The Raspberry Pi has a lot of potential as a low cost automation and control processor. But getting one set up to use in a professional installation is a real hassle.
That’s why we decided to create a lightweight image to use as a starting point. Here is a quick look at what is currently included…
You can find the latest ControlPi image here…
A Lightweight Version of the Raspbian Operating System
Most users start with the NOOBS version of the Raspbian OS. This is a great way to get started, but it includes many features that will never be used for automation and control. It also includes some licensed software that you are probably not allowed to distribute.
That’s why we started with the Minibian image. It includes the Raspbian operating system without all the extras. There is no desktop and no video output. Which means the Raspberry Pi will use less power and boot up faster.
Node Package Manager
Node Package Manager gives you access to packages of reusable code. This will help AV programmers share programming modules that control specific devices with just a few keystrokes.
Node-RED is a drag and drop editor that makes it easy to get started with automation and control programming. Don’t believe me? Check out this demo starting at 1:30…
To quickly create user interfaces that can be used in any web browser
Read Only File System
The biggest reliability issue with the Raspberry Pi is when power is unexpectedly removed. When it is not shut down properly the SD card can get damaged. The operating system boots from the SD card, so if it is damaged – guess what? No control for you! ?
The way to make the Raspberry Pi rock solid is to make the file system read only. When a computer is running, you never really know what parts of memory are being used. A proper shutdown puts everything in the proper place first. But if that process does not happen (like when you just pull the plug), important pieces of data may be in the wrong place.
If a file system is set to read only, the computer knows not to mess around with it. So your data is safe and sound – even when not properly shut down.
“But how do I edit my programming?”, you may ask…
You can quickly switch back and forth between read-only and read-write modes with the Control Pi image.
ControlPi comes with SSH enabled so you have full access to the system. Because there is no desktop, ssh is currently the only way to make changes to the operating system.
A configuration web page is planned for a future release.
The default username is:
and the password is
Make sure you change that password right away…
DHCP is enabled by default. So make sure you have a DHCP server handy so the Raspberry Pi can get a good IP address. Once that is done, you can check out the video below to set a static IP if you like.
Some details may be different in the latest version than in the videos below…
If you have any issues or feature requests, please post them to the GitHub repository. (Github will only be used for tracking issues because the image exceeds their file size requirements).
Here are a few videos that cover the most common tasks to get started…