Introduction: Raspberry Pi Media Panel

I wanted a simple yet elegant panel that would display the current weather, my photostream from Flickr, The time and my iCal feeds

Step 1: Configuring the Raspberry Pi

First we'll setup the Raspberry Pi, to do this you'll need to have
Raspbian installed. You can buy a Pi with Raspbian pre-installed or you can use a 2GB or larger SD card that you already have. I am using an SD card I already have. Plug the SD card into your computer and download the latest Raspbian http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian_latest I'm using windows so I unzipped the file and used win32diskimager (http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager) to write the Raspbian image to the SD card. If you are still not sure there is a tutorial here http://elinux.org/RPi_Easy_SD_Card_Setup

Ok now we have Raspbian installed it's time to get our Pi up and running, plug in your SD card, Wi-Fi dongle, USB keyboard, Ethernet cable to your router, HDMI to your monitor and lastly the micro USB cable to the power socket. The first time you boot up you'll end up with the configuration screen. The changes you need to make are: Expand the filesystem so Raspbian utilises the entire SD card Change your password Enable boot to desktop Set your language, region and time zone Go into advanced options Change your hostname so you can recognise your Pi on the network. Enable SSH so you can access your PI from a computer on your network. Select finish which should restart your Pi.

Step 2: Keyboard and Updates

If you are in the US or Australia like me you will want to change the keyboard layout to US.
To do this you’ll need to change a file by opening your terminal and entering the command: sudo nano /etc/default/keyboard Use the arrow keys to move the cursor and change the gb to us. Now save the file by pressing ctrl + X and Y to save changes Now to update your Pi, type the following commands: sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade Press y and hit enter to download updates (this will take ages so go have a coffee/beer).

Step 3: Wireless Configuration

If you just want to use Ethernet you can skip this step.
To get your Wi-Fi dongle working you may need to edit the wpa_supplicant.conf file by typing

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Then make it look like this:

ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant
network={

proto=RSN

scan_ssid=1

key_mgmt=WPA-PSK

pairwise=CCMP TKIP

group=CCMP TKIP

ssid="your network ID in quote marks"

psk="your network password in quote marks"

}

update_config=1

To save the file press ctrl + x then Y and enter to save

Restart the Pi by entering:

sudo reboot

You should be able to see if your Wi-Fi dongle has an IP address with the command

sudo ifconfig

You should get something like this

wlan0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 64:66:b3:06:43:1b

inet addr:10.0.0.75 Bcast:10.0.0.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1

RX packets:912384 errors:0 dropped:121692 overruns:0 frame:0

TX packets:706463 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0

collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000

RX bytes:694114055 (661.9 MiB) TX bytes:71017681 (67.7 MiB)

Step 4: Iceweasel Configuration

Now we will install a browser that will display mPanel Properly

Once complete Iceweasel should pop up in the menu under internet, open
it so we can start configuring

Type in about:config in the address field and hit enter.
Now find the "browser.sessionstore.resume_from_crash" line and double click to change it to false.

Step 5: MPanel & Autolaunch Configuration

Configuring the mPanel is relatively easy, It supports iCal Feeds, The weather, a flickr photostream and more.

Launch iceweasel

Visit

http://designelemental.net/mpanel/ and create an account, there in the settings you can configure your mPanel to your liking.

Be sure to set the homepage of Iceweasel to your mPanel Page by going the Edit Menu, Then preferences

Make sure http://designelemental.net/mpanel is set as the homepage.

Hit the F11 key to go fullscreen and hover your mouse at the very top of
the screen then close the browser with CTRL-Q . Re-open the browser and it should open to your mpanel and still be full screen.

We also want Iceweasel to start automatically

sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart

add @iceweasel to the list

now press ctrl X then y and enter to save the changes

Step 6: Cursor and Powersave

The next step is to get rid of that pesky mouse cursor and stop the screen from going to powersave/sleep mode.
First we’ll install Unclutter to get rid of the cursor when it’s not in use.

sudo apt-get install unclutter

Now we need to edit the /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf file to prevent powersave/sleep mode

sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

Move down to: [SeatDefaults]
Change this line:

#xserver-command=X

to this:

xserver-command=X -s 0 –dpms

now press ctrl+x then Y and enter to save the changes

Step 7: You're Done :D

Now it’s all setup you can plug it in to your wall mounted monitor and turn it all on.
If something stops working just unplug the pi then plug it back in, hey presto she starts again. Unfortunately my spare HDMI monitor does not have the screw holes for a wall mount bracket. I have decided to use an old VGA monitor I had laying around, just have to wait for the HDMI to VGA converter.

Comments

author
pillaleitner made it! (author)2016-05-03

The stand was 3D printed from a file on Thingiverse - thing:1021025.

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author
pillaleitner (author)2016-04-29

This was the best instruction for the Raspberry Pi Media Panel that I have tried. It works!!! All except for one problem - it still goes to sleep. I have a RPi 3 with 7" screen. I have tried three variations on the [SeatDefault] command: with dpms, -dpms, and --dpms, rebooting after each change.

author

I found a solution to my Raspberry Pi 3 going to sleep. Sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart, to include these lines:

@xset s noblank
@xset s off
@xset -dpms

author
GarthBock (author)2015-10-12

Very nice 'ible. One thing though I just read is that Dakboard which your panel relies on will be going to a pay service soon.

author
NetF made it! (author)2015-03-31

Hi All,

Nice guide, I made mine using a 9" screen I pledged on Kickstarter a while back (called HDMIPi).
mPanel is exactly what I was looking for, it's a very beautiful and clean design.
Though i cannot get the weather for a city outside of the US to work consistently. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I'm guessing the mPanel 'weather section' takes the weatherUnderground Api key and city and subsitutes certain sections in the URL.
See reference: http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/d/docs?d=resources/apigee-console&MR=1

It would be nice if the developer of mPanel would let us choose what functions to use or let us paste the complete URL with key, function, city or other parameters.

If any body has a fix or work-around, you're welcome to share.

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author
RichardB8 (author)2014-11-22

I made this from a 21" LCD monitor I had that went bad. Took out the panel, got the necessary electronics from China (eBay) and added a Raspberry Pi. I was then trying to figure out how to do the software when I found your site, thanks so much for posting this, it made it very easy to set up. I have a few things I still need to do, being able to turn it on/off on a timer would be nice and I need to build a library of pics to display. Being a Google fan I'd really like it if the mPanel software could link to my photos in Google+ but for now I've set up a flickr account.

Thanks for the cool project.

PiFrame1.jpgPiFrame2.jpg
author
chris15252 (author)RichardB82015-02-07

Nicely done! The wood frame is a nice touch. I think once one of my monitors dies, this is exactly what I will do with it!

author
7son751 (author)RichardB82015-01-03

That looks awesome, Richard!

author
chris15252 made it! (author)2015-02-07

Awesome instructable and easy to setup! Only issue I ran into though was allowing weasel to autorun. The file location has actually changed with the newest Raspbian to /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

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author
vargasmas (author)2015-02-07

I can't get Iceweasel to autorun. has anyone seen this issue with the current version of Raspbian and Iceweasel?

author
chris15252 (author)vargasmas2015-02-07

I just ran into that myself. The file is actually located at sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart in the most recent Raspbian

author
beggidan (author)2014-11-09

Love the wallpapers. This spot is 3 minutes away from my flat.

author
ibenkos (author)2014-10-18

Smart idea! I really like this project. Thanks for shearig :)

author
wilgubeast (author)2014-10-15

That display looks really nice. And informative. And will look even nicer with HDMI. :D

author
seamster (author)2014-10-15

Nicely done. Thanks for sharing this!