Dronejen - Boutique Synthesizers

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Raspberry Pi Zero Dronejen

Introduction

The Dronejen is a Raspberry Pi Zero powered sampler, playing back looped samples using a (not very) intelligent mixer/VCA model. You can make your own!

Hardware

With this hardware and a bit of Python programming you can do all kinds of musical projects, not just use it with the Dronejen code. Here's the shopping list:

You can replace some of these items or use ones you already have, but consider my earlier note about a different screen causing problems.

Caveat Emptor

Here's a few of the trickier bits of the project. If you're not confident with these, please consider asking a friend to help before starting.

  1. Ethernet / Wireless - I assume you know how to connect your Pi via ethernet, find out the IP address and SSH into it.
  2. Screen setup - If you don't have the exact same model screen as mine, the following instructions are unlikely to work, and screen setup is very finicky. You've been warned.

Installing Dronejenian

This section will get my pre-installed Linux build running on your Pi.

  1. Download and install Balenca Etcher to write to your SD card
  2. Download and unzip the Dronejenian Linux OS * coming soon *
    (I used the "Lite" build, but only do this if you never intend to connect a monitor)
  3. Plug in your SD card into your computer and run Balenca Etcher
  4. Select your unzipped .img file and select your drive
  5. Now click Flash!

Here's the manual steps

Beware, this requires some technical skills..

Installing Raspbian

This section will get Linux running on your Pi.

  1. Download and install Balenca Etcher to write to your SD card
  2. Download and unzip the Rasbian Linux OS
    (I used the "Lite" build, but only do this if you never intend to connect a monitor)
  3. Plug in your SD card into your computer and run Balenca Etcher
  4. Select your unzipped .img file and select your drive
  5. Now click Flash!

Enable SSH

This section will enable SSH over the network.

  1. Remove and reinsert your micro-SD card
  2. Create a blank file named "ssh" in the root directory of the card

Connecting to your Pi

This section will allow you startup and ssh into your Pi

  1. Insert your micro-SD card into your Pi
  2. Connect your Ethernet adapter and Ethernet cable to your router
  3. Connect power to your Pi and wait 20 seconds for it to boot up
    (Note the micro USD connector for the power is nearest the corner of the Pi)
  4. Login to your router and find your Raspberry Pi IP address (e.g. 192.168.0.11)
  5. For Windows: download PuTTY and connect to your IP address
    (Username: pi, Password: raspberry)
  6. For Mac: open Terminal and type: ssh pi@192.168.0.11
    (replace 192.168.0.11 with your IP address, password: raspberry)

You should be at the $ prompt.

Enable wireless and reconnect

This section will enable wireless so you can remove your Ethernet adapter

  1. Load the config tool using command: sudo raspi-config
  2. Navigate to: Network Options
  3. Navigate to: N2 Wi-fi
  4. Configure your wireless details
  5. Finish to save
  6. Reboot using command: sudo reboot
  7. Quickly disconnect your Ethernet adapter!
  8. Login to your router again and find the wireless IP address (e.g. 192.168.0.12)

Updating your Pi

This section will perform a main update and install tools

  1. Switch to root using command: sudo su -
  2. Update apt using command: apt-get -y update
  3. Install Python pip using command: apt-get -y install python3-pip
  4. Install PyGame using command: apt-get install python3-pygame
  5. Upgrade Linux using command: apt-get -y upgrade
  6. Reboot using command: reboot

More to come

I need to write up more for:

  1. Getting the screen working
  2. Allowing auto-login and running a program on startup
  3. Python to play music
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