Raspberry Pi Wall Mounted Google Calendar





Introduction: Raspberry Pi Wall Mounted Google Calendar

Recently I purchased my first home. In the kitchen there was a small TV wall mounted however the TV itself was faulty so I was wondering, what should I do with this wall bracket since I didn’t really want a TV in the kitchen area. Then it dawned on me, instead of using a paper calendar with tiny little boxes to write things in I want my Google calendar on the wall.

To tackle this instructable you should have a general understanding of home networking and computing, some linux experience wouldn’t go astray but is not really necessary. If you run into something you don't understand just remember google search is your friend.

Equipment you will need
  • Home network (wireless if you can't run a cable to the Pi)
  • Raspberry Pi (I've used the model B)
  • SD card 2GB or larger
  • AC Adaptor (I used a USB wall charger for mobile phones check here http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeripherals#Power_adapters)
  • Micro USB cable
  • USB keyboard and mouse
  • USB wireless adaptor (MAKE SURE IT IS COMPATIBLE OUT OF THE BOX http://elinux.org/RPi_USB_Wi-Fi_Adapters)
  • HDMI cable
  • Wall mountable HDMI capable monitor or any monitor with some kind of HDMI converter
  • Wall bracket for your monitor

*I will not be showing how to wall mount your monitor as the bracket was already on my wall*

Step 1: Raspberry Pi Setup

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 Setup

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:

    pairwise=CCMP TKIP
    group=CCMP TKIP
    ssid="your network ID in quote marks"
    psk="your network password in quote marks"

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:  Bcast:  Mask:
          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

Now we’ll install a browser that actually displays your google calendar properly. Iceweasel is a derivative of Mozilla’s Firefox, to install enter the following command.

sudo apt-get install iceweasel

Type y and hit enter to complete download and install.

Once complete Iceweasel should pop up in the menu under internet, open it so we can start configuring. First open up your google calendar and save the password in case you get logged out at some point. Now set google calendar as your start page.

Now we need to disable restore pages after crash in case of power outage google calendar might not show up by itself which is annoying if you have no KB/Mouse connected.

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.

Hit the F11 key to go fullscreen and hover your mouse at the very top of the screen then close the browser once the x appears in the top right corner.
Re-open the browser and it should open to your google calendar and still be full screen.

We also want Iceweasel to start automatically so we’ll need to change the autostart options.

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

add @iceweasel to the list
now press ctrl+x the Y and enter to save the changes

Step 5: 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:

to this:
xserver-command=X -s 0 –dpms

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

Step 6: 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.

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144 Discussions

Agreed! It would be so much easier to add events! I wonder, how easy is it to get a touch screen to work with Raspberry Pi?

Definitely doable but pricey and I didn't see if any screens had mounting holes.
sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard

Speaking of cost. How much does this impact on your energy bills?

Or do you only turn the monitor on as and when you need/look at the calendar?

Add a PIR sensor to turn the HDMI on the pi on when it senses movement and off after a delay. Used with the MagicMirror project alot.

You could use a touch screen adapter.
I don't know where you can buy outside my country (Brazil), but i found this: http://www.magictouch.com/addon.html

Maybe you can get the idea.

A lot of ELO's touchmonitors have open source drivers, I assume one could work them into working with the pi's ARM CPU.

this is 3 years old, but FYI ELO monitors work really well with RPi, I didn't even need to download anything, it just worked.

Oh, can't fault me for necroing a thread about serial connected touch monitors. Work had a couple of Planar 15" touch monitors not being used.

Have installed via pci card to a fedora desktop with success. Will be looking into but presuming it will work, when I get to that step. I only just picked up a Pi B second hand, still naive and taking my time. I also picked up a USB to serial adapter on some delorme gps boxes I picked up.
Will update on success if there's any input. Any moral support welcome.

Mirrors1, did you finish the touch screen? How did it go?

Mirrors1, how goes the project? I am gathering the parts to do the same thing. Would a Pi Zero also work?

I agree a touch screen would be awesome. You can just add events with your phone, tablet or computer and they pop up on the screen after several minutes.

Will the same thing work with iCloud calendars, or will iCloud require you to keep entering your password again any time the computer restarts?

3 replies

Personally, i have my iphone calendar automatically synced up to my Google calendar so that by default any new events i make on my phone are synced there. Consider that.

Usually, iCloud does not require my password when i restart my PC.
Just mark "remember me" and you're good to go.

But, sometimes, it does require my password while i'm using it.

And i saw somewhere someone syncing iCloud with GCalendar. Can't remember where.

I don't have icloud, it should behave exactly as it does of your computer.

This is a great project. One point worth noting is that Iceweasel has now been replaced by Firefox ESR, which works fine with Google Calendar. - sudo apt-get install firefox-esr - installs seamlessly from a terminal.

1 reply

Even on Firefox esr Google calendar is crashing now

hello! so I want to complete this project for my wife but Im a little lost I got the Raspberry PI Zero W because it has wifi and Bluetooth capabilities. I purchased it from radio shack with NOOBS however after connecting to a screen and powering on it gives me a message that says I need to connect to the network and to try pugging in an Ethernet cable. As you know the Zero W does not have an Ethernet port. How can I connect to the internet to get this project started?

1 more answer