Control 12V RGB LED strips from your Raspberry Pi with the ANAVI Light pHAT

Leon Anavi has just launched his latest crowdfunding campaign. This time, he’s created a Zero-sized ‘pHAT’ that allows you to control 12V RGB LED strips from your Raspberry Pi. Also on board are 3 x I2C breakouts to allow you to connect up I2C sensors, which means that you can make your LEDs change depending on environmental conditions such as light, temperature, humidity, etc. Pledges for the board start at $25 (with free Worldwide shipping) with various kits also available, starting at $35, which include the LED strip itself. You can pledge for the board or one of the kits on Crowdsupply.

Leon’s had successful campaigns before and his product quality is always excellent. I think he’s on to a winner with this one. He’s sent me and Tim a couple of samples so we hope to be able to give you an opinion review before the campaign finishes in 40 days time.

Control a telescope and other sensors using a Raspberry Pi

Gary Preston has developed the Astro Cat which:

is an auto GPIO configuring add-on board for the Raspberry PI 3 which provides additional hardware interfaces to communicate with and control a Meade Autostar, Moonlite focuser and temperature sensors.

Or, to the layman, it helps you to control your telescope and monitor the environment around it. He’s documented the process he took to develop the add-on board and open-sourced everything so, if you’d like to, you can reproduce his work. Follow his guide here.

Most interesting to me is that he’s documented the process for disabling the Pi’s Bluetooth functionality to re-activate UART on the default pins. You can find out how to do that on this part of his blog guide.

Build an Amazon Alexa device with your Raspberry Pi

Over on HowChoo, Jeremy has written a great tutorial which steps you through the process of linking your Raspberry Pi up to an Amazon Developer account and then installing the necessary software to create an Alexa device. These devices, which are normally purchased from Amazon, allow you to issue voice commands and get an AI-generated response. This can be anything from finding out the distance to another town or city to playing music. Read about how to do it yourself here.

New browser for the Raspberry Pi: Vivaldi

Launched in 2016, the Vivaldi web browser has been available for Windows, Mac and Linux for some time. Now, it is available for the Raspberry Pi. It’s a bit different to other browsers and boasts the following ‘headline’ features:

  • Advanced tab management – ability to group, tile, move and pin tabs.
  • Side Panel with easy access to bookmarks, downloads, a “tree-style” access to tabs, notes, browsing history and websites of users’ choice.
  • Built-in functionality such as the screenshot Capture tool, Notes and Image Properties.
  • Powerful History overview that lets users explore their browsing patterns, backed by statistics and visual clues.
  • Unique and customizable look and feel of the browser interface with custom Themes and more.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts and Mouse Gestures for quick browser commands.

I haven’t had a chance to have a play on the Pi yet, but I will and I’ll let you know if it’s worth trying. Bear in mind, this is an experimental build so it may not be totally stable yet, but if you’re tired of using Chromium or Web/Epiphany, I reckon it’s worth a try.

You can download Vivaldi here and then install it using the following command:

sudo apt install ./vivaldi-stable_1.13.1008.34-1_armhf.deb

Read a little more about the browser on Vivaldi’s press release.

Create a Plex server monitor with a Raspberry Pi

Average Man (Richard Saville) has been continuing his resurgence into the world of Raspberry Pi. This time, he’s chosen to build a Plex server monitor out of a Raspberry Pi and a 20×4 LCD screen. He’s used the Plex API and a Python library to interrogate his Plex server and get vital pieces of information out and then displayed them on the LCD. It’s a bit of fun and you can read how he did it here.

Christmas 2017 Raspberry Pi Giveaway

Who doesn’t love a free Christmas giveaway? Not many people, I’m going to assume as this is normally very popular with my readers!

So, I am again running a Christmas giveaway this year. Enter your details on this page to enter. Full details, terms (such as they are) and (current) prize list is available hereMake sure to enter before 12 noon (GMT) on Monday, 11th December!

If you’re a Pi vendor and would like to donate some prizes to the competition, get in contact with me here, I can promise tweets and coverage on the competition page!