The Pedal Pi is an open source guitar pedal that uses a Raspberry Pi Zero running Raspbian Lite to run C scripts of digital effects to play around with. It’s made by Electro-Smash, an open source hardware company out of the UK. They have some other open source guitar pedals as well, based on Arduino boards but this is their first step into the magical world of Raspberry Pi.
They have their own packaged ISO of Raspbian Jessie Lite that includes their self-written effects scripts so that you can change effects via the terminal, since the Lite distro does not have a GUI (of course you can use a version of Raspbian w/ a GUI if that’s more your style, but personally for this application I think sans-GUI is the way to go). The only thing that I eventually found to be a bit awkward with the pedal was the act of changing effects. As a guitarist, I’m used to switching things around with my feet so that I can keep playing or not have to awkwardly balance my guitar. Typing into the terminal to change effects was a bit cumbersome so I decided to make a controller to print strings in the terminal to control the Pedal Pi.
I’ve been leaning towards Adafruit m0 boards lately for their Circuit Python capability and the built-in USB HID feature without having to flash firmware. For this project I was also going for some aesthetics, namely some LEDs so I decided to go with the Circuit Playground Express, a circular board that features, well many things (it is a playground after all), but in this case I had my eye on the 10 NeoPixels available to animate. Of course going with the Circuit Playground I wasn’t getting the same number of digital I/O that I would with a Metro m0, which I did consider, but I decided instead of loading all of the effects as an option to switch between I would just select my favorites.
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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.