What was your first Raspberry Pi project?

Quick and simple blog post today: what was your first Raspberry Pi project? Or, if you’ve yet to enter the world of Raspberry Pi ownership, what would you like to do with your Raspberry Pi once you get one?

Answer in the comments below, or on Twitter using #MyFirstRaspberryPi. Photos aren’t necessary, but always welcome (of the project, not of, like, you and your mates in Ibiza circa 2001).

Share your story to receive ten imaginary house points (of absolutely no practical use, but immense emotional value) and a great sense of achievement looking at how far you’ve come.

80 comments

David avatar

My first project was Kodi (XBMC at the time). I used a Raspberry Pi Model B+. I now have 3 Raspberry Pi Model B+, 2 Pi 2s, 2 Pi 3s, and 1 Pi 4.

Misel avatar

My first Pi project was a “traffic light” for JIRA tickets. If there was an incident on a project my team was responsible for the light would turn red, once it was in progress in turned yellow, and lastly, green on completion.

It was not an actual traffic light but three colored Neon Tubes so it looked really futuristic.

silas avatar

first GPIO project was chess timer using Berryclip board followed by Turing machine from Cambridge Uni site

First programming project – wrote code to execute effectively tetration with input base, power and height of power tree

Lee avatar

My first Pi project was an audio player that ran mpd to play music from my digital music collection. I wrote a small web-based frontend to control it. I built it on an original Pi model B and it is still running strong today!

That just started the obsession :) In fact, all the projects on my website and youtube channel so far are Pi projects. So thanks for a wonderful, capable, affordable platform to play with!

Eli avatar

I spent a lot of time trying to build a case for it with cooling both active and passive.

W. H. Heydt avatar

My first “project” was pretty dull, I’m afraid. It was a data entry workstation for a convention registration system. That started with 256MB Model B Pis and has been upgraded to 1GB Pi2Bv1.1 boards…6 of them.

My second project is probably more interesting. Also started with a 256MB Model B. It’s an “alarm clock”. Over the years it has been upgraded to a Pi2Bv1.1, A Hifiberry DAC HAT, and an RPF 7″ touchscreen. My wife loves the ability to look over at it and read off the metadata for what’s playing. I love the ability to see what time it is when I wake up in the middle of the night, even with the back light set down to 15.

Andrew Kenny avatar

My first Rasbperry pi project was for my final year project at uni.

I was lucky enough to get one of the raspberry pies that came with an element 14 T-shirt (one of the first 10,000 maybe)

Anyway. My final year project was split into 2 parts.

Part 1 was to implement a integer only neural network on an FPGA.

Parg 2 was to train it, and I chose to use the raspberry pi to transmit weights and delays to the FPGA, and receive errors in return using the SPI bus.

While definalty reinventing the wheel, I developed a genetical algorythm in C on the PI.

I don’t know if I had one of the initial mass release of the raspberry pi. but I do know that I was among the first to use a Rasberry pi for their University project.

Luigi Morelli avatar

My first project was a digital thermometer, using the sensor DS18B20, in the late June 2016. I learned how to interface sensors using the GPIO, and how to read their special files using a shell.
The project also set the starting point of my activity as a tech blogger, and I’m really proud of it.
The article and the blog site is provided as a show-and-tell proof.

scruss avatar

Mine was controlling the house lights using X10 in August 2012. I’ve just decommissioned that system (including the 256 MB Model B) and replaced it with an IKEA Trådfri network.

My second project was The Quite Rubbish Clock in early 2013. Let’s just say that my blog got more traffic that week than it has had in total since 2003 …

Rick Zitzmann avatar

My first project was a nature watch camera using a Pi 0W. We have not been able yet to get a picture of that shy Bobcat that visits my daughter’s back yard in the Seattle area. We do have plenty pictures of Deer.

Hauke avatar

My first serious project deserving that name was the control for my venetian window blinds, sporting “classic” control via buttons in the living room, via web interface, via timer and also monitoring the wind to pull them up in storm.

Hayman avatar

My first project was ambi light with video grabber,after that domoticz last smart mirror

Paul Roney avatar

I bought my first pi in 2014, along with a camera, and used it to gather photos from our cottage. It was a brand new model B with 256mb memory. It runs 365 days a year in sub-zero temperatures on a ups to help protect the sd card from being affected by power interruptions. I just replaced it with a model 3, and am now collecting other camera data from ESP32-CAM modules located outside. Still a big fan of the little board from Cambridge!

Colin Tinker avatar

My first project was a 1-wire servern using owfs and a thermostat to control the heating. it no longer exists unfortunately because we have a smart thermostat and new boiler fitted last year.

David Titzer avatar

My first project was a web server displaying RRDTOOL graphs for several smokeping targets. I had smokeping set up to ping something on my internal wifi (a smart TV), my outer-ring router (FiOS), something inside my outer-ring FiOS network, like the DVR box, and the Google DNS IP. It’s not running any more, because I have a new FiOS router, have new firmware on my internal router, and everything works reliably now. That pi is now my PiHole server.

William Clark avatar

My first project was a Raspberry PI 3 to set up a FlightAware SDR receiver as an ADB-S plane location web server on the Pi I connect to on my home network. I use this to see private and airline planes in real-time direct from overhead planes transmitting ADS-B (position) information. Planes in my area are overlayed onto a web page graphic map with their speed, altitude, climbing or descending, tail information, pics of the type of aircraft, and other information. Software is free. I run the Pi continuously. Very interesting in my area near SLC! Fascinating. Great project!

Daniel Ramos avatar

An electronic keylocker cabinet, with rfid identification and 3.5″ touchscreen. Using CanBus and 1 wire for the keyfobs.
First prototype in 2014 could hold 32 keys, last unit made holds 1088 keys. I still have the first batch raspberry that we used for the prototype.

Tche Leao avatar

My wife purchased a 2012 Prius plugin, but charge management software was sold in separate package for around US$ 5K (which, I found too expensive for a easy thing).
I used the original PI + ECS1030(current sensor) + MCP3002 (A/D Converter) + LTC1966 (RMS to DC Converter) + Python to send email when charge was complete.
Later upgraded to PI ZeroW with same hardware and Python3 to send text.

Joseph Dix avatar

My first project was using python to control 32 relays via i2c and mcp23017. See it here… https://youtu.be/m83UdW67hVY

ameyring avatar

I can’t remember exactly which came first, there were three early ones:
– used lightshowpi to run a light show for my daughter’s birthday party with a mix of 80s and modern music
– used Minecraft-pi and Python to program Minecraft cakes with friends’ names on them for sharing images with them on their birthdays on Facebook
– tried out an IR sensor to capture pictures of my pets as they came to the water bowl and stored the pictures in Dropbox (plan to do the same for my front door now that we have a growing package thief issue)

surendra avatar

Cloud computing
Mobile fingerprint verification

Owen avatar

My first project was a raspberry pi 3 which ran a couple z wave lights in Home Assistant

Craig avatar

My first project was home assistant for my Christmas lights

Dan T. avatar

OSMC for me. Had a NAS that couldn’t transcode DVD and Blu-Ray rips, so installing it on a Pi forced the processing off the server and into the Pi. Tremendous solution. Worked perfectly once I figured out NFS protocol and Now I don’t need that so I use the Pi for Pi-Hole.

TJR avatar

My first raspberry pi project was with a raspberry pi zero and a pi camera to capture video from inside a 2 stage model rocket. Unfortunately once launched, the rocket went sideways and we didn’t find it until next time we were at the site.

tim Rowledge avatar

Getting Smalltalk running of course; so I could get started on improving Scratch. Turned out pretty good.

Silas avatar

This via Squeak?
Thinking of trying out Smalltalk – seems like nifty language

tim Rowledge avatar

Yup. Proper Scratch as opposed to Flash-Scratch or Scratch 3 is written in Squeak Smalltalk.
You can download Squeak from http://www.squeak.org and load up the Scratch code and then do whatever you want with it. Add new blocks! Add a 3rd dimension! Make it chocolate flavour!

Nilesh avatar

First the projects deployed together.
Raspberry Pi as a deluge client + NAS server + DLNA Media Server.

Downloaded torrent file on my laptop and saved to the shared folder in NAS(remote access since the Pi was silent headless unit with an attached HDD). Deluge would auto detect the file in second and start the download. Downloaded file would move automatically to a designated folder. MiniDLNA would then refresh the media library including this file too and all the media was then available to any DLNA device or could also be accessed via NAS.

Still have the setup. Amazing thing the Pi can do.

Also moving on to Pi 4 very soon to build a computer for my kids

Nathan Bartolo-Sumner avatar

My first project has been running for over 3 years now. Our PCB Production department were using colour photocopies of printed docs out of a plastic folder for their assembly work, these were regularly updated on the network but sometimes didn’t make it to the shop floor. I created a program that pulled in all the drawings; around 250 from across the network, and renamed and sorted them by their part number and put them in to folders. Then from these gathered files I create an intranet page that updates each night to search for new drawings. Each production desk then had a Pi, 24″ monitor and mouse installed. The assembler can then easily find the up to date pdf from different lists showing either cable wiring diagrams or circuit board assemblies. They can zoom in to view circuit board mods and because it is all in colour, we haven’t had to waste printer inks and have actually saved money on ink costs.

Dan3008 avatar

My first project was a visitor opinion box… I wired 5 buttons ranging from a happy face to a crying face to the gpio. Every time someone pressed a button it logged it and emailed a report of the days button presses to the venue owner every evening. That was with an original pi a… would be so much easier now with a pi zero w lol

Ashley avatar

Digital signage with Yodeck

Daniel avatar

My first project was Pihole, but I didn’t really understand how networking worked at the time and had a doublenat going on. My rpi was on one subnet and the rest of the computers were on the other. I was in the phone with the ISP and told them to change the DNS to the IP displayed on the pihole.

The poor rep just have thought I was stupid for what I was asking him, and I was. After that I tried some basic squid proxies, Kodi, and a few other things before I really understood.

Now I have about a dozen rpis running different things from pihole, to Wikis, to reverse proxies, to OMV, etc.

James avatar

I started with home assistant and now I have little Pi servers all over the place.

Tyler Bramble avatar

My first Raspberry Pi project was a mini laptop (before Adafruit’s 3D printed example, but after Dell-parts-people made one) around April of 2013 (I got my first Pi in March of that year). I never got it completely finished, but I got pretty far for a 13-year-old with a small cardboard box, a mini keyboard, a backup camera screen and a power bank. I no longer have it, but I was impressed by how far I got with it.

Anne Meinema avatar

Octopi for of 3d printer, was easy to use and install on a raspberry pi 3b plus. Next project one a raspberry pi 4b will be a air traffic recieved.

Al avatar

My first project was a Pihole which blocks ads at the DNS level for all the devices in my home (computers, phones, iPads, smart TVs )

Bud Bennett avatar

My first project was a 16-channel/24-bit data acquisition and digital I/O system to control my nine-zone in-floor heating system. The standard bang-bang thermostat controls were not accurate and energy wasteful. The RPi system maintains ±0.1°F temperature and is controlled over a web interface (ala Nest). I also added a monitoring system for our water well and cistern to that same RPi Model B. We get an update as to water usage every morning via email, and also warnings if something has gone wrong with the pumps.

Martin McMerkin avatar

My first was Pi1 as an announcement server.
It told me when we had post, in the outside mail box, it reminded me to take my pills and also if we had a voicemail.
It did this with voice (wav) files in the house and used Gmail to tell us. If you read the email, it knew you, or your wife, had delt with the post / voicemail or the pills had been taken.
Still running today.

Martin Benson avatar

My first project was simply a backup system using rsync and a couple of usb disks. No big deal, but it is still running today on the same rPi!

JoeH avatar

My first project was illustrating a security flaw in a commercial alarm system. We could emulate the responses of the network based security board using the pi. If we choose, have it emulate alarms or have it respond everything was ok even though all the sensors were activated. It really illustrated the sad state of security in security systems.
The most fun part of the project was the look on the faces of those who had deployed that very security system when we illustrated how easy it was to compromise.

Harry Hardjono avatar

My first project was a cigar box personal computer. I still remember the hours I spent just trying to get the network, printer, and paint program to function.

Nowadays, everything works right out of box, I think. Certainly a long way from then. Thank you for supporting us all these years. Nowadays, I use zerow for my daily drive.

Steven avatar

I remember my first project was with open cv and acouple stepper motors. Made it as a color tracker so the camera always points at the center or a red object. I didnt use any stepper motor libary so i hard coded the stepps into python and used two H-bridges to controll the steppers.

Noctuam avatar

My first project was the CamJam Edukit3 robot with a Raspberry Pi 4.

rahmanshaber avatar

My one is a Side Kick with RPI.
https://mutantc.gitlab.io/

Now doing v2 of it.

Etty avatar

My first(and only so far) Raspberry Pi project was to be a TV box, I found that Android TV on a Pi 4 was going to be difficult. As I already have a smart TV I opted to make my Pi a Plex server instead. I’ve moved my movies and series onto a local USB which I’ve also shared on my home network. I have loved the experience so much that my next project will be using a Raspberry Pi to replace my MyCloud storage device which I’ve never been truly happy with.

Jonathan Park avatar

My first project was a raspberry pi media centre. That time, when I was a elementary school student, I was using Raspberry Pi 2B and it was mindblowing device I ever had in my life. I attached some Portable DVD player that had an AV port. I earned lots of knowledge such as the difference between the 3.5mm jack, and various OS installation procedure.

Also, my first huge size project is still ongoing. I’m working on a small tiny DLP printer using 3.5″ lcd which is small enough to put inside my luggage.

Cornelis Robat avatar

my first project was to manage our SolarFarm to get hot water into the low temperature radiators in the home. Remarkable the Raspi B was hardly protected against nature’s elements, apart from rain. The little hero held out almost 6 years! I only had to replace the SD cards twice, a Raspi hates power outages! A few years ago I replaced it with a 3B+

Lada avatar

Raspi doesn’t dislike power outages, bad SD cards do. I use SanDisk Ultra, Extreme brands (with a red stripe) and they rock.

SD card’s quality lies in its controller, whether it can handle situations like this, if it can recover, if it does garbage collection etc.

Last but not least, temperature has an impact on SD card’s longevity. But I’d suspect mostly random writes, for example updating last access times while operating. Partitions can be mounted without the update though, greatly prolonging bad cards’ lifespan. And mounting partitions readonly helps even more.

Having fun with Rpi's avatar

First Project = Burping Jelly Baby

Fredrik Rambris avatar

I made a weather station post to Internet with a Raspberry Pi model B. The weather station was a wireless kind with a big LCD that received the signals from the sensors outside. Wind direction, speed, temperature, humidity and rain. The Pi was running pywws. A D-Link WiFi dongle connected it to my LAN where it both uploaded data to a local FTP server and posted to Weather Underground. I made the root filesystem read only and had a few ramdisks for logs and a second partition for the weather data. Should the thing lose power at least it still booted. There was no screen or keyboard so this was crucial. I made a nice wall mounted wooden box to house the Pi and the weather station display hang on the front of the box. It ran steadily for many years. Long after the sensors outside broke and stopped reporting data.

bASEL avatar

First project was a blinking led, but my first larger project was nodeJS, Express, EJS based doorbell and temperature/humidity logger. And over the years the same PI has been upgraded with OpenVPN, webserver, remote access machine and still going strong. Thanks Raspberry PI for creating such a versatile machine and keeping the large community going.

Lars Thysen avatar

I turnd my Raspberry Pi into a VPN using VPNCity.

Now i did that, i can watch HULU, Sling TV, and i can even watch The Mandalorien earlyer in Europe, using Disney+ XD!!!

Steven Hawkes avatar

My first project was a chicken egg incubator. Hatched 8 out of 11 eggs. Wife was really impressed

Joshua avatar

My first Pi Project was the a Blinking LED from the orginal Adventures in Raspberry Pi Book on a Raspberry Pi 1 Model b rev 2

Now i own the same Pi model b a Pi 2b, 3b and a number of Pi Zeros ranging from the first Zero

Simon Lambourn avatar

My first proper project was a central heating controller with a web interface, and the ability to switch the heating off when nobody’s home (by scanning for mobile phones on the home network). Still in use today, 5+ years later.

Cramaboule avatar

On raspberry pi 2b, first I made a joomla website. I was really impressed that it worked well.
Since, I have 4 more 3b+.
2 Webcam with motioneye ( 2b + 3b+)
1 pihole + openvpn
1 Bluetooth Audio streaming to play music in my old but nice Hi-fi from my smartphone.
1 who has Nextcloud (migrated to a pc) will use this one probably to ‘backup’ via rsync, my nextcloud’s documents. Or OSMC…

Dennis Willen avatar

Cluster running MPI for a Fortran-based project on lattice gauge theory. Getting back to my roots, I guess. 8 3b+ and 12 RPI 4s so far. Looking for ways to speed up the communication.

Mark J avatar

My first one was a RetroPi for emulation. Then I set another two (redundancy) up for PiHole. I am now waiting on parts to build a BrewPi temperature controller for homebrewing. I think my next one will be a irrigation controller. These things are addictive. I insist you make them less affordable and accessible!

Isaiah avatar

My first project was a retro game console using retropie.

Mike T. avatar

I was a bit nervious about conencting stuff directly to the Pi so I opted to for a simple 8 led display using an MCP23017 (walking ones/zeros, simple level display) followed by a 24 hour clock using an SAA1064…

Started blogging on WordPress back in 2013 with the express intention of writing up those projects but I still havn’t got around to blogging about anything hardware related yet…

Stewart Watkiss avatar

I first used the Raspberry Pi for teaching my daughter some programming.

Our first “proper” hardware project with my children was my son’s school project: “Bee Box”

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/oliver-and-amelia-make-a-bee-box/

Julian Zeidler avatar

My first Raspberry Pi Projekt with one of the intial raspis (ordered on day 1) is since running without interrupt (except for some sdcard corruptions in the beginning, which stopped after moving to a different model).
It reads in data from an SMA photovoltaik converter in my parents basement via a bluetooth dongle, saves this data to a local msql-Database and uploads it via a wifi-dongle and the home WIFI to an online photovoltaik comparison site, so that we can follow the (near-)realtime energy production.
Luckily i did not have to reverse engineer the proprietary bluetooth protocol, somebody (see sma-bluetooth on github) had allready done the heavy lifting for me, i only had to get the c-Programm to run on raspian.
Except for a longer outage in the Winter 2014-2015 outside raspis control (lightning killed the wifi-router, and the short term replacement didnt reach the basement), it has been delivering 350+ days of data a year since 2012.

CooliPi avatar

I’ve made a SFP EEPROM programmer with a RPI. It was used to unlock the SFP’s EEPROM, change 3 bytes including CRC and write it back. It was needed for some switches to recognize a SFP.

I’ve made a PCB (in the HAT format, no eeprom though) with the SFP cage on top, some LEDs to visually show what’s going on (reading, programming, verifying, backing up, …) so that it can run without a display.

It’s used till today.

Josh Sargent avatar

My first project was a LightShowPi Christmas light display. Ran on a Pi1A+ controlling 8 channels of lights and providing FM transmission as well as web server for the show. Upgraded over the past 4 years to a Pi2 and then Pi3 and hoping this year to the Pi4.

Séb avatar

My first real project was a self hosted web server on a pi 1, to share my new born kid’s pictures with my family.
It later included a mail server, vpn and a few other things, allowing me to stop using google completely. It ran flawlessly 24/7 for years without ups until I retired it. It still works.
This little computer made the world a better place :)

vgp avatar

My first project was bird monitor using PI2 and PICam. Still I am using that and sometimes as security cam inside home.

AyOuNgChIlDnAmEdJoSe avatar

My first Raspberry Pi project was setting up a temperature sensor for this For Dummies book my father got me for Christmas.

Kirill Belosludtsev avatar

My first project is, of course, IPTV bridge, based on the Raspberry Pi TV HAT and TVHeadend software. This is a fantastic solution for me to watch my favorite broadcast programs while away from home. As a bonus, you can record TV programs and watch them on any device, from a mobile phone to a TV.

PJC avatar

A fireworks launcher.

William E Danielson avatar

I bought a B+ to build a Raspberry Pi Heatermeter BBQ smoker controller. Never finished that project so the first “real” project was a security camera that looked down my driveway. That B+ ran rock solid for 5 years, finally got replaced with a newer faster-stronger Pi.

Bill

Bob avatar

My first project was the Pong Clock. It was great, a very fun way to tell time.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/the-pi-pong-clock/

Jon avatar

My first RPi project was a wall calendar. I used a RPi3, and an old laptop screen.

Derek Claridge avatar

My first project was to program the RPi to produce the Westminister Chime – – (Big Ben in London)
It is heard through out the house between 7am and 10pm.

Max Ernst avatar

I build a satellite receptor!

Theo Mol avatar

The first of my Pi projects that really ran for a long time was a Pi B sending images from the nestboxes in our garden to my wbsite nixin.nl . I have upgraded to a Pi 2B because it is faster which helps in maintaining the service (not in running it). It still runs during the nesting season, and plugging it in is enough to restart the service early every year.

Other projects were a clock running on a Pi A showing the time in plain (dutch) text. It stopped when the little e-paper screen broke down. And a weather station on a Pi 3A and the Pi touchscreen, which had to stop after the weather data did not come through anymore.
It seems that the Pies live longer than some peripherals and services they use.

Paulo Villi avatar

My first Pi project was reviving a Boxee Box with my brother-in-law to keep running it as a media center in his new home.

We did it by replacing its innards with a RPi3 B+, installing LibreELEC, making the original power button and RGB LED work via GPIO on that system, solving layout, vable routing and cooling issues.

The Boxee Box was a unique, beautiful box, but had notoriously poor thermal design.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxee_Box
https://libreelec.tv/

crispycroissants.com avatar

I do accept as true with all of the ideas you’ve offered on your post.
They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts
are too quick for novices. May you please extend them a bit from subsequent time?
Thanks for the post.

Mike Bemiss avatar

I’m building a homemade robot arm from scratch and controlling it with my 3 B+ Pi. Here’s a video of it getting its first test run! https://youtu.be/iuh8qugUi-E

Isaac avatar

Mine was actually a RetroPie with a Pi 4. Weirdly, I’m a kid, so the reason I built it wasn’t nostalgia, I just wanted to play something simple. I made it before RetroPie was officially released on Pi 4, so I learned a bit of Linux too.

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