Linear Actuator for Raspberry Pi

What is Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer, credit card-sized, developed in the UK for use in teaching basic computer knowledge.

Principle of Operation, How is it Used?

Of course, the Raspberry Pi is a full-featured computer. It has all the attributes of a real computer: dedicated processor, memory and graphics driver for HDMI output. It even runs a special version of the Linux operating system. Therefore, it is easy to install most Linux programs and connect linear actuators to Raspberry Pi. It is worth a little work — and Raspberry Pi can be used for actuators, as a full-fledged media server, or videogames emulator.

Although there is no internal data storage on the Pi, it is possible to use smart cards on this computer as a flash memory serving the entire system. In this way, you can quickly download different versions of the operating system or software updates for debugging. Because this device provides independent connectivity over the network, it can also be configured for SSH access or FTP file transfer.

What is Arduino?

Arduino boards are microcontrollers, not fully-featured computers. They don't have an operating system per se, the Arduino just executes code interpreted by the firmware. In this case, you do not have at your disposal the basic tools provided by the operating system, but, on the other hand, such direct execution of simple code is easier, and there are no costs associated with the operating system.

The main purpose of the Arduino Board is to interact with sensors and devices, making Arduino great for hardware projects where you just need to respond to different sensor signals and manual input. It may seem that this is nothing special, but Arduino - a complex verified system that greatly facilitates the management of devices. It is perfectly suited for the articulation of other devices and actuators, where a full-featured operating system is simply not required since it is simply about registering actions and responding to them.

Raspberry Pi vs Arduino

So which of the two technologies will suit you? There is no definite answer, as it depends on the specific project.

In which cases is it better to choose Arduino? This is done if your main task is to read data from sensors, change values on the engine or other devices. Given the requirements of Arduino power supply and ease of maintenance of this system, the device can be operated without turning off, while almost not interfering with its operation.

When is it better to take Raspberry Pi? When solving tasks that would be logical to perform on a personal computer. Raspberry Pi simplifies workflow management in different situations: if you connect to the Internet to read or write data, play any media or connect to an external display.

Given that Arduino and Raspberry Pi solve different tasks, in certain situations it is convenient to use these devices together. There are several possibilities for connecting two devices; in this case, you get client access to settings and code through the Pi, while the Arduino controls the actuators better than with Raspberry Pi and collects information from the sensors. There are many choices of such connection: via USB, LAN or as a simple connection of Arduino I / o ports to Raspberry Pi.

Interesting DIY Made on Raspberry Pi

Mini-PC was able to quickly become a popular platform for all sorts of projects both commercial and not so. There are several reasons for this, including the low price, its relative versatility, and openness. Furthermore, you can easily install a linear actuator controller for Raspberry Pi.

As a result, interesting projects began to appear with enviable regularity, and some of these projects are presented in this collection. There are quite serious systems, and projects developed "just for kick".

  • Supercomputer based on raspberry Pi and Lego

One of the most challenging projects based on the Raspberry Pi and linear actuators is a supercomputer made of 64 Raspberry Pi boards. Regular LEGO elements and actuators served as "server cabinets".

As a ROM for this system, memory cards of the SD format, with a capacity of 16 GB, were used. Such cards were installed in each "Pi".

  • Pi-based weather balloon

Computer enthusiast Dave Ackerman decided to use his mini-PC to create a weather balloon, to shoot photos from the stratosphere.

After a few months of work, Dave was able to launch his balloon, which flew more than 30 kilometers, worked at temperatures of -50C in a very rarefied atmosphere (1% of the usual).

The balloon recorded all the necessary parameters including temperature, humidity, density, height above sea level. Coordinates were also recorded. Among other things, with the help of the camera, it was possible to get a lot of great pictures.

  • Internet phone

With Pi, the usual stationary phone with a disk dialer was improved. Instead of the usual Board, the developer installed a Raspberry Pi.

After some manipulations, the developer managed to create a Skype-phone as a standalone device, without the need to use a connection to a regular computer.

  • Game station

An interesting device that allows you to play some old games for consoles, including NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, PlayStation, as well as SCUMMVM, ZX spectrum.

The author wrote that "the entire system is based on the RetroArch port, based on the Libretro library, allowing the use of emulators of various consoles." As for the graphics shell, EmulationStation was used, also RetroPie.

  • Raspberry-based tablet

This tablet has an interesting name — PiPad. Real wood was used as the material for the case. The display diagonal of the tablet is 10 inches. Well, all other characteristics coincide with the Pi characteristics. However, there is not a couple of hours of work and thorough work. The OS is Raspbian Linux with XBMC.

  • Wall calendar organizer

One handyman created a useful gadget for - wall interactive calendar, with the ability to add tasks and events.

The software platform is the usual Google Calendar, all data from which is broadcast over WiFi to this wall device.

  • Radio station

We don’t know if it’s legal, but the project is really interesting. Creators are using Raspberry Pi to control linear actuators and other parts of the DIY device to create a single-piece mechanism. However, the coverage of such a radio station is relatively small: the area equal to the area of the stadium.

  • DVD changer

The person who created this got tired of constantly changing DVDs. The result was this project, which is done simply because it could be done. Why not?

For this project, the author used Progressive Automations linear actuators, because they have the highest accuracy in comparison with other actuators on the market.

  • LBird feeder webcam

Winter is coming and that means it's time to help the birds to feed themselves. And to monitor the feeder, you can install a webcam with a motion detector, and stream video for everyone.

In here it (Pi) comes again. It looks something like this (video can be viewed directly in the browser). You will need some actuators that can be used by Raspberry Pi-powered with a 12-volt battery.

What else do you need?


  • Arch Linux
  • Motion
  • Ffmpeg
  • For Windows: putty + Winscp


  • Tplink WN722N USB
  • Sweex BlackBerry Black Usb Hd Camera
  • USB-hub
  •  Maplin A79 GW DC to DC Converter
  • 12-volt battery
  • Feeder

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