OctoPrint-TFT on a Raspberry Pi

octoprint-tft

So I have been seeing the new kid on the block pop up a lot recently, no not that shitty fucking band. This is a new “plugin” for the famous and awesome OctoPrint, OctoPi actually – OctoPrint-TFT. I have seen the screenshots and it is looking slick I must say. A while back I tried to use the OctoPrint TouchUI plugin and didn’t have much luck with it, in the end as the Pi I had at the time was a lower model and I just found the responsiveness just too slow. Plus this gives it a nice TFT feel like it was stock and meant to be. Le’s try it. I am gonna use the same waveshare 3.5″ LCD screen I had before but this time a newer Raspberry Pi 3B+. So I wont need a WiFi dongle this time either cause its built-in.

 

Parts used

  • Raspberry Pi 3 B+
  • Waveshare 3.5″ LCD TFT screen
  • A micro SD card of course
  • Power supply and cord for the Pi
  • USB cable to connect the Pi to the printer
  • A 3D printer lol
  • A computer with some sort of SSH program or a screen and keyboard/mouse to work directly off the Pi (might work I am not sure, I used a terminal on my mac and SSH’d into the Pi).

 

Let’s Party

Let’s follow the directions from the Github page and see what happens?

After installing a fresh copy of OctoPi v0.16 I started the Github directions.

 

The file is actually “/etc/octoprint-tft-environment” not the location.

sudo nano /etc/octoprint-tft-environment
(this tidbit copied form the github page)

The basic configuration is handled via environment variables, if you are using the .deb package you can configure it at /etc/octoprint-tft-environment.

  • OCTOPRINT_CONFIG_FILE – Location of the OctoPrint’s config.yaml file. If empty the file will be searched at the pi home folder or the current user. Only used for locally installed OctoPrint servers.
  • OCTOPRINT_HOST – OctoPrint HTTP address, example http://localhost:5000, if OctoPrint is locally installed will be read from the config file.
  • OCTOPRINT_APIKEY – OctoPrint-TFT expects an API key to be supplied. This API key can be either the globally configured one or a user specific one if “Access Control”. if OctoPrint is locally installed will be read from the config file.
  • OCTOPRINT_TFT_STYLE_PATH – Several themes are supported, and style configurations can be done through CSS. This variable defines the location of the application theme.
  • OCTOPRINT_TFT_RESOLUTION – Resolution of the application, should be configured to the resolution of your screen, for example 800x480. By default 480x320.

So go to the browser on your working machine that you use and go to the Pies IP address and go thru the OctoPrint setup fun. Once done grab an API key from the config menu on OctoPrint and lets edit that config file for the OctoPrint-TFT.

Do a find -name "config.yaml" on your Pi and you will find the location of yours. Add that to the config. Host should be http://localhost . The API you grabbed from the config menu slap that where it needs to go. I left the last two alone.

It has come a long way since the last time I tried to get this screen to work. This time its is really freaking easy!

This should install with the screen to boot with the bottom being the power plug, if you want it the other way do this instead

Reboot your Raspberry Pi and make sure you get video on your LCD.

If your screen is not rotated correctly with the above command still, do the following.

And change the line for your display to add :rotate=270 as shown below

The Pi rebooted after downloading some files and holy shit! The screen is working, well it showed the boot up sequence and a login prompt. Let’s get touch working and the desktop.

sudo reboot

Let’s see?

Boot up sequence and…login prompt. Ugh. sudo raspi-config to desktop? That loads and wants lightdm, so no. TFT wants xserver, so its gonna get xserver. Lets Google and I mead Reddit. Google didn’t have shit, too new still. Found it.

Let’s try this.

He has an extras step after installing OctoPrint-TFT.

Lastly we need to remove the 99-fbturbo.conf file from our Xorg directory he says.

Now on reboot OctoPrint-TFT should load and start attempting to connect says he?

Fucken eh right it did! If you see the Octoprint image but the error says

Unexpected error: Get /api/connection: unsupported protocol scheme

As mentioned earlier I found out on the Github issues page it was mentioned there to add “http://” to the config file instead of just localhost. So make sure you did that.

If you see the “Connecting to OctoPrint” and it never goes away, don’t wait too long! It simply means it has no connection to a 3D printer at that moment. You MUST plug it in for the TFT to do its job and actually work. Incredibly confusing I know. Hopefully they’ll fix that soon, and change the message soon.

After playing with it for a few minutes (no actual printing done) I find it pretty neat, and may possibly use it in the future if my LCD screen ever loses functionality for some reason. I could disable the control boxes screen lets say and enable more features in Marlin, after I did upgrade my firmware. But I am not too sure. Requiring the tethered connection to the Pi is a drawback for me, thats way more plugs sticking out of a screen than I would like. If I had the 7″ screen to hide the goop maybe, but this wasn’t designed for those. It was perfect size on the 480×320 I ave.

Or if I do some crazy new board installed over the Melzi and I don’t have a screen. I could use this. I wanted to try Klipper out and that loses the screen but I don’t think there is support for it just yet. I am not willing to try it out at this point in time.

But that was my trick to get OctoPrint-TFT to work on my Waveshare 3.5″ TFT screen and Raspberry Pi 3 B+. Hope it helps.

 

The perfect Raspberry Pi enclosure

The perfect Raspberry Pi enclosure

There are many and I mean many Raspberry Pi cases out there. Fucking tons. There are a few great ones and a lot of mediocre ones. I came across a pretty good one. It is a great case and not just because it looks cool. It’s actually function-able. The case is designed to fit a VESA monitor mount. So if you have a TV or monitor on a stand you could bolt this to the rear and bam!. The holes are also great for general purpose mounting. The case is designed slightly different than all the others out there. There is NO CUTOUT for the micro USB power plug. We don’t use it here. This case has room for a DC-DC buck converter. Available on Amazon, eBay and all over. Standard part.

We take a nice big fat power source like 12v DC 3A and knock it down to 5.1v DC for the Pi. Then we wire that output directly to the Pies GPIO pins for 5v and GND. This works great, a nice fat stable power source. And the bricks are far easier to get a hold of then a 3A 5v USB plug. I have tons of them lying around.

DC-DC Buck Converter

 

We take the barrel plug and solder in a diode to the source side of the DC-DC buck converter. We take the output and apply that to the power GPIO pins for 5v and GND. Then we take a LED and wire in a 330ohm resistor and connect that to GND and GPIO 14 (UART TXD). Heres the trick to get the GPIO pin to follow the Pies power up and power down cycle. So the LED will turn off when the Pi is safe to unplug.

Edit your /boot/config.txt file and add the following line:

enable_uart=1

Thats it, now the LED will light when powered on and it will shutoff when it is safe to unplug the Pi. If you wish to use a different pin other than 14 you can follow this guide over here.

The case

Heres the thingy for my modified version of the case. The original calls for brass inserts for the screws, which is awesome I just don’t use them. So I remixed the files to use standard M3 screws. No more brass inserts. I also increased the depth of the lid. My jumper wires were hitting the top of the  lid and preventing me from closing it. No I have plenty of room fire wires and jumpers.

My Remixed Case

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2956874

Original Version

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2286741

 

Creating a mini NES with a Raspberry Pi

Mini NES RetroPie
Mini NES RetroPie
Mini NES RetroPie

It all started with the Nintendo Classic craze. I had a friend that was rambling about one the other day. I mentioned that I could totally make him one but better because it would emulate more than just Nintendo. Enter RetroPie. I was looking at putting the bill of materials together and thinking of cases for the mini NES, then I realized why not just print one! So BAM and BAM.

 

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1887826 
then this https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2011955 

Then this for giggles
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1710104

 

Here’s what we are doing

  1. Flashing RetroPie to an SD card for a Raspberry Pi
  2. Soldering header pins to the RUN pin holes on the RPi
  3. Soldering wires to some push buttons
  4. Soldering some wires to an LED
  5. 3D Printing a mini NES case for the RPi
  6. 3D Printing a bracket for the NES case
  7. Glueing push buttons, LED and bracket into the printed case
  8. Wiring the LED and buttons to the RPi
  9. Testing it all

 

Here’s what you need

  1. Raspberry Pi (save yourself a headache, get a RPi 3!)
  2. RPi power supply MINIMUM of 2.5A!
  3. SD card 8gb+ class 10
  4. HDMI cable
  5. USB keyboard
  6. Network cable (even though the RPi 3 has wifi you will at least need to do the initial wifi setup with a LAN connection)
  7. A 3D Printer to print the case and the bracket
  8. (2) push buttons
  9. (2) male header pins
  10. Super glue and hot glue
  11. (1) red LED
  12. (1) 100 ohm resistor
  13. (6) pieces of jumper wire with connections (you can cut some in half if long enough)

 

Whats Up

I will assume you have a network connection (non wifi) a USB keyboard a TV or Monitor or tv with an HDMI connection and that you have active internet. You will need to know how to solder, and be somewhat comfortable with a terminal and hopefully the Linux environment. I also assume you have and know how to use a 3D printer. I will also assume that you know and are comfortable with Raspberry Pies. Lots of ASSumptions.

This post is not designed as a how to install RetroPie but more of a how to get RetroPie installed and create the scripts for shutdown the Pi and lighting the LED, then you can follow the first install guide by RetroPie to get you going with the actual RetroPie software.

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I am not responsible for any damage that may happen to you, your computer, or your Raspberry Pi etc. Take this adventure at your own risk.

My OctoPrint (nightmare) Setup

octoPrint

While I was digging around for 3D printer stuff I came across OctoPrint (and OctoPi). OctoPrint acts as a print server for your printer. So you don’t have to do the SD card shuffle anymore, or waste a power hungry x86 for the task. My printer is not in the same room as my computers so this works a treat. Also, it allows you to monitor the entire process. It also supports a camera to watch the build. Perfect, I have a RPi camera available. I also found a tutorial to allow OctoPrint to support turning relays off and on to control other stuff (lights, the printer itself, etc…).

(Stay with me, this post is a little erratic)

I followed this and it helped me a lot: http://www.joemiketerranella.com/post/158553998358/octoprint4

If you have a cheap eBay Raspberry Pi LCD module you will most likely need to go here http://www.waveshare.com/wiki/3.5inch_RPi_LCD_(A)

For my 3.5″ Inch “RPi LCD” I needed this: wget http://www.waveshare.com/w/upload/7/74/LCD-show-170309.tar.gz sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade  (needed to get 109mb)

Install the driver and it toggles the mode to LCD display: Note: The Raspberry Pi must be connected to the network, or else the touch won’t work properly for some reason.

Your screen should pop on to show the command line, I also got booted from my SSH session, closed by remote host – as the Pi rebooted.

The OctoPi images runs off Jessie Lite, so there is no GUI which fucking sucks, so we need to install one.

Install lightdm (needed 222mb in downloads)

sudo apt-get install lightdm sudo raspi-config

Boot Options > boot go desktop and login as ‘pi’.

Fuck didn’t work.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=133691

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xserver-xorg sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xinit sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods  (needed to get 140mb, 315mb used…Jesus…)

try again to…

sudo apt-get install lightdm

startx without lightdm

no go… Fuck.

https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/43847/startx-command-not-found

startx……ok? tossed errors. Lets reboot. pixman.

./scripts/install-desktop  …. didn’t work either.

Black screen and cursor… ugh damn it all. Nothing but fucking grief… Damn you Jessie Lite, and damn you for removing the GUI guts, and while I’m at it damn you OctoPrint for not having the GUI shit either…

https://github.com/foosel/OctoPrint/wiki/Setup-on-a-Raspberry-Pi-running-Raspbian

Use the image that works with the screen, that i still have or ? Well the image is Wheezy so shit, nope. Lets try a new install of Raspbian on a SD card, then add the video driver. Will we get a desktop?

So Jessie (full) and lets try the newest drivers for the screen this time?

I finally got it fucking working, and I am not happy that it took this long, and I am not happy with the unit as a whole. Most likely because I m using an RPiB2 maybe? I have also tried a RPiB and that was soooo fucking slow… to the point it was unusable with a touch screen. Might have been ok for just the OctoPrint server but I didn’t even try it I switched back to the B2 immediately.

So… load the OctoPi image (Jessie lite bastards) and once that is done, do the LCD show bullshit… it should reboot and give you a desktop…

Now the god damn camera wont work…I tried the B no go, tried the B2 no go. Tried the B2 again wtf? Oh maybe I should enable the camera via raspi-config?….wtf no where does it mention that, not anywhere… after i found a forum post saying to enable the camera it finally fucking worked…wtf guys.

Now another fucking problem… the browser. Chromium wont load, requires a kernel upgrade or some bullshit… dude wtf, I just downloaded your “complete” image. Complete my ass, I have to do extra shit then it ain’t fucking complete. Epiphany works but no supports for kiosk mode. Jesus…

Is this fucking worth it??

On top of that I hear transferring files via wifi to the SD card is horribly slow. Most people seem to just stick to using the SD card and use the screen on the printer… all for touch control and a camera…gah.

Three fucking days….solid days so far… trying to get this bullshit working.

So to get chromium to work I had to upgrade the kernel, rpi update….

Which broke the fucking LCD screen….fuck this shit. I give up. I’m going back to square one. reflashing the SD card with OctoPi (Jessie lite) enabling the camera and leaving it as is..no touch screen.

I feel depressed now, and lost three days of my life. Dont make the same mistake… or buy an official RPi screen and a new RPi 3. I would actually recommend a 7″, as the 3.5 is way too small. It doesn’t even fill the whole screen.

 

(Update: this shit was a pain in my ass. I turned out just flashing a straight copy of OctoPi to the card and running it as is. And to correct my mi-information, OctoPrint allows you to transfer files to the Pi or the printer SD card. Going to the Pi is fast, the printers SD card is where it takes FOREVER. Just don’t do it.)

 

Static IP on a Raspberry Pi running Jessie

Raspberry Pi

I know this is out there already in the Googlesphere, this post is more for me in the future than it is for you. I have a few Raspberry Pies and I like to run static IPs. It just makes things easier and I like having my network “all fancy”.

I went to setup a static IP the other day and it wasn’t working. I rebooted a few times until I figured out something was up. In my Googling I found out that the standard linux way of assigning a static IP address won’t work with the new version of Jessie for a Raspberry Pi. They made some updates and the old configuration now gets ignored. So editing the interfaces at  /etc/network/interfaces is a no go. I mean you can, but it’s pointless. Not to worry the new way is just as easy as before it is just located in a different file now. Now you need to edit  /etc/dhcpcd.conf, and the way you set the address is slightly different.

The old way of doing things:

And the new way of doing things:

It has become a little easier if you ask me, you just need to know where the new file to edit is.

All thanks to this page:
https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2016/setting-static-ip-address-raspbian-jessie-lite-on-raspberry-pi