One of most searched topic from internet regarding Raspberry PI is about projects to realize. Many of these results bring you to simple lists linking to not tested procedures. In this post I’m going to summarize the best projects I have personally tested with Raspberry PI Foundation boards.
Quite all projects are detailed with every step (from SD card preparation) to accomplish successfully, so also beginners can use them with no problems.
My suggestion, is starting from direct operating system installation (flashing it on SD card) and avoiding Noobs installation, because I’d some problems with latter one when moving to bigger storage.
Interfacing External Devices
GPIOs allow Raspberry PI to interface an infinite world of external devices (motors, sensors, etc). Some of these devices are pretty simple to manage. With Python, they can be used to make complex projects requiring interaction between environment and digital world. Raspberry PI can also control and program Arduino (see Arduino vs Raspberry PI for differences).
- Control a simple stepper motor with a Raspberry PI
- Control a servo motor (sg90) using Raspberry PI
- Using Raspberry PI with DHT11 temperature and humidity sensor
- Control a 7 segment display from Raspberry PI
- Control a 4-digit 7-segment display from Raspberry PI
- Control a ultrasonic distance sensor with Raspberry PI
- Connecting Raspberry PI to Arduino via terminal
This is a must in all best Raspberry PI projects lists. The simplest and most spread use of Raspberry PI involves this powerful micro board into creating a complete Media Centre. This projects can be accomplished with a lot of forms of the best open source Media Centre available today: Kodi. The 2 best versions are, in my opinion, OSMC (previously known as XBMC) and OpenELEC, both based on kodi. Below the links to respective guide pages:
A second way to use Raspberry PI in a creative way is to mine cryptocoins. This is surely not the way to get rich, but this can help you to better understand cryptocoins world and how blockchain works:
Containers opened a new world to developers, making very easy and fast the applications deploy. With Raspberry PI this turns also in a great opportunity in realizing micro-services that you can easily test, upgrade, edit and delete. You can choose to use standard operating system (Raspberry PI OS) or optimized OS thinked specifically for containers like RancherOS
A simple test case to realize how easy is Docker running on Raspberry PI, can be done with this very simple project. With MotionEye you will setup a complete video surveillance system that can be accomplished in a few minutes after having docker installed. MotionEye allows to collect images from Raspberry PI camera module or IP cameras distributed in you environment to one single dashboard, also setting warnings or commands (like python scripts) to execute when motion event is detected. Containarized MotionEye software is installed with a single docker run command.
A useful way to have complete control of your website is personally managing the host where it resides. With this guide you can use your 30$ board instead of paying a webhost provider and is really useful for people wanting to start a new blog. This works greatly also on PI Zero!
Private email server
This is my favorite experience because this proves how powerful Raspberry PI is. A complete server able to receive and send emails in your home, with a web interface. This guide helps you to install all parts needed, as the MTA (mail Trasfer Agent), MUA (Mail User Agent) and mail boxes stored in simple system files.
Open Source Postfix, Dovecot and Squirrelmail are setup in this tutorial, showing also basic configuration for a starting environment able to expose webmail console and exchange emails with external services.
Raspberry PI as WiFI Hotspot
Sometimes old routers could not have an integrated WiFi adapter. With this guide you can easily setup a WiFi hotspot thus expandig home network, by connecting RPI to router and enabling a powerful WLAN network. I’ve preferred a DietPi installation, since it allows to use a very lightweight operating system and simplify installation with it dietpi-software terminal command. This project requires PI models with ethernet port, because you need to separe interface collecting client traffic (wi-fi) from interface deputed to connect internet (ethernet with cable to router).
Remote Printing Server For Your 3D Printer
Makers perfectly know the importance of controlling 3D prints even while a job is in progress. Print monitoring can help in stopping models that could be going to waste filament and allows to edit temperature paramenters on the way. With Raspberry Pi and OctoPrint it is a very simple work and also allows to see from a camera how job is progressing:
Need a personal space to store your files protecting your privacy? Dou you want something like Google Drive made with home hardware? So, Nextcloud on Raspberry PI could be your final solution.
Private Streaming Server
Raspberry PI can be used as a simple PC, connected to speakers, to reproduce your favourite music. But if you want to stay one step forward, you must try Emby: the open media solution that brings your personal media on any device. In this tutorial, I show how to install Emby, configure and external USB storage (is your sd card is not enought big) and access your dashboard for managing your configuration and library.
Control Stepper Motors to Make Your Robot
Stepper motors are simple and cheap motors able to perform very precise rotations and movements. For this reason they are very common in DIY hobbyists and makers community. They are the base for every robotic project and home automation moving devices.
This post explain how to interface a stepper motor from your single-board computer (with detailed wiring diagram to GPIO) and control it from wi-fi by executing simple python code. Even if the tutorial is made with a Pi Zero W, it is appliable as is to all PI boards.
Configure Microphone or Bluetooth Devices
Many projects, like Home Automation system ones which need to activate a voice control, include using external audio devices like USB Microphone or bluetooth headset or speakers. These two tutorials are not real stand-alone projects, but they are typical topics, not well documented in the web, which can save lives from wasting time in searches and tests:
Proxy servers are useful systems which are put in the middle of communications between user browser and internet. They are very common in medium to big companies because they allows to control internet traffic from their employees to prohibited websites or domains. In home environments, they are commonly used to avoid kids browsing risky domains. Raspberry PI perfectly fits this usage because software usually require very low CPU and RAM usage.
Tor (The Onion Routers) Proxy
Also this project gives you a way to realize your own proxy. But this one will allow you joining the TOR network. This is a special routers network, made by volunteers aiming to give internet users the freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities unmonitored. It is mostly used from people living in countries where Governments are particularly restrictive in communication and expression freedom. Also for this purpose Raspberry PI computer is the best solution for its very low power consumption.
Private Chat and Messaging Server
Chats are spreading around the world. People use them daily to stay connected with parents and friends. Companies use them to get suppliers and teams instantly aligned. But common chat services can lead to privacy concerns since external companies retain all your chat data and profile on its servers. With Rocket chat (installed via Snapd to get latest version) you can easiyly create your own chat server to share your conversations with friends and collegues, hosting all data in your small and cheap linux device.
Okay, hotel management is a complex jobs and requires a world of services. But Qloapps can be a great resource, expecially for those small businesses needing to stay on budget. It is free, so you can use and modify it.
With Qloapps you can manage rooms assignment, booking and payments. If you will use it for your business, you probably will need some precautions by assuring some system administration basic actions (like, for example, backup).
This tutorial will explain all actions to make it ready (from web server setup to qloapps installation.
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