3 Must Have Raspberry Pi 3 Accessories

The Raspberry Pi 3 has been released for a while now and there are many accessories that you can purchase for it: camera’s, wifi adapters, case’s, LCD screens. Today I want to list the 3 must have Raspberry Pi 3 accessories that I think every user needs. I will be discussing my favorite Raspberry Pi 3 case, Add-On WiFi adapter and my favorite Raspberry Pi 3 camera.

Raspberry Pi 3 Case

Official Raspberry Pi 3 Case

Might as well start the list off with the Official Raspberry Pi 3 case. This case is the official case from the Raspberry Pi Foundation and comes with a removable top lid and side panels. The removable top lid will give you easy access to the camera and display ports. The official Raspberry Pi case comes in multiple colors and the one I have pictured is a White/Red combination which really pops out and has a modern feel to it. Since this was designed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation your Pi will fit perfectly in the bottom and will be a snug fit. Unlike some of other cases which screw the Pi down, this one just pops into the plastic inserts.

The one downside is the ventilation isn’t the best. This case doesn’t include any heat-sinks and you might want to invest in some heat-sinks to put over the two processors on the board to help dissipate some of the heat that is generated when using the Pi. If you are just using your Raspberry Pi as a small server or not doing any crazy computing on it, which will use a lot of power and generate more heat, then I think you will be okay with the heat. If you are worried about ventilation you can pop off the removable side panels to get the air flowing inside of the case.

Another complaint about this case is that it does not have key-slots on the bottom of the case for wall-mounting. If you don’t plan on hanging the Raspberry Pi on the wall then this really isn’t an issue. You can also just use some Velcro and it will hang on the wall with no issues. This is what I ended up doing for my Raspberry Pi server and it works with no issues.

Overall, I think if you are looking for a cheap case and like the White/Red combination then this is a decent Raspberry Pi case. It may not be the coolest case on the block but it gets the job done and will protect your project from getting damaged.

Click here for more information about the Official Raspberry Pi 3 Case

Raspberry Pi 3 Extended WiFi Adapter

Alfa Wifi Adapter

I know what you are thinking, the Raspberry Pi 3 comes with an onboard WiFi adapter, why would I need another one? The answer is because it sucks, or I should say the range is not the best. The onboard Wifi adapter on the Raspberry Pi 3 works great for when your Raspberry Pi is close to your network router but if you plan on putting your Raspberry Pi 3 on the other side of your house you may need to get a WiFi adapter.

The Alpha AWUS036H WiFi adapter is one of the most popular choices for pen-testing and connecting to your WIFi at home. It has great range and can pick up signals up to a block away without much loss. It also includes settings for increasing the power of the WiFi signal to connect to networks further away.

When you purchase from Amazon there are a few choices that you can buy. Some of them come with a holder and flex cable which are not necessary. I bought the model that comes with the 5dBi and 7dBi antennas. The 7dBi antenna is a directional antenna meaning it can get better signals depending on which way it’s facing. The reviews for the 9dBi antenna are not the best, so I personally wouldn’t recommend it. The only other downfall with the Alfa AWUS036H is it is not compatible is 802.11 N signals, which may be an issue if a network is setup for only 802.11N

If you are looking for a WiFi adapter that works perfectly on the Raspberry Pi and has great reviews then you can’t go wrong with the Alfa AWUS036H WiFi adapter

Click here for more information about the Alfa AWUS036H WiFi Adapter

Raspberry Pi 3 Camera Module

Pixy Camera Module

The Pixy camera module has been getting very popular lately and there has been many write-ups about it. It has a button you can push to “teach” it objects which you can program your projects to either follow the object or identify it. It includes libraries for the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. The Pixy camera includes mounting hardware to attach Pixy to your robot creation. The firmware, software and hardware are open source and constantly updated.

There are many mounting options. One of them is this which has a servo for pan/tilt. I think this camera is very neat and the resolution is okay for a basic robot. I would use this camera module for more advanced projects which include project tracking or avoidance especially since it includes libraries for the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Definitely check this camera out if you are making any type of robot project.

Click here for more information about the Pixy Raspberry Pi 3 Camera Module

How to Perform a Quiet Boot on the Raspberry Pi

If you plan on using your Raspberry Pi as a Retro gaming station or are using it in a setting where you want to remove the boot text from being displayed on the Raspberry Pi then you need to make your Raspberry Pi perform a quiet boot. A quiet boot will remove the rows of text that are displayed during a boot (also called verbose boot) and can be replaced with a logo. This can come in handy if you are making your own arcade machine or a commercial product with the Raspberry Pi.


To perform a quiet boot on the Raspberry Pi and remove the boot text


You will need the following:


Performing a quiet boot on your Raspberry Pi is very easy and it will only take us a view steps. I wrote these instructions on the official Raspbian Jessie distro but if you are running any other Raspberry Pi distro it should work the same way. Continue Reading

How to Setup a Raspberry Pi SFTP Server

SFTP stands for SSH File Transfer Protocol and is a secure way of remotely transferring files between 2 computers. It is a more preferred way of transferring files over the standard FTP protocol because it uses a secure connection meaning all your data is encrypted. FTP is an insecure way of transferring files and can easily be monitored over your network to intercept and see what files are being transferred, like secure bank information.

SFTP runs on port 22, the same standard port as a regular SSH connection, and FTP runs on port 21. It is advised that you change your SSH Port to improve security on your network. You can also port forward port 22 on your router to allow access to your Raspberry Pi server over SFTP from anywhere outside your network, but make sure you change your SSH port if you will be doing this to reduce the amount of attempted hacks on your Raspberry Pi SFTP server.

Today I will be showing you how to setup a Raspberry Pi SFTP server so that you can easily access files on your Raspberry Pi. This can be very useful if you are using your Raspberry Pi as a Network Attached Storage device or simply as a web server. Transferring files over SFTP will allow you to quickly download or upload multiple files with no issues and make changes to your web server on the go.


To setup our Raspberry Pi as a SFTP Server


You will need the following:


Setting up your Raspberry Pi SFTP is very easy and all we need to do is basically enable the SSH server on our Raspberry Pi because our SFTP server will be transferring files over SSH. Open a new terminal window on Raspbian desktop and type the following command to open the Raspberry Pi config tool. Continue Reading

How to Build a Raspberry Pi Security Surveillance Camera with MotionEye

Turning your Raspberry Pi into a security surveillance camera is a cheap alternative to setting up a security system in your house or office. The Raspberry Pi 3 is more then powerful to capture video with the Official Raspberry Pi camera. Today we will be installing MotionEye on our Raspberry Pi to turn it into a security camera. We will be able to view live video in our browser as well as auto record videos when motion is detected. This is great for saving precious space on our microSD card and only keeping the videos we need. We can also save the videos and delete them after a set amount of time. Setting up a Raspberry Pi security camera with MotionEye is very easy and works right out of the box with the default settings.

We will also be able to setup a network of security cameras with multiple Raspberry Pi’s and monitor all of camera over one interface. If cost and space is an issue it is possible to upload all our videos to your Dropbox or Google Drive account for easy access anywhere. This is a great low cost solution to building a security system in your house and you can also use it as an outdoor system as well to monitor your front door. There are a ton of Raspberry Pi compatible cameras you can use for the Raspberry Pi security camera and the choice is your’s depending on your needs. You can use the official Raspberry Pi camera that plugs into the camera port or you can use an old webcam that you have laying around and plug it into the USB port.


To build a Raspberry Pi security surveillance camera system that is run and controlled over your own network


You will need the following:


Let’s get started. We will first need to install our camera onto the Raspberry Pi by plugging it into the camera port. I am using the official NOIR Raspberry Pi camera in this tutorial, however you can use whatever camera is compatible with the Raspberry Pi. Plug your camera’s ribbon cable into the camera ribbon slot on the Raspberry Pi board, the camera ribbon port is the one located behind the Ethernet port. You your fingers to pull up on both sides of the connector to open it up and insert the ribbon cable with the metal leads facing away from the Ethernet port. Once the ribbon cable is seated all the way inside the connector you can push down on the connector to lock the camera’s ribbon cable in place. It is important that the metal leads face away from the Ethernet port or your camera may not work or even worse it can be shorted. Continue Reading

5 Best Raspberry Pi Zero Cases

If you are one of the lucky ones to get your hands on a Raspberry Pi Zero then you will mostly likely need a case for your Pi Zero to protect it from getting damaged, you know it will be a pain trying to get another Raspberry Pi Zero with how quick they are to come by, especially at the $5 price tag. I have compiled a list of the best Raspberry Pi Zero cases that will protect your investment and give your new Raspberry Pi Zero some sweet style. The list I have compiled is not in any particular order and the cases themselves are all top quality builds so let’s get started

1. SB Raspberry Pi Zero Case

SB Raspberry Pi Zero Case

This is just your standard plastic black Raspberry Pi Zero case. The issue right off the bat is that this case will not fit the latest Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3 which has the camera connector. You can modify the lower part of this case to fit the connector however if you have one of the original Raspberry Pi Zero’s then this case will work for you. It features a three-piece injection molded ABS to create a tight fitting case.

A great feature of this case if that the GPIO cover can be removed and you can have the case open or closed depending on if your Zero is getting overheated, which it really shouldn’t. The case does allow easy access to the GPIO pins if you do use them so have the removable cover is a plus. The case is also wall mountable which is great if you are using your Raspberry Pi Zero as a server or storage device and you can hang it up behind your TV.

There really isn’t anything bad or good to say about this case other then it is a plain basic black plastic case. If you have no style or don’t care about the look of your Zero because it will be tucked away in the corner or out of view then I would definitely check this case out.

Click here for more information about the SB Raspberry Pi Zero Case

2. Black Ice Raspberry Pi Zero Case

Black Ice Raspberry Pi Zero Case

Now this is a transparent Raspberry Pi Zero case with style. It is a sandwich designed which means that your Raspberry Pi will be sandwiched between two pieces of high quality acrylic. This case will fit the newest Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3 and will give you easy access to the camera connector if you do decide to connect a camera to your Pi. Its a sleek compact design that really makes your Raspberry Pi look modern and slick.

This case comes with the GPIO cutout if you plan on using them. The cutout gives you more then enough room for you to access your GPIO with nothing in the way. The case itself doesn’t come with any instructions but it should be fairly easy to assemble with just a few screws and plastic washers to go in between your Raspberry Pi and the case. The Raspberry Pi fits perfectly in this little case and is very sturdy, the Pi doesn’t move around and the USB connectors are hidden by the case to protect your Pi in case it is dropped.

Overall this is a greatly quality case that is designed and built in the USA. It has a great simple design that makes your Raspberry Pi Zero look slim and elegant. If you are looking for a plain transparent Raspberry Pi Zero case then this is it.

Click here for more information about the Black Ice Raspberry Pi Zero Case

3. Wooden Raspberry Pi Zero Case

Wooden Raspberry Pi Zero Case

This Raspberry Pi Zero case is a made out of solid wood and gives your Pi a touch of class. It really makes the Pi look beautiful and elegant and makes you want to sip some Scotch as you assemble it. The wooden Raspberry Pi case will fit the newest Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3.  It is another one the classic sandwich cases and is easy to put together with just 4 screws on each corner. Even though this case fits the Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3, the camera connector sticks out slightly so keep that in mind.

The GPIO pins aren’t easy to access if you plan on using them, it is still possible but will require you talking the case apart for easier access. This case would be more practical if you plan on your your Zero as a media server or to install Kodi and use it to stream movies and shows. The Raspberry Pi Zero fits perfectly inside the case and will be protected with the wood surrounding it. The color of the case is stained and polished well and is very smooth to the touch.

This is a very elegant case and I definitely recommend it if you will not be using the GPIO pins. The quality of the case is very nice and feels high class and is worth the cost. This case will look really good on your entertainment system and will blend in or stick out looking classy. This Raspberry Pi Zero case is also made in the United States.

Click here for more information about the Wooden Raspberry Pi Zero Case

4. PiBow Raspberry Pi Zero Case

PiBow Raspberry Pi Zero Case

The PiBow case now comes to the Raspberry Pi Zero featuring 4 unique bright acrylic colors. Each individual piece is crafted from high quality acrylic and has a transparent top which allows you to see your Raspberry Pi Zero. The PiBow case for the Zero allows easy access to all the connections and the GPIO pins as well which is great if you intend on using the GPIO pins with this case. The case is also designed for the Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3 which will fit the camera connector and this case is not backwards compatible with the original Raspberry Pi Zero.

As stated earlier this case will allow you to access the GPIO pins with the case on but you will not be able to easily swap out the memory card once the case is assembled. The only way to access your memory card is to fully disassemble the case. This can become a neusense if you are backing up your SD card often but most of the time you can just leave the memory card inserted in your Raspberry Pi Zero with no issues and can backup your Zero remotely.

Overall this is a decent case to have especially if you have the other PiBow cases for your Raspberry Pi’s and want all your Pi’s to look uniform. The way the case is designed and held together with nylon nut’s I wouldn’t expect the case to protect my Raspberry Pi Zero from a fall. The acrylic itself will easily crack from a fall and could damage your Pi so don’t expect this case to protect your Pi Zero and simply use it just for style.

Click here for more information about the PiBow Raspberry Pi Zero Case

5. MakerSpot Raspberry Pi Zero Case

MakerSpot Raspberry Pi Zero Case

The MakerSpot Raspberry Pi Zero case is great if you plan on using the GPIO pins constantly and need easy access to the GPIO. The case has an imprint of the GPIO pin-out on the case itself so you don’t have to constantly check online for the Raspberry Pi Zero GPIO pin-out. The MakerSpot case is available in an assortment of colors as well and transparent colors so you have many choices to pick from.

Other then having the GPIO pin-out imprinted on the case the MakerSpot has nothing else to offer. The case is just a basic plastic case with an opening for the GPIO pins, if that is all you need then get this case since many of the Raspberry Pi Zero cases don’t have easy access to the GPIO pins. You will need to solder the GPIO header if you do plan on using the GPIO, as with any Zero. Rubber feet are included for the bottom of this case which is good when you are constantly using the pins and will keep the case from sliding around on your table.

Overall this is a basic Raspberry Pi Zero case which is useful and essential if you are constantly using the GPIO pins. Many cases for the Pi Zero are usually sandwiched together and you have no access to the connectors or GPIO pins, this case solves that issue.

Click here for more information about the MakerSpot Raspberry Pi Zero Case

How to backup the Raspberry Pi SD Card using Linux

Let’s face it, your hard drive will eventually fail and so will any storage device you own, especially something small like your Raspberry Pi SD card which not only can become corrupted but also lost if you use it outside your home transferring files at different locations. I am a big advocate of creating backups of your Raspberry Pi’s SD Card and create an image of the SD card that you can store on Google Drive or Dropbox.

I recently was using my Raspberry Pi as a server and had a ton of data and hours of software configurations that I have been using my Raspberry Pi for and during a thunderstorm the power got cut out, when power was restored and I booted up my server everything was corrupted and all my data was lost. If I had only created an image I would be able to insert a new SD card into my computer and restore my previously saved image and be back in business in 5 minutes.

Since all my computers in the house are running Linux I will be showing you how to create a backup image of your Raspberry Pi’s SD card and restoring your image back onto the SD card. The distro of Linux I am running is Linux Mint, which is a Debian Linux flavor. The steps for creating your Raspberry Pi image on Linux will work on all distributions of Linux since the command I will be using is a standard Linux command.


To create a backup image of the Raspberry Pi SD Card


You will need the following:

Instructions for Backing up the Raspberry Pi SD Card

Lets start off by opening a terminal window on your Linux computer. We will be able to do everything through the terminal window. Don’t put in your Raspberry Pi’s SD card into your computer yet, before putting in the SD card run the following command to display the amount of disk space available on our system. We really don’t care about the available disk space, what we will be looking for is all the partitions on our hard drive and we will be making note of what new partitions show up when we insert our Raspberry Pi SD card. Run the following command: Continue Reading