…Krystal wanted to control some servo motors with her Raspberry Pi because she’s on a robotics team that uses the Lego NXT brick as the controller and it easily controls servos. She wanted to see how easy it is on the Raspberry Pi. I wouldn’t call it an easy task, but we accomplished the first step in several hours one night. I am a complete novice to Raspberry Pi, Linux, PWM, python, and object-oriented programming in general, but I do know a thing or two about electronics and breadboards.
First thing, we read that Occidentalis is the way to go for using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to control servos directly from the Raspberry Pi without any controller boards connected. So, as Krystal described in this other blog post on how to install Linux on a memory card, we used Win32DiskImager to install the Occidentalis image onto a 4 Gb memory card. It went smoothly as soon as we remembered that we need to run Win32DiskImager as the Administrator on the computer (Right-click and “Run as Administrator”).
…[we] started watching a video about using PWM (but not on the RPi because there’s still no simple method to watch YouTube videos on the Pi). We figured that we’d start by dimming an LED before running servo motors….
Occidentalis v0.2: Adafruit Raspberry Pi Educational Linux Distro – Adafruit <3 Raspberry Pi – especially how easy it is to hack circuits using the electronics breakout pins! But sadly, the latest official distro “July 15 Raspbian Wheezy” did not have many of the delicious hackables built in. That’s why we decided to roll our own distribution. Our distro is based on “Wheezy” but comes with hardware SPI, I2C, one wire, and WiFi support for our wifi adapters. It also has some things to make overall hacking easier such sshd on startup (with key generation on first boot) and Bonjour (so you can simply ssh raspberrypi.local from any computer on the local network) … (read more)
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.