Saturday, January 25, 2014

Raspberry Pi: 8 LED & 8 Button breakout board

I picked up this interesting board from user 9030plc on eBay (visit store here). 

From the eBay description:

"Push your Pi ! 8 LED & 8 Button breakout board for your Raspberry Pi GPIO
Perfect way to learn how to use the GPIO pins.
Plugs into the Raspberry Pi GPIO connector.
Has eight bright green LED's and eight momentary switches.
For a more detailed discription see
For assembly and JAVA programing see
The normall connector sent mounts directly to the Raspberry Pi.
A box header is available at no charge but you must request it with your order.
Does not include Raspberry Pi or case. Requires assembly."

This would be a very good board for doing some beginner level programming without worrying about shorting things out on a breadboard.

I also found some other useful links concerning the board. Here are the vendors assembly instructions, but the ones above are more detailed. Here is a Python test program, but I find that the above program uses some advanced Python features that newbies may not understand.

Using ideas from it, I created this very simple Python test program that lights a led when the corresponding button is pushed, and should be very clear for the beginner.
Note to run the Python program above on out of the box Raspbian you need to install the module RPIO (which is an "advanced GPIO for the Raspberry Pi. Extends RPi.GPIO with PWM, GPIO interrups, TCP socket interrupts, command line tools and more"):

     $ sudo apt-get install python-setuptools
     $ sudo easy_install -U RPIO

IMHO this is not really a "beginners" soldering kit, you need a fine tip soldering iron (preferably temperature controlled), fine solder, good eyes and a steady hand. Some of the holes are very close and easy to create solder bridges across.

Eric Pierce VA3EP - See the Disclaimer in the Introduction

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