Raspberry Pi – AOID HARDWARE – Always on Information Display, the hardware needed
A Monitor – Not much on the way of particulars. As long as the monitor can support HDMI, DVI, or VGA. A hand-me-down monitor, or repaired monitor will do just fine. Actually, a hack job monitor helps with the vibe. It doesn’t really matter what the resolution is, just as long as the damn thing works. It can be a TV, a monitor that you’re currently using (and want a screen killer). $50 – or free
A Raspberry Pi – For this we will be using a Model B Raspberry Pi. However, this could easily be done with a Beagle Board or any other of the small pocket computer variants. $40
Power Supply – The easiest mistake for a newb to raspberry pi is to choose a poor power supply. You want to make sure you have one of the high quality ones. Otherwise everything will randomly stop working for no reason, oh wait… it’s the power supply. $7-$15
SD Card – The minimum is a 4 GB card of class 4 or greater. Anything above that will do. The preferred card for this project is a 8 GB or greater card, as some of the things won’t work properly without an 8 GB card. It is absolutely necessary to have a speed class of 4 or greater. Below this there are problems. $10
Ethernet Connection (temporary if wifi) – Just an ethernet connection of sorts. It’s not always possible to get your raspberry pi to connect to the wifi without fiddling with it first. It may be that you don’t want to connect via wifi. If you want to control the thing, you’re going to need either a wired or wireless connection. $0
Wifi Dongle (optional) – There are places to get various levels of feedback on the dozens of different types of dongles out there. You just need one that works. Some are better for distance, some are better for scanning, etc. It doesn’t matter if it’s the cheap one, it just has to work correctly. $5-$10
HDMI to VGA converter and a VGA cord (depending) – Taking into account that most monitors (especially older ones) only have VGA or DVI inputs, you might need to connect to the monitor using the VGA connector on the monitor. If there is just a VGA connection on the monitor you’re probably going to have to spring for a converter. An HDMI to VGA converter is a rare item that will be a little more expensive than the HDMI to DVI converter. Be careful on your selection of HDMI to VGA converter because it may not work. $8
HDMI to DVI converter and a DVI-D cord (depending) – If the plan is to hook up to a monitor that has a DVI-D or DVI-I connector, then be careful that the DVI is digital. The HDMI output from the Pi will only send Digital, and if the DVI cord or plug is analog, nothing is going to get through to the monitor. $4
HDMI or RCA cable – The lucky ones among us will have either an HDMI or RCA input on their monitor. In this case all that is needed is a simple cord of the appropriate variety.
3.5mm Cord (optional) – If you are lucky, your monitor may have speakers. To hook up to them you will need a male-male 3.5mm cord. The shorter the better.
Motion Sensor (optional) – For the more advanced crew.
- USB Keyboard
- USB Mouse
- Wire cutters
- Electrical tape
- soldering gun (with solder)
It may take some time to strategize about how your hardware will all go together. I guarantee you will end up reassembling it after everything is working, so just hook it all together willy nilly and make sure the thing works before any grandiose plans involving screws, nails, wood, or epoxy. Set up all the wires and hardware and plug it in.