Introduction: Getting Started With PcDuino

After having fun with the pcDuino, I realized I could create a bunch of tutorials using it. So that's just what I'm going to do, so let me start of in explaining what is a pcduino and how to set it up for the first time.

What is a pcDuino?

pcDuino is a mini PC platform that runs a PC-like OS such as Lubuntu and Android 4.0 ICS. It outputs video throught the HDMI port. Moreover, it has a hardware header interface compatible with Arduino.

What pcDuino can Do?
With pcDuino, user could do lots of fun stuff including but not limited to the following:

  • Teaching yourself and / or other people how to program
  • Interface with electronics hardware on a low level
  • Browse the Internet or and create documents using Ubuntu's application suite
  • Learn how to use Ubuntu linux
  • Watch movies
  • Play games
  • And many more DIY projects

In the above list I'm going to show more about the electronics part of it and the fun DIY part of it. The pcDuino has GPIO similar to the arduino and uses the Arduino IDE to program those.

The Arduino IDE comes right installed on the pcDunio and you can use to program an external Arduino via the USB port.

So lets get started...

Step 1: First Setup

The pcDuino comes with Lubuntu out of the box, you can install android and any other Linux operating system on it. You need to connect it to a monitor or a TV and a keyboard, the monitor plugs in via the HDMI port.

Id you don't have a TV you could use a serial console to get to the command line or terminal, this is necessary because you need to install a bunch of software to get it up and running.

If you hooked in an HDMI cable you should see a nice GUI or if you start with a command line you could type in -

startx

to start the GUI. By default the pcDunio has a bunch of software installed, and now you need to connect the pcduino to the internet via the Ethernet port or WiFi USB module.

Once connected to the internet, run

sudo apt-get updates

This will update the pcDuino, this is also necessary to install new software.

Step 2: IP Address

It is not ideal to keep adding a keyboard, mouse and monitor each time you use the pcDuino, we can install a VNC Server and setup your laptop or pc as a display and keyboard for the pcDuino.

After you have setup all the hardware and software, it is time to install VNC Server (you still have to be connected to a monitor and the Internet).

Then we need to know the IP Address of the pcDuino, to find that out type in the following command -

ifconfig

This should return the IP address as I'm using the Ethernet port I get the IP along the eth0 field.

Step 3: Install VNC Server

After following the previous steps, you should now have the IP address of the pcDuino and also have it connected to the internet.

Now it is time to install the vnc server, to do that type in the following command (you also require root access to perform this).

sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

You should have apt install it for you. Once that is done you can start the server by typing in the following command in the terminal.

sudo tightvncserver

Step 4: Windows VNC Client

After setting up the server, it is now time to set up the client or a viewer, Real VNC is a good client to work with. Google Chrome also has a VNC Viewer plugin.

Once you have got that installed based on your operating system you can connect to your pcDuino by entering the IP Address you found in the earlier step.

In the next tutorial I will show you how to get started with the Arduino side of pcDuino and also show you how to make cool stuff out of it.

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