I’ve always been one to tinker with technology. This goes as far back as to when I was a kid modding my gaming consoles, trying to push them to do things they’re not made to do. My favourite will always be the PSP TV remote – a tool someone made using the IR blaster to turn TVs on or off. I’ve had my fare share of pranks pulled with that.
As I got older, modding gaming consoles moved to computers, where I’ve taught myself how to code and take this to the next level hobby.
When I discovered the Raspberry Pi, my mind was blown at how open it is and the unlimited possibilities.
I’ve always been a fan of Kiosk styled info boards that display information to the public. It’s such a great way to get the information quickly. I’ve decided to go ahead and build my own for my kitchen!
Planning – Part 1
When I was originally planning this project, I wanted to code my own tool in Vue.js and using Chromium’s Kiosk feature. As cool as that would be, it would take a lot of time to get it right without any bugs. Instead, I’ve decided to go with Dakboard. It already provides all the tools I wanted and is really easy to manage.
Besides the Raspberry Pi, I’ll obviously need other components. For testing, I’m going to use a 32GB micro SD card. I know, it’s probably overkill, but I’d like to see if this works and if it does, copy the image over to an 8GB card that hasn’t been used in ages.
Next is the screen. I’m a huge tech junky and luckily have a few old monitors sitting around collecting dust. I decided to go with a 24″ Acer Monitor.
I also really like the idea of having some sort of sensor to turn the screen one if motion is detected. I’ve decided to go with the HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor from Elegoo. I’ll also need a breadboard to test, and the necessary cables. I’ll probably keep it pretty open and won’t solder anything. I’ll just need to order some mini breadboards to use for this project.
Building – Part 1
Preparing the Monitor
Now that I kind of figured out the basics, I wanted to start by checking the structure of the monitor. I wanted to get an idea of what I was working with before I starting drawing out blueprints.
Being the first time I’ve deconstructed a monitor, I was a little worried I would tear wear a cable doing it. Luckily it was as easy as just unscrewing the screws on the back and prying the front frame off. The screen and components on the back just lifted right up!
It looks like there’s lots of space on the back to stick the Raspberry Pi, breadboard and power bar!
After getting a look at the back, I figured I would use the plastic shell as a temporary holder for the screen. I plugged everything in and created my Dakboard account.
I personally want to have the dashboard in portrait landscape. Because this isnt as easy as just rotating the device like a smartphone, the changes had to be done manually. I updated the Raspberry Pi config and rotated the screen 270 degrees. First I pulled up the config.txt file from the terminal:
sudo nano /boot/config.txt
Then added the following line of code to the bottom of the file to rotate the display 270 degrees:
Next I needed to get Chromium to start fullscreen. It has a mode called “Kiosk Mode” which allows this to happen easily. I opened the autostart file:
sudo nano /home/pi/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart
Then added the following lines to the bottom:
@xset s off @xset -dpms @xset s noblank @chromium-browser --kiosk https://dakboard.com/app
And that’s it! Rebooted and everything rotated and booted as planned!
And that’s it for today! The best part about this is that the majority of the work on the software side is complete. Next I’ll be creating some blueprints and figure out how I’m going to get the sensor working.
See you next time!