Big Mouth Billy Bass meets Raspberry Pi Pico W

We definitely have a soft spot for Big Mouth Billy Bass projects. Over the years, we’ve seen countless hacks of the animatronic aquatic, the majority using our board to retrofit Billy with Amazon Alexa, or rig the fish to sing and dance along with streaming music. So it should come as no surprise that we were bream-ing with delight to see the fin-tastic Kevin McAleer seize the oppor-tuna-ty to introduce Billy to our new Raspberry Pi Pico W in his latest livestream.

…cod-sider this the last of the fish puns.

Introducing Pico W to Billy

To hook Billy’s electronics up to a Raspberry Pi Pico W, Kevin removed the original wiring and controller board, replacing them with two H-Bridges to control Billy’s three motors.

A screenshot from Kevin's livestream video showing an illustration of the Raspberry Pi Pico W connected to two H-Bridge motor controllers and a 9v battery.

He then wrote a MicroPython class to give easy access to the pins that control particular motors in Billy’s various fishy moving parts, and html code so that visitors to his Pico W’s website can control Billy from a distance – the best way to experience Big Mouth Billy Bass.

A screenshot of the project's website showing a livestream of Big Mouth Billy Bass fish on Kevin's workbench, and buttons to control the various motors

It’s crazy, right? It’s a microcontroller!

Yes, you read that correctly. A Raspberry Pi Pico W microcontroller web server facing the internet, allowing visitors to control Billy remotely.

To make that possible, unlike the webserver example we showed on the blog a few weeks back, Kevin’s Big Mouth Billy Bass uses the uasyncio module — an asynchronous I/O scheduler — to enable the multiple clients to make connections to the server without blocking. If you want to learn more about asynchronous servers, there’s an example in section 3.9.9 of our Connecting to the internet with Raspberry Pi Pico W book.

What’s next for Billy?

Future iterations of the project will also include sound, and we’re already wondering what use we might have for our own singing and dancing Big Mouth Billy Bass at Pi Towers.

To discover the full ins and outs of the project, we definitely recommend watching Kevin’s livestream.

Support Kevin McAleer

When it comes to fun Raspberry Pi hacks and informative computing livestreams, Kevin is a pro. Kevin releases new content every single Sunday, and you can support his efforts by liking and subscribing to him on YouTube, and following him on Twitter.

Your daily Billy Bass fact

Visitors to Little Rock, Arkansas can go and see the Billy Bass Adoption Centre, where more than 300 animatronic singing fish have gone to retire. We’re not sure if you can actually adopt a Billy Bass from their wall, or whether this is more of a final resting place for our fishy friends, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. Plus, you get free food with every donation.

A photo of the Billy Bass Adoption Center in Little Rock, Arkansas

1 comment

Romilly Cocking avatar

We should definitely support McAleer, but some of your puns might be a bit out of plaice.

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