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

Home Made Minishift Spacers

I spent a very happy afternoon making up an ArachnidLabs MiniShift that I got a while back. At least I was very happy until I got to the point in the instructions where it said "Now, take one of the spacers and fit it to the circuit board..."

Of course I'd lost mine.

However, the good news is that I happen to have a 3D printer. And so I was able to design and print a set in a rather attractive blue colour and then continue the build. I've not tried firing them up yet. That's for next week.