no Display or Keyboard/mouse needed. But you can use these, as desired. The GUI does make it easier to customize preferences if you don't want the Pi3 to run SETI 24/7.

NOTE that only the Pi3 is powerful enough to really run SETI. Others just take too long to calculate enough to make a difference.


  • Your login (email) id and password of your SETI@HOME account
  • A Raspberry Pi3 running Raspbian Jessie (Lite version is fine)
  • WiFi connection

Set up Raspberry Pi3

  1. Install Raspbian on a 8GB or better SD card.
  2. If you use a PC to set up your SD card, see the Appendix (below) for a quick hint on setting up WiFi before booting.
  3. Boot and SSH to your Raspi (or use display/keyboard/mouse)
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
sudo raspi-config
Update any preferences you like, (Locale, hostname, etc.) but none are required for SETI)
sudo reboot


sudo apt get install boinc
boinccmd --lookup_account http://setiathome.berkeley.edu <seti_login_id> <seti_password>
boinccmd --project_attach http://setiathome.berkeley.edu <account key>


boinccmd --set_run_mode always 
boinccmd --set_network_mode always
boinccmd --set_gpu_mode always

This sets up Boinc to run SETI all the time. You can still use the Pi for other things, but it will be slower. The GPU doesn't appear to be used by this version of Boinc.

It will now automatically connect to SETI using the credentials you provided, download a work unit and start computing it. Boinc will restart automatically if you reboot the Pi.

Configuration Status

boinccmd --get_cc_status

CPU status not suspended current mode: always perm mode: always perm becomes current in 0 sec GPU status not suspended current mode: always perm mode: always perm becomes current in 0 sec Network status not suspended current mode: always perm mode: always perm becomes current in 0 sec


You can check the status of your Pi in three different ways:

  • Via command line
  • Via GUI
  • Via SETI Website

For command-line, try these:

boinccmd --get_tasks
boinccmd --get_simple_gui_info boinccmd --get_project_status boinccmd --get_cc_status

ps -ef|grep boinc

If you've run SETI@Home on a PC or Mac, then the GUI version for Raspi will look very familiar. And since this guide is for a Headless Pi, I'm not including the GUI part here.

You can also go onto the SETI@Home website, log in to your account and then go the View Your Computers https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/hosts_user.php

Computer ID Name Model Location Avg. credit Total credit BOINC
version CPU GPU Operating System Last contact ID: 8232247 Details | Tasks Cross-project stats: BOINCstats.com Free-DC raspi64g home 0.00 0 7.4.23 ARM

(4 processors) --- Linux 4.4.50-v7+ 24 Mar 2017, 21:01:24 UTC

Step 2: Appendix - Quick Way to Set Up WiFi

Did you know?

If you install Raspbian Jessie on an SD card using a Windows PC, you can create two files on the card to configure WiFi and SSH access before you boot it on a Raspberry.

For this, assume your SD card is currently mounted as K: on your PC:

1) Download the latest Raspbian Jessie image. For this project the Jessie Lite should work. https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

2) With notepad, create a file called just “ssh” and use Save As “All files” to K:/ssh The file can contain anything. It’s the filename that is important. Must NOT be “ssh.txt”!!!

3) With notepad, create a file called “wpa_supplicant.conf” with following:


Use Save As “All files” to K:/wpa_supplicant.conf
Again, do not let Notepad change it to “wpa_supplicant.conf.txt”!!

When you boot the Raspberry the first time, Jessie will look for these and connect to your Wifi.
You will have to look on your Router for the IP address, though, since its auto assigned.

Then you should be able to use Putty SSH to connect to pi@192.168.X.X

About This Instructable




More by rgrokett:RaspiAsteriskGoogle - Run Google Voice Assistant Via Asterisk PBX on Pi BOINC SETI@HOME for Raspberry Pi Don't Forget your Raspberry RF ID Card! 
Add instructable to: