Instructables
Picture of 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*
 
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Step 1: Raspberry Pi Setup

Picture of Raspberry Pi Setup
step2-2.png
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

Picture of 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:

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

Picture of Iceweasel
start-gcal.jpg
start-gcal2.jpg
full-screen-gcal.jpg
crash-gcal.jpg
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:
#xserver-command=X

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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posborne19 months ago
Will the same thing work with iCloud calendars, or will iCloud require you to keep entering your password again any time the computer restarts?
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.
Piney (author)  posborne19 months ago
I don't have icloud, it should behave exactly as it does of your computer.
This would be awesome if done with a touch screen, not that it already isn't!
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?
Kasm279 Muniosi9 months ago
A lot of ELO's touchmonitors have open source drivers, I assume one could work them into working with the pi's ARM CPU.
Piney (author)  Muniosi9 months ago
Definitely doable but pricey and I didn't see if any screens had mounting holes.
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-playscreen/
sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard
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.
Piney (author)  downeysyndrome9 months ago
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.
AlphaPoppa14 hours ago

My laptop died due to a screw that got loose inside and fried my motherboard, so I went crazy and took it all apart. I thought it would be a complete shame to destroy the monitor and I'm glad I found this instructable to help me repurpose it. I used command strips to mount the monitor to my wall, thumbtacks to mount the PCB, and poster tack to mount my encased Raspberry Pi. I've had it up for a couple days and it's working fine, though I'm having issues keeping it on all the time (it keeps going into powersave).

Overall, I'm pleased.

140917-221547.jpg
skyware5 days ago

Great Job !!

I also have my Google-wall-calendar now.

Everything went smoth and worked immediately.

I exchanged 2 steps and I was able to do the setup without a Lan-connection:

before sudo apt-get update & sudo apt-get upgrade, I set up the WiFi connection and then continued with update & upgrade and continued the work.

Thanks again,

Peter

pickel98 made it!1 month ago

I loved this idea! Mine wasn't refreshing fast enough though so i downloaded ReloadEvery from: http://reloadevery.mozdev.org/ Now the page refreshes every so often. Like I said, I loved the idea and thank you for your Instructable!

IMG_20140809_085645.jpg

I love the project! could you put up some pictures of how everything is put together though? like the back of the device and whatnot?

mastallama made it!2 months ago

I created a new google account for a "Family Calendar" and shared my personal calendar and my wife's personal calendar with the account. All three appear on the "wall" calendar now and our phones display our own calendars and the family calendar.

Thanks for a great instructable!!!!

WP_20140703_002.jpg
cheebert4 months ago

I'd like permission to link to the article and use one of the images for an article on Enterprise DIY for InfoWorld Magazine. You provide creative commons, but I can't grant anything other than attribution.

/brian chee

Senior Contributing Editor

An expensive calendar but great idea and very easy to follow instructable. :)
Piney (author)  Jai Burlingham4 months ago

Not expensive when I had most of the parts just laying around ;)

hallcp9 months ago
This is great. I know Linux but I rarely use the windowing features and Raspian is different anyhow so this is a tremendous time saver for me. My only wish is that someone would step through using an old VGA monitor for this app instead of a nice modern TV. I have the hardware HTMI-to-VGA adapter, but there's still some X-window configuration issues holding me up.
Piney (author)  hallcp4 months ago

I'm using an old VGA monitor with an acer HDMI to VGA adaptor. works fine out of the box.

post-599253-1339771243.jpg
fcal4237 months ago

I am getting a warning

warning: Unresponsive script

a script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding. you can stop the script now, or you can continue to see if the script will complete.

Script: https://plus.google.com/_/scs/apps-static/_/js/k=...

I opt for the don't ask me again and continue however that requires me to disconnect my wifi dongle and add my keyboard mouse since I am using a RPi model A. When I plug the wifi dongle back in my RPi restarts. Any ideas what is going on?

Piney (author)  fcal4234 months ago

use a powered usb hub to click don't show again

fcal423 fcal4237 months ago

works fine with my RPi model B

Piney (author) 4 months ago
I just followed my instructable again with the latest raspbian and it still works fine. Maybe you're not removing the "#"?
jtabbush6 months ago

Even though I did all of the steps, my monitor is still turning off every so often, I have done Step 5 but it seems to no have worked. Otherwise, great Instructable!

I had that same problem and tried a ton of different things to fix it. I then installed XScreenSaver by typing "sudo apt-get install xscreensaver" in your terminal and then once that is loaded you can open up the program and then disable the screensaver. I did this over a month ago and the screen only turns off when I hit the power button!

Hi how do you use this to disable the screensaver?

I'm having this problem as well.

chrischampion made it!6 months ago

I created a separate Google account and shared my and my wife's separate calendars with it. The RPi then displays that calendar.

Also: I know someone said that they couldn't get the Pi to stay awake. You probably did what I did and edited the section marked #Seat Defaults rather than [Seat Defaults]

I uploaded an Instructable showing my steps for mounting the calendar recessed into the wall.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Recessed-Wall-Moun...

2014-03-01 15.31.35.jpg2014-03-01 15.33.00 HDR.jpg
AndyPoms made it!6 months ago

Thanks for this, it was really helpful. I adapted it to display Google Analytics on a large display in our office (by simply changing the IceWeasel start page).

Pi_Google-1.jpgPi_Google-2.jpgPi_Google-3.jpg
AndyPoms AndyPoms6 months ago

So, apparently IceWeasel doesn't play nice with Google Analytics... I switched to Chromium today. It was an easy change, set the start page in Chromium and instead of putting "@iceweasel" in /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart, put in "@chromium --kiosk" (to force full screen at startup).

coop52 made it!6 months ago

I've been loving my Calendar, thanks for this instructable!

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xegot313 made it!7 months ago

I made this then added two additional features:

  • A webcam with motion sensing software so that the monitor turns on only when someone is in front and turns off itself when nobody is around.
  • A side panel to display the weather using Conky

The full instructable directions on how to add these 2 features are here.

FC6VBMMHRBNDWS4.LARGE.jpgwebcam 2.jpg
kreidence7 months ago

I like the idea and have tried to put together one but with my inexperience I seemed to have come across a problem. My first attempt used the ethernet connection and it worked a treat. Then I tried a WIFI dongle I had on hand but it didn't work so I procured the EDIMAX dongle. Everything worked until I tried to load Ice Weasel a lot of error messages came up dealing with resolving "mirror director.rasbian.org". Have I stuffed it up?

Piney (author)  kreidence7 months ago

Sounds like you are not connected to the internet?

kreidence Piney7 months ago

I have successfully got the WIFI working and I found the following web site useful. Don't ask me why it just did.

http://www.savagehomeautomation.com

kreidence Piney7 months ago

Could be, since then I have tried a few more things and looked at the blogs on this and other pages. When I have connected via the ethernet it works well. May have missed a step somewhere like when do you unplug the ethernet line? I now know the WIFI is recognised by the system and that it is configured. I can see that it is working by the flashing light.

I have made ice weasel the preferred internet ap. and followed your steps carefully, made a few mistakes on the way and had to correct them. I have even started over again by interrupting the boot process. I took your advice and googled the installation of Edimax on RPi and found some useful direction. I still want it to work without the ethernet and have found this project to be useful in understanding how this unit works. Thanks for your support

rmoritz7 months ago

So, let's say we have a touchscreen monitor. Is it possible to have a virtual keyboard, like what you would have on a tablet to input data into the calendar right from the monitor?

Kriegwesen7 months ago

I made one of these for my family so my mother can keep track of where everyone is and when everyone is working or in school. I set up a single family account that anyone can use to put their schedules in. It's been a great success thus far. Thanks for the idea/instructions!

baddams8 months ago

I have made the calander just like above with one minor problem. The pi will not put my monitor to sleep, which is good, but the pi will black the screen out after about 10 minutes or so as if it is a screen saver. Do you have any code that might fix this? Thanks for the great idea and instructions!

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