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Setting Up Your Pi & Assemberling your device

Time to bring out your soldering iron.

Step 1: Booting Up Your Pi

First lets install your Pi's operating system and ensure it can boot on up.

  • First plug in your Micro SD card into your PC, if prompted to format the drive in anyway simply ignore it.
  • Next go to: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ and download the bottom zip called "Raspbian Buster Lite ". This will be your operating system on your Pi.
  • While this is downloading, go to: https://www.balena.io/etcher/ and download Etcher from the site; follow the installation program to install this program onto your PC. This program will be used to flash your SD card.
  • Once you have download the ZIP file and the program, open the program up; It should look like the image attached below. Press the "Attach Image" button and then find and select the zip file you downloaded eariler (do NOT unzip this file.) Then simply click flash and wait.
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  • Once this program has finished and your Micro SD card is flashed, remove it from your computer. 
  • Then plug it back in again, you may find messages pop up asking for you to format the drive or scan it. Click "Cancel" or "Continue without scanning". These are appearing because the Micro SD card has been split into two partions (parts) one is the boot partiation and is readable from your Windows machine. The other half is formated in a way unreadable on a Windows machine.
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  • Open up file explorer and navigate to the "boot" drive/ your Micro SD Card. You should see some files here. Make sure you turn on "File Name extensions" which can be found under "view" in file explorer.
  • Next right click "new" and then "text document". Call this document just "ssh" making sure to remove the ".txt" on the end of the name. This file should be completly empty. It's purpose is to simply enable SSH on your Pi for future steps.
  • Next, once again right click and make a new text document called "wpa_supplicant.conf". Making sure that the end file extensions is ".conf" and NOT ".txt". You may be prompted asking are you sure you want to do this. Click "Yes". The purpose of this file is for your Pi to automatically connect to your WIFI upon startup; this is called "headerless booting".
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  • Now open up your new file "wpa_supplicant.conf" into notepad. And copy and paste the below text. Being sure to replace the SSID and psk with your own WIFI network name and password; keep the "speach marks" around your new values. You may also need to change the country to your two letter country code if you are not based in the UK.
  • The SSID is just simply the name of the WIFI network which you can see on your phone or computer when picking which to connect to. If you have both a 5G and 2G network I would recommend connecting your Pi to your 2G network for reliablity reasons. Also ensure you have a strong WIFI single for the network you are about to try connecting to.

country=GB

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

update_config=1

network={ ssid="YOUR NETWORK NAME HERE" psk="YOUR PASSWORD HERE" key_mgmt=WPA-PSK }

  • Once you have made your blank "ssh" file and your "wpa_supplicant.conf" file right click on the drive in the file explorer and click "eject" to make it safe to remove the Micro SD card. Once ready, remove the card.
  • Now put the Micro SD card into your Pi and plug in the power to turn it; see diagram in step 2 on where to plug in the power lead. Turning on can take around 2min. 
  • While we wait for it to turn on goto: https://www.putty.org/ from there follow the links to download "puTTY" and install it onto your computer. This will allow us to SSH remote into our Pi. 
  • Once you have downloaded and installed puTTY and waited upto 2min for your Pi to turn on fully, launch puTTY. You should see a program as shown below:
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  • First make sure that your computer and your Pi are both connected to the same network. Then enter into the hostname box "raspberrypi". Check that the port number is set to 22  and that the connection type is on SSH. If all these values are correct click the "open" button.
  • Hopefully putty can find your Pi and a secruity alert might pop up asking are you sure you trust this device; simply click "yes". A console window should then appear asking for your username.
  • The default user name is: pi
  • The defualt password is :raspberry
  • While entering in the password your input will not be outputted to screen this is normal. Once both username and password are enterted you should hopefully be logged into your pi fully. If not see the links below for more guidance.

Why have I got "Unable to open connection ... Host does not exist " error message?

If this happens it can be complicated to debug, first goto your router settings and find all currently connected devices. The method of doing this will differ depending on your router, but instructions should exist on the router it self or online. If you do not see a device called "raspberrypi" listed anywhere then it has not connected to your WIFI correctly.


In which case you will need to unplug your Pi, wait 10 seconds before removing the SD card and then reinsert it into your PC again. You will notice your two new files have been removed; this is normal. You will have to remake them as they are moved from the boot partion into the "hidden" partion every time you turn on your Pi. When remaking your SSH and wpa_supplicant.conf file take extra care to ensure they match the requirments. Capital letters and spacing is important!


If you are still having issues as a last resort you may need to buy a mini-hdmi to hdmi lead and a way of connecting a keyboard to your Pi directly to debug the issues easily. This should not cost more than £10.

Step 2: Configuring Your Pi

Now you need to turn on a few features of your Pi to continue.

  • Now you have logged into your Pi in the puTTY console window type in the command:
  • sudo raspi-config
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  • When you click enter a new screen should appear, as shown below.
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  • First we need to change your password to secure your Pi, simply use the arrow keys to navigate through the menu, the enter key to select a value and the esc key to return back a menu. To change the password click enter on the first option, you will then be prompted to change the password; again your user input will not be outputted this is normal.
  • Once completed you will return to the menu, next click on "Interfacing Options". On the next screen click on "P4 SPI" and be sure to enable SPI connections.
  • Once enabled return back to main menu and navigate to "Advanced Options" , then click "A1 Expand File System"
  • Then exit from this menu by pressing the "esc" key a few times till you return to the console. Now we will check for any updates for your Pi by entering in the command.
  • sudo apt-get update    
  • Once finished your cursor should be flashing green again, if succesful write the following command below. If this stage has however failed instead write the following command "sudo apt-get --allow-releaseinfo-change update
  • sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Once the command has finished we need to turn off the Pi to wire it up. Normally you can simply unplug the device, as we have made some system changes to be safe shutdown properly typing the command "sudo shutdown -h now" and then unplug it after 30seconds.

Step 3: Wireing Everything Up

The first thing you need to do is connect the Pi Zero W with your OLED display.

To connect the display to your Pi please refer to both the diagram and the table below, taking extra care to make sure you have both in the same orientation as the shown so not to wire up the device incorrectly. Incorrect wiring up can cause peremaunt damage to the display and/or the Pi. Also do not attempt to wire up the display while the Pi is turned on. If you have opted for a headerless display and Pi you will now need to bring out your soldering iron. If you have opted for a headered display you just simply need to push the wires into the correct pins.
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The below table should be used in adjacent to the diagram above, please double and triply check your wiring. This is one of the main areas for fault to occur. 
Pi Zero Pin Number OLED Display Pin Number
2 2
6 1,7,8,9,10,11,12 and 13
18 14
19 5
22 15
23 4
24 16

Stage 1 Completed!

Awesome, you've setup and wired your Pi, now lets install the software!

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