Use an external drive to drive your Raspberry Pi


Over at Adafruit, Brennen Bearnes has written a great tutorial and helper script that will enable you to use an external drive as a “root partition”. This means that although your Pi still boots from the SD card, thereafter everything else is handled by the external drive. He’s used a full-sized drive here, but I guess the principle works for things like USB pen drives. Read the tutorial here.

Powerful stepper motor board for the Raspberry Pi

The guys at Canadian company Roboteurs are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund their new stepper motor driver board – the SlushEngine. It looks like a stunning piece of kit and has the following features:

  • Controls up to 4 bi-polar stepper motors
  • Max 7A / motor
  • 9-35 V DC operating range
  • 1-128 microstepping capabilities
  • Integrated motion engine in stepper driver
  • 4 limit switch inputs
  • 4 general purpose industrial inputs
  • 4 general purpose industrial outputs (3A / 24V)
  • 8 additional logic level I/O
  • Thermistor temperature sensing
  • UEXT expansion connector
  • Raspberry Pi fused power source

It’s compatible with the B+, Pi 2 and A+ and looks like it could be a lot of fun to use, especially for projects where you absolutely, positively have to use powerful stepper motors – 7A per motor will certainly go a long way! The board comes with a simple-to-use Python library which lets you start up a motor with just three lines of Python. It’s great to see a company get the software right in addition to the hardware. It will also be completely open source, which is good to see.

The board is currently available to Earlybirds at $190 (Canadian Dollars) plus delivery, which works out at approximately £125 delivered. It’s quite expensive, but for those of you who have a specific application it could well be the board you’ve been looking for. Large power-hungry projects will certainly benefit from the engineering on display here. There’s also an $80 (£67-ish delivered) version to drive one stepper motor.

Take a look at the Kickstarter here if you’d like to find out more.

Build your own digital clock with a Raspberry Pi with this Kickstarter

David Saul is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new add-on board for the Raspberry Pi. Compatible with the B+, A+ and Pi 2, the PiMuxClock plugs into the 40-way GPIO header and stands up, giving you a large digital clock display. Also attached (on the enhanced version) is a temperature sensor (just because there was room on the board) and on the back is a mount point for an Adafruit real-time clock board, which means that internet connectivity is not required once the time has been set. There are various pledging options available, depending on how much you’d like to learn from and do with the kit. There are also pre-built options available if you can’t face the soldering (although this is a great kit to start with if you want to learn!)

Take a look and back the Kickstarter here.