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Setting up Raspberry Pi2 for a Dashboard Monitor

I have set up Raspberry Pi as a Dashboard Monitor a couple of times. Here I want to summarize my steps. In fact, it is nothing special, a raspberry pi that is used as a browser showing a web based dashboard in full screen, but there are some important configuration steps needed to make it as good as possible.

Install Raspbian

Raspbian is the best operating system for Raspberry Pi. Just stick with that.

Expand file storage

When you boot up Raspberry Pi, the first thing you should do is to expand the file storage, otherwise it is hard to install anything. To do so, run raspi-config from command line and restart your raspberry pi after that.

dashboard-rasp-002

Rename your raspberry

You are advised to change the password. In my case I usually just want to keep the default password: “raspberry”. What I want is to change the hostname from raspberrypi to some unique hostname (in my example it will be “kallerasp”), so that I can access it from my network without running risk for name conflicts. To rename your raspberry, update the /etc/hostname file:

sudo vim /etc/hostname

After that restart your computer.

Install iceweasel

Iceweasel is a Firefox fork, which works just fine on the raspberry pi. Update your raspberry pi and install it:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get install -y iceweasel

Make sure the screen is not getting blank

To use your raspberry pi as a dashboard monitor we need to prevent the screen from getting blank (dark).

cd /etc/lightdm
sudo cp lightdm.conf lightdm.conf.bak
sudo vim lightdm.conf

Update it so you have the following:

[SetDefaults]
xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms

dashboard-rasp-001

Start dashboard page on startup

To automatically start iceweasel on startup, we need to configure autostart. To do so, run this from terminal:

cd ~/.config
mkdir autostart
cd autostart
vim .desktop

In the .desktop file write following:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Exec=iceweasel

Previously I had chromium-browser –kiosk http://someurl, but Chromiums is no longer available, and iceweasel does not have –kiosk parameter. On the other hand, you have to activate Full Screen the first time, then after OS restart iceweasel automatically will activate Full Screen and your dashboard page from the previous session.

Install android sdk and eclipse in Ubuntu 12.04

Download and unpack the Android SDK, move it to your home folder. I prefer to set a point in front of the directory folder to make it be hidden so that my home directoy still looks tidy: .android-sdk-linux.

Then add this to your path:

export PATH=${PATH}:~/.android-sdk-linux/tools:~/.android-sdk-linux/platform-tools

.android-sdk-tools is for running android command, and .android-sdk-tools/platform-tools is for running adb command
And add it to your .bashrc-file so that this path is loaded automatically when you log on.

echo -e '\nexport PATH=${PATH}:~/.android-sdk-linux/tools:~/.android-sdk-linux/platform-tools' >> ~/.bashrc

After that you have to install eclipse (so you even get the latest java development kit jdk).

sudo apt-get install eclipse

Android people recommend to install in that order. If you install eclipse before adt, you maybe don’t find adt in eclipse, as I did. To solve this, uninstall eclipse and remove the folders ~/.eclipse and ~/workspace. Then install eclipse again and add adt to eclipse.

Then from command-line rund android and install all the need packages:

In Eclipse install adt.

Ubuntu 64 bit

Android SDK is only available in 32 bit. If your Ubuntu is 64 bit, you have to install an additional package:

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

Wonder if you have 32 bit or 64 bit Ubuntu, just find out in command line:

dpkg --print-architecture
Debug on your device

Follow the steps for attaching to your android devic on android developers site. To enable debugging on LG, e.g. run this:

sudo echo 'SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="1004", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"' > /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules
sudo chmod a+r /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules
Version control

Just install git and add a new ssh key:

sudo apt-get install git
PhoneGap

Want to have your web apps as native android apps, see the PhoneGap. A real world example could be wikipedia mobile.

Updating the SDK

Edit 2014-01-03: Now when KitKat is available, I have updated the SDK through the command line:

android update sdk --no-ui
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