Minishift on Raspberry Pi

Well, that was a fight and a half.

I've finally got the Minishift that I was building connected to the Raspberry Pi and working. This turned out to be a lot less trivial than I expected. One of my strongest beliefs is that the best way to learn stuff is to try and do things. I've sure learned a lot this time. 

You can put items into the Minishift in a variety of ways. It supports SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface), so you can just connect an Arduino (or probably a Raspberry Pi) directly and it should just work. However, it is supplied with a rather spiffy USB-SPI interface and so I thought I'd use that instead. It looks neat. 

So I plugged the board into my Pi and up popped a new HID (Human Interface Device) in the dev folder. So I thought all I'd have to do was install the Minishift Python program and I'd be good to go.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. 

What I had to do (from memory, there may be steps I've forgotten) was to:

  • Update everything
  • Upgrade everything
  • Install missing things
  • Install python-dev
  • Install pip
  • Install minishift
  • Install Cython
  • Install libusb
  • Install udev
  • Install hideapi
  • Remember to run Python as super user so it could see the device

Anyhoo, it now works fine and the hardware looks great. The next step is to get a perspex case for the Pi and then make a little mounting bracket so I can put the Pi and the display on the wall somewhere and have a clock/RSS feed reader/weather forecast thing going. 

The MiniShift is great fun to build. You can find it on Tindie