Archive for July, 2015

PiDroidAlpha & RoboPi = same Python API

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Ok, I can’t sit on this any longer.

Pi Droid Alpha @

(Click on image for larger version)

The Pi Droid Alpha Python API is 99% compatible with the RoboPi Python API !!!

This means that you can have a mixture of Pi Droid Alpha and RoboPi based Raspberry Pi robots, and the Python programs you write will work on either platform!

Ok, there are some limitations, due to the different architecture of RoboPi and Pi Droid Alpha, however as long as you keep your servos, PWM outputs, and ultrasonic sensors on pins 0-7, your programs will run the same on both controllers.

This limitation is due to Pi Droid Alpha only having eight servo/PWM/ping capable FlexIO pins with an additional 16 digital I/O only pins, whereas RoboPi has 24 FlexIO pins (made possible by RoboPi’s eight core 32 bit RISC co-processor)

Some of the API may seem a bit familiar to you:

pinMode(), digitalRead(), digitalWrite(), analogRead(), analogWrite(), servoRead() and servoWrite()

along with some less familiar additions like readMode(), readDistance() and more.

readDistance() is not implemented on Pi Droid Alpha yet… however I am working on it.

Elf RoboPi + Raspberry Pi Robot @Mikronauts

(RoboPi based Elf robot – click on image for larger version)

Related Links

Pi Droid Alpha Build Manual v0.80 is now available

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

I’ve uploaded v0.80 of the Pi Droid Alpha manual to the product page.

Pi Droid Alpha @

(Click on image for a larger version)

Please click here to go to the Pi Droid Alpha product page.

I am currently working on the Pi Droid Alpha User Manual, which will include some demo code.

I expect to publish the User Manual on or before August 2, 2015

Great soldering & de-soldering videos

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

One of my customers asked if I had some instructional videos for soldering and de-soldering.

Pi Droid Alpha @

Before starting to make videos myself, I thought I’d check YouTube … I thought there should be some good videos there.

I was right! After going through a bunch of videos, I found these videos by CuriousInventor that will be very helpful to those new to soldering:

How to Solder Electronics

How to Desolder Through-Hole Parts, Why Some Joints are Difficult

I liked his videos enough to make this post and subscribe to his YouTube channel.

(I am NOT getting paid or compensated in any way for this post… I just liked his videos and wanted to share)

SATA and the Raspberry Pi 2

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Users new to the Raspberry Pi 2 often want to add extra storage, leading to questions along the lines of “How can I add a SATA hard drive to a Raspberry Pi?” being asked on the forums. Raspberry Pi 2 USB hard drive and adapter tests

Today I wrote a short article explaining how you can – and how you cannot – add a SATA hard drive to the Raspberry Pi.

Link: How can I add a SATA hard drive to a Raspberry Pi?

Hardkernel Odroid-XU4 Launched

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Hardkernel launched their new Odroid-XU4 – basically a cost reduced, and slightly faster, version of their Odroid-XU3

Odroid XU4

(click on image for larger version – image courtesy of

The Odroid-XU4 is a great looking little board, and comes with a heasink, fan, and 5V 4A DC adapter.

For more details, please see the Hardkernel Odroid-XU4 Preview