Step 2: The raspi

Picture of the raspi

1. raspi-tize yourself

The bulk of the work on this project is to get your raspi ready for business. You can purchase the raspi from several sources, but our preference is from the great folks at Adafruit industries - they have been and continue to be a strong supporter of makers everywhere. You can purchase a raspi from this link:


2. get jacked

The raspi by itself is just a card, so to make it into a fully functioning computer you'll need a few components that you most likely already have lying around. It is well worth the effort to build your raspi into a fully functioning computer because it really is great machine for building any "smart" project you have in mind down the road. The Raspberri Pi foundation website is a great resource for getting or raspi up and running. Please read this page for information on what you need to get your raspi computing:


3. get loaded

This project is using the stock Raspian "wheezy" operating system, which you can download for free from the Raspberry Pi Foundation website. This page has complete details on how to get the OS to your SD card - its very straightforward procedure, and in less than 20 minutes you should be able to plug the SD card into your raspi and have it booted and ready for business.


4. hello raspi!

Once you've got the SD card prepared and cabling connected, simply insert it into the SD card slot, and hit the juice to the raspi. To your amazement a computer will appear on the screen. The stock wheezy distribution contains a window manager ( LXDE ) that you will use to log in ( Username: pi , Password: raspberry ) and begin your raspi adventure. As per the boot instructions, you can type "startx" to get the LXDE window manager running. Take a few minutes to explore the system. BTW, if you want to have your raspi boot into the windows environment every time you plug it in, you can follow these instructions:


5. get wheelin'

The software that creates the color wheel interface and talks to the DMX converter can be downloaded for free in both binary and source format directly to your raspi. To get started, download the free DMXWheel application code from here:

dmxwheel source code (zip file)

Launch Midori ( from your desktop icon ), and enter this URL. Click on the paperclip, and save the file to your desktop when prompted; this will create an icon labeled DMXWheel.tar.gz" on your desktop. Next, open up a terminal window to get a command line interface by selecting the icon on the lower left of the tool bar -> Accessories -> LXTerminal. In the terminal window, type these two commands:

<strong>cd Desktop

tar xvzf DMXWheel.tar.gz</strong>

This will unpack the DMXWheel application code on your desktop to a folder named "DMXWheel". You can open this folder to find the code that is referred to in the rest of this instructable.

6. get the extra bits

Although not needed to run the programs, to make changes and build the source code two additional software packages should be installed. These two packages contain Linux-native code to communicate with USB (libusb-dev), and develop user interface windows (gtk+3.0) respectively. These packages are installed using the linux application management program called "apt-get". In the terminal, type these commands and follow the proceeding prompts:

<strong>sudo apt-get install libusb-dev

sudo apt-get install gtk+3.0

7. raspi-ready

At this point you should have the raspi ready to go for the rest of the project. The software you will be using will be found in the DMXWheel folder on your desktop. Take a minute to look through this folder and read the README file - it provides valuable information on what the code is, what is does, and how to run it. We will go through some of the basics, but this README file can serve as your local reference documentation. There is a huge amount of coolness to explore on the raspi, so when you have some time explore the Raspberry Pi foundation forum to get some great ideas as well as support from the raspi community.