A digital picture frame with weather forecast

Lessons Learned

Although creating something new with my old Raspberry Pi was really fun, I did encounter a few problems along the way. My first problem was mainly self-inflicted: I had hoped it would be possible to find an inexpensive, custom-made wooden frame online. Although I found a number of options, the real cost was shipping, which was almost as much as the cost of the frame itself.

In my last minute dress rehearsal, one difficulty turned out to be that an old USB cable I was going to bundle with the picture frame wasn't delivering enough power. Ensure you test the exact hardware you are planning to use.

The most unexpected problem was networking. My initial development used an Ethernet connection, and I never had any problems connecting. Only during my final testing with a WiFi dongle did I encountered networking problems when the network periodically stopped working. After some research, it seems that others had similar problems in the past and have solved this by restarting the networking component. I created a small script to check the Internet connection and restart it if necessary. Running this script once a minute from the root crontab solved my networking problems.

All the necessary logic for displaying the photographs and gathering the current weather forecast can be done with just a few hundred lines of Bash script (Figure 5). This new electronic picture frame should be useful for many years to come.

Figure 5: The monitor with its picture frame.

The Author

Christopher Dock is a senior consultant at T-Systems On Site Services GmbH. When not working on integration projects, Christopher likes to experiment with Raspberry Pi solutions and other electronics projects. You can read more of his work at http://blog.paranoidprofessor.com.

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