Control power sockets with the Raspberry Pi and the Energenie Pi-mote

Matt Hawkins, over at Raspberry Pi Spy, has been looking at the Energenie range of products and, more specifically, at a set of two sockets and control board that he bought. The control board, called the Pi-mote, is a GPIO plug-in board that is compatible with all models of Raspberry Pi. Matt goes through installation of the software, pairing with the sockets and all the options available to you when programming the Pi-mote, including the GPIO Zero method that I favour. Take a look here at Matt’s extensive write-up.

CNC wood burner uses stepper motors controller by a Raspberry Pi

A finished burn

Tucker Shannon has built himself a CNC wood burner rig and is using a Raspberry Pi to control the stepper motors that position the arm. He’s taken photographs of the build and you can see them here. A video is at the bottom of this post!

All breadboarded up!




Pimoroni launches educational project cards for the RainbowHAT Raspberry Pi add-on board

Pimoroni have today launched some educational project cards for their RainbowHAT add-on board. Rather than try and re-word their excellent prose, here’s what they have to say about the new product on their site:

This beautifully-designed set of activity cards are split into learning cardsproject cards, and a booklet for teachers/adults with solutions and more detailed information. They’ve been designed by Dan Aldred, a secondary teacher and Raspberry Pi certified educator, and Lydia Lapinski, our shockingly-talented head of design.

The set of cards and the booklet fit into Key Stages 2 to 4 of the curriculum, and cover a range of areas and concepts in computer science as well as creative tasks. The aim is for these cards to encourage self-guided learning, and they’d be ideal for code clubs, or summer holiday projects for your children!

The ten learning cards will guide you through how to install and fit your Rainbow HAT, use the various functions (RGB LEDs, alphanumeric displays, touch buttons, temperature and pressure sensor, buzzer), and they build in difficulty from easy to more difficult concepts.

The two project cards bring together all of the concepts on the ten learning cards, challenging you to build a weather station display, and a beautiful animated rainbow!

The teachers booklet gives more detail on the exact curriculum areas covered, installing the Rainbow HAT software, and code solutions for the tasks and projects.

The cards are available for £5 plus postage, making them definitely “worth a punt”.


I think this is a terrific idea from Pimoroni and I hope they have a lot of success with it. With an educator on board to write them, and a professional designer to make sure they look good as well, there’s a lot to recommend the cards, based on the photos on their site. This will obviously help them to sell more of the RainbowHAT, which is good as it’s a very capable board. I wonder whether we’ll see more project cards for other add-on boards if the idea takes off – I hope so.

Remote control a robot using GPIO Zero on a Raspberry Pi

Ben Nuttall has been having a go with the new Remoting facilities available on the v1.4 release of GPIO Zero. He’s used the virtual joystick on the SenseHAT emulator as the controller and then sent commands remotely to another Pi which has the motor controller and motors on board. He’s then changed the Python slightly to do it ‘for real’ with a real SenseHAT. His complete thought process, together with all the code you need to do it yourself, is available on his blog.

Interview with the creators of retro gaming system RetroPie

Stephen Lovely has just blogged a great interview with the creators of RetroPie, the retro gaming operating system for the Raspberry Pi. It’s really interesting and deals with the development of the software, the team behind it, trademark disputes and their loose relationship with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. You can read the interview here.

Company happiness tracker uses a Raspberry Pi, LEDs and buttons

Katja Budnikov works for a company (shopping24) that has the occasional two-day hackfest where employees get to play around with new technology and come up with non-work related projects. (Sounds like fun!) For the current round of hacking, Katja’s team used a Raspberry Pi, some buttons and LEDs to construct a box which would allow employees to indicate how happy they are on a particular day. The buttons trigger the illumination of LEDs in the shape of a ‘tick’ and also send messages to Graphite, a web-based app which stores and graphs results. The code to do it is written in Python with a healthy dose of GPIO Zero thrown in for good measure. If your German is good, you can read Katja’s account of the project here or alternatively run it through Google Translate for the EnglishThanks to Hackaday for spotting this one.