Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Raspberry Pi Interface Board: Part 1

Through the meetup I organise, RaspberryPint, I received a Raspberry Pi Interface board and an I2C Port Expander Kit from Quick2Wire.  These kits are self-assembly and enable lots of cool possibilities for control of the real world and protect the Raspberry Pi in case of wrong connections which could otherwise burn out your Pi - eek.

I have written a series of blog posts about assembling and using these Quick2Wire kits.

Part 1: Assembling Quick2Wire's Raspberry Pi Interface Board
Part 2: Assembling Quick2Wire's I2C Port Expander Kit
Part 3: My first project with my expanded Pi (yet to be written)
The kit arrives in a small cardboard box with surprisingly few components inside.

After about an hour of soldering this is the finished product - not to mention a warm inner glow having put it together myself.

My soldering was a little rusty to begin with but with 136 solder joints to practice with I was pretty good by the end and went back to neaten up my first few cack-handed joints.
The next step was to prepare my Raspberry Pi for the initial tests provided by Quick2Wire.

I started with the standard Raspbian Operating System using the recommended Noobs system. Quick2Wire provide some supporting software packages which are installed on your Raspberry Pi following the software package installation instructions on their site.

There was one error in the instructions, here is the fix I found.
Step 3: Install Quick2Wire's public key - the given link does not work with curl. Replace
with the following:

The final step sounds optional, but do install the gpio-admin package. Then back to the test instructions. The tests of the LED and button worked first time like a solid slap on the back and validation of my soldering skills. I could not test the FTDI to USB interface as I didn't have a suitable cable, but I found one on eBay for £5 (watch this space for an update when it arrives).

Next up: Part 2 Assembling the I2C Port Expander Kit